The Definitive Tyvek Article Part 2
Q&A and Links
Common Tyvek Questions
Can Tyvek be sewn?
Yes. Any style of Tyvek can be sewn. Different types of Tyvek require different stitch lengths to avoid the “postage stamp effect,” which means the Tyvek will tear more easily due to the perforations caused by a sewing machine. I use Tyvek Tape on seams after sewing to waterproof and add strength. General guidelines:
HS Tyvek (Home Wrap)
3-5 stitches per inch at low tension
Use #306 (Union Special) or #14 (Singer) needle, or equivalent
Use a flat tipped needle that cuts slit-like perforations
Up to 12 stitches per inch (6-8 stitches/in. recommended)
Use a fine tooth feed dog – 12 to 21 teeth/in.
Decrease presser-foot until sheet feeds through the machine without slipping.
For more detailed Tyvek sewing instructions please read the Sewing Tyvek PDF.
Can Tyvek be used as a vapor barrier?
No. Tyvek is not a vapor barrier. Tyvek blocks wind and water and still remains breathable and allows water vapor to pass through the material, which makes it good to use as a weather shield. Unlike fabrics that have been coated with a waterproofing agent, Tyvek’s water resistance is due to the construction of the material. Tyvek has tiny holes that are too small to let bulk water and wind pass but are large enough to allow water vapor to escape. <1>
Is Tyvek Waterproof?
This is debatable. In my experience HS (HomeWrap) is waterproof, even after washing. I don’t have any experience with SS Tyvek so I won’t comment on this type. If anything one could say that Tyvek is HIGHLY water resistant. The DuPont site has documented tests that state that there were no leaks during water tests, even on samples that were damaged through UV tests (see test data here. PG. 3).
Can Tyvek be dyed?
I have heard that Tyvek can be dyed. Some types of Tyvek have a special coating that allows paint and dyes to stick to the material. I have tried dying HomeWrap with less than desirable results:
This piece of Tyvek was soaked for 24 hours in double the normal amount of Rit dye (black). Although it did add a tint to the material I did not get the results I was looking for. Maybe someone knows a better technique for dying this type of Tyvek.
Hammockforums.net member, SteinbergerGPPRo, has found a good technique for dying Tyvek. He used KIWI Leather Dye. Here's his technique:
Here's a pic of one coat of dye:
Originally Posted by SteinbergerGPPRo
Here's a pic with two coats of dye:
Do I need to use Tyvek with lettering facing in or out?
Tyvek performs the same no matter which direction the material is facing.
Why should I tape seams in the Tyvek?
Taping the seams with Tyvek Tape gives you the best Tyvek-to-Tyvek adhesion, optimal protection against air and bulk water penetration, and extra durability protection. See details and alternate tape in the “Tyvek Tape” section.
Tyvek the hiker. All gear is made from Tyvek.
Instructions for tying a Sheet Bend knot with Tyvek. Some people prefer this to adding grommets or sewing tie outs on Tyvek. This site has a pic of a Tyvek sail.
QMinistry site has a Tyvek tarp tent and hammock.
Material Concepts sells many different HS and SS types of Tyvek. They do not sell the Home Wrap style.
Goodling Outdoor makes a Tyvek poncho that is available in several different colors.
Dyed and colored Tyvek, some with fire retardant. They also carry Tyvek tape in different colors.
Discuss this article.
Tyvek® is a registered trademark of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its affiliates.