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Tent Floor Waterproofing

My Scout Troop has some 4-man Eureka Timberline Outfitters that have given us years of service.  They've held up amazingly well, but the floors need to be re-waterproofed.  In the past I have used Aquaseal Polycoat and it worked well; in fact none of these tents are any of the ones I've used Aquaseal on.  But that product appears to be no longer available.  What would be the closest thing to use for this purpose?

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Hi @RonWF - Thanks for reaching out. It's great to hear that your tents have held up so well through the years!

Unfortunately, we are not expecting inventory of the Gear Aid Seam Grip Tent Fabric Sealant for the rest of the year, which is the product we suggest using to make your repair. It is currently available for purchase through Gear Aid directly though. Each bottle can reseal approximately 85 sq ft, so you will want to keep that in mind when determining how much you'll need to seal your tents. 

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Thanks!  I'll check that out.

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@RonWF not sure if this will help your given situation since the tent floor actually needs waterproofed, but have you looked into using Tyvek as a ground sheet?  I've ordered a long sheet in the past, cut it to fit my tent dimensions, and then even washed it (without detergent) on a low setting and let it air dry to reduce the "crumply" noise of it.  Great and cheap waterproof footprint.

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create a slurry mix using clear silicone and a paint thinner, then apply with a paint brush.  I stole this method from the tarptent.com site.  Extremely effective and low cost method for waterproofing.  I have personally used this method for many years.

https://www.tarptent.com/seam-sealing/

good luck!

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
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@Philreedshikes Apparently this only works with true paint thinner which is no longer available in some states and not the odourless kind which replaces it.  Suposedly it works with Colman white gas fuel.  I ended up not doing it.

This thinning idea is only meant for seam sealing in small quantity.  When doing a large area like tent floor there are various concerns.

First solvents might damage any remaining coating. Given the coating is likely compromised anyway, ideally it should be removed first which is not always possible.  Otherwise, it may prevent the new sealant from penetrating the fabric in addition to degeading further.  I have seen recommendations to put any new coating on the outside for this reason.  I'm not sure a silicone slurry is going to work well on the outside of a tent floor so I would do a test before just going to town with it. In my experience, silicon caulk remains annoyingly slightly sticky and attracts dirt until it fully cures which takes a long time. 

Second, if you do want to coat the inside floor you don't want to work inside a tent when using that much solvent. I suspect it is too small of a space to be safe even with a solvent capable mask. Probably best to turn the tent inside out and work from the outside in a well ventilated area.  The problem will be keeping the tent floor taught enough depending how the tent poles work. 

Third, solvent soaked cloth can spontaeously ignite in hot confined spaces so make sure the leave the tent set up for a while in a well ventilated space so all the solvent can thoroughly gas off. Most tent fabric is treated with fire retardant so I suspect it is less prone to this problem but something to be aware off. If things go wrong don't store it crumpled up in an open cardboard box next to a can of gasoline and pile wood shavings on top of it. Not as unlikely as it may seem.

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for large areas, I use a can of spray on silicone.

If the slurry is mixed properly there is absolutely no apparent traces of solvent.  Try it yourself.

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
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