Woven vs. Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric: Which One is Right for Your Project?

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 06/07/24 •  6 min read

Geotextile fabrics play a vital role in many civil engineering and landscaping projects. They help with soil stabilization, filtration, and drainage, among other functions. But how do you know which type of geotextile fabric to choose for your project – woven or non-woven?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between woven and non-woven geotextile fabrics, compare their durability, and determine which one is better suited for drainage applications.

What is the Difference Between Woven and Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric?

non-woven vs. woven geotextile fabric

Woven geotextile fabrics are made by weaving together individual threads or yarns to form a tight, uniform structure. They have a high tensile strength, which makes them ideal for reinforcing soils and preventing erosion. Woven fabrics are also relatively lightweight and easy to install.

Non-woven geotextile fabrics, on the other hand, are made by bonding fibers together through a process like needle-punching or heat treatment. This creates a more random, porous structure that is excellent for filtration and drainage applications. Non-woven fabrics are generally thicker and heavier than woven fabrics.

Comparison Table of Woven and Non-Woven Geotextile Fabrics

AspectWoven Geotextile FabricNon-Woven Geotextile Fabric
Manufacturing processWeaving threads or yarnsBonding fibers
StructureUniform, tightRandom, porous
Tensile strengthHighLower than woven
Filtration & drainageLess effectiveHighly effective

Which Type of Geotextile Fabric is More Durable?

Woven geotextile fabrics generally offer greater tensile strength, making them more durable for applications that require reinforcement and soil stabilization. However, non-woven fabrics can still provide adequate durability for many projects, especially those involving drainage and filtration.

Which Type of Geotextile Fabric is Better for Drainage?

Non-woven geotextile fabric is better for drainage than woven geotextile fabric.

Non-woven geotextile fabric is made of polypropylene fibers that are randomly connected through a network, creating a felt-like feel to it. Non-geotextile provides separation, filtration, and drainage when installed due to its porous structure.

Non-woven geotextile fabric is most commonly used as a landscape material to support adequate drainage, filtration, and ground stabilization especially for projects like French drains (learn more about filter fabric for French drain systems here).

On the other hand, woven geotextile fabrics have limited drainage capabilities compared to non-woven geotextile fabrics. They are commonly used in road construction, parking lots, etc where they can provide strength and stability to the soil

Woven geotextile fabric has several applications in the construction industry. Woven geotextile fabrics are mainly used for reinforcement purposes, such as reinforcing the soil in retaining walls, below highway embankments, and beneath driveways, parking lots, residential streets, and highways. They have a high load capacity and are commonly used in road construction and parking lots, where they can provide strength and stability to the soil. Woven geotextile fabrics provide biaxial resistance, which means they can resist forces in two directions. They are also used to increase the strength of the soil and perform the function of separation. However, woven geotextile fabrics have limited drainage capabilities compared to non-woven geotextile fabrics.

Non-woven geotextile fabric has several applications, including soil separation and permeability, wrapping French drains, sub-surface drainage solutions, rock riprap revetment, filtration, and drainage. Non-woven geotextile fabric is typically used in applications where filtration and separation are required.

UseRecommended Geotextile Fabric
French drainsNon-woven
Road stabilizationWoven
Erosion controlWoven
Filtration & separationNon-woven
Landfill liningNon-woven
Retaining wall drainageNon-woven
Garden landscapingNon-woven
Under a deck or patioNon-woven
Under brick walkways and patiosWoven
Driveway stabilizationWoven
Slope reinforcementWoven
Weed barrier in garden bedsNon-woven

Remember, these recommendations are general guidelines, and it’s essential to consider the specific requirements of your project. When in doubt, consult with a professional or the geotextile fabric manufacturer for guidance.

Weights of Woven vs. Non-Woven Geotextile Fabrics

When it comes to selecting the right geotextile fabric for your project, understanding the different weights available for both woven and non-woven fabrics is crucial. The weight of a geotextile fabric is measured in grams per square meter (gsm) or ounces per square yard (oz/sy), and it can greatly impact the fabric’s performance, durability, and application suitability.

Woven Geotextile Fabric Weights

Woven geotextile fabrics are available in various weights, typically ranging from 100 gsm (3 oz/sy) to 400 gsm (12 oz/sy). Lighter-weight woven fabrics, such as those around 100 gsm (3 oz/sy), are best suited for less demanding applications like garden pathways, while heavier weights, like 400 gsm (12 oz/sy), are ideal for heavy-duty applications like road stabilization and erosion control.

The weight of a woven fabric will generally impact its tensile strength and durability.

Weight Range (gsm)Weight Range (oz/sy)Typical Applications
1003Garden pathways, light landscaping
2006Patio and walkway stabilization
3009Driveway stabilization, slope reinforcement
40012Heavy-duty road stabilization, erosion control

Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric Weights

Non-woven geotextile fabrics also come in various weights, generally ranging from 70 gsm (2 oz/sy) to 1000 gsm (30 oz/sy). Lighter weights, such as 70 gsm (2 oz/sy), work well as weed barriers in garden beds and for light drainage applications. Heavier weights, like 1000 gsm (30 oz/sy), are commonly used in more demanding applications like landfill lining and retaining wall drainage.

The weight of a non-woven fabric will generally influence its filtration, drainage, and puncture resistance capabilities.

Weight Range (gsm)Weight Range (oz/sy)Typical Applications
702Weed barrier, light drainage
2006Garden landscaping, under decks or patios
40012Retaining wall drainage, French drains
100030Landfill lining, heavy-duty drainage

Selecting the appropriate weight for woven or non-woven geotextile fabrics is crucial for ensuring optimal performance in your project.

The tables above can serve as a general guideline but always consult with a professional or the geotextile fabric manufacturer for the best recommendation tailored to your project’s specific requirements.

Conclusion: The Right GeoTextile Fabric is Different For Each Project

In summary, the choice between woven and non-woven geotextile fabrics depends on your project’s specific needs.

Woven fabrics are ideal for projects requiring reinforcement and soil stabilization, while non-woven fabrics excel in drainage and filtration applications.

Use the information provided in this blog post to help guide your decision and ensure the success of your project.


At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.