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Which Upholstery Fabric is Most Durable? Comparing the Durability of Fabrics at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston

July 11, 2023

Which Upholstery Fabric is Most Durable?

Est. Reading Time: 6 Mins

Take a look at your living room furniture. What kind of upholstery is it made with? If you said fabric, a good majority of you would be thinking the same thing. The other answer would’ve probably been leather, but that’s a topic for another article…

Now ask yourself, what kind of fabric is it covered in? You may not know that answer as well, right? What kind of materials are used in the upholstery fabric you sit on every day?

When choosing a furniture item for your home, you want to make sure that a piece will last you a long time, especially the durability of your upholstery. After all, a piece of furniture without fabric is just the bare bones of a frame.

Choosing a durable fabric is important and it is extremely vital to know how long these materials will last.

At La-Z-Boy, we are known for our high-quality and long-lasting furniture. But, out of all our fabrics, which ones are the most durable? Which ones are able to suit your needs better for your everyday life?

In This Article…

  1. Understanding Fabric Durability
  2. La-Z-Boy’s Fabric Selection
  3. La-Z-Boy’s Fabric Durability Testing

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Understanding Fabric Durability

Before we get into the fabric selection, it is important to understand what we mean by the durability of upholstery fabric in the context of furniture.

The measure of durable fabric is taking a look at what the upholstery can withstand. Can it take on day-to-day use over a certain period of time? Does it resist damage easily? Can it maintain its appearance over time? These questions, among others, help determine how strong a quality a piece of fabric should have.

Fabric is made from multiple materials, as well as different methods of construction. This means the type of fibre, weave and construction, and the finish and treatments applied will help with the durability of a fabric.

Type of Fibre

The durability of fabric is influenced by the type of fibres used in its construction. Various fibres exhibit distinct characteristics, resulting in different reactions based on individual preferences and lifestyles. Synthetic fibres such as polyester and microfibers behave differently from natural fibres like cotton and linen due to their unique manufacturing processes.

Weave & Construction

The way a fabric is woven plays a crucial role in determining its durability. At La-Z-Boy, we prioritize tightly woven fabrics to enhance resistance against scratching, ripping, and general wear and tear. When a fabric is tightly woven, it gains strength and longevity, ensuring your furniture lasts longer. This emphasis on tight weaving reinforces the fabric's ability to withstand daily use and maintain its quality over time.

Examples of durable fabric


Treatments & Finishings

Fabric treatment refers to if a fabric has protective coatings or other materials that help improve its lifespan and level of quality. For example, La-Z-Boy’s iClean Fabrics are specially made to resist stains and spills, thus making them higher quality than regular fabrics offered.

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La-Z-Boy's Fabric Selection: Which Upholstery Fabric is Most Durable?

La-Z-Boy has many different fabrics available, which is why we have classified them under a grading system. While this grading system divides our fabrics into their level of quality, it does not, however, determine how durable a fabric is.

What determines this, as mentioned before, are the materials used in the construction of the piece. La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston classifies these fabrics under three categories:

  1. Normal Wearability: Recommended for use on all La-Z-Boy upholstered furniture.
  2. Medium Wearability: Recommended for use on stationary furniture pieces. Not available for reclining furniture.
  3. Performance: Similar to normal wearability but has a higher chance of avoiding fabric pilling, abrasions and fraying, due to stringent testing. Recommended for all La-Z-Boy upholstered furniture.

The materials used in La-Z-Boy furniture play a crucial role in providing information about durable fabrics. While La-Z-Boy does not have a specific fabric that is universally considered the most durable, there are certain groups of fabrics that have the ability to withstand more demanding conditions compared to others.

Performance Fabrics

Performance fabrics at La-Z-Boy are stronger and more durable than regular fabrics at La-Z-Boy. Although they may include some of the same materials, some are either tightly woven to withstand tougher abrasions, or have special treatments that help them resist certain items.

