cleaning/waterproofing canvas

Discussion in 'Canvas / Awnings / Add a Rooms / Tarps / Tents' started by green!, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. green!

    green! New Member

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    I have searched the forum and checked my owners manual but am looking for some advise to clean and waterproof my new to me 86 Coleman Colorado soft top . It has canvas sides and a vinyl type top call evolution 3 according to the manual. The canvas was replaced 7-10 years ago so it is in good shape just a bit dirty with a few very minor mildew stains.

    The owners book says to use non detergent Ivory snow? are they talking about the laundry soap?

    I think i can user 3m scotchguard on the canvas but what do you use on the evolution3 stuff.

    i guess i am just looking for tips on cleaning and waterproofing this particular type of canvas set up.

    thanks
     
  2. cmspence

    cmspence Member

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    i dont know to much about canvas but i just sent mine in a few weeks ago. I asked them(bear creek canvas) the same ? your asking they told me

    never use any water proofing or any kind of cleaning chemicals or products. the only thing they said i could do was use warm water and a soft brush if the stain does not come out with that im stuck with it

    i would like to see what others think about this also

    Edited by - cmspence on September 03 2008 18:57:33
     
  3. slammer21

    slammer21 New Member

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    Hey there. This is what I did with my new to me at the time 1996 Coleman Niagara. When we bought it, it was horrible. The canvas was jet black and just plain nasty.... so here's what we did....

    After using a ton of products to try and get it clean, we got ahold of a thing called CLR. You can get it just about anywhere. I just put a cup of that in a gallon of hot water and all the funk just wipes right off. Then, since the CLR cleaned all of the water proofing off of the canvas, I went to wal-mart and bought some water proofing stuff in the camping section. There were two types back there, the expensive can and the cheap can. The cheap can has a bright orange cap on it. So, I bought 8 cans of the cheap stuff and used 5 on the canvas. I sprayed the entire inside of the canvas and hit all of the seams on the outside.

    Now, I live in Florida and if you've been watching the news, it's been a little rainy here. Yes, I'm that guy that goes camping in a hurricane and has a great time doing it. The canvas is clean and the cheap stuff worked great on water proofing it. Not a drop inside all this past weekend.

    Hope this helps since I originally thought I was going to shell out 1200 bucks to get a new canvas. I ended up spending less than 75.00 to get it clean and water proofed and it has lasted the last 2 seasons. (Florida seasons are 12 months) I expect the canvas to give me another 3 to 4 years before I have to replace it.

    So, give the cheap stuff a try before you shell out the big bucks.

    Please do me a favor and let me know if everything works out great for you.

    Jason

    Remember yesterday, don't worry about tomorrow, Live for Today.
     
  4. sewserious

    sewserious New Member

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    If you tenting was replaced, the sides are now mostly likely plain ole cotton canvas and the vinyl-top is just that, vinyl. Evolution 3 was the original fabric where you now have canvas, not the vinyl part. That part was always vinyl.

    Personally, I would remove it, give it a good scrubbing with a mild laundry detergent (Dreft for baby clothes comes to mind) and then rinse it really, really well. If there are mold/ mildew stains, that means there is mold/mildew living there somewhere. Bleach is the only thing that will kill it (I don't buy the idea that you are stuck with the stains and that you can't use anything else to clean it).

    The key is to rinse really well (which can't be done IMHO while the tenting is on the camper). Detergent residue will cause leaks due to water tension properties of the canvas, breakdown of the fabric over time, etc. Plain old dirt and mold/mildew can cause the same problems. Mold/mildew will eventually eat holes in the fabric if left long enough. Dirt/dust is abrasive, even if you can't see it.

    Me '60 DH '56 2 DDs and 2 DGDs
    '01 Oldsmobile Silhouette <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">
    '93 Coleman Roanoke <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
     
  5. green!

    green! New Member

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    I emailed the previous owner and she confirmed the canvas was not the original . It was replaced 7-10 years ago. (it looks newer than that) . So like Sewserious said it is most likely not Evo.3 fabric . Is that a good bet? how could I tell ? The top and bottom part do look like heavy vinyl. The part in the middle looks like cloth. what does evolution3 look like???

    I washed it with a very mild solution of simple green. and rinsed with lots of water. The canvas seems to bead water and the vinyl too. do i need to do further waterproofing or seem sealing?
     
  6. jenmel

    jenmel Hudson Valley, NY

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    Evolution 3 sort of looks like the waffle fabric like you'd wear in long underwear. It definitely looks different than canvas.

    I was trying to crop a picture of ours and zoom so that you could see, but I can't get it to work right. However, if you want to take a look, click on my album (the little camera thing on the left), go to our before and after shots, and then click on the back of our camper. You can actually zoom in and see what it looks like. Ours is a 1984, so would be similar to what yours originally had.

