Finding the Best Geomembrane Suppliers

Geomembranes are important materials used for a variety of applications such as mining, landfills, dams, canals, and more. Choosing the right geomembrane supplier is crucial to get high quality products that meet design and performance specifications. This comprehensive guide provides tips on selecting reputable geomembrane manufacturers and vendors.

Overview of Geomembranes

Geomembranes are essentially large sheets of impervious synthetic or rubber material used as barriers against liquids or gases. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:

What Are Geomembranes?

  • Geomembranes are continuous barrier sheets made of polymeric or rubber materials that are used for geotechnical and civil engineering projects.
  • They are manufactured in long rolls and installed as liners or covers to prevent migration of fluids.
  • Geomembranes have very low hydraulic conductivity, which means liquids or gasses cannot permeate through them.
  • They are flexible membranes that can follow contours and shapes of surfaces or structures where they are installed.
  • Common materials used for geomembranes include PVC, HDPE, LLDPE, PP, EPDM, XR-5, CSPE, and more.
  • Geomembranes come in either smooth or textured surfaces and in thickness ranging from 30 mils to 200 mils typically.
  • Key properties are impermeability, flexibility, chemical resistance, strength, durability, and long term performance.

Geomembrane Applications

Geomembranes provide a barrier function for projects such as:

  • Landfill liners and covers
  • Mining liners
  • Irrigation canals
  • Dam waterproofing
  • Tunnel waterproofing
  • Pond liners -Heap leach pads
  • Secondary containment

Benefits of Using Geomembranes

Some benefits that make geomembranes popular options:

  • Impermeable – very low hydraulic conductivity blocks fluids
  • Flexible – ease of handling, installation, and conformity
  • Durable – high tensile strength and puncture resistance
  • Inert – chemically resistant to most acids, oils, gases
  • Cost-effective – competitive material and installation costs
  • Reliable – proven long term performance
  • Lightweight – reduced transportation costs
  • Customizable – can be fabricated to required shapes and sizes

So in summary, geomembranes provide a versatile, impermeable barrier to contain materials and prevent contamination or loss. Choosing the optimal product design and material is key based on the application and environment.

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Types of Geomembranes

There are a wide variety of geomembrane materials available. Each type has different properties, advantages, and limitations.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • One of the most common and earliest geomembrane materials
  • Low cost, easy installation, good flexibility
  • Resistant to acids, alkalis, salts, oils, microbes
  • Can be clear or opaque with backings
  • Temperature use range: -20°C to 70°C
  • Vulnerable to UV exposure, heat welding needed

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Most popular and widely used geomembrane today
  • Durable, flexible, high tensile strength
  • Stable in a wide pH range
  • Cost-effective, factory welded seams
  • Temperature rating: -70°C to 80°C
  • Available as smooth or textured product

Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)

  • Modified PE with more uniform structure
  • Excellent flexibility, elongation, and field weldability
  • Improved stress crack and puncture resistance
  • Withstands exposure to many chemicals and acids
  • Temperature range: -70°C to 80°C
  • Lower cost alternative to HDPE

Polypropylene (PP) Geomembrane

  • High chemical resistance especially to acids
  • Withstands higher temperatures up to 95°C
  • Resists many solvents and oils
  • Rigid material, mostly used in small ponds
  • Low cost, easy field fabrication
  • Limited availability compared to PE

Chlorosulphonated Polyethylene (CSPE)

  • Branded as Hypalon geomembrane
  • Excellent ozone & weathering resistance
  • Retains flexibility in low temperatures
  • Withstands aqueous acids, alkalis, sewage
  • Temperature rating: -40°C to 107°C
  • Relatively higher cost product
  • Limited number of suppliers

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

  • Rubber-like, very flexible geomembrane
  • Can elongate over 300% before rupture
  • Resists tearing, weathering, and aging
  • Low temperature performance to -45°C
  • Sewn field seams, no welding required
  • Moderately high cost compared to others

Bituminous Geomembranes

  • Asphalt or asphalt modified geomembranes
  • Act as both barrier and waterproofing
  • Withstand many chemical and oils
  • Limitations on slopes due to flow
  • Seaming done by torching process
  • Upper temperature limit of approximately 85°C

In summary, HDPE and LLDPE are the most common geomembranes but several other materials are available for specialized applications and environments. The geomembrane type can be selected based on chemical compatibility, temperature range, flexibility, installation requirements and cost considerations among other factors.

