How to Choose the Right Water-Resistant Fabric

What makes a fabric water resistant? It’s not just a fabric that can withstand moisture, but it’s a fabric that will shed water and still maintain its shape. Water repellent fabrics have a hydrophobic layer that makes it easier to shed the water. They also have a wicking layer, making them more comfortable to wear in hot conditions. They are great for an active lifestyle and are an essential wardrobe staple for today’s fashion.

Many fabrics are water resistant. And with their popularity in the fashion world, it’s no wonder the fabric is so important.

What is a Water Resistant Fabric?

Water Resistant Fabric

Water resistant fabrics have a hydrophobic layer that makes it easier to shed water.

The terms “Water Resistant Fabric,” “Water Repellent Fabric,” and “Waterproof Fabric” are all often used interchangeably, but these phrases mean entirely different things.

Water-Resistant vs Waterproof Fabric 

Generally, higher thread count fabrics and more closely woven materials better resist water and moisture penetration.

Water-resistant materials resist water penetration and may give modest protection compared to waterproof or water repellent fabrics.

Waterproof fabric has sealed seams and a layer on its surface to keep water out, while water-repellent fabric keeps the water off its surface. Typically, waterproof fabric is the most water-resistant material available.

Natural Water Resistant Fabric

Natural fibers are not usually water-resistant fabric and tend to absorb much moisture. However, apart from wool, many are coated with layers of additives to make them so. Some of these fabrics include;

  • Cotton canvas

Even though the cotton fabric is not water-resistant, cotton canvas is commonly used to build camping tents. 

Cotton canvas is naturally water-resistant. However, a hydrophobic spray and other treatments also make it possible for cotton canvas fabric to be waterproof.

Cotton canvas soaks up any moisture it encounters.

After taking in so much water, the canvas’s threads swell and create a physical barrier against further precipitation, making it an excellent water-resistant fabric choice. 

  • Wool

Wool fibers are excellent natural absorbent fabrics and are inherently water resistant; they can absorb up to 40% of their weight in liquid without getting wet or feeling weighed down.

Essentially, wool naturally resists water because of a thin layer of lanolin oil that covers it everywhere.

  • Bananatex

Cellulose from banana fibers was used to create the Bananatex, a kind of canvas fabric derived from the Abacá banana plant.

Bananatex material is a natural degradable fabric type created by the Swiss manufacturer QWSTION, which is known to produce many canvas products.

There are numerous colors to pick from, and the material is exceptionally water-resistant and often comes with or without a beeswax coating. 

Synthetic Water Resistant Fabric

Synthetic Water Resistant Fabric

Synthetic fabric types are often produced from blends of different fabrics with innate water-resistant features.

  • PUL

PUL stands for polyurethane laminate, a type of polyester material that, due to a thin layer of plastic laminated to the back of the material, is waterproof and water resistant. The fabric is also offered in a thickness of either one or two millimeters.

PUL textiles are fantastic for use in close proximity to the skin since they are very impermeable to water, extremely long-lasting, breathable, and flexible. 

If you need PUL fabrics, they can be found in a broad range of guises if you go shopping around the market.

  • Nylon fabric

Nylon is a synthetic fabric with quite a large number of important applications. Nylon possesses a remarkable degree of tensile strength, which makes it a perfect choice for materials that require sturdiness and light weight.

Nylon has a very modest capacity for water resistance on its own. It can also boost the material’s strength by weaving extra-dense nylon into specific patterns.

  • Microfiber fabric 

When it comes to cleaning electronic gadgets and eyewear, the usage of this gentle material as a swab is standard procedure.

Because it is constructed of polyester, it can endure some moisture even though it does not have a covering. After the material has been treated, it becomes impervious to water, making it water resistant. 

  • Thermoplastic Polyurethane

TPU fabric has a pleasant feel to it and is pretty lightweight. Moreover, one might even use it for beddings even though it is waterproof because of its texture. 

TPU textiles are much healthier for the environment than PUL textiles, yet there is a slight decrease in the item’s durability.

Another fantastic application for this material is the creation of baby cloth diapers because of their softness and moisture-wicking property. 

Water Resistant Fabric for Upholstery

You can find upholstery fabric types made out of all kinds of different waterproof fabrics. Some of the most popular include oilcloth, leather, and any kind of synthetic fabric.

  • Naugahyde fabric

Naugahyde is a leather-like fabric with a plusher knit backing that is known by its trademark name.

The side that looks like leather is coated with polyvinyl chloride and is entirely waterproof. It’s also easy to clean, thanks to the vinyl coating.

Naugahyde is a typical material for outdoor couches and chairs. Now with the fabric being purchased in large rolls, cushion covers don’t need to be made from individual pieces of other fabric types. 

  • Leather fabric

Nothing beats the strength and elegance of leather for the upholstery of seats, armrests, door panels, headboards, footboards, and other structural elements in cars and other contexts.

Leather usually has special physical features such as improved resistance to wear, water, and friction. 

Depending on the type, leather will repel water to varying degrees.

The degree of water resistance can also be impacted by how the leather is treated. 

  • Olefin fabric

Olefin is a synthetic material that is woven from synthetic materials called polyolefins. It is mostly used as an upholstery fabric because it is soft, lightweight, and has a polished appearance.

Because of its toughness and resistance to stains, olefin can be utilized in various applications. The fabric does not absorb moisture and dries out very quickly.

Because olefin is moisture-wicking, even on the most sticky summer days, it still won’t be reflected on your cushion even if you sweat a lot on it. 

Water Resistant Fabric for Jackets

If you like the outdoors, you need a durable, waterproof sports jacket. These clothing are designed to allow for maximum airflow by using lightweight, breathable fabrics.

  • Gore-Tex fabric

Gore-Tex fabric was produced as a replacement for the polyurethane membranes used in the inner layer of waterproof garments.

The resulting clothing is impervious to water but relatively permeable to water vapor. That’s why it protects against water from the outside but lets perspiration escape.

  • Laminated cotton fabric 

Laminated cotton is an ideal fabric for many uses due to its breathability and ability to adapt to various conditions.

Lamination usually involves permanently bonding a water-resistant layer to the back of the cotton fabric. By doing so, the normally thin cloth acquires structure and crispness. 

Laminated cotton is used in outerwear such as raincoats, windcheaters, ski wear, and protective jackets because it enables the wearer to remain dry and comfortable regardless of the weather.

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