Bottom Of The Barrel

Peeling and flaking fabric. I’ve read about this issue on various RV forums, blog posts and Facebook groups. I’ve done some research into why the synthetic fabrics used in our motorcoach will degrade over time. For some owners, the peeling and flaking happens quickly, within their one-year warranty. For other owners, the problem happens within the first few years of ownership.

Our furniture fabric is holding up well so far. Sadly it may look like this in the not too distant future.

When we had our coach built, we were told that Newmar was using redesigned Flexsteel furniture that featured Strada leather by Ultrafabrics.

Except that Strada leather is not leather at all.

Ultrafabrics describes Strada this way:

Strada is destined to become an instant classic. Delivering a timeless appeal with an enhanced texture to match, this notable style is an enduring polyurethane option at a value price point.

An enduring polyurethane option at a value price point.

There are numerous threads on the iRV2 Newmar Forum about Newmar furniture flaking and peeling. Here is how one owner expressed his frustration:

If I knew I was buying bottom of the barrel components I would have bought from a bottom of the barrel manufacturer.

The composition of the Strada fabric is 100 percent polyurethane surface and 55 percent viscose rayon and 45 percent polyester. Ultrafabrics claims 200,000 double rubs. This is significantly above the threshold for a heavy duty fabric.

Abrasion levels can lead to the faulty assumption that the fabric will be durable and that it will enjoy a lengthy life span. Abrasion resistance is only one component of durability as many Newmar owners are discovering.

Newmar, cost cutting in this area like so many other areas, deployed a fake leather product at a “value price point” that can degrade quickly. Recovering the fabric can be costly, usually in the range of several thousand dollars. I have read reports of Newmar covering the cost out of warranty for original owners with a certain class of coach.

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