Upholstery Fabric Abrasion Rubs

When shopping for the prefect fabric, “abrasion” or “double rubs” is just one of the many factors that upholsters and designers must consider.  Over the past several years, there seems to be some confusion regarding these numbers and what is necessary for upholstery applications.

Recently, manufacturers have begun performing extreme abrasion tests, specifying results of 100,000+ double rubs.  As a result, consumers have started to assume that anything less is no longer considered durable enough.

This is just not true!  In actuality, fabric that meets 15,000 double rubs is more than sufficient for residential upholstery.  Furniture with light use such as accent chairs, can even go as low as 9,000 double rubs without any wearing issues.

According to industry standards, numbers higher than 35,000 double rubs are not meaningfully significant in providing additional value in terms of commercial use.  In fact, most manufacturers stop the abrasion test once the fabric has surpassed 35,000 double rubs.  They see no reason to continue testing beyond this point.

In regard to double rubs, consider the application and the following guidelines:

Light Use: 9,000-11,000

Medium Use: 12,000-15,000

Heavy Use: 15,000+

Purchase fabrics that aesthetically appeal to you.  It’s more likely that the style of fabric will wear on you before the actual fibers do.

The more you know.

 

Key terms:

double rub: a measurement of a fabric’s abrasion resistance.  They are found through a mechanized test called Wyzenbeek Test.

Wyzenbeek Test: Mechanized testing of fabric in which the fabric is pulled tight over a frame and then rubbed back and forth using a cotton fabric.  Each back and forth motion is called a “double rub” and is counted until either two yarns break or there is noticeable wear evident.

Light Use:  Accent chairs, accent pillows, curtains, chair cushions with light use.

Medium Use: Furniture used is living and family rooms.

Heavy Use: Usually a stiffer and thicker fabric.  A piece that would have heavy traffic or a commercial use.