Canvas tarps offer superior coverage solutions to different tasks. Their uses can range from offering survival shelter, ground cover to rain cover.
Waterproofing your canvas tarps in survival situations will ensure you’re protected and shielded from the elements.
Canvas tarps are made from mainly three materials. These are cotton, vinyl-coated polyester, and woven acrylics, but they all share one thing in common: without proper maintenance, they are prone to leakage and development of mildew.
Since canvas tarps are made of different materials, this necessitates using different methods to waterproof them.
· For acrylic canvas
1) Wash the fabric using some detergent while lightly scrubbing. If the canvas is stained, it’s advisable to soak the affected parts for 15 minutes in 4 litres of water containing a ¼ cup detergent and ¼ cup chlorine bleach. Let the canvas dry completely.
You should not wash it using strong detergents, hot water, or machine wash. Remember to proceed when it is completely dry.
2) Use a fluoropolymer based product which is generally compatible with the original finish. However, it should be noted that this process should be carried outdoors or in well-aerated rooms to avoid developing respiratory diseases.
Avoid using silicone-based chemicals since they comprise the fabric’s stain resistance capabilities and are more likely to be repelled by the initial manufacturers proofing treatment leading to patches with some parts not being waterproofed.
3) To yield the best results, spray the fluoropolymer uniformly. Apply two coats perpendicular to each other for maximum coverage.
4) Leave it to dry.
· For Cotton wove canvas
The key to waterproofing cotton wove canvas is doing so in a manner that allows it to breathe. Thus, you should avoid painting and use of materials that contain plastics in them.
The best products to waterproof the canvas are oils and soaps since they are ordinarily superb water repellents.
The use of oilskin is one of the oldest and most effective means of waterproofing cotton wove canvas. For centuries, it was the go-to method for waterproofing before the invention of synthetic chemicals.
Solvent-based waterproofing processes are also applicable, especially through the use of canvas preservatives. Since they are designed to provide a membrane to stop the permeability of rain and enhance the canvas tarp’s durability, this makes solvent-based products the top choice when waterproofing cotton/fabric wove canvas products.
Silicon-based sealers should be used to seal leaking seams.
General steps to take when waterproofing a cotton/fabric canvas is:
1) Spread the canvas tarp with the top side up in an open, clean and dry area
2) Wash the tarp using water with a relatively small amount of detergent.
3) Rinse and let it dry completely .
4) Spray the tarp using a solvent-based product working from the top down. Allow the product to sit as instructed by the product manufacturer.
5) Apply a second coat, working from right to left to ensure uniform coverage.
6) Allow the tarp to dry. This is paramount in preventing the formation of mold and mildew, compromising the tarp.
It should be noted that for any type of canvas, no matter the material it’s made from, you should never machine wash it since this will remove any waterproofing properties it has.
· For vinyl coated and polyester canvas tarps
Polyester is a synthetic polymer that has proved to withstand harsh weather conditions and is normally coated with a UV protective material since sunlight can very easily degrade polyester
Vinyl tarps, on the other hand, are made from salt and ethylene, they offer more durability and water resistance than polyester.
The two are best applicable for covering materials being transported by trucks.
The two have been manufactured from hydrocarbon polymers requiring nil waterproofing since their chemical composition guarantees that they remain water-resistant.