Levi Reeves - Feb 28, 2023

Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric: Ultimate Helpful Guide

Nonwoven geotextile fabric is a strong, durable, non-biodegradable, and synthetic material used for landscaping, engineering, and drainage applications. They are made from thermally bonded polypropylene or polyester fibers that are needle punched in a random pattern to create a resilient fabric that has a felt-like look and feel. Non-woven geotextiles are made to act as a barrier between the soil and things like water, gravel, rocks, or sand as well in various applications like rip-rap, french drains, and drain fields. These fabrics enable greater drainage than woven fabrics, making them an ideal material for areas with excessive moisture or flooding.

Landscaping and engineering projects can benefit in many ways from using non-woven geotextile fabric. Non-woven geotextiles can be used to strengthen roads, driveways, and paths by adding strength and stability under asphalt layers and concrete paving stones. This keeps sinkholes from forming when heavy vehicles drive over soft soils without a protective layer.

Landscaper putting bark on geotextile fabric

Quick Summary

What is it?
Non-woven geotextile fabric is a felt like fabric that provides strength with high drainage rates.

Why use it
Can provide drainge support, separation, stabilization, and filtering for a number of applications.

Where is it used?

Nonwoven fabrics are often used as a layer in road pavement projects, in french drains, drain fields, under rip rap and more.

What does Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric do?

Non-woven geotextile fabrics provide several benefits for a wide variety of applications. These fabrics can filter, separate, and reinforce soil, making them suitable for numerous construction and engineering projects.


One of the primary benefits of nonwoven geotextile fabric is its superior strength and durability. These fabrics are made to resist tearing, stretching, puncturing and other damage caused by physical contact. These characteristics make non-woven fabric an ideal choice for projects such as road construction, erosion control, drainage systems, and more. The rot-resistant nature of non-woven geotextiles also helps to prevent denigration over time like organic materials.


Another major benefit of nonwoven geotextiles is its ability to act as a filtration barrier between two mediums such as soil and gravel or rock. Non-woven fabric acts like a sieve; allowing water to pass through while trapping sediment particles larger than the mesh size used in the fabric's design. This filtering action helps to prevent against run offs due to clogged drains or pipes which can lead to flooding or excess water accumulation on site.


Non Woven Geotextiles also have excellent drainage properties; they allow water to flow freely while blocking sediments at the same time. That means non-woven fabrics are ideal for drainage systems where quick drainage is essential; they help reduce standing water pools in areas prone to flooding while also reducing overall basement seepage issues due to their high permeability rates.

Nonwoven geotextile fabric installation at jobsite

Non-woven Fabric Being Laid Down

Rolls of Fabric

Rolls of Landscape Fabric


Finally non-woven geotextiles offer excellent reinforcement properties when placed under pavements or roads during construction projects. Non-woven fabrics distribute point loads evenly instead of concentrating pressure on one point--this helps increase the lifespan of pavements by preventing cracking and potholes from developing prematurely due to uneven weight distribution caused by shifting soils beneath pavement surfaces. Woven geotextile fabrics are also a viable option for use in road construction.

Other Benefits

In addition non-woven geotextile provides protection from frost heaves during cold weather conditions and prevents rutting due to heavy load traffic on pavements because it absorbs some of the shock load between two layers when compaction takes place in soils underneath roadways or parking lots surfaces without compromising strength or stability throughout the entire area being reinforced over time.

How to tell if a Geotextile Fabric is Nonwoven?

The following techniques can be used to determine whether a geotextile filter fabric is non woven:

The threads in nonwoven geotextiles are randomly entangled and oriented, giving them a fuzzy or felt-like texture. As a result, they feel soft and flexible, like a thick fabric or carpet. Contrarily, woven geotextiles have fibers that are uniformly distributed throughout and are tightly woven in a regular pattern.

Without the use of weaving or knitting, synthetic fibers are frequently felted or glued together to make nonwoven geotextile fabric. Check for perforations. They lack the repeating pattern of holes or perforations that define woven or knitted textiles as a result. The surface of a nonwoven geotextile does not have a uniform grid of holes or gaps.

