How do you seal a pop-up camper seam?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How do you seal a pop-up camper seam? Besides explaining how you can seal and thus waterproof a pop-up camper seam and canvas, we will also give you a few tips on how to maintain pop-up camper seams. 

How do you seal a pop-up camper seam?

To seal a pop-up camper seam you must, thus, waterproof them. Waterproofing the seams of a pop-up camper canvas is very easy. You don’t need a special seam sealer. This often only gives rise to stains. Read here what is best to do.

Sealing the seams of a pop-up camper is easy. There is nothing more annoying than camper seams that aren’t waterproof. Treat the seams of your canvas before you go on vacation. All you need is a powerful impregnator and a few simple steps.

Do not use a special seam sealer. Most specialty sealants leave an ugly line on the canvas. You won’t see her right away. But after a while, the seam sealer catches the dirt. If you clean your pop-up camper once, that ugly line will remain.

So, how do you seal the seams of a pop-up camper?

In fact, it is very simple to seal the seams of a pop-up camper. Here is the short version:

  1. Make sure the camper is dry.
  2. Set up the canvas (So ​​as to open the sewing hole)
  3. Spray the seams with a strong impregnator. If necessary, scrub with a brush or paintbrush.
  4. Let the camper canvas dry.
  5. Test with water.
  6. If necessary, spray once more with the impregnation product.

Note: By using a powerful impregnation product, you not only protect the seams but also the canvas of the camper.

And now, for those of you who need more details before getting the job done, let’s see the longer version of how to seal your camper seams. 

How to re-seal the seams of your camper (step-by-step)

Identify the seams. The seams of your camper are the first places where you might find a leak. The seams are waterproofed during manufacture, but the waterproofer is likely to lose its effectiveness over time. By ironing a coat of waterproofing over the seams, you will stop water infiltration.

The seams are present on the zippers, windows and doors. You also have it for the passage of the arches. Locate them all so as not to forget.

There is nothing too complicated about sealing the seams, it takes between 15 and 20 minutes depending on the size of your camper. You can do it outside or inside, although I prefer the inside.

What you’ll need:

To seal the seams of your camper, you will need a few accessories that will make your job easier:

  • A quality sealant adapted to the material of your camper: you will have the choice between silicone and polyurethane (more common). It is most often presented in the form of a gel. The product below is very effective.
  • A small flat brush (about 1 cm)
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Solvent
  • A damp cloth.
  1. The first thing to do is find a dry place. If you decide to do it outdoors, wait for a sunny day. If you are doing this indoors, a garage is the place to be, as you will need to allow the waterproofing to dry.
  1. Set up your camper, but upside down. You are going to apply the waterproofing to the inside of the seams. You must therefore return your camper through the door.
  1. Thoroughly clean all seams with the damp cloth and nail polish remover, remove any loose pieces of old sealant.
  1. Let your camper dry for as long as it takes.
  1. Apply the gel according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the brush. Don’t forget any seams.
  2. Let your camper dry overnight, or a day if you do it early. Even if your camper only has infiltration from a small portion of the seam, it is best to treat all of it.

And obviously, if a seam is torn, it needs to be repaired. You can find special adhesive tape on the market, to be applied before waterproofing, on the opposite side so that the product sets well at the seam.

When should you re-seal your pop-up camper?

After buying a new pop-up camper, it should stay waterproof for a long time, I would say several seasons of camping. But after a while, you will notice seepage around the roof and seams. It is high time to do something.

The waterproofness of your pop-up camper does not last forever. Eventually, it deteriorates, especially when the camper is treated with silicone which will suffer from kinks and cracks. It will take time, I’ll grant you, but it will happen eventually.

If you are in doubt before you go, because you noticed water inside the last time you used it, then you should take a test. The best way to test the waterproofness of your camper is to sprinkle it with water, at the very least use a spray bottle if you don’t have a garden hose.

If you see water coming through the seams or any part of the fabric, go through the waterproofing and sealing step, mentioned above. Otherwise, you can move to the following. 

Seal the inside of the camper and the floor

When I talk about the inside of the camper, I mean the inner side of the roof. The floor and the interior of the roof are not treated the same as the exterior. They are treated with urethane which seals holes in the fabric when the exterior is treated with DWR which allows water to bead off the surface.

Here it is about treating the camper in a localized way. You can obviously redo the entire camper, it’s up to you.

You will need:

  • A suitable waterproofing product
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • A large brush
  • Solvent and an abrasive sponge
  • A damp cloth
  1. Like I told you, you’re going to be acting in a localized fashion, so you don’t need to pitch your camper. Just make sure it’s dry. As for the ground, turn your camper over and lay out on the ground to have a flat work surface.
  1. Remove degraded waterproofing with the nail polish remover and sponge.
  2. Let dry.
  3. Apply the waterproofing with the brush, don’t forget to protect your hands.
  4. If you have any leftover products, feel free to add more.
  5. Let your camper dry for 24 hours.

Seal the outside of the camper roof

Most camper roofs are treated on the outside with a DWR non-water repellent coating. This is the area in your camper that suffers the most from outdoor conditions.

The roof can also be treated with silicone for nylon fabrics or polyurethane for polyester fabrics. Some manufacturers use polyurethane indoors and silicone outdoors for more efficiency.

But the DWR is sufficient for typical camper use.

You will need:

  • A water repellent product
  • Sponge to clean the camper if necessary
  • A large brush
  • Gloves
  • A protective mask

I highly recommend that you waterproof your camper roof on a sunny day with high temperatures to speed up the drying process. Spread the waterproofing layer on the outer side of the fabric.

  1. Clean the camper with clean water with the sponge
  2. Let the camper dry
  3. Pitch the camper
  4. Lightly dampen the camper with the sponge
  5. Apply the waterproofing product in a thin layer either with a spray or with the brush
  6. Remove any excess product with the sponge
  7. Let dry a good day or even 24 hours.

Final thoughts 

Always keep an eye on the seams of your pop-up camper. Even if you go out in the sun, check your makeshift roof beforehand, it will help you avoid unpleasant surprises if the weather turns stormy. But even with a camper that protects you well from the rain, I don’t recommend staying indoors during a thunderstorm!

Check the waterproof level of your camper upon purchase. This is called the water column displayed in “mm”. The higher the number, the more waterproof and resilient the camper. 10000mm will give you many years to come before you revisit the seals.

Please feel free to get in contact, should you have any questions or comments on the content!

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