What Makes a Waterproof Canopy Waterproof
Canopies must be waterproof almost always. Even if you don’t get much rain in your area, the canopy needs to keep people safe from rain and prevent them from being adversely affected when it does rain. If you thought you had purchased a waterproof canopy but it is beginning to leak or show signs of water damage, you may have simply purchased a canopy that was water-resistant or made waterproof for a short period of time.
Even if you do not know what fabric your canopy waterproof is made from, you can tell the difference mostly by the type of fabric being used.
It is possible for your canopy to suffer different types of damage, so just because it appears damaged doesn’t mean it’s not waterproof. It’s obviously not waterproof if the canopy doesn’t leak straight away, which usually happens at the seams. Some signs are more subtle. A mildew buildup or wet underside of the fabric during a rainstorm are both indications that the canopy is not waterproof.
You can damage your canopy in many different ways that are unrelated to its waterproofing. When the canopy fabric is not UV-resistant, the sun can cause damage and fading, and heat can cause the fabric to warp. Some canopies are made from fabrics that are hard to clean, so they become irreparably dirty fairly quickly.
Levels of Resistance
At very low levels, water will be repelled by water-resistance canopies. Imagine your phone — if it’s water-resistant, then you don’t have to be anxious about taking it out if it’s drizzling, but you wouldn’t use it in a downpour or near a pool. During the day, morning dew may not cause damage to these canopies, but prolonged or heavier rain will.
Canopies can also be made from non-waterproof fabrics that have been coated with waterproof materials. The fact that they aren’t truly waterproof makes them seem waterproof, but they aren’t. A waterproof coating may last for a bit, but not as long as your canopy should last, and once the waterproof coating wears off, your canopy has no protection against the elements, so it can quickly deteriorate.
What it really comes down to is the fabric itself. Some fabrics are waterproof and some aren’t, and really, the difference is in whether a fabric was manufactured to be waterproof. Natural fabrics simply aren’t waterproof. Even with waterproof coatings, the best you can get on a natural fabric like cotton is water resistance. Some synthetic fabrics are able to be waterproofed more effectively for a short time. These include fabrics like acrylic and polyester. The coating applied to these stays on for a bit, but will wear off with time and expose your canopy to more and more water damage as it wears off.
Vinyl-based polyester composite synthetic fibers are the only fabrics that are truly waterproof. These fabrics are inherently waterproof because they were designed that way. Seams are a big factor. With other fabrics, seams have to be sewn, which creates weak spots and leak points. The seams of vinyl-based polyester composite fabrics can be dielectrically sealed, which makes them impervious to water. The result is a canopy that is truly waterproof, which can’t be obtained with other types of fabrics.