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The Best Outdoor Fabric - 2021

Last updated on April 9, 2021
best-outdoor-fabric

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Our Picks For The Top Outdoor Fabrics

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best Overall

Fence4ever Tan Sunscreen Outdoor Shade Fabric Roll, 95% UV Block

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Fence4ever

Tan Sunscreen Outdoor Shade Fabric Roll, 95% UV Block

Overall Take

Customizable FabricThe build of this fabric lets you cut it to achieve the size you need.

  Runner Up

Gale Pacific 90% UV Outdoor Wheat Shade Fabric

Gale Pacific

90% UV Outdoor Wheat Shade Fabric

Overall Take

Reduces TemperatureThe design of this sunshade encourages heat to escape, effectively lowering the temperature of the ambient air.

  All-Weather Pick

Shatex 90% UV Outdoor Sun Shade Fabric

Shatex

90% UV Outdoor Sun Shade Fabric

Overall Take

Durable ConstructionThe heavy-duty binding and knitted construction ensure this shade will hold up through all types of weather conditions.

  Landscaping Pick

Petgrow Heavy Duty Weed Barrier Outdoor Landscape Fabric

Petgrow

Heavy Duty Weed Barrier Outdoor Landscape Fabric

Overall Take

Weed BarrierKeep weeds to a minimum with this barrier fabric, which keeps weeds at bay while also letting in plenty of water and air.

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Guide written by Stephanie Faris
Last updated on April 9, 2021

Your outdoor areas can easily become your favorite part of the house. Patios, gardens and porches give you a great area for relaxing and enjoying nature. But the sun can spoil some of the fun, exposing you to harmful UV rays and creating an uncomfortable experience.

If you’re lucky enough to have a covered outdoor area, you can at least get some shade. But if you don’t, it’s easier than ever to create your own cover. Sunshades are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to help you protect outdoor spaces from UV rays. You can even find sun shades that will fit comfortably over a pergola.

Before purchasing a sunshade, measure the area that you’re planning to cover. You may be able to combine multiple shades to handle a larger area. With some options, you can cut the material to get the size you need.

You can also purchase fabric that helps with your outdoor growing. Some fabric is designed to keep weeds at bay while still letting enough air and moisture through to keep your soil and vegetation healthy. Look for fabric that will do the job while still being thick and durable enough to withstand direct sunlight and extreme weather.

The Best Outdoor Fabrics

1
  Best Overall

Fence4ever Tan Sunscreen Outdoor Shade Fabric Roll, 95% UV Block

This sunshade measures 5'8" W X 50' L to easily cover a small outdoor space, or you can buy multiples for a larger area. Highly resistant to sunlight, this shade has 95 percent UV block and 17 percent airflow circulation. Lightweight yet durable, it's made from 100 percent recycled material.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Fence4ever
Model
2
  Runner Up

Gale Pacific 90% UV Outdoor Wheat Shade Fabric

The high-density polyethylene material in this shade is knitted instead of woven to help heat pass through. This helps keep your outdoor area cooler as well as keeping the sun off of you. You'll get 90 percent UV protection and fabric that's resistant to stains, mold and mildew.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Gale Pacific
Model
3
  All-Weather Pick

Shatex 90% UV Outdoor Sun Shade Fabric

Breathable but durable, this shade will give you protection against the sun while also holding up against the elements. The high-density polyethylene keeps mold and mildew to a minimum and blocks 90 percent of UV rays. The edges of the shade are reinforced, with aluminum grommets in the corners and on all sides, to prevent fraying.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Shatex
Model
4
  Landscaping Pick

Petgrow Heavy Duty Weed Barrier Outdoor Landscape Fabric

If weeds are an issue in your outdoor areas, this weed barrier can help. The heavy-duty fabric is needle punched to let water and air through while still stopping weeds from breaking through. The thick fabric is designed to last up to five years, even in direct sunlight.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Petgrow
Model
5
  We Also Like

iCOVER Outdoor Sun Shade Sail Canopy Fabric

This sail shade is made from permeable fabric that allows water and air through while keeping the sun's harmful rays out. It comes in a variety of size and color options to let you customize your look for your own outdoor spaces. Each corner comes with a strong, 5.2-foot rope to ensure it stays in place.

Features


Specifications

Brand
iCOVER
Model

Our Outdoor Fabric Buying Guide

Your outdoor areas can easily become your favorite part of the house. Patios, gardens and porches give you a great area for relaxing and enjoying nature. But the sun can spoil some of the fun, exposing you to harmful UV rays and creating an uncomfortable experience.

If you’re lucky enough to have a covered outdoor area, you can at least get some shade. But if you don’t, it’s easier than ever to create your own cover. Sunshades are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to help you protect outdoor spaces from UV rays. You can even find sun shades that will fit comfortably over a pergola.

Before purchasing a sunshade, measure the area that you’re planning to cover. You may be able to combine multiple shades to handle a larger area. With some options, you can cut the material to get the size you need.

You can also purchase fabric that helps with your outdoor growing. Some fabric is designed to keep weeds at bay while still letting enough air and moisture through to keep your soil and vegetation healthy. Look for fabric that will do the job while still being thick and durable enough to withstand direct sunlight and extreme weather.

DWYM Fun Fact

If you’ve noticed the sudden drop in temperature when the sun goes behind a cloud, you’ve seen the benefit shade can have on the heat levels you experience. In the shade, you’re shielded from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but the shaded area can actually experience lower temperatures.

Trees are among the best sources of shade because you’re also benefiting from something called evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration refers to a tree’s natural process of releasing water vapor as it moves. The combination of this and the shade a tree provides can reduce the temperature in the surrounding area by as much as 6 degrees. Directly under the tree, that temperature can go down as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit when compared to the temperature on nearby blacktop pavement.

The Outdoor Fabric Tips and Advice

  • Water can tend to pool on top of a shade, promoting mold buildup. Look for a sunshade that has at least small perforations that let water through. Those perforations will also help keep air flowing
  • Pay close attention to how much the sunshade filters UV rays. Some can block as much as 95 percent.
  • The weave of the fabric is essential. The weave needs to be tight enough to keep UV rays out while also being open enough to let air circulate out. Having heat trapped beneath the sunshade won’t help make the outdoor area more enjoyable.
  • Eco-conscious consumers will love that there are shades made from recycled material.
  • The thickness of the fabric also matters. You’ll want a fabric that’s light enough for you to maneuver while also being strong enough to withstand storm activity.
  • In addition to making sure water can comfortably pass through the shade, you should also look for fabric that’s built to be mold and mildew-resistant.
  • Reinforced edges can ensure your outdoor fabric holds up over the years.
  • How you hang the outdoor fabric is also important. Some are tied with ropes while others use hooks. Plan out where you’ll mount it and how you’ll ensure it stays in place before you choose your outdoor fabric.

About The Author

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Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer. She lives in a beautiful one-acre home in the suburbs on the outskirts of Nashville. Her home and garden work has appeared on popular home sites. She's a true homebody and loves looking at new houses for sale for inspiration on her own home remodeling projects.