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How Seam Sealing tape works for waterproof jackets

How Seam Sealing tape works for waterproof jackets

If you look at on the inside of your waterproof jacket, you should see that all of the body panels seams are taped over using seam sealing tape.

While the fabric used in your waterproof jacket can vary from supplier to supplier, if the seams are not sealed with seam sealing tape then the garment most likely is not in fact waterproof.

Why do waterproof jackets need to be seam sealed?

The holes punched into the fabric by the sewing maching as it creates seams that bind for example, the arm sleeve and main body panels of a new waterproof jacket together creates an easy entry point for water to enter when it is raining. So even if your waterproof jacket uses a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric technology, it will not stop the water from seeping in through these seam holes, especially around your shoulder area.

waterproof jacket seam sealing tapes
Seam Sealing Machines and Seam Sealing Tape are used to seal the garment seams to make them fully waterproof.

To prevent this from happening, garment manufacturers will use seam sealing tape and seam sealing machines to literally tape over these seams, preventing water from entering at this point and making the jacket waterproof.

What if my jacket was ‘welded’ together?

If your waterproof jacket has been constructed using something like ultrasonic sewing (which uses soundwaves to melt / weld fabrics together, then you will still have seam sealing tape for heat sealing. This is done to lock of the seam and to add strength to the bind. While stitched seams create a larger seam overlap and the strength of the stitching creates a strong bond between the garment panels, ultasonic seams are incredibly small in comparison and seam sealing is generally used to help give the garment more strength at the seams.

Are there different types of seam sealing tape?

Yes there are. The seam sealing tapes used on a garment can depend on what the garment is used for. There are single layer, double layer and triple layer seam sealing tapes. There are fabric tapes so that for the likes of waterproof softshells, the seam sealing tapes can match the inner fabric lining. They can also be used to create more comfortable points that may otherwise cause body rub.

Are all the seams of a waterproof jacket seam sealed?

Not always. Heavy duty jackets generally will be in what is called ‘Fully Taped Seams’. However on some garments, to make them lighter and more packable, they may only have seam sealing tape on some of the more important and critical seams in what is called ‘critical seams’. These will be found around the garments hood, nack and shoulder areas. These are the areas where rain most easily penetrates a jacket.

What seam sealing tape is best for a waterproof jacket?

It really depends on what the garment is used for, what its price point is, how the seams are joined (ie. conventional sewing machine or something like ultrasonic ultrasew machine) and even what type of tape works best with the waterproof fabric of the jacket.

At Ardmel, we produce a full range of high quality, durable and usable seam sealing tapes not just for waterproof jackets but for industries and end uses spanning everything from Tents to Hot Air Balloons, car dashboards to medical PPE clothing.

We have an inhouse bespoke division ‘Ardmel Create’ who can work with you to develop the right seam sealing tapes for your needs.

To dicuss our range of seam sealing tapes and find out how Ardmel can work with you to acheive your production goals, speak to one of our team of designers by contacting us today.