How to Seam Seal a Canvas Tent

Written by mike johnson
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Don't throw away your old canvas tent just yet. Sure it leaks a bit, but unless it's filled with holes like a wheel of Swiss cheese, you may still be able to get a few more miles out of it. Before your next camping trip, seal each of the seams on your tent. The procedure is easy and it will extend the life of your canvas tent.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • One gallon or more of tent sealer
  • Ladder

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  1. 1

    Wait for a nice, sunny day and set your tent up in a part of your yard that usually gets a lot of sunlight. Make sure most of the tent is exposed to sunlight for much of the day.

  2. 2

    Allow tent to dry completely, if it is damp from storage, and remove any dirt or dust.

  3. 3

    Set up your ladder so that you can reach the seams on top of the tent.

  4. 4

    Brush seam sealer onto each seam, making sure to cover each seam thoroughly. Start at the top of the tent and work your way to the ground.

  5. 5

    Allow the tent to sit in the sun until the seam sealer is no longer sticky to the touch. This may take up to two days, depending on the amount of sunlight to which the tent is exposed.

  6. 6

    Roll your tent back up and store it as you normally would.

Tips and warnings

  • Always double-check your work to make sure that you have completey covered the whole of each seam.
  • Wear goggles and gloves to avoid contact with eyes and skin.
  • You may want to purchase two gallons of seam sealer. The can recommends one gallon per 100 square feet, so you will likely need more than one gallon.
  • Always test the sealer in an inconspicuous area of the tent before applying.
  • Always follow the instructions as highlighted on the seam sealer product.
  • Make sure to keep seam sealer away from children.
  • If you are working alone on a ladder, always exercise caution. Use a "spotter" to improve safety.
  • Do not get seam sealer on your skin or in your eyes. Read warnings on label.
  • Some sealers, such as Canvak, do not protect against mould or mildew, only water.

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