Pet-Friendly fabrics are made with a tighter woven fabric and with higher tensile strength for improved durability. Though they are called “Pet-Friendly fabrics” this type of heavy-grade upholstery can also work with preventing rambunctious children from tearing your furniture apart and shortening the lifespan of your frame. 

Another good example of good performance fabric with high durability is iClean fabrics, which help with keeping stains and spills off your furniture, thanks to a number of treatments and finishes that creates a layer of protection.

Durable Fabric

Other Materials That Help with Durability

While La-Z-Boy uses a Fabric Grading System to determine the level of quality of a fabric, this does not mean that the materials used are more durable than others. While the materials and construction of fabric also help determine the level of quality and durability, they do not coincide with each other.

For example, a fabric that is made with more natural materials will cost more than those that use less, due to the fact that these resources are harder to cultivate and their process is more extensive. However, natural materials are also less durable than synthetic materials, which means that even though the quality is greater, the durability is not.

At La-Z-Boy, we use a combination of natural and human-made fibres in creating our furniture. If you take a look at some of our upholstered fabrics displayed, you’ll notice that many of them are made 100% out of Polyester, which is a synthetic material used in most of our furniture pieces.

There are also some synthetic materials, like olefin and rayon, that help improve the stretch and retention of fabric, respectively.

Although there are some that include a small percentage of natural fibres like wool and cotton, they will not be as abundant.

Durable Fabric

Leather Furniture

Yes, leather upholstery is not fabric. However, it is important to consider the comparison of leather and fabric within your buying decision. For example, did you know that leather lasts five times longer than fabric, and is easier to clean?

This might sound great right? But what about the difference between fabric and leather? Well, what you may not know is that leather is more sensitive to temperatures and must be kept up in order to keep its fresh and clean appearance.

You can learn more about the difference between Fabric and Leather with this article.


La-Z-Boy's Fabric Durability Testing

Upholstery FabricLa-Z-Boy’s fabric testing is extensive. Not only do our facilities do vigorous abrasion testing to meet industry standards, but some fabrics also get testing twice the amount of the recommended industry standard. But what does this mean exactly? What is the industry standard?

To begin, every fabric goes through a double-rub test. A double rub is a unit of measurement that helps determine how durable a fabric actually is. This test is done by rubbing a piece of fabric back and forth (i.e. two rubs) across a machine until it shows signs of wear and tear. According to U.S. federal guidelines, 3,000 double rubs is equal to one year of use.

At La-Z-Boy, some of our fabrics go as far as reaching 30,000 double rubs, which is a high double rub rating compared to other furniture upholstery.

On top of other industry standards such as flammability, brush pilling and strength testing, La-Z-Boy also has proprietary versions of fabric testing, which go beyond the industry standards. One of these tests includes a dynamic seam fatigue test, which stimulates repetitive stress onto a seat cushion using a weighted wheel. 

When it comes to iClean fabrics, La-Z-Boy does an additional stain release and water repellency test, which helps determine how resistant these fabrics are to everyday spills and stains.

Lastly, chemical testing is done on all fabrics, which is modified annually based on ever-changing global regulations. To learn more about the type of chemicals used on your furniture, check out this article Is La-Z-Boy Furniture Toxic?

What's Next?

According to one of our articles, Are La-Z-Boy Recliners Guaranteed for Life?, the average La-Z-Boy recliner can last from 7-10 years. However, this number has shown to stretch far longer than expected. 

In fact, some employees have reported customers calling inquiring about their furniture from 20 years ago, or even longer! This is thanks to the construction of La-Z-Boy products and the quality of fabrics used in the process.

That being said, are you looking for a furniture piece that will see you through not just a couple of years, but a couple of decades? You can start your buyer’s journey by visiting any of our local Ottawa & Kingston La-Z-Boy Locations.You can also schedule a visit online before coming in.

Our design consultants are always eager to lend a helping hand. Take advantage of our interior design services to see how your long-lasting furniture could fit in your home. 

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