Watch the thickness and weight: Nonwoven geotextile fabric frequently weighs more and is thicker than woven geotextiles with comparable strength and filtering properties. Nonwoven geotextile can have a structure that is denser and more compact than a woven fabric of the same weight or thickness. This is due to the random alignment and entanglement of the fibers in it. To see if nonwoven geotextiles can store soil particles and other fine materials while still allowing water to pass through, test their water permeability.

To test the water permeability of a geotextile filter fabric, pour some water across the surface and watch it seep through. Geotextiles consisting of nonwoven materials must allow water to pass through them relatively quickly with little to no significant pooling or runoff.

Drainage Fabric at Jobsite

Installation of Drainage Fabric

Roll of Geo Fabric

Roll of Non-Woven Geotextile

Non Woven Geotextile Fabric Applications

Road Construction

Road construction projects benefit from the use of nonwoven geotextile fabric, acting as a separator to keep soil layers distinct and filtered drainage channels clear. Not only does it enhance performance and durability but reinforcement with this type of material also increases strength for stable traveling conditions.

Erosion Control

Nonwoven geotextile fabric is a powerful tool to protect soil from erosion. With its ability to bind together and retain soil particles while allowing water flow, it can be used in various applications such as shoreline stabilization and slope protection perfect for keeping vulnerable areas safe against erosion damage.

Drainage Systems

Drainage systems rely on nonwoven geotextile fabric for many reasons. It acts as a filter, trapping soil particles and preventing clogging while still letting water move freely through the system - like in French drains or retaining wall drainage. This keeps your draining running smoothly with less upkeep.

What do the Different Fabric Weights Mean?


Lightweight nonwoven geotextile fabric is the perfect fabric choice for projects requiring high filtration capabilities without needing to provide extra reinforcement. Featuring an ounce weight of less than 5 oz per square yard, these fabrics offer a reliable and cost effective solution while ensuring efficient implementation of desired goals.

Medium Weight

Non-woven geotextile fabrics of medium weight offer a practical solution for applications where support and reinforcement is needed in moderate levels. Commonly found with an ounce weight between 5 - 8 oz per square yard, they are often used in road construction projects, erosion control endeavors and landfill operations.

Fabric with Plants

Fabric with Plants Installed

Heavy-Duty Drainage Fabric

Our heavy-duty drainage fabric is designed to to hold back debris while allowing water to drain through. The end result is a much more clean drainage system which results in drastically less clogs and the necessity to dig out debris. There are many types of drainage fabrics on the market. From big box “economy” fabric to professional grade. We only sell professional-grade drainage fabric.

View our Heavy-Duty Drainage Fabric
Adding Fabric for Garden

Installation of Landscape Fabric


For heavy duty projects requiring increased protection and stability, heavyweight non-woven geotextiles are the ideal choice. With their ounce weight greater than 8 oz./sq yd., these fabrics offer superior reinforcement for applications such as retaining walls, embankments or subgrade stabilization.


When considering the best fabric ounce weight for a particular application, many factors should be taken into account. Requirements such as function of geotextile fabric, soil type and environmental conditions of project area must all be weighed against each other to make an informed decision. Lighter fabrics tend to offer more cost-efficiency and ease during installation; however, they may not always hold up under heavier traffic or loads. Heavier options can provide improved strength at greater expense in challenging projects – selecting the right choice will depend on individual needs and requirements being met accordingly.

How is Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric Made?

Non-woven geotextile fabrics are manufactured through a process known as needle punching.

In this process, barbed needles are used to interlock the fibers of a geotextile material, such as polypropylene. The needles function as tiny hooks that latch onto and connect the fibers of the geotextile fabric. For construction projects requiring stable ground coverings, erosion control, and drainage systems, this process provides superior strength and durability and drainage.

