What Does Water Proofing Fabric Mean?

Apr. 23, 2024

If you need to stay completely dry in driving rain or snow, your best option is to wear properly designed garment made from waterproof breathable fabric and with watertight zippers, sealed seams, and virtually no openings through which water can penetrate.


Conventional waterproofing treatments work the following way: by covering the pores with a layer of polymer or a membrane (the water-repellent finish should not affect breathability), fluids cannot pass through textile materials.


Considering the structure of the waterproof materials and/or the technology used, they are either:


ㆍInherent waterproof materials; or

ㆍTextile materials with waterproofing finishing treatments.


Waterproof materials are generally obtained using surface finishing treatments. Covering is a general term referring to the application of one or more layers of adherent polymeric products on one or both sides of a textile material. This way, a film of polymeric material is formed on the surface of the textile.

Tape seam Rain Proof Jacket


There are two technologies used:


ㆍCoating technology, where the polymer is applied by direct layering and impregnation. The polymer is usually in the form of a paste or a high viscosity liquid. Such coatings are extremely thin - in the range of 10-100μm.

ㆍLaminating technology that involves the formation of a laminating layer (membrane or foam) on the surface/surfaces of the textile material. The membrane is very thin (e.g. around 10μm for PTFE) so the final thickness of the film remains in the range of 10-100μm.




During impregnation, a solution or a low- or high-viscosity dispersion polymer is deposited uniformly on the entire textile surface using different processes. A general characteristic of the impregnated materials is that the components cannot be clearly separated because the polymer is dispersed among the structural elements of the textile surface. The finishing technology can cover either one side of the material or both sides of the material (this is called total impregnation). Nowadays, the most widely used coating substrate (textile) is polyester because of its dimensional stability, shrink resistance and relatively low price.




Laminated waterproof materials are multicomponent products (two or more layers, one of which is the textile fabric) requiring bonding by the use of:


ㆍa special adhesive added to the polymer (solutions in organic solvents, powders, granules, fibers); and

ㆍthe adhesive properties of one or more component layers (membranes, foams, expanded foils).


Natural (only rubber) and synthetic polymers are suitable for laminating textiles. Although the range of synthetic polymers is relatively wide, 90% of the synthetic polymers used for laminating textile materials are polyurethanes.


The morphological structure of the coated and laminated materials and the nature of the polymers are important, as they are key factors in obtaining a perfectly sealed waterproof product. The morphological structure of these materials includes:


ㆍThe number of layers that make the coated or laminated waterproof material and their relative position in the garment.

ㆍThe absence or the presence of pores (compact or porous layer) and the absence or the presence of other added substances.

ㆍThe structure of the textile substratum; woven, knitted or nonwoven fabrics that can have different finishing treatments.


Considering their position in the garment, the coated or laminated waterproof materials can be:


ㆍWith the covering layer towards the exterior - mainly materials covered with elastomers and some materials laminated with compact foils. These materials are recommended for chemical protection and protection against particles.

ㆍWith the covering layer towards the interior. Used mainly for laminated materials with a membrane or film with low mechanical strength. For increased durability, the polymeric film is covered with a hydrophilic polyurethane (PU) layer and/or thin textile fabric. These materials are for wet weather protection.


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