Waterproof Water Repellent or Water Resistant?
Right Fabric for the Job
When dealing with rain, there are a large number of factors to consider that determine the level of water proofing. Unfortunately controlling the weather is still out of our hands so manufacturers of waterproof fabric evaluate with testing of the fabric with various jets of water in controlled conditions.
rip stop fabric colours
Water repellent fabrics can vary considerably with how much water they can withstand and one of the main considerations is whether the fabric is breathable or not. Water proofing fabrics come in a range of strengths yet finding the right one for the job at hand can be slightly confusing as times. There are generally three categories a fabric will fall into when dealing with water, below is a guide to help your decision out.
100% Waterproof Fabric
The intention of a water proof fabric is to simply not let any water through the fabric. It can rest in puddles or roll off the fabric but it won’t soak through. There are plenty of materials available which are made from purely plastic and are inherently waterproof such as transparent PVC, KISS Laminate PVC .
lorry covered in 610 PVC tarpaulin
These materials are ideal for certain jobs but the addition of woven fabric adds an extra dimension of strength, flexibility and durability. Completely waterproof fabric does not necessarily have to be thick or heavy to do the job, there is a range in fabric to match the toughness of the job at hand, from very thin lightweight rip stop fabric used for shower proof macs to very heavy duty 610grm PVC used for protecting lorries, boats or even building sites.
Water Repellent Fabric
This category consists of fabric designed to repel water but not at a 100% rate. For instance there may be a coating on the fabric to help dispel water from the surface but only for a limited time. As mentioned, the level of water proofing ability depends on time spent in the water as well as the fabric coating.
neoprene with water droplets
Fabric such as Teflon coated and neoprene are designed to withstand a certain amount before the fabric will become soaked . Water repellent fabrics can vary considerably with how much water they can withstand and one of the main considerations is whether the fabric is breathable or not. A breathable fabric means it will allow water vapour from our bodies out through the fabric through microscopic holes in the fabric.
Water Resistant (weather proof)
There is a smaller amount of water resistant fabric available than water proof or water repellant. This category is made up of fabrics that may be designed to be weather proof but are not completely water proof. Unlike water repellent fabric, they either have no coating or a minimal level of water proof coating on the surface of the fabric.