Originally Posted by omoore
Does anyone have an opinion about using cotton duck canvas instead of an indoor/outdoor fabric like Sunbrella? Duck was the staple before the invention of the sunbrellas. It would save me a lot of money. The two cons that I can think of are shrinkage and mildew. I have about 120 feet of rail cover to make and shrinkage wouldn't be a big problem. It would be with hatch covers.
Hi Oliver - this one is a no-brainer. Sunbrella isn't terribly expensive but is a much, much higher quality fabric that will withstand 15-years of direct sunlight. Labor to fabricate is the same as are the various fasteners, trim, chafe guards, etc. so the extra money for the fabric is negligible in the long run. This isn't even a close call for exterior fabric.
As Commodave states, use high quality UV-protected thread - Sunbrella typically outlasts regular thread by 2x-3x at least. Having stuff re-stiched is a pain, and it never looks as good as new.
I had caprail covers on my WIllard 36 for years. I hated them - PITA to take on/off, and the snaps rattled in a breeze. I'm in the process of having my caprails encapsulated in fiberglass and painted in AlexSeal as part of a larger paint job. Unless I drop a toothpick on deck, not a stitch of exterior wood left!