Geomembrane Formats

In addition to material choices, geomembranes come in different surface textures and formats:

  • Smooth geomembranes – Glossy flat surface on both sides. Low friction can require single sided texturing for slopes.
  • Textured geomembranes – One or both sides are textured during fabrication to provide high interface friction. Used on steep slopes, landfill covers, and liner caps.
  • Reinforced geomembranes – They contain a geotextile or geogrid reinforcement layer for improved puncture and tear resistance.
  • Fabric backed geomembranes – Geotextile backing provides cushioning and protects against subgrade damage.
  • Multi-component geomembranes – Two or more materials factory laminated for unique properties. Example: HDPE heat fused to PP for improved chemical resistance.
  • Prefabricated panels – For faster installation, geomembranes can be fabricated into large panels with all required penetrations and boots.

So in addition to the base material, the texture, reinforcements, and fabrication can be customized for the design requirements.

Geomembrane Selection Guide

Choosing the optimal geomembrane involves considerations such as project environment, key properties required, installation constraints, and cost. Here is a general guide on geomembrane selection criteria:

Project Conditions and Requirements

  • Fluid or gas containment – Consider chemical compatibility, temperature, permeation rate needed. Select geomembrane with lowest permeability rating for the substance.
  • Environment – If exposed to weathering, high temperatures, or damage risks, enhanced durability required.
  • Subgrade – For soft or uneven subgrade, select highly flexible, reinforced geomembrane.
  • Slope stability – On steep slopes, go with textured geomembrane and analyze friction needs.
  • Seaming feasibility – For remote sites with limited access, may require field seaming over factory seamed panels.
  • Expected lifetime – Mission critical or permanent structures require high performance geomembranes. Lower lifetime projects can use cheaper options.

Key Geomembrane Properties

  • Permeability – Measure of how well a geomembrane blocks fluid/gas passage. Reported in units of cm/sec. Lower value indicates better barrier performance.
  • Tensile strength – Indicates material strength to resist tearing. Measured as force per unit width (kN/m).
  • Puncture resistance – Measures resistance to piercing loads. Reported as force required to puncture (N).
  • Tear strength – Ability to withstand crack propagation forces. Measured in units of kN/m generally.
  • Elongation – Percent stretching before breakage. Materials with higher elongation have better flexibility.
  • Friction coefficient – Critical on slopes. Textured geomembranes provide high interface friction to prevent sliding.
  • Ozone/UV resistance – For exposed installation in sunlight and atmosphere, enhanced UV stabilization is required.
  • Chemical resistance – Compare geomembrane chemical compatibility chart to on-site fluids for safety factors.
  • Thermal stability – Measure of retained properties after heat exposure. Ensure geomembrane offers adequate high temperature rating.

Compare candidate materials on these key performance criteria relative to project requirements.

Installation Considerations

  • On-site fabrication – For remote sites or large custom panels, may require field welding over factory welds.
  • Anchor trenches – Long perimeter trenches often needed to secure edges and prevent uplift. Factor this constraint into material selection.
  • Leak monitoring – Geomembranes with monitoring systems to immediately detect failures are preferred for critical projects.
  • Access limitations – May influence decision for single larger panels vs. field seamed strips.
  • Weather constraints – Cold temperature materials become stiff and brittle. Seek flexibility rated to project lows.
  • Equipment needs – Some require special welding equipment. Others use basic tools. Assess project equipment access.

Evaluate installation feasibility along with material performance. Geomembranes requiring complex field fabrication may not be optimal for a given project site or application.

