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Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

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  • Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

    I recently bought a used boat that has a Sunbrella cover. It is about 15 years old. The cover seems to be in pretty good shape but it had a few small tears here and there so I had a local canvas repair company repair it. The boat was stored inside a garage most of the time but after 15 years the canvas guy recommended that I spray on some silicone based waterproofer which they sold at 38.00 a gallon. (He said it would take the whole gallon on my 16' 5" boat - 6' beam) I opted to look around before buying anything.

    I contacted Sunbrella and the only thing they recommend on their material is 303 High Tech Fabric Guard. I've found it in 16 oz, 32 oz and gallon containers. This product covers 75-100 sq feet per 16 oz. I am roughly estimating that I would need around 32 oz. or a little more because I generally tend to over-do things a bit. A 32 oz. bottle is around 26.00 at a local marine store. Holy cow…what are they making this out of?? Liquid Gold?

    Here are the email comments from Sunbrella about waterproofing Sunbrella products:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thank you for contacting Sunbrella.com. The knock against Silicone products is that it will make the fabric stiffer, mildew will grow on Silicone, it will only provide protection for a few months (usually one season)and it can discolor the fabric. There are no other companies that provide a product such as 303 that we are aware of. Silicone is less expensive, but the cost you will incur when re-applying the finish will be much more expensive than one treatment with 303.

    The best advice we can provide is to shop around at local marine shops/marinas and see what else is out there and what has worked well for others in the same situation. Hope this information helps, please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions regarding Sunbrella brand fabrics.

    Regards,
    Sunbrella Customer Service
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm thinking I probably should go with the 303 even though it seems very over priced. Have any of you ever used the 303? Is there a less expensive alternative? Even the gallon size is in the 70.00 - 90.00 range from what I found on the web. I'd like to hear your experiences with your Sunbrella covers.

    Thanks
    1992 Sea Nymph Fishing Machine FM 160
    1993 Evinrude 50 Hsp. Outboard
    1993 Evinrude Trolling Motor


  • #2
    Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

    Walmart..hunting section. HD ScotchGard. $4 a can
    Used on my half canvas top on the big boat. It was always stored inside by original owner, just used for ocean fishing trips. I've had it 5 years, and sits in the slip 8-12 weeks. Boats a 77, and the top is orginal...

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    • #3
      Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

      IMO 303 products are some of the best out there. I use their Aerospace Protectant on the boat, cars, motorcycles. The fabric cleaner and fabric guard are excellent. I recommend purchasing at http://properboatcare.com/303hitefagu.html Great company, been using for years, with great prices as well!

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      • #4
        Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

        I would use the scotchguard or a generic equivalent. The cover is 15 years old and has tears, it does not have too much time left. Also, mold will not grow on a dry cover, and I have never seen much mold on covers anyway.

        If the cover does get moldy, dry it in the sun or use a non-bleach mold killer or even dilute bleach and sunshine...

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        • #5
          Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

          I have used "Scotchgard" every year, works fine.

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          • #6
            Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

            Walmart..hunting section. HD ScotchGard. $4 a can

            Used on my half canvas top on the big boat. It was always stored inside by original owner, just used for ocean fishing trips. I've had it 5 years, and sits in the slip 8-12 weeks. Boats a 77, and the top is orginal...
            Any idea how far a can of Scotchgard goes? (square feet) I assume this is a spray can you are referring to. They guy at the canvas shop told me I would need a whole gallon of his silicone treatment.
            1992 Sea Nymph Fishing Machine FM 160
            1993 Evinrude 50 Hsp. Outboard
            1993 Evinrude Trolling Motor

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            • #7
              Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

              I used two quart cans of the silicone stuff on a sunbrella tonneau cover. It seemed to give good coverage. The boat was a 16 footer and the cover was just for the cockpit, not the bow.

              I had a bad couple of moments though after letting it dry in the sun then trying to put it back on the boat. The top had shrunk about a quarter inch in every direction. By carefully working and stretching the cover I got it on the snaps and after a few weeks of use it seemed to return to normal. Scared me pretty good though at the time!
              Give me a picture and a thousand words!


