Fabric vs. Metal Ductwork: Which is Better?

Fabric vs. Metal Ductwork: Which is Better?


Ductwork improves circulation throughout a building to provide better quality air and can even save you money on energy costs if you implement it correctly. With both fabric and metal ductwork options available, it’s essential that you determine which is best for your building project needs. 

Your HVAC system will need either fabric or metal ductwork to provide quality air dispersion throughout a building at just the right temperature. Fabric ductwork can be made with lightweight materials that help heat and cool your space efficiently. Metal ductwork uses galvanized steel and aluminum, often available in various sizes and shapes to fit your needs perfectly. If ductwork didn’t exist, there would be no air circulation in a building and it would be much harder to cool it down or heat it up. At Advantage Supply, we use metal and fabric ductwork for a variety of projects and want you to be confident in your choice of ductwork. Here’s our take on the differences and benefits of both fabric and metal ductwork. 

Difference Between Fabric and Metal Ductwork

 Fabric Ductwork

  • Fabric ductwork is made with lightweight textile materials that are easy to install and offer great flexibility. 
  • The small holes in the fabric optimize the airflow in the duct to heat and cool each room evenly.
  • Fabric ductwork can be cleaned by removing it from the ducts and washing the material along with sanitizing the actual ducts. 
  • The fabric is placed in precise positioning to ensure even distribution of air throughout a home or building, which makes it energy efficient. 
  • Fabric ductwork is affordable since the fabric is very low cost for suppliers, making it a great pick for those on a budget.

Metal Ductwork 

  • Metal ductwork is made with aluminum and galvanized steel that can last anywhere from 20-25 years, making it worth the investment for long-term use.
  • Because of the material and hollow inside, there is very little air resistance while distributing the flow of air throughout a building. 
  • The change in temperature inside the HVAC system can cause condensation that needs to be cleaned to maintain the integrity of the duct. 
  • The maintenance can be quite complicated and requires attention to detail to ensure parts are assembled correctly after cleaning. 
  • The rigid design requires precise measurements before installing to prevent air leaks where each part meets. To prevent this from happening, we have HVAC ductwork and fittings available for your specific projects.

Pros of Fabric Ductwork

Metal and fabric ductwork have their differences that allow you to pick and choose which one will be best for your project. Fabric is often a better option for many situations — here’s why:

  • Fabric ducting is super lightweight and breathable to offer an even distribution of airflow throughout a building. 
  • The flexibility of the fabric allows for easy installation and does not require precise measurements like metal ducts.
  • There is minimal air leakage with fabric ductwork because there are no rigid material overlaps as you would see in metal ductwork. 
  • Fabric will not collect condensation or cause water to drip from the ducts when the temperature changes. 

From permeable lightweight, permeable medium-weight, and non-porous heavy-weight, we have fabric ductwork available for all your needs. 

Pros of Metal Ductwork

Metal ductwork is still the chosen one by many experts because of how well it works when it is installed correctly. Here’s why it’s the first choice for many:

  • Metal offers durability and a long lifespan that fabric simply cannot.
  • Metal ductwork is less likely to grow and harbor mold which could contaminate your environment. 
  • Sheet metal is easy to clean and has minimal care so you won’t have to do it often.
  • With minimal air resistance, your desired temperature of air will quickly make its way into any room since it will not have to go through any fabric. 

Browse our selection of metal ductwork and other supplies to ensure your HVAC system runs as smoothly as possible. With the right ducting for your project, your HVAC unit will deliver quality air to any room in minimal time. 

Which one is right for you? 

Fabric ductwork is more commonly used for large commercial spaces and manufacturing facilities because of its high efficiency rate and energy-saving construction while metal ductwork can be used for all projects. However, the price is what deters many customers from using it. It’s more expensive overall, but can last for decades without needing to be replaced. 

Due to the recent supply chain issues holding up traditional metal supplies, Advantage Supply has an integrated chain that allows us to manufacture and fulfill orders direct in North America. You’ll be able to start and complete your projects at a faster rate with our help at a much lower cost. Our systems can be made-to-order at an affordable price for anyone’s HVAC needs.

Allow Advantage Mechanical Supply to Help

With the many benefits of these popular ductwork options, leaving the hard work to the experts like Advantage Supply will allow you to have confidence in your choices. Whether your project is residential or commercial, we have the resources to help you complete it. 

We are the leading supplier of air ventilation and heating products, which allows us to answer any and all questions you may have concerning your HVAC needs. We can help guide and give you the confidence to choose the correct ductwork for your project. Submit your project bid to us so we can work with you to determine which ductwork is best for your needs. Our team is ready to inspect your technical plans and ensure your air quality is consistent, balanced, and comfortable.
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