Video: Make Your Boat Canvas Last Longer

Published On September 16, 2015 | By Mark Baese | Boat Projects, Recreational Boating, Video

It’s finally done! The new camper canvas for our boat was completed and installed, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.

If you’ve followed this blog, you already know that our old canvas was absolutely terrible. In fact, some people called it embarrassing. While it would work in a pinch, the plastic was all faded. It was almost like privacy glass. Not a feature you need when you’re trying to drive the boat, or looking forward to seeing nature while you’re out.

Larson 280 Boat Canvas

This is how bad the canvas was when we bought the boat 4 years ago. This was when its at its best.

With the new canvas complete, we were able to take the boat out on the water during a chilly day – and actually enjoy it! The front window does a great job at blocking the wind while underway. It also delivers the sunroom effect. I don’t know if that’s the actual name, but it sure warms up the boat fast when the sun hits the plastic.

For a few years we’ve hummed and hawed about getting it done. Partly because we’ve had larger fish to fry – but also because it’s pretty darn expensive.

Which brings us to the point of this video and article: how to protect that investment and ensure the canvas lasts as long as possible.

IMG_0329

Unfortunately, the life of canvas isn’t very long. I’m a freshwater boater, but if you’re in saltwater, I’m sure it’s even shorter. Sunbrella has an average lifespan of 5 – 10 years in a marine environment depending on conditions and how well you take care of it. The vinyl windows will vary greatly depending on what type of material you use. This is mostly personal preference, but there are some quality considerations when choosing the type and thickness for windows.

For our windows, we’re using 30 gauge flexible vinyl plastic. Our is a middle-of-the-road product and gives us a good balance between price and performance. That said, in our hot summer climate, we can still only expect the windows to last around 5 years or so. That’s why we invested in the tonneau cover as well. For most of the summer we’ll leave the windows rolled up and out of sight and only use them in spring and fall. This should double their life.

Other than that, we turn to 3 products to help us out:

[geot country=”Canada”]Plexus: For cleaning and protecting the vinyl windows.
303 Fabric Guard: For protecting the Sunbrella fabric.
303 Fabric Cleaner: For cleaning the Sunbrealla fabric.[/geot]
[geot exclude_country=”Canada”]Plexus:For cleaning and protecting the vinyl windows.
303 Fabric Guard:For protecting the Sunbrella fabric.
303 Fabric Cleaner:For cleaning the Sunbrealla fabric.[/geot]

One note about the fabric cleaner: it often comes in a full strength spray bottle, but you’ll want to dilute it for regular cleaning. It recommends this on the bottle, but most people may not read the fine print. It’s ok to use at full strength for stains and hard to clean areas though.

None of the above products are cheap – but the cost is minimal in terms of what not using them will cost: years of life on your canvas and windows.

If you use google to help solve any of your problems, you’ve likely already googled this and found similar responses from other websites. They really are fantastic products.

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