A piece of shade cloth is simply a fabric that should look good? Not even close! Shade cloth is a complex, well-constructed high-tech fabric that has to fulfill both decorative purposes and far-reaching functional requirements. Wind and weather, rain and sun, dust and dirt, a shade cloth have to withstand all of this – for many years. In order for this to succeed, a shade cloth has very special properties.
As a technical textile that is specially designed for outdoor use, shade cloth is extensively tested before each use and subjected to a variety of laboratory tests. Commercial shade cloths are tested for tear strength, UV protection, water pressure resistance, maximum tensile strength, and lightfastness, among other things.
As a technical textile, shade cloth consists of either polyacrylic or polyester. Both fabrics have advantages and disadvantages, the selection depends primarily on the area of application.
The choice between polyacrylic and polyester also determines the color fastness of the shade cloth. High-quality poly acrylic yarns are usually spin-dyed in a special process. This means that in the case of fabrics made from polyacrylic, the color pigments are already embedded in the fibers during manufacture.
In the case of polyester fabrics, on the other hand, what is known as yarn or piece dyeing is often used. With yarn dyeing, the finished white yarns are first dyed and then the fabric is woven; with piece dyeing, the finished woven fabric is dyed accordingly. Polyester fabrics are therefore not as colorfast and lightfast as spun-dyed poly acrylic fabrics over the long term. As a result, the color of the fabric may fade over time.