Pipe and drape has many uses beyond trade show booths or backdrops for weddings, press conferences, and photo sessions. It also serves as an ideal way to temporarily divide, create, and partition any area inside of a building. In a matter of minutes, you can block off sections, establish waiting or screening rooms, or form a crowd control system. With pipe and drape, there's no need for permanent construction, and because it's portable, it can be quickly set-up, taken down, and moved to a different location whenever needed.
The flexibility and modular system (that is, you can add-on to cover a larger area, make right angle turns, etc.) makes pipe and drape a perfect choice for hospitals, military use, disaster relief, and government agencies as a whole.
But when it comes to using pipe and drape for this purpose, we're often asked: "What is the best fabric for room dividers / partitions?". While there are many drape fabrics available, some are better suited to serve this role, and in this article we'll go over the best options.
Poly Premier drapes are a more affordable option that still provides a good amount of opacity. In normal indoor lighting conditions, this material is about 60-70% light blocking, and because it's made of 100% Polyester, they're machine washable and durable. Premier fabric is generally the best choice when complete privacy is not required.
Commando drape (also known as Duvetyne) is an economical option that is nearly completely opaque. Providing 99% light blocking against even the brightest of lighting, this is a budget friendly privacy drape that comes in two types of materials: topically treated FR Cotton Commando, and inherently flame retardant (IFR) Polyester Elite Commando.
It should be noted that this type of material often comes in different ounce weights, and therefore different light blocking effectiveness. In general, if you want to block the most light and use Commando for privacy applications, be sure to look for at least a 16 oz. fabric weight.
15.5 oz. Velour
Velour drapes are most commonly seen at theatrical performances and high end events, but they're also a nice looking option for room dividers and partitions. Providing about 90% opacity, this low pile, napped fabric is made from inherently flame retardant (IFR) Polyester and serves as a more upscale drape. This is our most popular Velour ounce weight because it blends the best of both worlds: a lower price point and an aesthetically pleasing look.
24.5 oz. Velour
24.5 oz. Velour drapes take it a step further by offering 99% opacity and, due to the heavier weight of this fabric, a better degree of sound absorption. Please note that sound absorption is different than sound blocking (i.e., sound proof), so while this heavier weight Velour fabric option will help reduce sound waves, it will not completely eliminate sound from travelling through the fabric. This option would be best utilized for partitions in areas where there is a lot of echo, such as a gymnasium, warehouse, or other larger, more empty space that is comprised of cement walls, hardwood floors, or other such substrates where sound bounces around.
So there you have it, our list of the best pipe and drape room divider and partition fabrics. No one likes or wants a disaster or other emergency situation -- in an perfect world, Premier would be used only for backdrops and tradeshows, Commando for masking construction projects, and Velour for upscale events and theater performances. But in the event of an emergency, know that we're here to help you get the supplies that you need to create order and some semblance of normalcy.
For over a decade, we've worked with, amongst others, the U.S. military, Department of Defense, FEMA, American Red Cross, and countless hospitals across the country to help get the equipment that is required. If you have any questions, or would like to see samples of any of our room divider fabric options, please contact Pipe and Drape Online today and we'll be happy to assist you.