Water repellent, water resistant and waterproof textiles: the facts
Water-repellent and waterproof characteristics open a range of more demanding specification environments for contract fabrics that have them. There are three levels of water protection for fabrics, so let’s dive right in (pun intended!) and find the one that fits your high standards.
Three levels of water protection for fabrics
- ‘Water resistant’ is a foundational level of water protection: the fabrics are constructed in such a way to withstand light contact with moisture.
- In contrast, ‘water repellent’ refers to hydrophobic fabrics, literally meaning ‘water fearing’, in that they reject liquids. Fluid is repelled from the fabric surface instead of sinking into the upholstery fabric itself or the underlying upholstery foam. Liquid on water repellent fabrics will ‘bead’ into water droplets that are simply wiped away. It’s important that the end-product fabrics retain their natural characteristics and soft hand feel, even with this added water repellent step.
- ‘Waterproof’ items offer the highest level of resistant against water damage.
FibreGuard Pro: anti-microbial fabrics with water protection
Our FibreGuard Pro range, with its unique, breathable moisture barrier, ticks this box by protecting the upholstery foam from any damage. The Ronald McDonald House in Auckland, New Zealand, is a beautiful example of our performance fabrics in the real world.
Each of the Ronald McDonald House Charity locations supports parents and families of sick children all around the globe, and FibreGuard fabrics are proud to have worked with the RMHC in Grafton, Auckland through James Dunlop Textiles.
FibreGuard Outdoor: durable, beautiful, water repellent fabrics
Water repellent upholstery fabrics are invaluable for outdoor spaces, as they can stand up to the elements, including humidity (when combined with several other special characteristics such as colour fastness to light).
Outdoor fabrics to look for in terms of colourfastness surpass standards such as the ISO 105-B02, the ISO 105-E01, and the ISO 105-X12, to name just three.
Our FibreGuard Outdoor range ticks all of these boxes.
FibreGuard’s Stain Free Technology and water protection
Some FibreGuard fabric collections are water repellent, even outside of our FibreGuard Outdoor and anti-microbial FibreGuard Pro ranges – be sure to check the labelling specifications. In these cases, FibreGuard’s Stain Free Technology works in a different way to their non-water repellent counterparts.
The high performance and easy cleanability of these fabrics are the same high standard, but variation between levels of water repellence exists too.
Speeding up your specification process
Specifying contract fabrics drills down into very technical information which can take time and careful consideration to review. The right fabrics with a baseline of high performance, supplemented with straightforward technical details, speeds up the process considerably. Start by reviewing the factsheets from collections such as our FibreGuard Outdoor range or our anti-microbial FibreGuard Pro range.
The best part is that all our water repellent, water resistant and waterproofed fabric ranges are certified under eco-labels such as the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. This means that these high performing fabrics won’t release any harmful finishes or chemicals into the world.
As with all our ‘explainer’ articles, if you have any questions, please feel free to send us a quick email. We’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have about these articles, or any of our fabric ranges.