We offer many different types of rope here at The Rope People. Each different material has it's benefits and drawbacks, so here's some information to guide you through the qualities and uses of each one.
Made from plastics, fibres are extruded and spun into yarn and then twisted or braided by machine. Synthetic ropes have many advantages above natural products, including the level of corrosion, UV, and abrasion resistance, and are in most cases far stronger than traditional ropes. Within the synthetic category there are several popular types of rope each with it's own attributes:
Most common due to its price - it's the cheapest of the synthetic fibre ropes, it's strong for its weight but doesn't have as good UV or abrasion resistance as the others, meaning without treatment its long-term outdoor applications are limited. Polypropylene is especially useful in marine environments because it floats.
Polypropylene stretches under heavy loads so may not be ideal for towing or lifting heavy loads depending on the application.
The second most common rope type, its generally considered the best all-round material for lines when ultimate weight or strength isn't a primary concern. With excellent UV and chemical resistance, it also retains its strength when wet which makes it perfect for outdoor and marine environments. Softer on the hands, it's great for climbing, sailing, and theatre applications where the rope are being handled often.
Dyneema (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene)
Incredibly strong, Dyneema has extremely long fibre chains distributing load more effectively than most other materials, and is as 15 times as strong as steel wire, and is one of the strongest synthetic materials known to man. It's also very lightweight for it's strength making it an incredibly high performing rope, perfect for climbing where you'll be carrying rope or sailing due to how it floats. Dyneema is ideal for when strength and weight are a priority.
In general, natural fibres are weaker and heavier, and are often less resiliant to forms of chemical and physical abrasion, meaning they're not as often used anymore for most purposes. Having a rougher handfeel, these types of rope are used for more decorative applications now with garden and outdoor use for things like decking, borders, and barriers.
Used for centuries, it has a breaking strength lower than that of most synthetic fibres, but has the classic look and feel many people are looking for when selecting a rope for decorative or restorative purposes. It is somewhat UV resistant, ideal for outdoor use especially under cover like on decking etc.
Manila (often called Manila Hemp) is another natural fibre with rougher fibres than most due to the banana plant it comes from. It's more durable, flexible, and resistant to salt water than Hemp, though it can shrink slightly when exposed to water - so if using it outside please remember to leave extra slack in the line to ensure undue stress isn't placed on posts and fixings.
Lighter in colour than other natural fibres, it's 100% natural and resistant to deterioration in salt water, and sought after for garden and home uses. The roughness of sisal is part of its appeal, finding a big audience with cat owners who create or refurbish their own scratching posts with sisal.
Choosing the best rope for you
The choice of rope is a highly individual one, since there are ropes of all sizes and breaking strengths, aesthetics come into play with dozens of colours available and thousands of combinations of diameter and length, we understand you may need a helping hand to get the perfect rope. Our staff pride themselves on being very knowledgeable about rope and are happy to answer all your questions either on 01634 566 412 or via email here.