A Popular Question: “What Does Water Resistant Mean?”
“What does water resistant mean?” is a frequently asked question among Canvas Etc customers. What exactly is water resistance, especially when it comes to textiles or fabrics? Water resistance is a term used to define how much something can resist the incursion of water, but not completely or entirely. With textiles, water resistance can make or break the project you are trying to use the fabric for. The importance of knowing the differences of whether a fabric is water resistant, waterproof, or water repellent are crucial to successful project completion.
The Benefit of Water Resistant Textiles
Water resistant textiles are manufactured to be intact so they resist the water that attempts to pass through the fabric. The major benefit of a water resistant textile is just that: it resists water. If you work on a project that requires a water resistant textile, understanding the different finishes applied to the fabric will allow you to make the right choice in your textile need.
Water resistant finishes are applied on all sorts of textiles including waxed canvas. Waxed canvas is typically used to make industrial strength covers for equipment that will need to be protected against the elements. Like all tight weave fabrics, Nylon Packcloth is water resistant, and it is coated with polyurethane to make it more durable and resistant to liquids. Nylon Packcloth can be used for an endless amount of projects: duffel bags, tactical vests, backpacks, to grill covers, flags, banners, and so much more.
The Key Differences: Water Resistance Versus Water Repellent
“Water resistant” and “water repellent” are often used interchangeably. This would, unfortunately, be incorrect. There is a slight difference between the two terms. While they are closely associated, they also have their own independent classifications. As explained above, water resistant fabrics resist water, but is not impermeable to water entirely. Water repellent is utilized to describe the same resistance, however it is also hydrophobic. Hydrophobia is a term used for the fear of water, but it also describes water repellent fabrics. These fabrics repel water better than their water resistant counterparts as a result. The chemical compounds used in water repellent textiles withstand water more effectively than fabrics classified as water resistant.
Water repellent properties can also be found in various finishes. Durable water repellent finishes are chemically created to enhance a textile’s repellency to water. For instance, if you required a canopy tent that was water repellent and durable, our lightweight tent fabric would work best. There are also natural water repellent textiles that would work for various needs. For example, water repellent textiles can be synthetic fabrics that are made to be naturally repellent to water. Regardless of the need, both styles of fabrics can work for you.
Waterproof Textiles and Their Properties
Waterproof finishes on textiles are used in an array of fabrics. These finishes will resist any leakage and are impervious to water (water cannot pass through). They are made to withstand the heaviest of water swells or downpours, and can remain dry through long amounts of water impact. Waterproofing fabric ensures that water will not pass through a fabric, and will hold its textile integrity. The waterproofing finish is a coating or a lamination placed either the natural or synthetic fabric to bind and seal the fabric. This is performed either during the construction of the textile itself, or after the fabric has been produced. Once the textile has been coated, it can be used for a variety of waterproofing needs. When you need a fabric that will have to withstand the test of water, waterproof textiles are the best choice.
Choosing the Finishes That Will Work Best for You
In a world where textile choices are endless, it’s difficult to choose between what will work best for you and what will not. It all comes down to what you want your end result to be. For example, if you want to make a sturdy, water repellent backpack, be sure to do your research on what fabric would suit your need best. At Canvas Etc, we offer a variety of fabrics that would suit an array of needs for your project. Our ballistic nylon is not only extremely durable, but its finish makes it very water repellent as well.
Water Resistance Over Time
Water repellency and water resistance finishes are not permanent. Waterproof finishes are meant to withstand water and hold up over time. For fabrics to continue to hold up against water, sometimes textiles will have to go through the finishing process again. Preservatives have been created to restore the repellency or waterproof quality back into the textile. For instance, for our canvas products, we use a preservative that restores repellency to our cotton canvas textiles. Although finishes may fade over time, there is an easy way to restore worn fabrics that allows you to retain the value of your product.
Water resistant, repellent, and waterproof textiles are put to the test daily. Their finishes, while different, are all generally to resist the entry of water. Whatever the medium or textile, these finishes are processed to withstand whatever water may come their way.