Make your upholstery last forever - the secret Martindale test

When it comes to furniture, I'm sure that, just like me, you want yours to last forever. But how do you make sure the fabric has maximum life?

Well the secret lies in something called the Martindale Rub test - some people call it the simulated bottom!

When you are selecting and researching your fabrics you will often see a rub test quoted and the tougher the fabric, the higher this figure will be. A figure much below 20000 is not ideal for upholstery, around 20000 would be suitable for general domestic use, whilst >50,000 would be fine in a busy environment such as a hotel.

Measuring the performance of fabrics is not a precise science because many factors affect the performance (e.g the tension under which the fabric is fitted and the base material over which it is laid.
Sofa with worn out fabric on arms
This sofa needed a fabric with better wear resistance.

Never the less over the years various industry standards have devloped to help the consumer and specialise machines are  used for testing rather than getting 20000 people to wiggle their bottoms!

When fabric tested the men and women in the white labcoats are looking to see how much wear is needed to break fibres in the fabric. This is a good guide to the life of a fabric out in the real world.
Martindale Abrasion test machine
This Martindale test machine sorts out the strong from the weak.

If you are specifying upholstery fabric then look closely at the Martindale or rub test rating of your fabric.

The following is taken from British Standard  BS 2543 and shows the intended duty of
the fabric:

   OD = Occasional domestic – 6,000 rubs
   LD = Light domestic – 15,000 rubs
   GD = General domestic – 20,000 rubs
   HD = Heavy domestic – 25,000 rubs
   SD = Severe domestic/general contract – 30,000 rubs
   SC = Severe contract Abrasion performance – 40,000 rubs

If you want your upholstered furniture to be a long lasting investment it is well worth looking for a hard wearing fabric. You may, however, be surprised that the price of a fabric is not a good guide to its expected life - always look out for wear/usage information.

If you need more information about any of our fabrics we'll always be pleased to help.


Posted by Steve Whitt



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