Water Repellent VS. Water Proof

First of all, let’s start with some quick dictionary definitions of waterproof, water-resistant, and water-repellent, as given by the Oxford English Dictionary:

Do not be confused when a material is said to be water-repellent or water-resistant. 

  • Water-resistant: able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely. Will not stay dry when submerged in water or with heavy rain.
  • Water-repellent: not easily penetrated by water, especially as a result of being treated for such a purpose with a surface coating. Will not stay dry when submerged in water or with heavy rain. Water repellent fabric usually with show droplets of water on it's surface and you will need to brush it off as soon as possible. 
  • Waterproof: impervious to water.

There are not many comfortable materials that are waterproof. Let's take into context using furniture. 

Waterproof furniture would be materials like plastic, stainless steel and glass which is not ideal for comfort. That is why, most popular outdoor furniture still has cushions to provide comfort even though is it only water-repellent and not waterproof. Water-repellent fabric keep it breathable so you would not feel like you're sitting on a warm uncomfortable surface collecting condensation. 

Water-repellent and water-resistant consist of many other furniture materials. Although it is not completely waterproof, when water-repellent materials is in contact with excessive water it does not degrade and it dries quick. Water-repellent and water-resistant materials will absorb moisture when moisture is left on it for long periods of time. You will need to wipe of moisture and spillage immediately before it seeps through the protective layer. 

If you feel water-repellent sofas and cushions are not able to accommodate to your lifestyle (for example, you do not want to keep cushions & seats indoors when it's pouring outside). Maybe a layer of Scotchgard Water shield spray can help temporarily. Cover it with furniture covers if this is easier for you. But if you are not one to put the extra effort to maintain your outdoor furniture, a safer option is plastic, metal or glass which required little to no maintenance. If you want comfort outdoors, then put in the effort so your furniture can last as long as it should. 


*Video is showing Nook & Cranny water-repellent cushion. 

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