Difference Between Waterproof and Water Resistant (With Table)

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Waterproof materials are designed to prevent the penetration of water. Even if these materials stay in water for a short or longer time, no liquid can pass through.

Waterproof vs Water Resistant

A clear difference between the two terms is that; waterproof completely shields water or any liquid penetration. Water-resistant repels the liquid but if the intensity of the liquid increase, it penetrates.

Waterproof materials are synthetic or natural fabrics. They are covered or overlaid with waterproof material. Materials such as rubber, wax, fluoropolymers, etc. Waterproof materials are used in building structures, electronic devices, clothing, watercraft, and canvas. They are also used in paper packaging such as cartons for liquids.

Water-resistant materials are designed to withstand water penetration to a certain degree. In other terms, water-resistant is a lower level of liquid/water/rain protection.


Comparison Table Between Waterproof and Water Resistant (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonWaterproof MaterialsWater-Resistant Materials
Suitable forWaterproof is good for rainy weather and wet snow conditionsWater-resistant is great for rainy weather and snow conditions.
DefinitionWaterproof does not allow penetration of water at all.Water-resistant can prevent water to a certain degree
Resistant LevelWaterproof level of resistance is highThe water-resistance level is slightly average. They offer light rain resistance.
Lifestyle and GoalsWaterproof is good if you come from a location with temperamental weather conditions. Either if you actively participate in water-based sportsWater-resistant will offer great protection for your everyday busy lifestyle
Air PermeabilityWaterproof materials have zero air permeabilityAir permeability in Water-resistant materials is high
Water Vapor PermeabilityWater vapor permeability in Waterproof is zeroIn water resistance, water vapor permeability is sufficient too high.
PoresPores in these materials are filledIn water-resistant, pores are partly filled
Resistant to Water DropletsWaterproof materials are highly resistant to water droplets and wettingWater-resistant is highly resistant to wetting and water droplets.
Resistant to Water PenetrationThey are designed to resist water penetration even under external hydrostatic pressureWater-resistant materials are highly resistant even under external hydrostatic pressure.
Terminological ClassWaterproof materials are impermeableWater-resistant materials are Semipermeable
ComfortVery lowComfort is medium to high


What is Waterproof?

As earlier stated, waterproof means no water is capable of passing through the material. No matter how much it gets into contact with water, it is impermeable.

There are two technologies used in waterproof materials. They are inherent waterproof materials or textile materials with waterproofing finishing treatments. These technologies also depend on the structure of waterproof materials.

Materials of this nature remain unaffected with water. They are made to resist any hydrostatic force exerted by moisture in the liquid state. There are several types of waterproofing materials.

Some of the best include PVC waterproofing membrane, Bituminous, Thermoplastic, Polyurethane, and Cementitious coating. Still, waterproof can be used to manufacture indoor and outdoor products.


What is Water Resistant?

Water-resistant materials can withstand penetration of water to a certain degree. The surface of water-resistant is made of water drive material.

Fluoropolymer is the common material used in manufacturing water-resistant. After some time the material starts to wear off and water can easily penetrate.

Water-resistant material prevents damages. They repel the moisture and keep the garment from degrading. This makes them ideal for outdoor activities like tents and awning. Water-resistant is also important in preventing mold and mild growth.

Main Differences Between Waterproof and Water Resistant


This is the ability of the material to allow moisture and air to seep in. Waterproof materials have less breathability. Water-resistant has high breathability. They let moisture and air seep in making them suitable for outdoor clothing.

Level of Resistance

Waterproofs are designed to provide 100% resistance. In that event, if it stays in the water for several hours, water can’t penetrate. If it’s a garment, you will all remain dry in the inside.

Water-resistant offers resistance to a certain degree. Say if the material is exposed to light showers, you will remain dry in the inside. But if they stay for longer exposure to water and other liquids, they will eventually penetrate.


Waterproof materials got no single pores. They are filled making them suitable to be used for construction materials. When it comes to clothing, they are suitable for rainy weather and snow conditions. Water-resistant the pores are partially filled. The material is perfect for daily outdoor activities.


Waterproof materials can be used for both construction and clothing. In construction, they are used to prevent water from penetrating the building. This will help the interior of the building to remain dry all through.

Water-resistant in construction is used as the process of edging water using waterproof materials. Water-resistant can’t be used in construction because, in the long run, they will let water in.



There is a lot of mix surrounding waterproof and water-resistant. At times these terms are used anonymously even by the manufactures.

There is, however, a technical difference. Especially if you have to use the two in severe weather conditions. This is the best way you can distinguish the difference. And you are the best judge.

The downside with the two is that you can’t tell the difference between waterproof and water-resistant by looking at them.

The difference between the two should be a sliding scale and not a defining lane. But brand websites, product specs, and user reviews. They will help you determine which is which.



  1. https://www.topvaluefabrics.com/waterproof-breathable-fabrics-best-uses.news
  2. https://axial.acs.org/2017/12/21/water-resistant-materials/
  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/152808379202200103