Ambiguities of Fiberglass Cloth and Tape

Ambiguities of Fiberglass Cloth and Tape

Fiberglass is a material that is well established in several industries due to its versatility and useful properties. It is used in a broad range of products, such as: reinforcement of pipes, liners for refrigerated trucks, interiors of aircraft, boating repair/reinforcement, basketball backboards, and more.

Forms of Fiberglass

One of the most common types of fiberglass comes in the form of home insulation. Fiberglass rolls and batts (pre-cut, shorter pieces of rolls, meant for easy installation) are used in the walls and attic crawl space of a home. But industries use other forms of fiberglass extensively, such as fabrics, rope, and tape.

The Ambiguities

A web search on fiberglass cloth or tape may result in some confusion. Fiberglass cloth will initially return results related to boat repair. Results for fiberglass tape will also mention boat repair, maybe drywall tape, and even fish tape. But one of fiberglass’s most important properties is its low thermal conductivity, making it useful in high temperature environments.

The Cloth

Fiberglass cloth can be used in environments where waterproofing is required, making it an exceptional choice for boat repair. A polyester resin combined with a hardening agent must be used with fiberglass cloth in order to make a successful, waterproof repair to a damaged boat hull, surfboard, or other water craft. On the contrary, a much different use for fiberglass cloth is seen in the picture of the welder above. Fiberglass cloth is heat, spark, and flame resistant, and has a temperature rating of 1000 degrees F. This type of fiberglass cloth is used for welding and safety blankets, expansion joint fabric, and heat insulation. The fiberglass cloth used for boat repair is substantially thinner than that used in high temperature environments. The thicker fiberglass cloth can also be used for acoustic insulation.

The Tape

Fiberglass tape is as ambiguous as the cloth. One type of fiberglass tape can either be a narrower form of the fiberglass cloth product used for boat repair, or it can be a material used to for drywall repair. Fiberglass drywall tape is a thin mesh, thinner than the tape used for boat repair. But neither of these applications utilize fiberglass’s thermal insulation capabilities. Fiberglass tape used for thermal (and acoustic) insulation is thicker than the tape used for both boat repair and drywall work. The narrower tape (versus the wider cloth) is ideal for wrapping pipes and other cylindrical objects that are at high temperature. Fiberglass tape can also be used for strip door curtains (for ovens and furnaces), gaskets, tadpole tapes, and other high temperature seals.

The Other Products

The list of items made from fiberglass are endless. Flexible tooling for vacuum molding, garage doors, hockey sticks, bathtubs, and roofing are only a few more examples.

Cloth and tape are not the only fiberglass materials used for thermal insulation. A variety of fiberglass ropes are available for use as seals and gaskets in high temperature environments. There are multiple fiberglass products that address a multitude of applications. You just need to make sure which fiberglass cloth and which fiberglass tape you really want!