DIY Recanvasing and Waterproofing

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by Madyson, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. Madyson

    Madyson New Member

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    DH and I bought a 1987 Coleman Laramie pup for $150 recently. This is our first camper and it needed some work. This model has the Evolution 3 fabric and canvas. Unfortunately, the Evolution 3 has dry rotted and is torn in multiple places and likely not waterproof. We didn’t want to pay the $1,000 for a whole new canvas so decided to tackle re-canvasing ourselves.

    Nearly all the posts I read said it isn’t worth it and it’s almost impossible to attempt. So I decided to join this forum and share what we did for anyone else looking to tackle this project :) So far it’s holding up great and has weathered one downpour.

    We purchased duck canvas from JoAnn Fabrics. We ended up using about 12-14 yards of fabric. Without coupons or sales, the fabric is $10/yard. They almost always have sales and coupons online for 40% off so we spent around $6/yard. We used waterproof construction adhesive and two 1-quart cans of pliobond level 35 to attach the canvas over the Evolution 3 fabric. The pliobond is hard to find in stores. We bought it online for about $50 each.

    We took the canvas completely off the camper, which wasn’t too bad on ours. It slides into grooves and has zippers attaching it. We completely cleaned ours first to get rid of any mildew and mold. We then laid the new canvas over the Evolution 3 fabric and drew outlines for cutting. We cut the canvas to fit each shape, trying to keep it in one piece. To save on costs, we used a waterproof construction adhesive to attach the body of the new canvas to the fabric.

    **As a note: If you have the money and time, I’d recommend using the pliobond on the body and edges, instead of using the construction adhesive on the body. The pliobond adheres amazingly well and is extremely durable, but it is costly. It’s also somewhat time-consuming to brush on the tacky pliobond all over the fabric and canvas. However, it’s totally worth it.**

    After we had the body attached with the construction adhesive, we used a paintbrush to brush the pliobond along the edges of the canvas and the fabric. We then attached the canvas with pressure along the edges. The pliobond adheres very quickly and so does the construction adhesive. However, the application is somewhat time-consuming.

    Once we had everything glued together, we put it back on our camper. We used Starbrite waterproofing on all of the canvas. That stuff works great. It’s meant for marine purposes. The water beads up and rolls off. It hasn’t been in any huge rainstorms so we’ll see but so far, it works great.

    All in all, we spent around $400 in fabric, glues, waterproofing, and other miscellaneous items (we had to replace screen and had some trial & error). It should be long-lasting, durable, and waterproof for years to come!

    ETA: We recently returned from our first trip with the new canvas. It did awesome with the rain and hot sun. It held up great, it was waterproof, and we haven’t had any issues at all.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  2. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Wow, if you hadn't described what you did I wouldn't have thought this was anything but a commercially manufactured product. Well done! [:D]
     
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  3. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    You didnt sew anything?
     
  4. Ladiesman

    Ladiesman Active Member

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    Nice job and I love when people figure out how to do things like this with out buying a whole new canvas. You should be proud you guys did a great job.
     
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  5. Madyson

    Madyson New Member

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    No sewing at all. Even with the screen that needed replaced, we put it in between the old canvas and the new canvas and glued it.
     
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  6. Madyson

    Madyson New Member

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    Nothing. Glue only. And it’s still doing great!
     
  7. tzmartin

    tzmartin Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the great description. I've never heard of the pliobond glue. I'll look it up. Let us know in a couple of years how the glue holds up. I think this may be a viable option for folks who have a big rip or tear in the canvas.
     
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  8. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    Madyson,
    Zooming in, it appears your glued over portions were only the green seen on the sides, correct? You did not glue any 'new canvas' over the bunk end roof sections or the grey bottom sections all around, correct? On our '99 Starcraft's canvas, all the sides are in great condition, but the vinyl covered roof sections of the bunk ends are extremely brittle. The vinyl is cracking all over. The cracks have not broken through the bonded canvas part (yet).

    Your project has given me the idea of looking at covering just my bunk ends with vinyl. I have replaced the cover on my boat's 12' x 24' canopy with vinyl, so I think a thinner version of that type of UV vinyl might work well. The underlying stiff and cracklie OEM material would still be there. But since I was thinking I had to bite the bullet for either $800 just bunk ends or $1100 complete replacement vinyl, there is no down side with trying this mod/ repair. Thanks for the idea! ! !

