With a great balance of price and performance, PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, fabrics are some of the most frequently used materials in the tensioned structure industry. For projects with less stringent fire code compliance issues, seasonal application, or a lower life span requirement, it’s often the best choice. PVC membrane is commonly treated with a protective acrylic or PVDF top coat with a typical design life of approximately 15-20 years. In areas of high UV exposure, PVC’s life span is approximately 10-15 years. The fabric’s top coats generally have a 15-20 year warranty from the manufacturer and depending on fabric thickness required, light transmissions range from 5% to 10%.
For projects that require higher design loads, high strength PVC membranes are used and are able to span longer distances compared to low strength PVCs. These fabrics are economical, fire retardant, printable, and recyclable. Combined with proper top-coatings, PVC fabrics have significantly improved fire behavior, resistance to the impact of UV rays, and general longevity. Most often used in white, high strength colored PVC membranes are not available off the shelf, and would require a premium and minimum quantity buy.