Businesses have a lot of different expenses to worry about. Equipping your office with the right furniture that not only creates a pleasant and functional work environment, but also incorporates durable designs, can be costly. While it may be tempting to cut corners and invest in lower grade materials, this approach will only end up costing more in the long run as office furniture continues to need to be replaced.
Finding the right balance between durability and value comes down to knowing about different upholstery grades and double rub ratings. Depending on the type of office environment you work in and how often you use your furniture, you may be able to get away with saving money on lower grade upholstery. Here is what you need to know before you buy.
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The Fabric Wearabilty Code
The Fabric Wearability Code was developed by the United States government in order to set clear standards for fabric strength. While each manufacturer may also offer their own rating system, Fabric Wearability Code provides a universal language for communicating the durability of fabrics. Every piece of upholstery comes with a wearability code that has been determined through double rub testing techniques.
What Does Double Rub Count Mean?
While it might sound like a funny term, it is an important measurement of the durability of fabric and could be the deciding factor in which piece of furniture you purchase. In the United States, fabrics are tested using the Wyzenbeek Method. During this process, a piece of cotton duck, which is a piece of heavy canvas, is repeatedly rubbed over the test fabric using a mechanized arm. Every back and forth motion of the arm counts as one “double rub.”
This rubbing motion is meant to replicate the abrasive effects of normal use and the friction that occurs when you sit and stand. The test continues until there are signs of significant wear, which is defined as two yarn breaks. According to the guidelines, approximately 3,000 double rubs is equal to one year of use. Fabrics that can withstand more double rubs will offer more durability and longer-lasting performance.
Double Rub Scale for Residential Use
Heavy Duty: 15,000+ double rubs. These materials are ideal for busy homes that have pets and children.
Medium Duty: 9,000-15,000 double rubs. This fabric grade is still considered fairly durable and may offer a more cost effective option for families on a budget. It is still strong enough to be recommended for use in family rooms.
Light Duty: 3,000-9,000. According to wearabilty standards, this fabric will only last 1-3 years before showing noticeable signs of wear. For this reason, light duty upholstery is best for formal living rooms that aren’t used on a daily basis.
Delicate Duty: Less than 3,000 double rubs. Because this grade of fabric easily wears, it is typically used for decorative details such as pillows and curtains.
Ideal Double Rub Ratings for Commercial Use
Office furniture tends to be put through a lot more punishment than residential counterparts. This means that you should be looking for a minimum of 15,000 double rubs when it comes to equipping your conference rooms, waiting rooms and individual offices. Without a higher fabric rating, your furniture will begin to look old and worn in no time at all. If you want to avoid having to replace your office furniture and enjoy upholstery that continues to look like new, you will need to invest in higher grade materials.
Fortunately, commercial furniture comes with even higher double rub ratings to choose from:
Contract Upholstery Minimum: The absolute lowest double rub rating you want for office grade furniture is 15,000. This is considered the best for the average office.
Heavy Duty: 15,000-30,000 double rubs. This heavy-duty upholstery offer increased durability, making it ideal for offices that operate around 40 hours per week, hotel rooms and dining areas that see moderate traffic.
Extra Heavy Duty: 30,000+ double rub. You will find this super durable grade fabric in high traffic waiting rooms, theaters, stadiums, airport terminals and restaurants. It is designed to offer maximum durability without showing signs of wear.
Where Do I Find Double Rub Rating Information?
If you are visiting showroom, you can typically find this code located on the back of fabric swatches. For online stores, be sure to search the product specifications for this information or ask a representative.
What Are the Disadvantages of a High Double Rub Rating?
When it comes to commercial grade upholstery fabrics that are made to withstand your busy office environment, there are some trade-offs. First and foremost, you will quickly notice that higher rated fabrics simply aren’t as soft as less durable options. You might have compromise certain degree of comfort in order to enjoy a long-lasting fabric.
In addition, heavy-duty double rub materials will come with a higher price tag. There is no getting around that fact that better quality materials will require you to pay more money up front. Your investment will pay off in the long run because you won’t have to replace worn furniture, but it may be difficult for some startups to come up with the initial capital purchase premium furniture.
Other Fabric Grading Systems
As mentioned before, individual manufacturers also offer their own fabric grading systems, which are typically used to justify the cost of a piece of furniture. Unfortunately, there is no standardized system and much of the information is self-reported without the benefit of an objective, third party assessment. These are some of the general categories that are commonly addressed:
- Color fastness or how well a fabric holds its color over time
- Stain resistance
- Thread count
- Weave tightness
Are Natural Fabrics Better than Synthetics?
It all depends. In general, the actual materials used in creating fabrics doesn’t matter as much as the double rub count. Both natural and synthetic fabrics can be woven in a way that provides superior durability. If you have a preference for real leather or cotton, then let this guide your decision. Otherwise, pay attention to durability ratings and choose the fabric that best fits your needs and complements your office.
If you are shopping around for reception furniture and you can’t quite figure out why certain waiting room chairs cost more than others, it may come down to fabric grading and double rub ratings. Inevitably, you are going to pay more for heavy duty material that is designed to last. While it might be hard to part with your money upfront, it is well worth investing in long-lasting upholstery, especially if you will be placing it in high traffic areas. If you have additional questions or would like assistance selecting the right upholstery, please visit btod.com or contact a sales associate at 866-733-0698 option 1.