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Outdoor Curtains Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What's the difference between your polyester, WeatherSmart® and Sunbrella® outdoor-curtains fabrics?
  2. How long can I expect my outdoor curtains to last?
  3. Which of your outdoor curtains is easiest to clean and care for?
  4. Will my outdoor curtains mildew?
  5. What's the best way to clean my outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers?
  6. Can I leave my outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers out all year round?
  7. Are my outdoor curtains going to fade?
  8. Can I use Scotch Guard or some other water-repellant on my outdoor curtains?
  9. Can I have curtains specially made?
  10. I saw one of your curtains at another store for less – do you price-match?

Ordering FAQ

  1. How fast will my order ship and then be delivered?
  2. Can I return an item if I just don't like it?
  3. Why are the items I add to my cart not staying there?
  4. How do I enable cookies with my online browser?
  5. What's your warranty policy?

1. What's the difference between your polyester, WeatherSmart® and Sunbrella® outdoor-curtains fabrics?

Polyester, our most economy-priced outdoor-drapery fabric, offers strong UV protection, though nothing on par with the level of colorfastness and fade-resistance found in either WeatherSmart or Sunbrella, both solution-dyed fabrics. Our Commonwealth Polyester Outdoor Curtains and Outdoor Curtain Sheers, though created to be tough, have a feel like cotton. They come with a 90-day limited warranty.

WeatherSmart is an exceptional synthetic blend designed exclusively for heavy-duty outdoor use; it's resistant to fading, staining, rot, mold and mildew, while also being cottony-soft. Solution-dyeing, in conjunction with additional UV inhi­­bitors added during manufacture, gives WeatherSmart an unmatched colorfastness. Its abrasion-resistance is also superior to that of most outdoor acrylic fabrics. Our WeatherSmart Outdoor Curtains, including the WeatherSmart line of outdoor-curtain sheers, come with a 3-year limited warranty.

Sunbrella, designed for heavy use and minimal care, is the most established, best-known high-performance outdoor fabric on the market today. A cottony-soft solution-dyed acrylic, it is, like WeatherSmart, likewise resistant to staining, fading, rot, mold and mildew. Our Outdoor Curtains Made From Sunbrella, including the Sunbrella line of outdoor-curtain sheers, come with a 3-year limited warranty.

2. How long can I expect my outdoor curtains to last?

So much depends on the climate you live in and how your curtains will be used that it honestly would be tough to put a time period on the potential useful life of any of our outdoor curtains and outdoor-curtain sheers. All have been designed for extended outdoor use. We can tell you that our WeatherSmart® Outdoor Curtain and Outdoor Curtains Made From Sunbrella® curtains will, even with only minimal care, stay truer to their original looks and condition for longer than can curtains made with polyester; you'll see that reflected in the warranties we're able to offer on each product line.

Polyester, though highly durable, simply cannot achieve the level of colorfastness or stain-resistance as solution-dyed new-generation-synthetic blends like WeatherSmart and Sunbrella, or the same advanced resistance to mold and mildew either. Yet with minimal care, all three fabric types can last indefinitely. For the longest possible life for your outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers, however, we recommend taking them down and storing them – particularly those hanging in areas fully exposed to the elements – during lengthy periods when they aren't actively being used and enjoyed.

3. Will my outdoor curtains mildew?

In general, they shouldn't, so long as you periodically clean them and keep them free of organic debris; quality synthetic fabrics don't themselves support fungal growth. Our WeatherSmart and Sunbrella fabrics are particularly quick-drying, which acts as a further deterrent to fungal growth.

Trouble with mold or mildew can start when dirt and other debris build up on outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers. This organic material will, especially in damp, high-heat environments, support fungal growth that can eventually root within the fabric and, over time, decrease the useful life of your curtains.

