Waterproof vs Water Repellent
The difference between waterproof and water repellent is how much water pressure can a material bear before it lets water to pass through. Waterproof and water repellent are terms that are often used in the textile industry though, they can be used in many other industries for making waterproof materials. These terms are, nowadays, associated with mobile phones and watches too. When you consider the fabrics, they are used to make items such as umbrellas, raincoats, tarpaulins, etc. Resistant, repellant, and proof are degrees to which a material stays away from getting wet. While waterproof is the highest degree and means that the material will not soak in water under any condition up to a certain limit, water repellant means the material is not that good at keeping water at bay when it has to face water. Let us find out the real differences between waterproof and water repellent to enable readers to choose materials wisely.
What is Water Repellent?
The word repellent means ‘able to drive something back or away.’ Therefore, water repellent means an object is capable of driving water back or away from it without letting water seep through it. There are water repellent watches, mobile phones and such where the casing and the display are made of water repellent material or coated with a water repellent. However, there is a limit to the extent the water can be repelled and the water repellent objects let water come into the object making it wet after some time. That is why swimmers and divers do not buy watches if the watch is just water repellant as it will ultimately make way for water after resisting it for some time. The same applies to fabric, which lets in water after some time if it is water repellant only and not waterproof.
Water repellant fabrics are considered as a good option because they are tightly woven, also because they have a chemical coating that cause water drops to form beads when it strikes the surface of the fabric. These beads slide away rather than go inside the fabric. This chemical coating remains for a time period as it is likely to come off with dry cleaning of the fabric or simply wear off with the use over a time. On the other hand, one can increase the longevity of water repellant fabric by silicon spray. It is prudent to go for dry cleaning, only if, it is recommended by the manufacturer. However, a water repellent fabric will not protect you against heavy rains.
Most of the fabrics that are meant to be worn by us are water repellant to let our perspiration evaporate. The reason why they are not waterproof is that, in that case, even our perspiration will remain locked inside causing too much of an inconvenience.
What is Waterproof?
Proof means ‘resistant.’ It means that something can resist or withstand something else. When we say waterproof we are saying that an object can resist water or withstand water. We have waterproof clothes, waterproof watches, waterproof phones and many more items in the world today.
One thing that people should remember is that waterproof is the highest degree of protection from water, and they get best protection when they buy a waterproof product. Swimmers and divers buy waterproof watches that do not let water seep inside the watch up to a certain depth.
Waterproof materials are the ultimate in providing protection against water, and you are guaranteed not to get wet even during heavy rains. Waterproof fabrics have a texture that is very tightly woven and feel like polyester or rubber when worn. They have a chemical coating that is more durable, and this coating closes water out, though keeps the fabric breathable. However, usually waterproof fabrics seal everything including our own perspiration from going out. As a result, wearing such as fabric where you do not have to face heavy rain can be irritating and very unpleasant.
You should also remember that even a waterproof fabric has a limit of water pressure that it can bear. This is shown in mm/24 hours ratings. In other words, it says how many millimeters of water your fabric can bear within 24 hours before it starts to permeate. Similarly, for watches too, the limit is given in terms of underwater depth.
What is the difference between Waterproof and Water Repellent?
Water repellent and waterproof are two degrees of resistance to water and are marked on the materials.
• Behavior of Waterproof and Water Repellent:
• Water repellant materials do not allow water to seep in as it resists water for some time. Water hitting the surface turns into beads that slide away from the material rather than seeping inside. Eventually, however, such materials allow water inside.
• On the other hand, waterproof materials are suitable to be worn in heavy rains as they do not allow seepage of water inside under all conditions.
• Chemical Coating:
• The chemical coating of water repellent materials is not that durable as it is a thin layer.
• The chemical coating on a waterproof material is durable and remains on the material even after it is washed.
• Weaving of Fabric:
• The fabric is tightly woven in the case of water-repellent fabric.
• The fabric is extremely tightly woven in case of waterproof fabrics and gives a feel of rubber and nylon.
• Breathable Nature of the Fabric:
• Water repellent materials are more breathable in nature than waterproof materials.