Cost Considerations

  • Material cost – Prices range widely from $2-$100+ per square meter depending on type. Factor in both material cost and total quantity needed.
  • Fabrication cost – Factory fabrication into large panels is preferred to minimize field seams. But custom shapes may add cost.
  • Transportation cost – Larger and heavier rolls add shipping cost. May influence material density choice.
  • Installation cost – Complex field fabrication and extensive anchor trenching can increase installed costs significantly.
  • Lifetime costs – Weigh higher upfront material expenses against longer term performance advantages.

Run an economic analysis to determine the optimal geomembrane product that meets performance needs at the lowest total installed cost.

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Leading Geomembrane Suppliers

There are over one hundred companies worldwide engaged in manufacturing and installation of geomembranes. Here are some of the leading and reputable geomembrane suppliers:

GSE Environmental

  • One of the world’s largest geosynthetics companies
  • Manufactures HDPE, LLDPE, fPP and other geomembranes
  • Also supplies geogrids, geotextiles, drainage systems
  • Brands include GSE Studliner, EcoLine, and more
  • Can customize factory panels for specific projects
  • Installation capabilities and technical support

Agru America Inc.

  • Major geomembrane manufacturer since 1977
  • Materials include HDPE, LLDPE, PVC, EPDM and more
  • Markets served span landfill, mining, water, and energy
  • Provides full-fledged engineering support
  • In-house lab and field testing capabilities
  • Global expertise adapted to regional needs

Solmax International Inc.

  • Key focus on geomembranes and geotextiles
  • Known for their HDPE and PVC products
  • Offer both smooth and textured geomembranes
  • Additional products include geogrids, geonets, drainage boards
  • Complete material warranty provided
  • Technical assistance for design and installation

Naue GmbH & Co. KG

  • German multinational in geosynthetics since 1890
  • Major global supplier of geomembranes
  • Materials manufactured include HDPE, PP, and CSPE
  • Innovator in textured geomembrane technology
  • Complete installation services offered
  • Strong reputation for quality and performance

Carlisle Construction Materials

  • Part of Carlisle Companies founded in 1917
  • Key brands include Semcor, Ultraweld, and BentoMat
  • Diverse geomembrane products and accessories
  • Focus on welding technologies
  • Design, fabrication, installation services
  • Representatives across 90 countries

Firestone Specialty Products

  • Subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation
  • Leading producer of geomembranes since 1980
  • Key brands are GumDrop, GeoGard, and GRS ultra
  • Materials include EPDM, PVC, XR-5, and specialty types
  • Technical support services for design and QC
  • Global manufacturing and installation network

These are some of the reputed organizations to consider when purchasing geomembranes or related installation services. Be sure to evaluate multiple suppliers on product lines, services, warranties, and customer references.

Geomembrane Pricing

Geomembrane costs vary substantially depending on the material, thickness, size, fabrication, QA/QC testing, and order quantity. Here is an overview of typical pricing:

Material Costs

GeomembraneTypical Price Range
HDPE$2 – $6 per m2
LLDPE$2 – $12 per m2
PVC$3 – $10 per m2
PP$6 – $16 per m2
EPDM$15 – $60 per m2
CSPE$25 -$100 per m2
  • HDPE and LLDPE are most economical
  • PVC and PP are mid-range materials
  • CSPE and EPDM are premium-grade and priced higher
  • Material prices rise for higher thickness and grade

Product Format Pricing

  • Smooth geomembranes are lowest cost
  • Single-sided textured 10-15% higher
  • Double sided texturing adds 20-30%
  • Factory fabricated panels ~30% over raw rolls

Order Quantity Discounts

  • Unit prices reduce significantly for larger quantity orders
  • Maximum discount for 100,000 m2+ volume orders
  • Small prototype orders may cost 80% more per m2

Shipping Costs

  • Shipping geomembrane rolls long distances gets expensive
  • Typically priced per truckload based on quantity ordered
  • Containerized shipping preferred for international delivery

Installation Costs

  • Installation typically costs $5 – $15 per m2
  • Complex sites or custom panels may cost $25+ per m2
  • Certified installers and comprehensive QA/QC testing adds cost

Total Project Costs

  • Total prices for a full geomembrane system with materials, design, fabrication, shipping, installation, and testing can range from $15 – $125+ per m2 for the completed barrier system.

