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Lamination -- Making almost any fabric water-resistant

Most chintz and sateen fabrics can be laminated with a light plastic coating to ward off stains, spills, and mildew. Modern fabric lamination methods are so sophisticated that you often cannot tell that a fabric has been laminated until you touch it. Modern laminated fabrics do not have the thick, shiny, cheap-looking plastic coatings that existed twenty years ago.

If you are choosing fabrics for outdoor chair cushions, kitchen stools, nurseries, or any other area in which wetness and staining is a major concern, you may wish to invest in lamination. This will also give you the flexibility of choosing from a much wider array of fabrics, rather than being forced to select from only those few fabrics (Textilene and Sunbrella) which are specifically meant to resist moisture.

To be suitable for lamination, a fabric must not have any texture irregularities such as slubs or loops. You will be limited mostly to chintzes, sailcloths, and sateens - which make up the vast majority of decorative fabrics, anyway. You will normally get better results with light to medium colors than with dark colors.

Most wholesale workrooms can arrange to have fabrics laminated for you. As the equipment used for lamination is quite expensive, this service is available directly only from companies in major cities. All of these companies do accept mail orders. Of course, if you become your own licensed decorator, you can make your own lamination arrangements and save the workroom's commission - which is normally 100% over and above the actual cost of the lamination.

You may be in for a six to eight week wait. You will also usually be required to order no less than six yards. Prices will vary, but the average cost of lamination is about $8.00 to $10.00 per yard, above and beyond the cost of the fabric itself. You will also have to pay to ship the fabric to and from the lamination service. This will probably cost you about $20.00 each way, although the cost will vary according to the amount of fabric you are shipping and how far away you are from the lamination service.

Fabric lamination is an expensive proposition. However, it can greatly lengthen the useful life of furnishings which are exposed to wetness or excessive staining. When you consider the savings from not having to replace these furnishings as often, lamination should more than pay for itself.

Ask your local fabric store to refer you to a lamination service.

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