              2004 Scout Dorado 175 Dual Console
              Yamaha 90 4-Stroke

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              • #8
                Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                Scothgard works fine for small stuff like a jacket, but it's packaged in an aerosol can, which means you're also paying for the propellant. Big waste IMO. It 'll probably take 10-15 cans to do a large cover.

                I've had great success with the MaryKate waterproofer. It's sold online and costs about 40% less than 303. It comes in a 32 oz. pump bottle or gallon container. An internet search found gallons for about $35.
                My cover was royal blue Sunbrella on a 23' cuddy. I laid it flat on the grass (upside down) and soaked it. After the sun dried it (2-3 hours), I turned it over and sprayed the outside, then put the cover on the boat as soon as it was dry enough to handle without dripping. As I recall, I used about 3/4 gallon. I had no color loss or fading and, by snapping it on the boat while wet, minimized the shrinking. It lasted about 2 seasons before needing re-application. Good stuff for a decent price.
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                • #9
                  Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                  IMO anything other than Scotch-gard spray , is a total waste of time & money.
                  I have used it for years, the water beads well .

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                    Ayuh,...... Another vote for Scotch Guard here,......

                    Back when I still had the fold-down bimini,....
                    I used to spray it with Camp-Dry which is basically pure Silicone every year,...
                    And,....
                    Every year I had a Drip which of course was right where it dripped down the back of my neck......

                    I went to Scotch Guard,+ No More Leaks,.....
                    I would buy 1 spray can,+ spray it on til it was gone each spring,.....
                    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                      Originally posted by gnrboyd View Post
                      Any idea how far a can of Scotchgard goes? (square feet) I assume this is a spray can you are referring to. They guy at the canvas shop told me I would need a whole gallon of his silicone treatment.
                      I'd take a wild guess and say its 8x8...2 cans plenty. Really depends on how much ya soak it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                        I emailed 3M about their recommendation on using Scotchgard on Sunbrella frabric. Here is their response.


                        Thank you for contacting 3M. We value your interest in our products.
                        We can not recommend Scotchgard(TM)Outdoor Fabric Protector to be used on Sunbrella fabric. For care instructions, please consult the manufacturer of the boat cover.

                        Best Regards,

                        Robyn
                        3M Protective Materials &
                        Consumer Specialties Division
                        800-367-7683
                        1992 Sea Nymph Fishing Machine FM 160
                        1993 Evinrude 50 Hsp. Outboard
                        1993 Evinrude Trolling Motor

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                          Well, theres your answer!
                          But ya say ya store it inside anyway, so I would just ingore and move on...spend the money on boat gas!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                            It's hard to imagine that 3M wouldn't test their product on several canvas types in order to promote positive results and increase sales. Then again, maybe they did and the results were not good. (I would find that hard to believe with their reputation... and the comments on this thread.)

                            I do store the boat inside but it will be out on a few camping trips and on the road obviously so I want it to repel the water. You're probably right that the Scotchgard would be sufficient for my purposes. If I can't find the 303, MaryKate, or similar product for a good price, I will probably just go with the Scotchgard.

                            Thanks for your input!
                            1992 Sea Nymph Fishing Machine FM 160
                            1993 Evinrude 50 Hsp. Outboard
                            1993 Evinrude Trolling Motor

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                            • #15
                              Re: Sunbrella Boat Cover - Waterproofing

                              I have tried them all .The form. 303 is surely one of the best but I found one that I now use which works just as good.Go to the camping dept at Walmart as you have been told to do .Reach for the can of Scotchguard and them move to the left and get the can with the bright orange lid right next to it.It is one of the best I have ever used.Cant remember the name.It is also the cheapest one I have ever used.One can does the entire bimini of my mako .I did a posting on this product a few years back when I first discovered how well it worked.You can do a search on "Cheap waterproofing product".I cant remember the exact title I gave it.Charlie

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