4. Which of your outdoor curtains is easiest to clean and care for?

All three of our fabric types, designed as they are for lengthy outdoor use, are pretty low-maintenance, cleaning with minimal effort – soap and water is typically all that's needed, and a garden hose for rinsing! All may also be machine-washed, on cold, though we strongly recommend against machine drying; air-dry your outdoor curtains only.

Overall, however, Sunbrella® and WeatherSmart®, our two solution-dyed outdoor-curtain lines, offer distinct advantages in care and maintenance. Solution-dyeing means the color is effectively sealed within the synthetic fabric-thread during manufacturing, so the potential for the finished fabric fading in bright sun is vastly reduced. With polyester curtains, by contrast, care must be taken to retain the original color, especially in intense-sun environments. Where persistent heavy-sun exposure is a factor, we therefore strongly recommend both Sunbrella and WeatherSmart over polyester.

Solution-dyeing also means that staining, while uncommon, can safely be addressed even with as strong a cleaner as household bleach, which will neither splotch nor fade our Sunbrella or WeatherSmart outdoor curtains and outdoor-curtain sheers. Bleach should not, however, be used with our Commonwealth Polyester Outdoor Curtains or Outdoor Curtain Sheers, as it may produce color fading.

Sunbrella and WeatherSmart's advanced resistance to rotting, mold and mildew likewise means that routine curtain cleaning, while certainly recommended, is not nearly as essential as with polyester to the fabrics' long-term durability.

5. What's the best way to clean my outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers?

All of our outdoor curtains and outdoor-curtain sheers may safely be machine-washed, on cold only; however, we strongly recommend air-drying, and never machine-drying, which can shrink the curtains. In general, though, a mild solution of soap and water should do the trick for cleaning, with rinsing really as simple as your garden hose! With Sunbrella and WeatherSmart, our two solution-dyed fabrics, even a mild bleach solution is fine for cleaning, since it won't stain, or fade, the fabric. Bleach should not, however, be used with polyester, as it can negatively affect fabric color.

6. Can I leave my outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers out all year round?

With Sunbrella and WeartherSmart, the answer is yes, but … ; more on that in a second! With polyester we recommend against it, no buts about it.

For the longest possible life of any of outdoor curtains or outdoor-curtain sheers, we generally don't advise leaving curtains up all year round in most climates, even in the case of our outstandingly durable solution-dyed WeatherSmart and Sunbrella lines, which are designed for protracted outdoor use.

It's like this: If your curtains are directly exposed to the elements at all times, then taking them down during long periods when they aren't being used and enjoyed – during winter, for instance, or if you go away on vacation – means less potential for damage not only from intense harsh weather, but from accidents and other unexpected events as well. Though tough, these fabrics may tear, for instance, if repeatedly whipped against a sharp object by a strong wind. Also, nesting animals like squirrels are not unknown to chew through unattended fabrics and steal strands to do a little home-decorating of their own!

One of the real advantages to both our tab-top and grommet-style outdoor curtains and outdoor-curtain sheers, and to our hardware assortment, is the ease with which our drapery can then be taken down for cleaning, and for storage. We encourage you to take advantage of this great feature!

7. Are my outdoor curtains going to fade?

Long-term sun exposure ultimately will start to bleach anything. Our high-performance, solution-dyed WeatherSmart® and Sunbrella® fabrics are, however, simply as good as it gets in resisting the harsh realities of intense UV light. No exaggeration. As good as it gets.

By contrast, our polyester curtains, though designed tough for outdoor use and treated with strong UV-inhibitors, are much more likely to begin showing signs of fading after prolonged intense sun exposure. That's just the nature of polyester and more traditional dyeing methods.

8. Can I use Scotch Guard or some other water-repellant on my outdoor curtains?

Absolutely! Less water absorbency means even less potential for mold and mildew being transferred onto the curtain fabric.