Get detailed budgetary quotes from multiple geomembrane suppliers to accurately estimate total project costs.

How to Choose a Geomembrane Supplier

Selecting the right geomembrane provider involves evaluating numerous factors about their capabilities, track record, and services.

Key Criteria for Geomembrane Supplier Selection

  • Reputation – Good client reviews and references. Look for proven experience in your application.
  • Quality – Manufacturer should have rigorous quality control and testing. Require QA/QC reports and certifications.
  • Services – Seek suppliers offering design support, custom fabrication, installation, and post-sales service.
  • Technical expertise – Look for in-house engineering capabilities and experience.
  • Standards compliance – Products should meet established ASTM, GRI, and EPA standards.
  • Qualifications – Prefer certified and accredited manufacturers and installers. Require documentation.
  • Financials – Review financial health and production capacity to meet commitments.
  • Warranties – Geomembrane materials and installation should have guaranteed warranties.
  • Sustainability – Seek environmentally responsible companies and processes.
  • Safety record – Require suppliers to share safety metrics and procedures.

Shortlist suppliers that meet your expectations on these selection criteria.

Geomembrane Supplier Vetting Process

  • Start by researching a diverse list of reputed geomembrane manufacturers and installers.
  • Compare capabilities of companies to fabricate your required geomembrane material and size.
  • Issue request for quotations (RFQ) to identify suppliers with cost-effective solutions.
  • Require technical product data sheets, design drawings, certifications, and references.
  • Review quotation details on materials, specifications, fabrication plans, timelines, warranties, and pricing.
  • Compare quotations and critique supplier qualifications, experience, quality procedures, and services.
  • Validate certifications, inspect production facilities if possible, and check client references.
  • Conduct a credit and financial check on the shortlisted organizations.
  • Initiate discussions with 2-3 finalists to clarify questions and negotiate optimal pricing and terms.
  • Make final supplier selection based on a combination of qualification criteria, expertise, quality, and total cost considerations.

Building long term relationships with reputed, trustworthy geomembrane suppliers reduces project risk and ensures high quality outcomes. Spend the time upfront to thoroughly vet potential suppliers before procurement.

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Working with Geomembrane Suppliers

Here are some best practices for working effectively with your chosen geomembrane supplier from design through installation:

Design Collaboration

  • Involve the geomembrane provider early in the design process
  • Perform on-site evaluation together with supplier experts
  • Discuss options for material, thickness, surfacing, seaming
  • Collaboratively develop specification, drawings, fabrication, and installation plans

Prototype and Testing

  • Request geomembrane samples for design verification testing
  • Require suppliers to share QA/QC certifications and test reports
  • Inspect prototypes before full production proceeds
  • Audit supplier and third party quality control procedures

Fabrication Oversight

  • Have regular inspection and progress updates during fabrication
  • Verify key steps like seaming, edge finishing, and packaging
  • Perform audit inspections of production line and inventory
  • Review and approve all quality documentation

Installation Planning

  • Create detailed geomembrane deployment plans with installers
  • Ensure proper site preparation and equipment mobilization
  • Train installation personnel on specifications and procedures
  • Define responsibilities for testing, inspection, and documentation

Performance Monitoring

  • Deploy monitoring systems for
  • Deploy monitoring systems for leak detection and prevention
  • Perform regular inspections and testing during installation
  • Require installers to immediately fix any defects identified
  • Verify all field seaming work meets specified tolerances
  • Document as-built details like panel placement, seams, anchors
  • Conduct final project audit and collect all QC reports

Ongoing Support

  • Ensure geomembrane supplier provides post-installation support
  • Review maintenance recommendations and procedures
  • Have a plan for repairs if future issues arise
  • Create a system for long term monitoring and inspections
  • Discuss extended warranties and service contracts

Supplier Scorecard

  • Rate and track supplier performance across key metrics:
  • Product quality
  • On-time delivery
  • Responsiveness
  • Communication
  • Documentation
  • Problem resolution
  • Flexibility
  • Continuous improvement

Build strong relationships with geomembrane providers and keep them accountable through performance scorecards.

