Performance of Laminated vs Coated Fabric in Vapor Barrier Applications

Vapor barrier fabric has played a critical role in the emission reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Above Ground Storage Tanks for several years. Vapor barrier fabrics are used as part of perimeter rim seals, gauge pole (guide pole) covers, and leg boots (leg socks) to name a few. There are two main production methods for creating vapor barrier fabric, Laminated and Coated. It is important to understand the differences to ensure you can specify a product that will offer superior performance and longevity in your tanks.

Coated Fabric

Coated Fabrics are polymers (or other substances) being directly adhered to one or both surfaces of the film. The substances that are applied to the fabric provide an additional type of property. Waterproofing is a result of additional substances being added.

Laminated Fabric

Laminated fabrics consist of two or more layers of polymer film being adhered to a scrim using heat and pressure. Laminated fabrics have a uniform and strong bond because of this process.

The differences between coated and laminated fabric can be seen in its performance over time, when exposed to the weather. Coated fabric is a heavier and less flexible fabric. It can dry out and its coating flake off over time, when exposed to weather. Due to the manufacturing process involved with laminated fabrics and the variety of scrims available, they can provide superior performance in outdoor industrial environments. Laminated fabrics have high tensile strength, are lighter weight and offer greater abrasion characteristics allowing them to hold up longer, especially when folding and bending.

Mesa Engineered Tank Products manufactures its own proprietary laminated fabric for use in Gauge Pole Covers, Leg Boots, Vapor Bladders and as Vapor Barrier Fabric to be used as part of perimeter seal applications. Mesa ETP laminated fabric includes UV protection ensuring a long service life in the installed environment. With fifty years of experience in the Above Ground Storage Tank industry we understand the quality demands and performance expectations of customers.


Dan Adams
Engineer Manager