Alcantara V Faux Suede V Stretch Suede

Alcantara V Faux Suede V Stretch Suede

Does your car need a re-upholster, re-trim or repair but not sure which fabric to use ? Hopefully the following blog post will help you make a better, more informed decision.  

Composition:

  • Alcantara: A material made from polyester and polyurethane fibre. It is a high-quality synthetic microfibre designed to mimic the look and feel of natural suede.
  • Faux Suede: A synthetic fabric made entirely of polyester. It is designed to imitate the appearance and texture of genuine suede but without the use of polyurethane.
  • Stretch Suede: Similar to Faux Suede but with a spandex content that gives the fabric more stretch and flexibility.   

Manufacturing Process:

  • Alcantara: Undergoes a specialized industrial process known as needle-punching. The polyester and polyurethane fibres are mechanically entangled, resulting in a non-woven fabric with a soft, suede-like texture.
  • Faux Suede: Typically manufactured by weaving fibres to create a fabric that resembles suede. It may also undergo additional processes, such as brushing, to enhance its suede-like appearance.
  • Stretch Suede: Manufactured by knitting fibres together which results in a more loosely constructed fabric which allows the fabric to stretch more.   

Performance and Characteristics:

  • Alcantara: Known for its exceptional durability, resistance to wear and tear, and ease of maintenance. It is stain-resistant, can withstand regular use, and retains its original texture and appearance over time. Alcantara also offers breathability and sound-absorbing properties.
  • Faux Suede: Generally, has good durability and resistance to abrasion. Martindale rub test scores range from 30,000+ for lighter faux suede and 50,000+ for premium options. However, it may not be as durable or stain-resistant as Alcantara. Its performance and quality can vary depending on the specific manufacturing process and the grade of polyester used.
  • Stretch Suede: Similar to faux suede with a Martindale score of 40,000 revs but is a heavier weight than the faux suede and Alcantara options at 285 gsm. Where stretch suede comes into its own is for larger areas with more curves and grooves. The stretch properties make covering this a much easier task.

Aesthetics and Feel:

  • Alcantara: Closely replicates the look and feel of natural suede. It has a soft, luxurious texture and a visually appealing suede-like nap. Its aesthetics and tactile experience are highly regarded, offering a premium feel.
  • Faux Suede: Attempts to mimic the appearance and feel of real suede with the nap. While it may have a similar look, it may not fully replicate the softness and texture of genuine suede or Alcantara.
  • Stretch Suede: Also has the suede like nap and as it’s a thicker heavier fabric it has a more luxurious feel.

Availability and Cost:

  • Alcantara: Primarily used in high-end applications such as automotive upholstery, interior design, and fashion. As a result, it tends to be relatively expensive.
  • Faux Suede: More readily available and used in various industries. It is often used as a cost-effective alternative to genuine suede or Alcantara. The price of faux polyester suede can vary depending on the quality and grade. Tends to have the more extensive colour options also.
  • Stretch Suede: Slightly more expensive than faux suede due to the spandex content but over all a very affordable option. Not as many colour options as the faux suede.  

In summary, while all 3 options aim to imitate the look and feel of real suede, Alcantara is a material that offers higher quality, durability, and performance characteristics. Faux polyester suede provides a more budget-friendly option, but its performance may not match that of Alcantara in terms of durability and stain resistance. The premium faux suede would give you a better performance. The Stretch suede is ideal for awkward and complex areas. Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences, budget, and the specific requirements of your project.

Before:

Alcantara seat covering

After:

Genuine Alcantara Car Interior Fabric

 

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