Most divider curtains on the market are made out of a combination of a solid vinyl panel and a semi-transparent vinyl mesh. Some are made completely of one or the other (or neither – net curtains are also available, but that’s a different article!). Getting the right combination can make a big difference in the look and function of your facility. Both materials will stop a ball or an athlete, but here are five things to keep in mind when making your choice:
1) Visibility: Athletes, coaches, and referees are constantly tracking the ball, other players, and much more: eliminate distractions of other games and activities with solid vinyl lower portion. Solid vinyl can be used to keep activities isolated from one another and cut down on distractions. If you have competitive leagues using your facility, consider a solid vinyl panel to at least 8’-0” high to properly isolate one game from another. For grade schools or high schools, where supervision takes precedent, consider lowering the solid vinyl area to 4’-0” high and leaving the remainder mesh to allow adults to see clearly across your facility.
2) Lighting: Proper lighting is a tough to achieve in a gym, and solid vinyl can block natural or fixture lighting when in the down position. Specifying the top of your curtain be made out of vinyl mesh will allow you to get the most out of the available light. If lighting is going to be a challenge in your space, stay away from a full solid curtain. Mesh will offer you 55% opacity letting most of the light through. Certain models of curtains such as a Center-Roll™ and Roll-Fold can be dropped from the rafters with chains or straps to allow open space above a certain elevation.
3) Air flow: Consider the ventilation and airflow with the curtain in both the storage and down position. The more mesh that you have on your curtain, the less it will block air circulation. If you have high airflow due to a nearby duct, consider choosing a colored mesh (not white mesh) as airflow in a particular are can cause it to discolor due to dust/dirt in the ventilation.
4) Sound: Unless you choose a specialty acoustical curtain, divider curtains do not effectively separate sounds in one space from the other though vinyl will block slightly more sound then a mesh. Consider the activities that will be going on in an area and if the upgrade to an acoustical curtain is worth the investment.
5) Graphics: If a custom look is important to your facility, plan to have at least 61″ of solid vinyl (preferably 8′-10′ so the art can be placed at eye level) for better visibility. Not sure what the curtain should look like? Many manufacturers offer several choices or have graphic services available to help you decide (you provide the vector logo artwork).