Nylon vs. Polyester Hook & Loop Tape
Hook-and-loop fasteners, commonly known by the popular brand name, Velcro®, are a versatile fastener option for canvas projects, home décor and more. Hook-and-loop tape is made from two different synthetic materials — nylon and polyester — and while they look virtually identical, each material has its own pros and cons. First, we’ll briefly explain how hook-and-loop tape works and why you’d choose it over another fastener option. Then, we’ll go over the differences between polyester and nylon hook and loop to help you decide which material is best suited for your application.
How Does Hook & Loop Work?
Hook-and-loop tape is made up of two tape parts. One of the tapes has tiny hooks on it and the other tape has even smaller fuzzy loops. When the tapes are pressed together, the hooks catch in the loops, and the pieces are temporarily bound together. They can be separated by pulling them apart. As the hooks are pulled from the loop they make a distinctive ripping sound. Most hook and loop can be opened and closed around 8,000 times before it begins to lose holding strength.
Why Use Hook & Loop?
There are a lot of fastener types to choose from including zippers, buttons and snap fasteners. Why use hook-and-loop tape in your sewing project? There are some definite benefits to using hook and loop over other fasteners. For one thing, hook and loop is very easy to use and the two halves lock together quickly and with little effort. For those with hand weakness or dexterity issues, hook and loop is a convenient solution.
Polyester Hook & Loop
Polyester hook and loop is designed with prolonged outdoor exposure in mind. It is more resistant to mildew, stretching, pilling and shrinking than nylon and is also resistant to chemicals. Polyester doesn’t hold water, so it will dry quicker than nylon. It is also more UV resistant than nylon hook and loop and is the best choice for prolonged exposure to the sun.
Polyester Hook & Loop Characteristics/Uses:
- UV, mildew and stretch resistant.
- Quick drying time; does not absorb water.
- Recommended for marine and prolonged outdoor applications.
Nylon Hook & Loop
Nylon hook and loop provides excellent strength and is resistant to mildew, stretching, pilling and shrinking. It offers better shear strength than polyester hook and loop but is only somewhat resistant to UV rays. Nylon will dry quickly, but it does absorb water and won’t operate properly until it is dry. It does, however, have a higher cycle life, meaning it can be opened and closed more times without wearing out than polyester hook and loop.
Nylon Hook & Loop Characteristics/Uses:
- Better shear strength than polyester hook and loop.
- Does not work when wet.
- Lasts longer than polyester hook and loop.
- Recommended for dry, indoor applications and occasional outdoor use.
We recommend choosing nylon hook and loop for interior applications such as cushions and curtain tiebacks or for limited exposure to the outdoors. For most outdoor projects and on boat canvas, we recommend using polyester hook and loop. Since all hook and loop is on a woven tape, we suggest covering the hook and loop in your fabric on one side to prolong the tape’s life, especially in outdoor applications.