What makes better window shades: fiberglass or polyester?

This question is getting a lot more attention as companies that sell mainly shades with polyester fabric are trying to push the narrative that fiberglass is inferior.

That narrative is false. Each fabric has its advantages and uses, which is why Draper makes both fiberglass and polyester window shades.

While it is true that polyester core yarns have a higher strength rating than fiberglass, it is also true that fiberglass is, pound for pound, several times stronger than steel. So, both polyester and fiberglass fabrics are more than strong enough for window shade applications, but fiberglass actually has a few advantages.

One advantage fiberglass has over polyester is its dimensional stability, especially under heat. Fiberglass has a much higher melting point than polyester, and is unaffected by the high temperatures that are found between the shade and the window glass. Polyester, on the other hand, can lose its dimensional stability and stretch under high temperatures.

Because fiberglass yarn has traditionally been thinner, those shade fabrics have been touted as having better glare control, improved view-through characteristics, and more uniform coating ability. The big payoff for thinner yarn, however, is in the weight of the material. Larger shades can be made because the diameter of the bundle is not as great. In addition, fewer materials go into the manufacturing of the operating mechanism, fascia, and other hardware, saving material cost and resources. The smaller product and hardware also presents a cleaner slimmer profile at the window. In recent years, thinner polyester yarns have been developed, so these advantages are no longer exclusive to fiberglass fabrics; as a general rule, however, fiberglass fabrics are thinner.

Fiberglass fabrics can be more susceptible to fraying in the manufacturing process. The ultrasonic technology used by Draper to cut shade fabrics creates enough heat to make a clean, non-frayed edge on polyester shade fabrics, capitalizing on polyester’s greater sensitivity to heat. Draper’s advanced cutting methods also reduce the likelihood that fiberglass will fray. If fraying does occur, scissors can be used to trim the fabric. Because both fiberglass and polyester core yarns are white, fraying is more visible on dark colors.

Draper also offers many options for environmentally-friendly shade fabrics. As in other areas, both polyester and fiberglass offer options for those concerned with using the “greenest” materials available.

Several of Draper’s polyester fabrics are made with non-PVC coatings, and Draper’s GreenScreen Revive polyester fabric is Cradle to Cradle Certified (CM) Silver by MBDC, indicating that it meets or exceeds a rigorous and holistic five-criteria standard for environmental impact. These criteria include material health, material re-utilization, energy, water, and social responsibility. Environmental benefits are not exclusive to polyester, however. Both polyester and fiberglass fabrics offered by Draper are GreenGuard Gold certified for low chemical emissions.

For more information on Draper’s impressive line of window shades using fabrics made from fiberglass, polyester, and other materials, click here.

To download a free white paper comparing fiberglass and polyester shade fabrics, click here.

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