Of course, you might want to see how your new curtains perform in rain before taking the step of applying a chemical water repellent to them. Our Commonwealth Polyester Outdoor Curtains and Outdoor Curtain Sheers, for instance, are already treated to be water-repellent. Our Sunbrella® and WeatherSmart lines, both best-in-the-industry solution-dyed synthetic-fabric blends, are actually designed to retain almost no moisture whatsoever, and to dry extremely rapidly.

9. Can I have curtains specially made?

At OutdoorCurtains.com, we don't do custom-order outdoor curtains. That said, our range of curtain materials, curtain styles, curtain lengths and pricing offers numerous possibilities toward meeting most outdoor-drapery needs. Hopefully, we can help you out here as well!

10. I saw one of your curtains at another store for less – do you price-match?

Absolutely! We call it our "110% Price Protection," which means that if you find a product we sell available through another online retailer at a lower price, we'll happily refund you 110% of the difference in price at the time you purchase from us! Note that the item in question must be currently in stock at the competing site, and that the shipping cost must be included in the total price comparison.

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Ordering FAQ

1. How fast will my order ship and then be delivered?

Our shipping philosophy is simple: Everything we can, as fast as we can!

Our WeatherSmart® Outdoor Curtains and Outdoor Curtains Made From Sunbrella®, and the majority of our curtain-hanging hardware, ship the same day as ordered, so long as the order is received before 4 p.m. Monday-Friday EST. Other items, including our Commonwealth Polyester Outdoor Curtains, typically ship 2-3 days after purchase. Custom-length curtain poles, however, can take as much as 3-4 weeks to reach you after being ordered.

Please note that some parts of your order may arrive in different shipments.

We ship FedEx Ground to all addresses in the United States and Canada; check our FedEx map to find out the expected transit time once your order has shipped. Please also feel free to contact us if you'd like to upgrade your shipping method, or plan to ship to an address outside the U.S.A. or Canada.

2. Can I return an item if I just don't like it?

Yes, you can! Any item you're not completely satisfied with upon receiving it, simply get it back to us for an exchange or refund. See our Money Back Guarantee & Returns section for details.

3. Why are the items I add to my cart not staying there?

Most likely you don't have "cookies" enabled in your Web browser. Our cart system uses cookies (small amounts of text your Web browser stores in your hard drive for future reference) to keep track of what items you've selected; without cookies, our cart system can't recognize that anything's been added. Fixing this problem is as simple as changing your browser's cookie settings (see the FAQ entry immediately below this one). However, if you'd rather not enable cookies – or if you experience any other ordering problems, for that matter – please call us toll free at 1.866.208.7195, and we'll happily take your order by phone!

4. How do I enable cookies with my online browser?

If you're having trouble placing an online order with us, it may be as simple as adjusting your Internet browser's "cookie" settings. (These settings are designed to help you prevent unscrupulous websites from using your cookie information in a malicious manner.)

With Internet Explorer, the cookies setting is found in the Tools menu, under Internet Options; once there, go to the Privacy tab where you'll find a slider control to set your preferences. Since our site uses cookies only to keep up with the cart items you select, any setting except the highest (Block All Cookies) should work just fine. Once you've made your selection, click OK to save the changes.

Many other online browsers stash cookie settings in their main menus under Preferences; there should then be a tab either for Privacy or Security where you'll typically just need to click a box allowing cookies, and then you're done.

If you ever need any help with ordering, for any reason, please give us a call toll free at 1.866.208.7195, and we'll be delighted to assist you!

5. What's your warranty policy?

Our different product lines have different warranty periods covering any potential manufacturer's defects; you'll find individual warranty periods listed prominently in all product write-ups and descriptions here on this site.

If you ever have an issue with your product during its warranty period – even if you're not sure you remember what that warranty period is! – no problem. Simply call us toll-free at 1.800.398.6004, and we'll be happy to sort out all the details for you. Our goal, always, is for you to be happy with what you bought, and with how we did business with you. If you're not happy, then rest assured, we're not either!

For more information on our warranties, click here.

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