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Geomembrane Installation Guide

Proper geomembrane installation is crucial for achieving design performance and longevity. Here are best practices:

Site Preparation

  • Clear area of debris, rocks, roots, and sharp objects
  • Level and smooth foundation soil
  • Ensure subgrade meets specifications for density and smoothness
  • Prepare anchor trenches around perimeter as needed

Material Handling

  • Offload geomembrane rolls carefully without damage
  • Avoid cores contacting ground or overheating in sun
  • Position carefully, avoid tensile stresses and abrasion


  • Roll out geomembrane panels according to layout drawings
  • Allow excess material at seams for welding overlap
  • Offset factory seams between adjacent panels
  • Orient texturing properly on slopes for friction

Field Seaming

  • Clean geomembrane surfaces in seam areas
  • Use qualified personnel and approved welding equipment
  • Monitor parameters like temperature, speed, pressure
  • Perform trial welds first to set equipment properly
  • Conduct field testing on all seams (air pressure, vacuum box, shear/peel tests)


  • Install anchors at intervals along sheet edges
  • Use adhesive, weighted cover soil, or mechanical devices
  • Backfill perimeter anchor trenches over secured edges

Penetrations and Repairs

  • Seal geomembrane properly around protrusions like pipes
  • Patch any tears or holes identified promptly
  • Test all repairs to verify water-tight seal


  • Record as-built details and photographs meticulously
  • Document all testing, deployment, seaming, and inspection activities
  • Maintain installation QA/QC records for future reference

Proper geomembrane installation workflow and quality control is crucial to create an impermeable barrier that will perform over the long term.

Geomembrane Maintenance Tips

Routine inspection and preventative maintenance helps maximize geomembrane lifespan and performance.

Scheduled Inspections

  • Perform regular visual inspections for defects or degradation
  • Check for signs of liner shifting, settlement, or instability
  • Inspect areas around penetrations, pipes, and drains
  • Look for cracks, holes, discoloration in geomembrane
  • Monitor performance of monitoring and leak detection systems
  • Ensure drainage layers are functioning properly

Ongoing Monitoring

  • Use settlement markers and survey monuments to track subgrade movement
  • Deploy gas probes or groundwater monitoring wells to check for breaches
  • Perform electrical leak detection surveys annually
  • Log inspection data to identify potential trends

Preventative Repairs

  • Address minor defects immediately before they expand
  • Remove vegetative growth regularly to prevent root damage
  • Re-anchor sheet if any edge slippage observed
  • Remediate subgrade issues like ponded water or erosion

Major Repairs

  • Seal significant holes or tears with geomembrane patch bonded over defect
  • For large failures, remove backfill to expose and replace entire section
  • Match original specifications for repair materials and installation
  • Extensively test repaired sections for water-tight integrity


  • Document all maintenance activities, observations and tests
  • Track repairs, warranty claims, and geomembrane performance
  • Update as-built drawings if any changes occur
  • Maintain complete maintenance history

Proactive geomembrane maintenance preserves performance and prevents major failures.

Geomembrane Failure Modes

Understanding common geomembrane failure modes helps identify problems early and prevent major damage.

Top Causes of Geomembrane Failure

  • Improper seaming during installation
  • Thermal or wind uplift of edges
  • Cracks from freeze-thaw cycles
  • Chemical attack from incompatible fluids
  • Mechanical damage during backfilling
  • Support soil subsidence or erosion
  • Buckling from unbalanced loads
  • Animal burrowing or root penetration
  • UV degradation of uncovered sheets

Troubleshooting Guide

Failure ModeDetectabilityRepairabilityPrevention
Defective seamsModerateHighProper seaming procedures and field testing
Uplift and billowingEasyModerateProper anchoring of edges
CrackingModerateHigh if caught earlyUse flexible geomembrane, Maintain cover soil
Chemical attackDifficultLowConduct chemical compatibility testing
Mechanical damageEasyHigh if localizedCareful backfilling, no equipment direct contact
Subgrade movementModerateDifficult, may require reinstallationStable subgrade preparation, maintain drainage
BucklingEasyModerateCareful backfilling, prevent uneven loads
PenetrationsEasyHigh if promptly repairedImmediate sealing of holes
UV degradationEasyLowMaintain sufficient cover depth

Routine inspections and scheduled maintenance allows detecting and addressing many failure modes promptly.

