How To Seam Seal A Tent
Rain, dew and a sudden downpour of water can get inside your shelter through tiny needle holes in the seams and accidentally made tears and pinholes on it. That can spoil your camping trip and leave you canceling the adventure on short notice.
Whether the tarp or tent is unsealed, factory-taped, waterproof and seam-sealed, your shelter would eventually need fixing to protect it from the elements and maintain its good condition. And luckily, seam-sealing is a very easy procedure.
In this post, we will show you how to seam seal a tent. This procedure is very important to me, as it will be to you since I am fond of camping in moist and rainy places where the flora is breath-taking.
Click to View Post Navigation
#1. Making Preparations
Things To Check
Before you begin, you need to check the tarp or tent with your manufacturer to determine which items and practices they recommend that you opt for or avoid.
Always follow what the sealant’s directions and what the manufacturer is recommending. Aquaseal, Kenyon, and McNett are among the most popular sealant brands in the market today. The procedure in applying the sealants is more or less the same although you should still follow the sealant’s directions.
Cleaning Your Tent
Begin the seaming procedure with a clean and dry tent. Take note of the seams that are most exposed to the elements – fly, tent floor and the bottom area of the tent – and the points of attachment that are most exposed to water. There is no need to seam seal a mesh.
It would be best to do this outside the tent because prolonged exposure to the material with no proper ventilation may be hazardous to your health. Choose a dry, warm day to do it because it may take your sealant some time to harden fully.
Clean the rain fly and tent by washing them with water and mild, non-detergent soap. Avoid using detergents, stain removers, liquid, dishwashing, bleach and strong soaps since they can damage your tent’s coating and fabric.
Allow your tent to dry thoroughly, preferably by hanging or pitching it on a line under a shady area. Don’t use a machine to dry your tent. You can proceed with the seam sealing procedure once the tent is dry, clean and tautly pitched.
#2. Seam Sealing Procedure
- Make sure that you pull the fly taut and tent while applying the sealant. If this is your first time sealing the tent, and if it is not because of a certain leak inside it, then it is plausible to seal all of the seams immediately to make sure that the tent will not fail when you encounter a downpour
- Pay special attention to the seams that are most exposed – fly, bottom, floor and the points of attachment, which are most accessible to water flow. Mesh the areas that do not require any seam sealing. Your manufacturer may have recommendations on which seams should or should not be sealed
- You may need an extra brush or a bigger one depending on the size of your tent and the area you will be applying the sealant on
- Apply a painter’s masking tape on the interior walls; ¼ inch on both sides of the seam. This should make it easier for you to apply the sealant and prevent it from spreading too far out. It also gives your work a more professional look
- Apply the sealant inside the wall seams, especially in the lower portions. Apply all throughout the area extending a thin layer of sealant on the seams. Make sure you fill all of the needle holes. Trap on areas that don’t need sealant since it will provide extra holding strength on the stitches. Avoid spreading sealant on zippers
- Put the same width and amount of sealant on any seams of the tent floor. Close the opening of the tent and put another coating on its exterior to ensure the seams are tight. Tents usually have factory-taped seams. With these tents, you can seal the exterior seams to increase its waterproofness
- Should the tape begin to peel out,, you can use the sealant as glue to reapply the tape and close the seam
- Allow the tent to dry
- Sealing should be complete for one-piece tents at this time
- For tents that have a rain fly, set the rain fly upside down and expose the interior seams
- Follow the same procedure in sealing the seams of the fly as we’ve discussed above
#3. Finishing Touches
- It would be best to seal both sides for extra protection. Make sure that the tent is dry and taught and that the rainfly is also secured. Leave both items to dry for 12 – 23 hours overnight if conditions are favorable
- For added protection, put seam sealant at the tent bottom and the opposite side of the rain fly. The fun part begins once the seams are completely dry. Set the tent up as you normally would and let the sprinkler sprinkle on it for an hour
- Test the seams thoroughly to make sure the sealing works. Once the sealant is completely dry and fixed, you can then store your clean and dry tent outside and expose it to sunlight. Your stuff should now be ready to go
- Check again for any gaps or leaks in the sealant
- Go inside and admire what you have done
#4. Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If my tent has factory-taped seams, does it mean that it is sealed?
A: No. Tents often have factory-taped seams. What that means is that your tent’s seams have been double stitched with waterproof materials. Factory-taped seams have water-resistant properties that hold well compared to seams with no sealing. But they’re not similar to waterproof seam sealing.
Q: Must I seam seal my tent?
It is always best to first consult with your shelter’s manufacturer because most of them have their guidelines on where and how to add sealant to its materials and design. If the tent’s seams are neither factory-taped nor sealed, then you must seal them.
Do the sealing on a dry and warm day.
If the tent is built with factory-taped seams, then there is no need for you to seal it. The tent is expected to be very resistant to water, although it won’t hurt to test its waterproofing ability with a sprinkler just to make sure it works.
If you are constantly using your tent in wet conditions, then you should consider sealing the seams. That would add extra protection to your tent and enhance its waterproofing ability. You don’t have to do seam sealing immediately if your tent is seam-sealed.
Check out this video to get a better view on how to seam seal a tent:
We hope you enjoyed and learned a lot from this post. All that your tent needs is a little bit of care and attention. If you give it the attention that it deserves, then you don’t have to cancel your relaxing camping trip just because of rain, and you will enjoy it even more.
Again, it’s very important to follow the caring, cleaning and repairing recommendations of your tent’s manufacturer. Follow the safety directions and information you will be using.
If you have questions and clarifications, feel free to write them in the comments section.