Oh my, where has the time gone?! I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I did Part One: Fabric in my series, Anatomy of a Cushion. That never was my intention but work and life got a little tangled at times. I’ll save that for another day. Let’s talk about foam!
When you think about redoing your outdoor cushions, you most likely decided to do so based on the exterior physical look of your cushions. But lurking just beneath the surface is something equally important, the foam or support. The part that makes your stay comfortable. Many cushions have a zipper that allows you to get inside easily to inspect the foam but some are sewn shut. How can you tell if the foam needs to be replaced?
Unzip your covers and look at the foam. Press on it with your finger or hand. If it springs back to shape quickly, you are probably ok. If your finger or hand pokes into it, it feels dry, is covered in mildew, crumbles or looks compressed it is time to replace. The foam in cushions from big box stores have a life span of just a few years especially if exposed to the elements or getting lots of use. If you are going through the trouble and expense of making new covers, you should really consider getting new inserts as well.
How and where you use your cushions will dictate what kind of foam you need. Do you like a firmer or softer cushion? Will your cushions be under a covered area or out in the exposed elements? Below are some different types of foam that I would recommend from the Foam Factory. If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, they are a great resource that will cut and wrap your foam to the exact measurement.
Indoor Cushions or Covered Outdoor
High Density 36/High Quality foam is a medium feel foam for regular to heavy use, perfect for cushions, benches and mattresses with a life span of 16 years.
High Density 36/Regular foam is also a medium feel foam as above but has a life span of 7 years.
Lux Foam/High Quality foam is firm to extremely firm depending on the thickness. The thicker the firmer. Can be used for regular or heavy use and is ideal for seats, chairs, cushions, benches and mattresses and dining room chairs 1″-3″ thick. Lifespan of 16 years.
Lux Foam/Regular foam is also firm and is for seats, chairs, cushions and mattress for a firmer feel. Not recommended for dining room chairs1″-2″. Lifespan of 7 years.
Dry Fast Foam, a large cell foam is excellent for patio furniture cushions that are constantly exposed to rain and water. The large cells in this foam allows it to dry quickly even after complete saturation and allows it to suppress microorganism growth.
Super Soft Foam is suggested for regular use for back of sofa cushions but not for seat cushions. It has a life span of about 5 years. Most often than not, though, top cushions interiors are cases filled with polyfill. They may have disintegrated and need to have new cushion cases made and additional batting added to revive.
Dacron Wrap is a polyester fiber batting layer that adds to the comfort of your cushion as well as gives your cushion a loftier, softer & rounder look. Using this will help reduce the “sagging” look you see on many cushions.
One final “extra” that you may desire is an extra sleeve for your cushions. If you will be removing your covers frequently to clean them you might want to opt for this extra custom made layer. It’s essentially an envelope for your Dacron wrapped foam to go into made out of a very light spun bonded polypropylene fabric that is water-repellent and resistant to moisture and stains. It allows for the cushion to slide easily into the cushion cover with not much trouble and provide a less bunched look. Sometimes it can feel like you are wrangling a cushion getting them back into the cover!
There is so much more I could say about foam, but I am sure I would loose you in the details, if I haven’t already. We really just want something comfortable to sit on at the end of the day. If you are not sure whether or not you need new foam I would be happy to help you decide.
My final post in this series is about the different design options to consider in redoing your cushions. Hopefully it won’t take me a year to finish it. Look for it soon.
Until then, my best.