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Waterproof Fabric

Properties and Uses of Waterproof Fabric You Probably Never Knew

A good waterproof fabric has many applications both outdoors and indoors. It can be found in sports stores or specialty stores. This article lists some characteristics and uses of this fabric.
Fashionhance Staff
Last Updated: Mar 6, 2018
A fabric that repels water, instead of absorbing it, is known as a waterproof fabric. It is used for outdoor furniture upholstery and even shower curtains. It is also used in making raincoats and waterproof jackets that keep the wearer dry during rainfall. This fabric is either synthetic or natural, and is coated with a special substance to make it resistant to water. It can keep the wearer dry for either a few hours or a very long time, depending on its type and quality.

Waterproof Fabric and its Uses

This fabric gets its hydrophobic properties after it has been coated with waterproofing material like polyvinyl chloride, wax, polyurethane, fluoropolymers, rubber, and silicone elastomer. However, different types of these fabrics are created in different ways. The manufacturing process, and the coating material and fabric used, all have a bearing on the quality and effectiveness of the finished product. Another very important property of this fabric is its breathe-ability. The ability of a fabric to breathe, is the amount of water vapor that can pass through it. When such a fabric is used for making jackets and raincoats, its ability to expel moisture should be such that sweat is allowed to pass through. This will keep the wearer comfortable and warm, and also regulate body temperature.

Most garments (like sports jackets and parkas) that use waterproof fabrics, are labeled with a rating which tells the wearer the amount of fluid that the garment can withstand, before it gets drenched. This rating pertains to a 24-hour parameter. If a waterproof jacket is labeled as 25K, it means that it can withstand 25,000 millimeters of rain in a day, before the water seeps through the material. Highly expensive rain and snow gear used by the military, navy, and athletes, have a rating of 20K to 25K. For non-professionals and amateur adventure seekers, a garment with a 5K to 10K rating is sufficient.

This fabric is also used in outdoor furniture upholstery--like patio furniture covers, along with interior furniture in the form of waterproof mattress covers. For tents and tarps, a canvas material with a coating of polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride is used. This type of fabric is from a mid-level variety, and can help protect you from the rain in case of a light drizzle. However, it is highly ineffective in the event of a downpour, and will get drenched within a few minutes. Such fabric also comes in handy for shower curtains.

Bathroom shower curtains are usually made of vinyl, which is waterproof but does not match the decor of a modern bathroom. You can use linen or cotton shower curtains too, but these get wet and give rise to mildew. Hence, most people opt for a linen or cotton shower curtain with a vinyl liner added on side. However, it can still cause some dampness in the bathroom if the linen gets wet. Waterproof shower curtains are a good solution to this problem as they combine beautiful fabric patterns with waterproofing qualities and also match the bathroom interiors.

Always opt for garments and camping gear made of waterproof material. If you know how to waterproof a canvas, you can even do it yourself. Nowadays, the coating on this material is so light, that it looks like natural fabric. However, when choosing one, never compromise on quality.