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Delamination of Goretex

Delamination of Goretex


Postby MountainHare22 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:31 pm

I've tried doing a few searches on the subject but it would be useful to get some more info/advice.

I have a 4 year old berghaus goretex performance shell - over the last year or so I have noticed it delaminating over the shoulders, cuffs and bizarrely in the peak of the hood. I did not know that was the term for the bubbling but I have the shell in for repair of the zip at the moment and they confirmed this.
The shell has been machine washed at low heat twice and never tumble dried (reactivated using an iron on a low setting through a dish towel as recommended by gore tex), and neither machine wash or iron in the last 18 months - though it has been hand rinsed in cool to tepid water in this time.

So, is there something I may have done which has lead to the delamination?
Will there be any benefit in using reproofing agents to squeeze some more months out of it?
How can I prevent it if I buy gore-tex again?
Is there anything I can do about the goretex guarantee/is it worth doing anything about it?
I know exactly the shop it was from but no longer have the reciept or tag (it being a 4 year old jacket and I have moved a lot in that time) so taking it back to the shop for advice on this probably isn't an option. The coat has damage to an arm from a fall, which may void the guarantee anyway.

Thanks for any thoughts.
I am a student so don't have much money to spend so I realise might be unrealistic in expecting a waterproof to last more than 4 years :D I am getting the zip repaired whatever as it will at least make it faintly useful, if not as a waterproof.
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Re: Delamination of Goretex

Postby TheFox » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:20 am

Arcteryx (which also use Goretex) recommend machine washing at 30°C and tumble drying on medium heat for their hard shells, so I doubt the delamination of your jacket has been caused by either. Did you use any fabric softener (big NO) or standard detergent?

Other than that, even though I doubt it has something to do with the delamination: it's actually recommended to regularly machine wash and tumble dry Goretex garments to maintain waterproofness and breathability. According to Arcteryx that means washing the garment every 10 to 30 times you've worn it, depending on the level of activity. Not doing any of that for 18 months isn't recommended (unless you never use it), but again, I doubt it has anything to do with the delamination.

Assuming appropriate care and no major incidents it's definitely not unrealistic to expect a Goretex garment to last longer than 4 years. Speaking of Arcteryx again, their warranty covers the 'practical lifetime' of the product, there are examples on their website where they apparently repaired delamination damage of 5 or even 8 years old products under warranty. I doubt they'd do that if Goretex membranes are not generally expected to last longer than 4 years ;)

P.S. The only reason I keep referring to Arcteryx is because that's the only hard shell I have and thus I only know about their care instructions and warranty policy. But as your issue is with the Goretex membrane of your Berghaus jacket and Arcteryx uses the same material, I guess it applies ;)
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Re: Delamination of Goretex

Postby MountainHare22 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:30 am

Thanks for reply TheFox. I may try contacting gore-tex/Berghaus when I get my waterproof back and see where I get to.

Ideally it could have been washed 2-3 times in the last 18 months as I have been out most weekends, but it is a palaver doing a wash with towels to clean the machine, then washing it in the tx wash stuff in a busy shared house with a dodgy washing machine! I have stood in my shower with it on to try and rinse it off a few times much to the amusement of my flatmates :)
My parents reply was that outdoor kit is only designed to be worn for a few days a year :wink:
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Re: Delamination of Goretex

Postby TheFox » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:29 am

MountainHare22 wrote:I have stood in my shower with it on to try and rinse it off a few times much to the amusement of my flatmates :)


I can imagine the sight :D I've rinsed off my (weather-sealed) DSLR under a tap before, much to the horror of the people around :)

Washing the shell in the machine is apparently about the insides too, though. The official explanation is that body oils, sweat etc. can accumulate on the inside and reduce breathability. But then again, you should probably get that delamination fixed first, otherwise washing and DWR won't be much use :?
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Re: Delamination of Goretex

Postby Michael Thomson » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:36 pm

There's a whole bunch of factors to consider regarding delamination. Contamination with body oils may impact membrane performance, but it won't cause delamination itself. You need to also consider usage primarily, along with storage, abrasion, compression and cleaning.

When it comes to longevity, you can't measure it in years, because everyone uses these things in different ways. It may you only go walking once a month, so the jacket is only used 12 times a year and 5 of those it never leaves the rucksack. It may be that you're out every day in it.

The old guide for Gore membranes was that they would last roughly 100 days of significant use i.e full days actually wearing it. After that time, you're at risk of a range of issues, of which delamination can be one. That has been extended now by the use of more robust face fabrics like polyamides. In many cases, the more robust jackets can last 200 days or more. This is one of the reasons you need to understand your usage pattern to set expectations for how long a piece of kit should last.
For some people, that's only a a few months, for others it's ten years.

If you want a membrane jacket that will last for a long time, then higher quality face fabrics will help. They come with a higher price tag, so you need to balance that out. It may be you'll be better off with several cheaper jackets in the long run, it's all dependent on your own usage pattern.
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Re: Delamination of Goretex

Postby MountainHare22 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:15 pm

Michael Thomson wrote:There's a whole bunch of factors to consider regarding delamination. Contamination with body oils may impact membrane performance, but it won't cause delamination itself. You need to also consider usage primarily, along with storage, abrasion, compression and cleaning.

When it comes to longevity, you can't measure it in years, because everyone uses these things in different ways. It may you only go walking once a month, so the jacket is only used 12 times a year and 5 of those it never leaves the rucksack. It may be that you're out every day in it.

The old guide for Gore membranes was that they would last roughly 100 days of significant use i.e full days actually wearing it. After that time, you're at risk of a range of issues, of which delamination can be one. That has been extended now by the use of more robust face fabrics like polyamides. In many cases, the more robust jackets can last 200 days or more. This is one of the reasons you need to understand your usage pattern to set expectations for how long a piece of kit should last.
For some people, that's only a a few months, for others it's ten years.

If you want a membrane jacket that will last for a long time, then higher quality face fabrics will help. They come with a higher price tag, so you need to balance that out. It may be you'll be better off with several cheaper jackets in the long run, it's all dependent on your own usage pattern.

Thanks for all this advice. It was my first gore-tex coat having previosuly just had cheap waterproofs so had no idea what to expect. I probably have worn for it over 200 days thinking about it, its just when I meet old experienced folk with ancient waterproofs which they claim to be as good as new I wonder what I am doing wrong and feel a bit sheepish in my far newer kit!
In the next year I will probably be able to get out less so it will be less of an issue, but I will have to rethink my waterproof solution and what the best option is. I will try to wash any new coats a bit more frequently too to see if that helps but I guess there is not much I can do now for my current coat.
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