Sunday, July 1, 2007

Is it an Innie, or an Outie?

Alright, alright, so I use made up words! You know what I mean. However today I'm not talking about belly buttons, I'm talking about outdoor cushions. Yeah, cushions are either Innies or Outies, and make no mistake about it or you may be sorry. Read on.

Outdoor Foam...

What a captivating subject, don't you think? Well, it is, I promise. Not only have outdoor
fabrics come into the 21st Century, foam for outdoor cushions has as well. In the old days, outdoor cushions were made from your regular old household foam, the same type used
for indoor cushions. We would upholster our cushions in outdoor fabric, say for that
treasure of a wicker love seat that once adorned Grandma's front porch. You know the
one, the one you found next to the trash after her estate sale. You thought it looked so
sad as you gazed upon it sitting there next to the garbage cans. Then suddenly, a light
bulb went off in your head.
"Why, I'll give that little love seat a new coat of paint and make a new cushion, and it will be wonderful again".
You proceed to try and get it into the back seat of your Eco-friendly sports car, to no avail.
Next, you try the trunk. It works, so you tie the trunk lid down to keep your new found treasure from bouncing out and becoming road kill. When you get home you appraise your
"Oh, I didn't realize that so much of the wicker was broken". Or worse, your spouse or significant other rolls their eyes at you when you show it to them. There will be no approval forthcoming!

Next you...

So, you get an estimate from the local caner (the guy who repairs cane seats and backs
on chairs). It'll be $400. You reconsider your original idea, a coat of paint and a new cushion
will suffice after all. You begin the painting process, but get eleven splinters in the first three minutes of the process. You initially resisted spray painting, for the sake of the ozone, but
now it seems like a pretty good idea, for the sake of your hands.
When the painting is complete you make a template out of the Sunday newspaper for the
new seat cushion; you select one of the new outdoor fabrics at Cabana Home, and rush to
the upholstery shop to drop everything off. There is no discussion about indoor or outdoor
foam. Outdoor fabric should do the trick, right?
No. Not right.

The scoop on outdoor foam...

Okay here we digress again. Its not that the outdoor fabrics of old that didn't work, because after all they too were fade and mildew resistant. What didn't work was using indoor foam
for an outdoor cushion. Indoor foam retains water, becomes water logged, sours, smells, and
can take five to seven days to fully dry. While wet, the limits of an outdoor fabrics "mildew resistance" are tested. Yes, even outdoor fabric will mildew if left to dry on indoor foam.
And, outdoor fabrics are typically 100% solution dyed acrylic and they don't breath like a natural material indoor fabric would.

Now the Details... and technology have now given us the outdoor foam of our dreams. With catchy names like EZ-Dri, Evidri, Drifast, Dryfast (a different one), and Rain-Thru, all of which are mildew resistant outdoor foam.
Is there a difference? Yes but not as much as one would think, as the technology is virtually
the same for all of them. The main difference is the foam's density, or firmness. Evidri is a medium soft outdoor foam, while Drifast is very firm. EZ-Dri has a built-in fungicidal
additive which inhibits fungus, mildew--important for retarding stains and odor.
All outdoor foam has open cell construction in common. The open cells are large, completely open pores. The open pores are actually holes caused by reticulation; that is, holes created
by air pockets when the foam is manufactured. These holes are what permits rapid draining
and maximum air circulation for fast drying. Ah um...the last two sentences have a strong resemblance to a paragraph from one of the foam manufacturers websites. Okay, maybe
from all of the web sites consulted!

Now there...

Wasn't that interesting?
"No," you say?
Oh come on, you've got to know about this. I mean, think about one of those roadside
treasures that you've passed by, only to regret it later. Now, you can pick it up with new
found confidence gained from your knowledge about outdoor foam!

Stick around with the Design Guy, because you'll never know what you didn't know
before you got to know the Design Guy.

Later .

Good night moon.

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