Waterproofing Canvas

(This blog has been updated by Jarrod Michael – 17.08.2016)

camping-water-beading

As you can imagine there are thousands of questions to answer around rejuvenating canvas, and to be honest – I didn’t really know where to start when writing this. So I thought I would do it with a Q&A style composition.

Question: What do I use to waterproof my canvas?
Answer: There are a  number of products that are available to use. In a nutshell I steer clear of any 100% heavy chemical or petroleum based waterproofing (as good as they are). I mainly stick to a water based concentrate product that is of course….. exceptional quality! Currently I am supporting the Stimex Brand. Stimex is a Dutch based company that is quite niche with the fact that waterproofing is their core business…. put simply – they are the best at what they do!    


Question: How do I know if my canvas needs waterproofing?
Answer: Not to sound sarcastic…When it starts to leak! In short if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.


Question: How often should I waterproof my canvas?
Answer: There are many varied answers to this question, so I will break them down into sections for you.

  • Waterproofness:
    • Re waterproofing should be done as little as possible from the perspective of clogging its pores. If you add too much waterproofing too often, the canvas will stop breathing. This leaves us with a major adverse effect that comes in the form of condensation (which often gets worse when it rains adding to the issue)
    • If your tent is used only twice a year and for only a week at a time for example, it will only ever need re-waterproofing every 5 – 8 years approx.. (based on good quality canvas.)
  • Rejuvenation:
    • Here is a slight contradiction on my above comment. Waterproofing can extend the life of canvas by adding UV stabilisation to the fabric. If your canvas product is in the sun permanently (as in a cover on a ute or trailer), I would recommend doing it every 2 years approx.

Question: How do I apply the waterproofing?
Answer: With a clean brush or sponge. (I recommend against anything that sprays due to the lack of obtaining even coverage.)

Instructions: (As per Stimex instructions)

  1. Always be done in a ventilated outdoors area and keep canvas taut when applying.
  2. Clean canvas thoroughly using warm water and by lightly brushing.
    (Do NOT use soaps, detergents or solvents!)
  3. Make sure the canvas is dry before applying
  4. Dilute the whole contents with 4 litres of water 
  5. Apply with a clean brush or sponge – NOT in an internal space
  6. Allow to 100% dry, preferably in direct sunlight. 

 


Question: How much area does the waterproofing cover?
Answer: I am currently supplying the Stimex  product and the 500ml bottle (water diluted concentrate) does approx. 20 square metres.


Stimex:stimex

  • A canvas waterproofing product that will restore a water repellent finish and inhibit mildew growth on all used canvas goods. Do NOT apply to new canvas –  it is unnecessary and may lead to impairment of appearance. Stimex is colourless – if it is applied to an all plastic window – wipe it clean immediately.

Mould on Canvas:mould rid

Question: How do I get rid of mould?
Answer: Available off the shelf here at Camping Country Australia is a product called Mould Rid. It is designed and formulated purely to remove mould and mildew from used canvas.


Question: How do I apply it?
Answer: Just like the waterproofing agent, it can be applied with a clean brush or sponge to both sides of fabric.

Instructions: (As per Mould Rid label)

  1. Always be done in a ventilated outdoors area and keep canvas taut when applying
  2. Shake bottle well and mix thoroughly
  3. Before applying, test a hidden portion of the item to be treated to ensure product and fabric are compatible
  4. Apply to both sides of the fabric
  5. Allow to dry and wait a further 2 hours
  6. Hose off until water is clear (repeat this process until mildew is removed)
  7. When completely dry, this canvas will need to be completely re-waterproofed.
  8. Clean with warm water

Question: How much area does the Mould Rid cover?
Answer: I am currently supplying Mould Rid and it covers approx. 5 square metres a litre


Question: I have used the Mould Rid and there is still mould all over my canvas, why is that?
Answer: What you are seeing is the dye that has been left by the mould and mildew. This generally cannot be removed (unless in its infancy attaching stage) and is in the canvas for its life. (Do NOT scratch and wear away at the mould with a course brush, it will damage the canvas)