To prepare for the punching process, the fabric is first laid out in large sheets. It is then passed through a series of rotating metal plates with hundreds of barbed needles protruding at regular intervals. The needles penetrate and interlock the sheet's fibers as it passes between these plates, forming a strong bond. Different types of geotextiles require different needle-punching densities, which means that some will require more or fewer barbed needles during production.

The punch-needling process gives non-woven geotextile fabrics high tensile strength and durability while remaining flexible enough to be used in a variety of applications. The fabric can also be cut into to suit the needs of various construction projects.

Road Fabric Installation

Rolling out Road Fabric

How Strong is Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric?

Non-woven geotextile fabrics boast remarkable durability and strength, with an impressive level of tensile strength that make them highly resistant to punctures. Their individual strength varies based on the ounce per square yard and the specific type of non-woven fabric it is.

Garden Fabric with Plants

Fabric Installed in Garden Area

Grab Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is a crucial characteristic for non-woven geotextile fabrics, denoting the maximum force the fabric can withstand without tearing or breaking. The tensile strength of a particular fabric varies by how it is made. These fabrics' tensile strength is evaluated using standard testing methods. The outcomes of these tests can vary, but many non-woven geotextile fabrics have tensile strengths of several hundred pounds per foot or more.

CBR Puncture

The ability of nonwoven geotextiles to withstand puncture is a crucial feature. These fabrics are frequently used as a barrier layer to protect underlying layers from sharp or abrasive objects. Puncture resistance is typically measured using standard industry methods. The puncture resistance of non-woven geotextile fabrics can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds per foot.


The drainage capacity of a nonwoven fabric is often measured by the water flow rate. The general rule of thumb is the lighter fabric has higher the flow rates, and the heavier fabric has lower flow rates. Water flow rate is typically measured in the number of gallons per minute per square foot.

Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric Functions

Non-woven geotextile fabric is a versatile tool employed in many situations to filter soil, water and other materials. Its microscopic pores facilitate the passage of liquids while blocking sediment from escaping drainage pipes - ensuring that these systems are kept clear and functional over time.

Non-woven geotextile fabric offers a reliable solution to stabilized soil structures, such as roadways. By creating an insulating layer between the subgrade and base of any construction project, this resilient material can help ensure load distribution is uniform so that no sinking or shifting will occur - thus preserving its structural integrity for many years down the line.

Non-woven geotextile fabric is a valuable material that can be used to promote advantageous drainage in multiple scenarios. From landscaping and hardscaping, it's permeability efficiently prevents pooling of water on the surface while directing excess amounts away from the area into suitable collection systems such as pipes or other appropriate draining structures.

Non-woven geotextile fabric has become a trusted separating agent in many construction applications. Its strong and robust fibers provide the perfect barrier to prevent soil, aggregate, or other materials from mixing together - ensuring that the structural integrity of any build remains intact regardless of shifting or settling conditions.

Road Fabric Job

Installation of fabric as an Interlayer

Fabric installation

Landscape Fabric Installation with Stone Edging

Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric and the Elements

Recent worries have surfaced surrounding the durability of nonwoven geotextiles in relation to soil pH and light exposure. Though able to withstand most soils, extremely acidic or alkaline conditions can rapidly break down fabric integrity and dramatically shorten its lifespan.

pH Levels

If you are dealing with soil of extreme pH levels, it is crucially important to use a geotextile fabric that has been specifically designed and manufactured for such conditions. Doing so will ensure maximum performance durability and dependability when confronted by the most challenging of soils.

Ultraviolet Light

To ensure non-woven geotextile fabrics perform to their fullest potential for applications, selecting one with UV-resistant stabilizers is a must. By doing so the fabric can be protected from solar degradation and maintain its strength over time.

Selecting the appropriate non-woven geotextile fabric for a project requires careful thought. Taking into account pH balance and exposure to sunlight is critical; otherwise, performance and longevity may be compromised or even result in task failure. To ensure optimal durability of the chosen material, it should remain shielded from direct sunshine by topsoil, bark mulch, or similar protective covering.