Have you ever searched for waterproof fabrics? It can be very confusing and frustrating. This is because there are so many options in textiles today from water resistant, water repellent and waterproof. Everyone just wants to keep the moisture out, but depending on your project requirements, there are many options & finishes to consider. One of the most basic water repellent finishes is called DWR which stands for Durable Water Repellent. Many fabrics are labeled as DWR Fabrics.
DWR is a coating added to fabrics that helps the outer layer from becoming saturated with water. It creates a thin membrane layer to stop water from getting through. So, for spills and light moisture this is great. Here are a few other things to think about when choosing a DWR fabric.
1. Terminolgy – DWR is the coating not the fabric type. It can be added to most fabrics.
2. Lifespan – DWR wears off overtime and can be reapplied with spray products off the shelf like Trek7
3. Saturation Ability – DWR adds a membrane to one side of the fabric that can either prevent water from soaking through or just slow it down. It really depends more on the fabric type, which it why some DWR fabrics are called Waterproof and some Water Resistant.
4. Outdoor Use – A DWR coating can make something that is already water repellent MORE water repellent and other fabrics that aren’t water repellent like cotton have some added water resistance. If the fabric is not already recommended for outdoor use, a DWR coating is not going to change that much. Consider the fabric type when making your selection. That is what will be left when the DWR wears away. DWR finish does not add any UV Protection either.
5. Mildew Protection – Since the DWR coating locks out moisture it automatically helps prevent mold and mildew. Many fabrics have additional finishes to further prevent mildew damage.
6. Cleaning – The washing machine will slowly remove the DWR coating overtime. We recommend spot cleaning whenever possible.
7. Digital Printing and Dyeing – The DWR membrane can also lock out printing inks & dye. Testing is always recommended for any printing or decoration method.
8. Breathability – The DWR coating allows less air to pass through making the fabric less breathable while the coating is in tact.
At Big Duck Canvas our 10oz DWR Cotton Ducks are recommended for indoor use only. They are great for high traffic home decor applications like slipcovers. The DWR coating helps prevent spills from soaking in the fabric and causing stains. Our dyed #10 and #8 Cotton Ducks have a light DWR finish as well. For great outdoor fabrics take a look at some of our best selling option here.