If you are looking for protective clothing, you will often read that a raincoat has a polyurethane coating or a work vest has a good finish. But it gets even more complicated when it comes to laminate. And no, it’s not the pretty laminate flooring in your bedroom. It is, therefore, quite possible that you are confusing these notions. They are very similar, and mistakes are quickly made, but each has specific use and protection. Don’t worry, we’ll explain it to you.
In the textile industry, a filler is considered a conspicuous layer that looks like plastic. It is applied directly to the material. There may be coatings on the outside or inside of your garment. On the outside, they are “colored in the mass”; indoors, they are usually white or gray. In practice, most coatings for protective clothing are made of PVC or PU (polyurethane). Some are breathable because they allow water vapor to pass through, while others are completely airtight due to their closed structure. During the sewing process, the coating of a garment is perforated. If you wore such a garment, you would get wet quickly. The seams are therefore sealed on the inside with tape or welded.
A laminate is almost always inside the garment and looks like a coating. The difference lies in the production process. First, a very thin “film” is made, which is then glued to the fabric. As the laminate can be much thinner than direct coatings, it is the ideal solution for highly breathable garments. The only downside is its price.
We do not use the term coated for an invisible finish to your garment. The most common finishes for protective clothing are fluorocarbon and environmentally-friendly alternative to PVC fabric finish. They have a direct effect on the protection of your garment. The fluorocarbon finish makes chemical drops bead. Unfortunately, the finish is not permanent; therefore, fluorocarbon must be added after each wash. Repairing such a finish is a real specialist job.
Renegade Plastics for example is the most famous brand of invisible finish that flame retards your cotton garment. There are deep disagreements about the duration of effectiveness of such a finish. One of the most frequently asked questions concerns the number of washes, after which the finish is still suitable for professional use. The answer is that it mostly depends on the garment’s degree of wear and contamination.