Seat Padding

30November 2021 /

Seat padding is everywhere, lounge seating, dining chairs, office chairs, wheelchairs, outdoor seating indeed anywhere we wish to sit. One of the most popular requests we receive is for foam for use as seat padding and seat pads. It comes as no surprise as we all want to sit as comfortably as possible whether we are working or relaxing.

F.C. Hancox has been supplying quality foam products and foam cut to size to the upholstery industry, soft furnishers, craftspeople, and clever DIYers for over sixty years. We have a wide range of foams to suit many different applications. It’s nothing new, people have been longing for comfortable seat padding for centuries.

What Is Seat Padding?

What is seat padding?

The very first seat padding was made of a range of materials including hay, grasses, feathers, sawdust, and animal hair, such as horse or goat. As the centuries passed, horsehair or hay was used by upholsterers making chairs and beds, horsehair was the more expensive and most often found in furnishings for the wealthier. There might be combinations of padding used, for example, a mixture of horsehair, hay, and cotton. Webbing was mostly used to support the padding until the Victorians invented springs, though both are used today. But whatever the support mechanism, the comfort comes from the seat padding.

It was the invention of polyurethane foam that changed seating forever. Whilst it was invented in Germany in the 1930s it was in the 1950s that it took off and became commercially available but early foams and materials such as horsehair and hay are inflammable and therefore hazardous in a home. Deaths from furniture-related fires showed a rise in the 1960s/70s. This led to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988. Materials used for furnishings must comply with strict standards. These fire-resistant foams are now the go-to materials for the best in seating padding comfort. It is important to purchase foams from reputable companies and all F.C. Hancox’s foams adhere to the Regulations.

Can I Repair My Seat Padding?

The most difficult thing for anyone wanting to carry out a home repair is where the seat cushion is fixed without a zipper or opening, often found in suites of sofas and armchairs. In these cases, the work is best done by an upholsterer or someone with experience in upholstery.  Some fixed seating can be reupholstered fairly easily, these are items such as dining chairs and those where the seat pad is easily lifted or detached from the main construction. For example, dining chairs, throne chairs and armchairs.

Where seat padding is loose, then the opportunity to repair, change or upcycle is limitless. A simple repair would be to replace the foam and is done mostly due to sagging. This can be the same for indoor foam and outdoor foam, the only difference here being the recommended foam type. Where the whole seat pad is to be replaced, careful deconstruction will provide templates, both for the cover fabric and for the foam itself. Whatever the shape of foam, this is easy to replace with our foam cut to size service.

What Is the Best Foam for Seat Cushions?

Seat padding is best with high-density foam. But there are other considerations, and it may be that a reflex foam or an outdoor Calipore foam is best suited for the project. Calipore foam is ideal for outdoor seating, such as garden furniture, it is an excellent foam for boat seats however it is not for use indoors. This type of foam allows water to pass through easily and can also include fungicides to prevent mould.

Where a foam is used frequently, for example in a pub or restaurant, chip foam works well, because it is a firm foam. Reflex foam is a dense foam that can stand quite heavy weights. The density allows for an even distribution of the weight and can reduce pressure points. It is firm and comfortable, so a good foam to use if a seat is in constant or regular use. Memory foam is also a good foam for frequent use and again is good to relieve pressure points by adapting to the shape of whoever is settling onto it.

Professional upholsterers will be well aware that since 1988 all domestic furniture has to be fire retardant and all our foams (apart from the Calipore outdoor) comply with the relevant requirements of the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988. For more information please see our Fire Retardant Foam page. We will advise our customers on the best foam for a particular application.

Different Types of Seat Padding

Seat Padding

Seat padding isn’t just found in general household furniture, but office seating, vehicle seating, wheelchair foam, bench seating in fact seat padding is everywhere. There are many and varied kinds of seat padding applications and foams that are perfect for their individual use. Examples are:

Calipore Foam – made especially for outdoor use

CMF Foams – General purpose seating foam

CMB Foams – Contract chip foam for frequent use

  • Pub indoor chairs and bench seating
  • Café chairs
  • Restaurant chairs and banquettes

Reflex Foams – Superior foam for comfort and support

Memory Foams – Adds comfort and moulds to body shape

Where Can I Buy Seat Padding?

F.C. Hancox’s foam cut to size service is perfect for upholsterers and anyone making or re-covering seat padding. We work with individuals, craftspeople, and upholsterers and upholstery companies, supplying the best foam for the project. We have experienced technicians who have an excellent knowledge of all the foams that we supply and more. You may know what foam you need for your project or maybe you would like a little help and advice, that’s no problem, we are happy to help. We can also source foams that are we don’t normally stock, we want you to be completely satisfied with the foam you purchase from us.

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