Photo: Van Chaplin; Stylist: Lisa Powell

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Made from a wide variety of synthetic fibers, polyester, acrylic, and even cotton blends, outdoor fabrics are woven textiles that undergo a chemical treatment during manufacturing. This process allows them to repel water and resist soiling and rot, while impeding mildew growth. 


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Because these fabrics are manufactured to accomplish many of the same goals, the different textures (smooth versus rough) and finishes (matte or shiny) influence a homeowner's decision. Also, the price for different materials is a reliable indicator of its durability and longevity. If you select a less expensive outdoor fabric, you may end up replacing it sooner than you would a costlier one. 

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