Water Resistant Fabrics: Why it’s Important

When it comes to industrial grade fabrics for shade and outdoor projects, not all of them are the same. Some are designed to withstand the elements and some are not as well equipped. Projects that are designed for environments where rain and moisture are prominent – like in Seattle or Portland – requires textiles that are water resistant.

But what does water resistant really mean? Surprisingly, water resistant fabrics are different than waterproof textiles. In fact, the two terms mean different things. Let’s break it down:

  • Waterproof: This means that water can’t penetrate the fabric. However, this means it is not breathable. Fabrics should have a level of breathability, especially in the boating industry. See below for more about this.
  • Water Resistant: A fabric that is water resistant means that it repels water from the surface of the textile. However, this doesn’t mean it’s completely waterproof; there’s a reason for this. In boating and marine industry fabric applications, water resistant fabrics are important because breathability in a fabric allows it to dry and keep mold and mildew from growing. When a fabric is not breathable that means moisture can get trapped. A waterproof fabric is not breathable the way a water-resistant fabric is. Water resistant fabrics are great for boat covers and other applications that require the textile to be breathable.

Now that you know the difference between water resistant and waterproof fabrics, here’s a quick list of why it’s important to have water resistance in your fabric projects:

  • Prevents Damage: Water can damage any fabric. Water resistance allows the fabric to repel moisture and keep the fabric from degrading. This is important for outdoor projects like awnings and tents.
  • Helps Prevent Mold & Mildew Growth: Moisture is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Once your fabric starts growing these unsightly, damaging microbes, it’s hard to get the textile back to its former glory and you might be looking at replacement costs. In marine/boating fabrics, this is why water resistance is so important. Boats and other watercraft are exposed to water and moisture that can get trapped when covered or in storage and cause mold and mildew growth.
  • Breathability: This is an important aspect of water resistant fabrics. Breathability allows for a boat cover or other specialty textile to dry and help prevent damage to the fabric and growth of mold or mildew.

If you have questions about whether to use water resistant or waterproof fabrics for your next project, contact your local textile supplier or your manufacturer for more information. Or, let us know how we can help you by visiting us at www.vaughanbros.com or giving us a call at 1-800-444-4701.

Quality not Quantity: Not All Specialty Fabrics are the Same

When it comes to specialty fabrics, it’s important to know that not all textiles are created equally. In fact, specialty fabrics are created for a variety of industries and not everyone uses the same process, materials, or customer service when it comes to supplying textiles.

Using a quality textile that’s produced with care may cost just a little extra, but that fabric will last and save you in the long run; you won’t have to replace so often. For example in an awning fabric, you want to be sure the textile you use in your project is designed to withstand the elements, is UV ray resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and waterproof.  If you choose a fabric that is mass produces and doesn’t have the aforementioned qualities, your project’s textile may not last as long.

Remember fabrics in the marine, upholstery, outdoor, and auto industries are designed with unique properties that make them last within their respective environments. For example, in the marine industry, boats use specialty fabrics for shade covers, boat covers, and upholstery.

Marine fabrics are typically designed to withstand the sun, rain, ocean or fresh water spray, and the wear and tear of watersport activities. Some marine fabrics are UV ray resistant and waterproof but may lack that mildew and mold resistance which is important for boats. That’s why finding a supplier with knowledge of your industry’s needs is essential. After all, you don’t want your project to fall apart or your customer to be upset.

Another important aspect of a quality fabric is the customer service that it is backed by. Some fabrics suppliers may not have the knowledge you need to support your project’s specifications, or they may not be fast in responding to your queries. Whatever the case, it’s important to know that your textile supplier is efficient, responsive, knowledgeable, and willing to help.

Now that you know a little more about specialty fabrics and why using quality textiles matters, let us know how we can help you with your next project by visiting us at www.vaughanbros.com or giving us a call at 1-800-444-4701.

Webbing Fabric Options: A Rundown

First, before we get into the types of webbing fabric options available, let’s understand what exactly this textile is.

Webbing fabric is a tightly woven textile that comes in a flat strip or tube of varying widths and fibers. You might see webbing fabrics in things like carrying straps, belts, and harnesses. Webbing fabric is a versatile product that comes in a variety of options for multiple uses. Webbing fabric options include:

  • Cotton: This is a natural fiber that you might see used in collars and leashes. The fabric isn’t as strong as other textiles and may fade, tear, or fray faster. However, it’s a nice fabric you can use for simple applications.
  • Polypropylene: This is great for outdoor use because it is UV ray resistant and water repellent. This textile is also mildew resistant and has a low stretch. Typically, this fabric is used in bags, the food service industry, hospitals, camping products, and sports equipment. It’s also a great choice for marine and other water related uses.
  • Nylon: This is a very strong fabric and has a high tear strength. This is a great option for things like straps, sail corners, and ring installations. This is also great for canvas edges.
  • Acrylic: This is also a synthetic material, like polypropylene, and is a durable fabric that’s excellent for outdoor use. This is great for boat applications and can withstand the rigors of the outdoors.
  • Rubber: This is great for use in upholstery projects. You might see this in restaurant seating or even in furniture in the form of straps or in the seats or backs of the item. This textile is great because of its elasticity and its inherent strength; that’s why it’s great for use in furniture.

As you can see, there are a variety of webbing fabric options. Finding the right one for your project means looking at what each option offers and then consulting your fabric supplier. Keep in mind, not all webbing fabrics are universal and some are appropriate for upholstery and others are not. Remember, your textile supplier can offer you a detailed look at each type of webbing fabric available and can help you narrow down your choices until you find the right one.

Now that you know a little more about webbing fabric and your options, let us know how we can help you with your next project by visiting us at www.vaughanbros.com or giving us a call at 1-800-444-4701.