Tape Yarn vs. Monofilament Yarn

Many of Acadian’s fabrics are made from polypropylene and polyethylene threads if different sizes, looks, and feels. Each thread type is designed for the fabric and application it is being used in. Think about sewing threads, you wouldn’t use a thin clothing thread on a couch and expect it to last as long.


To get the right thread, the raw polypropylene and polyethylene are heated to their melting point and then pushed through an extrusion machine that forms the thread to a given setting. It is this extrusion process that creates different shapes and sizes of threads.


Some of the most common thread types used in our industry are tape yarn and monofilament yarn, each in various sizes and weights. They can usually be easily identified by looking at a piece of fabric if you know what to look for. See below for a comparison of each type of yarn.


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So why does the yarn type matter? The tape yarns are flatter and wider, making it easier to produce a denser fabric that will provide a higher shade factor. The smaller monofilament threads require a higher number of yarns per square inch to achieve a similar shade factor. Depending on the construction of the fabric, it can be hard to achieve a shade factor higher than 70% using only monofilament yarns.


Another difference that is important to most customers is how the fabric (and yarns it is made of) hold up in the sunlight. In other words, how does UV effect the fabric and yarns? Tape yarn can be more susceptible to UV damage in a shorter time than a monofilament yarn. The thin nature of tape yarns means there is less raw material for the UV to penetrate, which can cause the polypropylene or polyethylene to lose strength in a shorter period. A monofilament yarn is thicker and composed or more raw material, taking UV rays longer to cause any damage to the thread. For more information on UV protection click here .


Lastly, a tape yarn may not be as strong as a monofilament yarn. The thin nature of the tape yarns means less material to break through, compared to the thicker monofilament yarn. A fabric made of only tape yarn is not expected to be as strong as a fabric made of only monofilament yarns. However, this may not be an indicator of the overall fabric strength as the yarn strength is only one component contributing to fabric strength. Sometimes customers may like a fabric composed of both tape yarns and monofilament yarns to achieve a more closed fabric with a mid-line strength specification.


When customers are comparing a tape yarn fabric against a monofilament fabric, they may see a lower price tag on the tape yarn fabric. This is often due to the factors above; raw material needed, strength, UV resistance, and life expectancy of the fabric. It is important to understand the difference between the yarns in the fabrics to better help your customer decide which fabric is best for their application. If they’re looking for a higher amount of blockage or a short-term solution, a tape yarn fabric may be the way to go. If they want a long-term solution designed to hold up to the elements, a monofilament fabric may be worth the investment for them.


Whatever you and your customers need, we are here to help find the right solution! Contact us today to discuss your application.