Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weatherproofing Fabric

     Once upon a time, I was given a large boat cover.  It was heavy sailcloth and it was red.  I mean it was really red.  There was a section that was sun bleached so, it was red and the color was uneven.  I was going through a Native American era and I saw this fabric as a kid sized Tepee.  I had a book of native American crafts.  I got out my grandmother's good dressmaking shears and went to town!  While I was cutting I thought it would only be a play tent if I didn't make it waterproof.  

How-Tuesday: Backyard Teepee | The Etsy Blog
     I acquired a five gallon bucket of exterior latex paint from son number two and I painted both sides of the fabric.  After I assembled the teepee, I painted on some wild horses and my grandson took one of the sections to paint with his own creations.  Just for fun, I took it out to a Powwow to try it out before giving it to him and OMG folks! it worked!  I am happy to report I got a thumbs up from an authentic tepee maker.  Those photos however are lost on an old hard drive.  Mine had a floor liner as the boat cover was a BIG one.  The tepee lasted two seasons in his mom's backyard before it was rolled up and stored in the rafters.  

Floor Cloths: Historic patterns | Old House Web
     In the American colonial period, canvas sailcloth was sold in lengths both new and used to be used as floor coverings.  The canvas was painted in several thin coats on both sides, then designs were stenciled on for fashion.  These were the early carpets of the Americans.   Some of these floor cloths survive today in Natchez and colonial Williamsburg.  Imagine, canvas and paint.  They were walked on, feet wiped on and they survive.  Now, that's waterproofing!

     For those of you who know you will need tarps, in rainy climates, this method of water or weather proofing fabric may work for you.  A very thin coat of paint on both sides of the fabric turns it into an added layer of protection from storms.  A thick coat may seem like a good idea, but thick paint will crack in storage.  It can be stored by rolling it up and keeping it in the rafters.  Almost any cotton fabric can be stretched and painted to make a tarp to use when weather strikes!  

     If you find yourself living under a tin roof, or other sheet metal, You will eventually experience rust as it ages.  Paint it!..A coat of Kilz will cover the roof and it expands as it dries to make a better coat when it is dry than wet.  My number one son applied roof coating professionally.  Step number one, clean the roof.  Nothing sticks to a slick coat of algae or loose bits of rust.  Second, patch the worn spots with butyl tape.  Screw down or nail down any loose or lifted fasteners.  Caulk the seams, then coat with KILZ.  The butyl tape is just a fabric backed adhesive.  Fabric!  (like a tepee?)Hmmm!  I had a soft patch on my roof larger than the width of the tape, so number one took a piece of muslin I gave him.  He applied it to a clean caulked surface and coated it with the Kilz.  It is still there three years later.  
Oil & Water Based Primers | KILZ
     There are other methods for waterproofing fabric.  This (above)is a spray- on waterproofer.  It runs about $21 per 16 fl.oz.  The other is over $100 per gallon.  

Another method is this recipe found on Wikihow:
Waterproof FabricMix 1 cup (237 ml) of soybean oil with 4 ounces (118 ml) of turpentine inside a durable plastic spray bottle. Stir the mixture with a wooden paint stirrer.

Click here for four methods of waterproofing fabric.

There are also waterproof fabrics available for outdoor use.
Sunrise Outdoor Camouflage - Waterproof FabricSunrise Outdoor Solid - Waterproof Fabric
reg. 14.99 per yard

Rubber Sheeting ensures ultra-dry surfaces with maximum comfort. Crafted from 100 percent cotton, this sheet has been bonded with rubber to create a nonslip liquid-proof backing. Ideal for bed-wetting…

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