seam seal. how to?

9:55 p.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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13 forum posts

I've got an older eureka apex 2. That tends to leak in storms. I've done the can-o-silicone spray. I'd like to seal the seams. Tips hints or tricks are welcome.


3:31 p.m. on February 15, 2013 (EST)
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5,245 forum posts

When I used to buy tents in the old days back in the 70's when manufacturors didn't seam seal their equipment yet, I would always be sure to do it before I went hiking/camping. Some products come with a brush applicator and you simply squeeze the liquid out streaming it along all seams on the inside seams all over the tent. 

Usually a good way to check is to hold the seam up to a light or the sun to see if you can see any pinholes that are created as it was stitched together.

Its pretty simple to do this seam sealing. There are directions on the product.

4:47 p.m. on February 15, 2013 (EST)
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560 forum posts

Use brush to help clean the current seams with isopropal alcohol (91%) or the paint thinner.  Try a small patch in a not important part of tent to make sure it doesn't react with the tent fabric.

Erect the tent so that it has time to dry - sunny day helps.

Buy some seam sealer and skip to SEAL IT  (or keep reading Do It YourSelf)


Clean small can (tuna can is perfect). Two might be needed.

1/2" cheap brush, half of the bristles cut off so that the bristles are stiffer. Get two.

GE Silicone II tube (small is better).

Odorless paint thinner.

Fill can 1/4 full of paint thinner.

Put in enough Silicon to fill it half full (50/50 mixture). 

Mix until it 'dissolves'. Actually, it becomes a colloid that has about an hour 'pot time'. It will happen, you just need patience and persistent slow stirring.

If you run out, make up another (or partial) batch in a separate clean, dry can and new brush.

Toss the old can and brush.


On the inside, start near floor and work your way up the seams to top of tent from back to front (or exit) of tent.  Hopefully this will keep you from getting the stuff in your hair.  A hat for the messy and clumsy is good.  A dog or a cat (or another person) inside the tent is not productive,.

With the brush, daub a small amount on especially where the threads go through the fabric and work it in. You can smear it with your finger if you think that a better tool.  Clean up with paint thinner.

Have large boxes handy to put inside the tent to keep the sides away from each other.  Depending upon how much moisture in the air (humid days work faster) depends upon when it will 'dry'.

Before putting the tent away, turn it inside out to air for awhile too.

You shouldn't have to do both sides unless you are paranoid about your technique.  It does add weight.

Is this a single wall tent?  Or are you doing just the rain fly?

5:50 p.m. on February 15, 2013 (EST)
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Nice writeup, speacock. That technique works well, but it can be difficult to get everything dissolved evenly, and then keep that consistency as one adds more to the mix. One can also use White Gasoline if you have access to it; doing so creates a mix that will dry completely in a few hours.

Alternatively, the OP could:

1.) Buy a package of Permatex Flowable Silicone Windshield Sealer, and open it.

2.) Use included syringe tip to apply/inject optimally-mixed silicone to/into seams inside and out, and trail it using a slightly damp sponge...

3.) Put a fan on it and wait at least a day to take the tent down.

10:20 a.m. on February 18, 2013 (EST)
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1 forum posts

+1 for speacock's write up.

The bigger challenge may be getting old flaking seam sealer off before the new sealer goes on. I've used a stiff bristle toothbrush and similar nylon brushes with fairly good luck. It's ok if you slightly rough up the surface of the old fabric. The new sealer will seal it back up.

I use the same mixture but mix it in a small glass jelly jar. Pour some into a tuna can to use and keep the rest covered so it won't thicken too fast. I also do two coats with this process. Apply one coat to outside of seams. While its still wet rub it in with a finger. I wear a rubber glove on one hand for this. Then wipe the seam down with a clean rag. Work in small sections so the sealer doesn't gum up on you. Seal, rub, wipe. As soon as you finish the tent go back over it with a second coat, before the sealer has really cured. Best of luck.

11:51 p.m. on February 21, 2013 (EST)
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1,469 forum posts

get a new tent

May 21, 2018
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