Geomembrane Selection: Pros vs Cons

Let’s compare the pros and cons of different geomembrane materials:

HDPE Geomembranes


  • Cost-effective, good value
  • High strength and puncture resistance
  • Flexible over wide temperature range
  • Resistant to many chemicals
  • Long performance history


  • Subject to some environmental stress cracking
  • Limitations with highly aggressive chemicals
  • Seaming can be challenging compared to other materials

PVC Geomembranes


  • Lowest cost material option
  • Good flexibility and seamability
  • Long-term durability if shielded from UV


  • Limited chemical resistance
  • Poor cold temperature flexibility
  • Requires meticulous seaming protocol

LLDPE Geomembranes


  • Excellent flexibility and field weldability
  • Low temperature durability
  • Good chemical resistance
  • More puncture resistant than HDPE


  • Expensive compared to HDPE
  • Potential creep and stress cracking over time
  • Requires high quality seams

Polypropylene Geomembranes


  • High resistance to acids and alkalis
  • Withstands higher temperatures
  • Easy to repair and fabricate in field


  • Poor flexibility and cold weather performance
  • Restricted supplier availability
  • Subject to degradation and cracking over time

CSPE Geomembranes


  • Extremely durable polymer
  • Best in class weathering resistance
  • Low permeability and high chemical resistance


  • Very expensive material option
  • Limited global availability
  • Requires high quality installation

Evaluating the pros and cons of each material aids selection of the optimal geomembrane for specific project needs and environment.

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Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about geomembranes:

Q: What is the typical lifespan of geomembranes?

A: With proper installation and maintenance, geomembranes typically last from 20-50 years depending on the material and project environment. HDPE and LLDPE geomembranes often outlast the design life of most projects.

Q: Can you walk on installed geomembranes?

A: It is best to avoid direct walking on geomembranes to prevent damage. Use timber boards or equivalent to spread out foot traffic impact if access is required.

Q: How are geomembranes adhered to surfaces?

A: Geomembranes are not directly adhered but rather sealed to substrates using anchors or weighted cover materials. Adhesive bonding is very difficult and generally not feasible.

Q: How long does geomembrane installation take?

A: Installation time depends on the size but typical rates are 1000 – 3000 m2 per day for medium sized projects with experienced crews.

Q: Can geomembranes have insulation properties?

A: Geomembranes themselves do not offer insulation values but insulating materials like foams or mineral wool can be integrated above or below them as needed.

Q: How thick should geomembrane liners be?

A: Typical thicknesses range from 30 mil for temporary liners up to 200 mil for hazardous waste containment. Most water containment applications use 80 mil HDPE.

Q: How are geomembranes seamed together?

A: Factory seams are usually thermal fusion welds while field seams employ thermal welding or chemical fusion methods. All seams are destructively tested.

Q: How do you repair a puncture in a geomembrane?

A: Small punctures can be patched by welding a piece of geomembrane over the damaged area after cleaning. Larger failures may require replacing whole sheet sections.

Q: What is the minimum slope for lining a pond?

A: Most liners require only 0.5-1% slope for low seepage drainage. Textured liners can conform to almost any slope but smooth geomembranes may need >3% slope.

Q: Can landfill liners have perforations for water drainage?

A: No, landfill liner systems are fully impermeable to maximize leachate containment. Separate leachate collection and drainage systems are installed above liners.

Proper design, material selection, installation, and maintenance are key to ensure geomembranes perform reliably over their intended lifetime.

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