    Is Evolution 3 material different from what's used for the lower and roof top sections that you did not cover? From picture #3, these sections 'look like' canvas, not vinyl covered canvas. On my pup, these sections 'are' vinyl covered.

    From the (blurry) pictures her https://www.popupportal.com/threads/is-this-evolution-3-canvas.44361/ Evol. 3 looks to resemble the wafflle texture many car covers are made of. Boy, car cover material did not last many years, but car covers were exposed 24/7, unlike popped up tent trailers, but still.
     
  9. Madyson

    Madyson New Member

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    B9D18B37-BCF3-45C5-8989-861B9EAB14C7.jpeg Right, we only glued canvas over our evolution 3 fabric (which was sides only). The original canvas on the bunk roofs and other areas has been holding up well. I’ve attached a before picture of our pup so you can see the evolution 3 fabric. It is the waffle-like fabric you’re referring to. Apparently the idea was that water would make the threads swell and make it naturally waterproof. Not sure if that ever actually worked, but it was way too old to continue working. As you can see, it was torn and falling apart. I initially tried sewing it together, but it would crumble and tear when I tried. That’s why we decided to glue new canvas over top of it.

    I believe our bunk roofs are vinyl covered too whereas the bottom section below the green is just canvas. Let us know how your project goes. So far, our bunk roofs are holding up fine, but we’ll see in the future! That may be next on the project list. While replacing the entire canvas is surely preferable, it’s way more expensive. Hopefully covering your bunks will produce the same result for a lot less money!
     
  10. Ladiesman

    Ladiesman Active Member

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    The Pliobond is good stuff for sure but banned in many states due to being a VOC.
    Attention: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Government Regulations: Product cannot be purchased, sold or used in the states listed below. CA, CT, DC, DE, IL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA. I live in Illinois and tried to get some last years for a project and was told I was SOL that it had been banned in our state
     
  11. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    Thanks for the 'before' picture. These are always helpful to add context to any project. Again, I am thankful to you for bring the idea to mind for me that I can just choose to either 1) cover my bunk roofs by gluing on white vinyl or permanently attaching at the sides, top and bottom. or 2) Asking a canvas shop how much to sew in a piece of vinyl or Sunbrella (that I, or they supply). and they sew it onto my bunk end roofs. It seems super easy to remove just the bunk ends to give to a shop to repair. I'm thinking option (2) could be done for +/- $300 (guess).

    But short term, I now feel OK about just bringing a lot more binder clips to clip the already fit to size gray tarps alongside and top edges. Plus a two heavy-duty clamps at the top and bottom corners. Even 'if' the roof tops decided to actually tear apart, we'd still be safe from the elements on that trip until I could work on #1 or #2 above at home. :)
     
  12. Madyson

    Madyson New Member

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    They have VOC compliant pliobond 35 available, which is what we bought.
     
  13. Madyson

    Madyson New Member

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    Great ideas! We tried to find a business that would sew the canvas for us but were unsuccessful. I think both would be great inexpensive options. It may not be a permanent solution (like buying and replacing all new canvas) but it should offer you years of usage.

    In the meantime, your tarps should work just fine! Let us know how it goes if you decide to tackle the project someday.
     
  14. Krystal Cantrell

    Krystal Cantrell New Member

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    This is a really good idea!
     
  15. Richard Jordan

    Richard Jordan New Member

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    It looks great. When I read this I had thought it was for the inside of the camper. From reading through it looks like it was just the outside that was fixed. Did you have to do any canvas work on the inside? My outside condition is good but have mildew on the inside part of the canvas and I’m looking for a way to fix this without replacing the whole thing.
    Great posting
     
  16. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    My rear bunkend canvas was fine except for mildew staining. I pulled it off the camper and set it up inside out over some chairs, then sprayed it with Zep mold and mildew stain remover (a bleach). When the stains disappeared, I hosed it off repeatedly. Came out looking nearly perfect.
     
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  17. Richard Jordan

    Richard Jordan New Member

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    I've been using the Brass Pro shop mold remover with some success, but it is a spray and I haven't removed the canvas yet to do so. I may end up doing this by the end of summer. Is it a foaming agent or more of a liquid soap?
     
  18. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Bleach
     
  19. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    It looks nice but $400 in materials and lots of labor for just the green . Makes $1000 for the whole thing seem reasonable.
     
  20. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    If you’re asking me about the Zep, it’s just a liquid bleach spray. I ha e no experience with the Bass Pro Shops product.
     

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