Seam Sealing is one of those events that most of those who are involved in the outdoors will have to at least entertain the idea of at some point and time.
A lot of people really hate the process and in fact, there are web sites, videos, reddit pages dedicated to just how terrible the process is.
Why do so many people hate it so much?
Simple answer – it takes time, it can be insanely messy if you do it incorrectly or if you use one of those brush attachments that are often included….and once you have it on your hands, it can be difficult to remove.
In other words, if you don’t know what you are doing, it SUCKS! If you know what you are doing, it can actually be fun.
What I’m going to show you today is a method that I’ve developed over the years and it works incredibly well. Anytime that I have to seam seal a tent either because it didn’t come seam taped from the company or because it has developed a leak this is the process that I use.
It is the simplest, least messy, and does an excellent job of making the shelter waterproof once again.
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What You Will Need :
Seam Sealer –
Tip : Depending on the material that you are seam sealing, you will need different types of Sealer – In this case, the tent features SilNylon so a Silicone seam sealer is required
Tip : Some sealer’s can be diluted but I tend not to do this as I have personally had better experiences with nondiluted applications. To each their own….
Acid Brush – some seam sealers that you can buy will come with one of these, they are safe to use. Other kits involve a brush head….those are complete pieces of crap and will make the biggest mess. Do not use them! Acid brushes are also called Flux brushes.
Syringes with Curved Tip – often referred to as a dental Irrigation syringe – These run about $4 for one, or $5 for 4 or 5 of them.
Tip : These have a rather small tip opening – if you feel that not enough is coming out, you can use a pair of scissors or your knife to cut the tip to make it larger.
Optional : Latex or Vinyl Gloves
Tip : Latex gloves have superior resistance to tear, puncture and are also more waterproof because it is easier to control the level of microholes, therefore safer for risk jobs eg with biological material. Vinyl gloves, being devoid of natural proteins, can also be used by people allergic to latex proteins but can’t be used in all medical situations.
Seam Sealing Instructions :
It is vital that you do this on a beautiful day in dry calm conditions. If you are going to do this outside, make sure there isn’t a chance of rain or you can really mess this up.
If there is a chance of wind, DO NOT DO IT! You don’t want the sealer moving when you are doing this – any sort of major Fluctuations could cause issues with the curing in the way that it adheres to the materials.
remember, seam tape goes on the inside of a tarp or tent, seam sealing goes on the outside. It’s never the other way around.
Only seam seal in temps above 60F or the sealer may not cure correctly.
Clean surface and dry if need be.
Apply a thin bead over the seams on the outside of the tent or tarp
Use the acid brush to spread sealer over the stitching making sure to provide complete coverage.
Once you have completed the sealing, you will need 3 – 6 hours depending on the conditions for it to cure. Do not do anything to the shelter until it is completely dry…..when you think it’s dry, wait another hour or two…the longer that it can sit and cure, the better the application will be. If you don’t wait long enough and if it doesn’t cure properly, you can have issues with stickiness, degradation of the sealer and so on.
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