PE Fabric Versus a Legacy ExxoTec™ Building

    May 17, 2023 | Advantages of Tension Fabric Structures, Tension Fabric Structures, Building Design

    Polyethylene (PE) fabric has been used for years as a structural cladding material. It is lightweight (but strong), durable, and reliable when installed under proper tension. PE tension fabric buildings can be a good option depending on what you need to store or cover, where, and for how long. ExxoTec™ is different. It is an advanced fabric that has transformed the way architects and building owners and managers think about tension fabric construction.

    With ExxoTec™, you can construct large, permanent installations that call for greater strength, durability, and design flexibility than traditional PE fabric can provide. And your building will comply with all relevant building codes. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between PE and ExxoTec™.

    Traditional PE Fabric

    Polyethylene fabric is constructed in three layers—a woven inner liner (scrim) with plasticized coating on both sides. It comes in multiple colors, some of which are translucent enough to allow natural light to penetrate, and the initial cost is lower than alternative materials. PE tension fabric usually lasts for 10 to 15 years.

    For building purposes, PE fabric is typically used in weights that range between 12 and 15 ounces per square foot. The fabric is UV resistant; however, it requires an additional specialized coating to meet fire protection standards.

    Advancements with ExxoTec™ Fabric

    Panels of this proprietary tension fabric are only available from Legacy Building Solutions. It is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), so it is heavier, stronger, and longer lasting than PE fabric. ExxoTec™ fabric is constructed with six layers, coating the interior woven scrim with two layers of PVC and then adding a lacquer coating on each side. The fabric is naturally flame-retardant, so it meets all building codes that apply to fabric structures.

    We offer ExxoTec™ fabric in two weights—19 ounces and 28 ounces per square foot—to accommodate different usage and environmental needs. In white, the fabric is 12% translucent, so it allows more natural light than PE fabric. This can also reduce energy costs. The fabric also comes in other colors and can be decorated with signage, logos, etc. to provide the same aesthetic finishing touches you might see on any building exterior.

    ExxoTec™ architectural fabric costs more than traditional PE, but its outstanding tensile strength, longer life span, and all-around superior performance make it a more cost-efficient investment over time.

    An ExxoTec™ Building Is More than Advanced Fabric

    A building is more than its exterior. Structural framing, which supports the fabric, provides your building with a solid endoskeleton of rigidity and strength. Legacy Building Solutions’ unique approach uses rigid I-beam framing to provide a comprehensive solution—an ExxoTec™ building. These structures have become a preferred alternative for myriad uses across a wide range of industries because they offer distinct benefits such as:

    • Clear span up to 300 feet, eliminating inconvenient configuration workarounds and wasted space
    • Building frames can accommodate overhead cranes, conveyors, HVAC equipment, fire suppression systems, and solar panels
    • Exceptional corrosion resistance because ExxoTec™ fabric is inherently resistant to corrosion, and framing components can be coated with Legacy Building Solutions’ proprietary EpoxxiShield™, which protects better than traditional hot-dip galvanizing
    • Buildings that can withstand harsh weather conditions (our buildings passed the rigorous testing standards to receive Florida Product Approval and are approved for use in High Velocity Hurricane Zones)
    • Fabric cladding that is installed as individual panels, which simplifies replacement if an area is ever damaged

    Each ExxoTec™ building is 100% custom-designed to match your space, usage, and environmental and aesthetic needs. The entire process happens in-house, so you have just one point of contact end to end. ExxoTec™ buildings are surprisingly affordable, too, especially when you consider their minimal maintenance requirements and long life.

    For some types of structures, PE fabric works just fine. But for large, permanent commercial, industrial, or government needs; sports arenas; and special event venues, an ExxoTec™ building frequently makes more sense. Could this be the right choice for you? Our Legacy Building Solutions experts are here to answer your questions, make recommendations, and provide a quote whenever you’re ready.

    Legacy Building Solutions Engineered Building Buyer's Guide