Foam Series: Selecting the Right Outdoor Living Foam
Before you start work on a new cushion project for your porch or patio, it’s important to select just the right foam. The foam, after all, is the base of the whole cushion. Shopping for foam involves thinking about how you will use your cushion and weighing the pros and cons of each foam type to land on the solution that works best for your application and lifestyle. We’re going to take a closer look at the three main types of outdoor living foam so you can see which will be best for your needs.
Since your outdoor cushions are largely what we refer to as "occasional use" cushions, you won’t need your patio foam to be the world’s most durable — moderate durability is sufficient. However, it's important to consider how the foam will react to rain since the cushions will likely be exposed to the weather.
With these considerations in mind, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of three types of Sailrite® CushionRite® foam for outdoor living applications. The three types are Standard Antimicrobial Foam, Dry Fast Antimicrobial Foam and Premium Antimicrobial Foam.
CushionRite Standard Antimicrobial Foam
CushionRite Standard foam is a medium density seating foam that has a density rating of 1.8 pounds per cubic foot. Medium density polyurethane is a common type of foam and is the standard for occasional outdoor seating. Commonly used on boats, this foam is formulated with an antibacterial treatment to prevent mold and mildew growth — an attractive quality for a cushion that could get rained on. However, polyurethane soaks up water like a sponge and dries out slowly when it gets wet.
To mitigate moisture, you can wrap your Standard foam in a waterproof film like Cushion Wrap Silk Film (#103933) before inserting it into the cushion cover. We recommend this foam for cushions that are stored out of the elements when not in use, cushions that are covered in a highly water-resistant fabric or cushions that utilize a waterproofing wrap.
CushionRite Dry Fast Antimicrobial Foam
Dry Fast foam is perfect for cushions you want to leave out all the time without worry. This reticulated foam has open cells that allow air and water to pass through so easily that, when covered in a breathable fabric, water will drain right out the bottom of the cushion. Dry Fast also has a density of 1.8 pounds per cubic foot and an antimicrobial treatment. Due to its special features, it’s a more expensive choice than Standard and Premium antimicrobial foams.
CushionRite Premium Antimicrobial Foam
Your last choice for patio cushion foam is CushionRite Premium Antimicrobial Foam. This high density foam has a density rating of 2.8 pounds per cubic foot. Its antimicrobial properties help prevent mold and mildew growth. Unlike Standard and Dry Fast foam, Premium will typically last up to 12 years, making it a great choice if you use your patio frequently and want cushions that will last a long time. As with Standard foam, this foam will soak up moisture; we recommend following the same waterproofing techniques that we mentioned for Standard foam.
We hope this blog empowers you to feel confident in your foam selection. To learn more about foam, be sure to read the other posts in our Foam Series, including "5 Important Foam Terms to Know" (#300052XHT) and "Comparing Types of Cushion Foam" (#300053XHT).
This blog was updated in March 2023 to reflect changes to foam naming conventions.