    Jen and DH 2 boys -'03 & '05, & camping shih tzu, Bailey
    84 Coleman Cape Cod -"The Taj" <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
    & 00 Dodge Caravan Sport
     
  7. Ken1967

    Ken1967 Can't wait to Camp!

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    Well lots of different takes on cleaning and sealing "canvas" or "tenting"... I think my gut feeling is to check with the dealership and see what they say works best to clean them and whether any water proofing is necessary. I did see the term seam sealer in several threads... does anyone know what that is?
     
  8. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    Just my 2¢, but the best bet is to go to the pup manufacturer's web page, hit the Contact Us link, and either call the manufacturer or send them a message to ask what to use on your pup to clean and weatherproof the canvas. Dealers usually sell a couple of different brands, and sometimes things can get confused. I just prefer to get the info straight from the horse's mouth.

    Seam sealer is a product used to seal up the needle holes in sewn fabrics. It comes in a tube, and you can get it at sewing centers, camping outfitters, and marine upholstery shops. It's a couple of bucks a tube, and 1 tube is probably more than you'll ever use on any 1 pup.
     
  9. Ken1967

    Ken1967 Can't wait to Camp!

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    Thanks for the advice! Will look for seam sealer this weekend!
    How often do you have to apply the sealer?
     
  10. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    You should only have to apply seam sealer once. If down the road you get some seepage through a seam, apply it again.
     
  11. kpthook

    kpthook New Member

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    A couple observations.

    No fabric will stay waterproof forever. The elements, UV and washing the fabric overtime will affect the chemicals used to “waterproof” the fabric and thread.

    IMO the best bang for the buck on waterproofing the canvas and seams is Starbrite waterproofing. I tried other products with very little success. I apply it twice a year (I camp quite a bit and between the a/c condensate, the sun, rain and humidity is brutal to the canvas and I am not interested in dealing with a leak) on my 96 Coleman Key West which has the original canvas. I purchase here in Florida at West Marine. A gallon was about $50. You apply on dry canvas and seams with a brush. Inside and out. I use a cheap chip brush. 2 coats. About ½ gal or less. You saturate the fabric and seams, especially the seams, with this product. Takes a couple hours to dry for each coat. After it has dried, there is no odor or color change to the fabric. You don’t use it on the Sunbrella which is used for the bunk end tops.

    I have been in some serious down pours and no leaks. No leaks at the seams from the a/c condensate draining.
     
  12. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    I can't speak for all makes of pup, but Sunbrella wasn't used on bunk end tops of any of the pups I've seen. Sunbrella was used as the canvas walls, but the bunk end tops were made of a vinyl like Veada.

    http://veada.com/camper-canvas/tent-camper-vinyl.html

    Sunbrella is a brand name for a woven acrylic fabric. They make several different types of fabric for everything from awnings and tents to boat covers and tops to upholstery. The best bet before deciding on which waterproofing to apply to any canvas would be to contact the manufacturer or a dealer in your area and ask them for a recommendation. At the very least, reading the owner's manual might give you a recommendation.

    Good luck!
     
  13. kpthook

    kpthook New Member

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    Hey Dusty,

    Me bad on the Sunbrella. LOL. Good link on the material.

    i agree, to a point, on the manuacturer recomendaton.

    There is a great library of owner’s manuals here on PopUpPortal and a quick read through the Coleman/Fleetwood years started with Scotch Guard Fabric Protector, which was reformulated in 2003. It doesn’t get high marks for true waterproofing. Only comes as an aerosol at the consumer level.

    In the later years they switched to 303 Hi Tech Fabric Guard which is a great product. And Expensive. Depending where you buy it anywhere from $80-$100 gallon.

    Then StarBrite was recommended by a friend who uses it on his sails. Has great reviews. Less money. It’s a great product in my opinion and just as good as the 303 product.

    IMO over the long term, at least for those pop ups that have the vinyl roof/canvas sides, if you don’t use a product like StarBrite or 303 where the seam is at for the roof/side, the fabric backing of the vinyl will start to wick water when it rains/air-conditioning condensate.
     
  14. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    The reason the different weatherproofing treatments were recommended over the years is because the tent fabric changed over the years. In the early years Coleman used 10oz cotton duck fabric, then they switched to Evolution fabric, then later they went to Sunbrella fabric. Each requires a different treatment. That's one reason why I'm so hot on contacting the manufacturer, a dealer, or reading the manual. The wrong treatment can stain/ruin a canvas. Oh it might weatherproof it alright, but it'll also be uglier than sin.

    For cotton duck canvas, there are literally hundreds of products out there for weatherproofing. Any good camping outfitter should have a wide selection.
     

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