How to Waterproof Pop Up Camper Canvas?

How to Waterproof Pop Up Camper Canvas?

Waterproofing the canvas of a pop-up camper is necessary to keep it safe and prevent early damages.

This layer can tear off typically around the joints and seams after some time and increases the absorption of excess moisture.

How to Waterproof Pop Up Camper Canvas? Generally, you can waterproof pop-up camper dense material by cleaning it with home-based or commercial cleaning brands. Next, use an appropriate moistureproofing product and apply its coat on the cotton canvas. Do not spray these products on the vinyl areas as it will cause discoloration.

These fold-out trailers are the best choice for trips and camping because of their low weight, affordability, and tow-able characteristics until the weather is good.

The new models have equipped with waterproof coatings which last for a sufficient time.

The fabric loses its impermeable feature with time, and you have to add coatings yourself.

The loss of this property decline the quality, causing stuffed, smelly, humid spaces, which means you can encounter damping, leaking, and deterioration issues.

Why is it necessary to waterproof Pop Up Camper canvas?

Usually, the need for this process depends upon two factors: the material of the canvas and the persisting leak issues.

Damage caused by the water dripping on the internal structure leads to the corrosion of the metal and favors the growth of parasites.

The motor and the frame begin to degrade, and a slight hit can set apart the assembled components.

Therefore, you need to consider the canvas material and the weather conditions while moving for the camping for a memorable adventure without any troubles. 

The material

Usually, pop-up campers consist of two types of materials that are vinyl or cotton. However, some have the combination of both of these materials.

The latest models come in vinyl that has the natural ability to avoid soaking moisture. The cotton fabric can not resist or repel water and begins to degrade early.

Ranking based on water repellent properties reveals that the vinyl gets the first rank while the vinyl/cotton gets the second position, and the only cotton comes on the last.

The water leakage

These pop-ups do not rest on the ground and remain slightly up, so there are no chances of taking up water from the ground, which means the moisture is due to the leakage.

Leaks occur due to damage caused by direct UV rays, while extreme weather conditions are other causes.

You can not imagine how much destruction these rays can cause to the fabric, which does not have any coating including, caulking, holes, fading, and bruising.

Also, some people confuse condensation with leaks, but you can clear it by closely examining the area of concern.

The condensation occurs due to a lack of proper ventilation in the trailer, resulting in wetting the bed and other amenities inside.

Start with cleaning the canvas

The cleaning of the soft wall is the first step that appears to the tiering task but is necessary for your pop-up camper.

However, it takes only a few hours when applied the correct method and products designed for their cleaning.

Required products

Usually, there are several commercially-made cleaning products that you can use without any fear of damage if you read the ingredients.

Make sure to use biodegradable and environment-friendly items only, with written citation of “canvas-safe”

Moreover, it should be safe from other camper materials like chrome, vinyl, aluminum, coats, and finishes as you can accidentally drop it onto them.

Oxygen cleaners without the property of bleaching canvas such as OxiClean, oxy boost, oxy magic are a good choice.

Winsol and mermaid cleaners are safe to vinyl and famous for camping and boating components cleaning for years.

Home-based cleaners like vinegar-soap mix and baking soda-water solution, mixed in a ratio of 1:4, are also helpful for this purpose.

Mild soaps and laundry detergents are good enough to clean all the dirt and stains from the canvas.

Cleaning steps

You can clean canvas in two ways: keeping it attached or removing it from the camper.

Cleaning of cloth and vinyl will be the same with different cleaners for the safety of the materials.

  • Get a bucket, brush, sponge, hose, and gloves beside you.
  • Start with scrubbing off the dirt and residues with a brush gently.
  • Mix the instructed amount of cleaner in the bucket full of warm water.
  • Dip the sponge in this mix and rub it on the surface.
  • Wash off the leftover cleaner with a hose and let it dry. 

The molds and mildew eat the canvas, leaving minute holes and punctures in the fabric, and removing them are slightly hard.

They produce off-odor and cause allergies to humans, so you must clean them properly with effective methods.

The first step is to keep the camper for around 2 to 3 hours in sunlight to kill them naturally. Dry scrub to remove loose particles of these before treating them with chemicals.

Next, use vinegar-water mix and scrub these off with a thick brush. Do not rinse vinegar and dry it completely, or you can use soap water in the same way.

Apply tea tree oil, mildew stain removers, or rubbing alcohol on the stains and affected surfaces and let sit. Rinse with warm water at the end.

Waterproofing the Pop Up Camper Canvas

Use high-quality products and do not go after saving money because it is a matter of your camper’s safety.

303 fabric guard, kiwi camp heavy-duty repellent, camp-dry, or Scotchgard water shield are the best and affordable products in my view for this purpose.

Get the spray bottle for small spots and add the first coat on the canvas on affected areas.

Do not coat in on the vinyl portion and use a cardboard piece to cover these areas while spraying.

You can also use masking tape to cover these, or it can result in discoloration. Wipe out immediately if accidentally overspray on these portions.

Use a paintbrush for the larger sections because you need more product. Pour it into a bucket and apply it evenly on the whole surface.

Let it dry and add a second coating. Seal using a seam sealer and check for the left area by spraying water and reapply on them, if required.

How often should you coat the canvas with waterproofing materials:?

There is a simple technique to test whether your camper requires any coating or not, which determines its damp-proofing schedule.

Spray the water on the canvas and examine the surface closely.

The beaded and rolled spills or drops indicate that there it still has enough moisture repellent properties.

The soaking and dripping of drops into the fiber confirm the need for treatment.

Usually, few spots require frequent spraying because they experience rubbing and friction by other camper parts.

The worn areas are also more vulnerable to damage, while the surfaces that expose sunlight more also lose moisture-resistant property soon.

The harm is not in the overcoating and early treatment, but you will only waste your product and money by doing this if there is no need for the process.

Check 2 to 3 times a year, but it varies with the use and sustainability to overcome extreme conditions.

How long can a Pop Up Canvas last?

The life expectancy of the cotton and vinyl canvases are different because of their varied reliability and durability properties.

On average, it can stay in good condition for up to 9 to 14 years only if you are following a routine cleaning and repairing schedule.

However, after 4 to 5 years, some parts can start ripping and tearing off, so you need corrective techniques.

Moreover, it can last for more than 15 years if you use it less often, and it remains in your garage safely.

Maintenance and repair of the camper canvas

The quick and periodic maintenance of these pop-ups is essential, or it catches molds, mildews, and other unnecessary components, leading to the decrease of lifespan.

Replacing the canvas is much higher in cost, but you can move to an affordable idea that includes its resealing and repair.

Holes punctured for installing AC, heater, or vents need to reseal immediately.

The rooftop needs regular checks because of its direct exposure to adverse environmental conditions.

80% of people use silicon sealant, but it does not hold paint on it, so keep this in mind.

Always use a good primer before painting the canvas for additional coating.

Never store the camper wet and let it dry completely, or it will produce a foul smell.

Sew the holes you see on it and use a separate piece for sewing them together for good resistance to splashes.

Always keep a patching kit of the same color and adhesives with you while leaving for the trip.

Do not park it under the trees as there is a risk of wet drops, juicy fruits splashes on it.

Check every part and corner before folding and storing it. Pipes inside can also cause leaks, so keep an eye on them as well.

Always cover it unless the cracks and snow or ice drops on the fiberglass can cause damage to the top.

Use travel covers that contain padding for additional protection. Seam tapes should be a must item for your pop-up tent and change the tape every season.

Carefully open the camper to prevent ripping and scratching. Then, switch on the heater to melt the ice sheet that appears on the trailer sheet in freezing temperatures. 

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