How to Choose the Right Outer Layer Material for Your Industrial Acoustic Curtain

When putting together an acoustic industrial curtain, there are a variety of options and choices to be made. The inside layers of the curtain are where a majority of the acoustic performance takes place. However, the outer layers of the curtain are equally important. This outer layer not only determines the look and feel of your curtain, but can also impact the overall function and performance of it.

The first option is our most common for industrial acoustic curtains. An outer layer of solid PVC coated polyester (a.k.a. vinyl) forms a solid barrier between the innards of the curtain and the outside environment. As this is a solid material, it will let slightly less sound through and into the inner layers than the following two material options. This means, that less of the sound will be absorbed or reflected. 

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However, the difference in potential sound transmission that this material offers versus another material is negligible. What this outer layer may lack in sound transmission, it makes up for in other areas. This vinyl layer has a variety of benefits. For starters, it is very durable to abrasion, scratching, cooler temperatures, and everyday wear and tear. It is also easy to clean. It can be washed down with water and a mild detergent. So while a solid PVC vinyl outer layer may keep some sound from traveling to the innards of the curtain, it will also keep dirt, dust, debris, and moisture from doing the same thing. These features make this outer material an ideal choice for rough, dirty, and/or industrial environments. Additionally, the PVC coated polyester is available in 10 standard colors, making it easy to match to each company’s desired color scheme.
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PVC coated mesh is the second option for your acoustic curtain’s outer layer. This material is also durable when standing up to abrasion and cooler temperatures, as mentioned above with option one. As with any mesh, it is more open than a solid material. This mesh boasts a 70% opacity, which means that approximately 30% of the surface area covered by the mesh is open. This will allow the sound to travel through this outer layer more effectively than a solid material would. A small boost in acoustic performance (absorbing and reflecting) of your industrial curtain can be expected due to this factor. To clean this material, we recommend vacuuming it, then wiping it down with a moist cloth. You will want to be careful not to let excessive moisture or debris come into contact with this curtain, though, as these elements can harm the inside layers and diminish its acoustic qualities.
The third and final option for the outer layer of your acoustic curtain is a cloth fabric. This material is solid in coverage, but soft, as most fabrics are. It allows for sound to travel through it, but will stop most dust, dirt, and debris from passing through. In terms of assisting with sound absorption, this fabric is the best option for the outer layer of an industrial acoustic curtain. However, it is not ideal for rougher environments. Dust and dirt may stick to it, it can be torn or snagged, and it can be stained. Additionally, if moisture comes into contact with it, that moisture can bleed through to the inner layers. We would recommend a curtain with this fabric in gentler environments. As with your other options, though, it can still be cleaned. The best way to do this is to vacuum the fabric. Also, it is available in 6 standard colors.

When deciding which of the above outer material options is best for your needs, it is best to think about your environment and determine what will give you the necessary balance between durability and acoustic performance. With industrial curtains, as with all products, you have many good options at your disposal. For assistance is picking the right choice for you, contact our sales team today.