Recoating a Urethane Tent Floor with Silicon

8:38 a.m. on July 21, 2015 (EDT)
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Hi All: I could use some help on tent floor refurbishing if anyone has experience in what I'm about to describe. I use a North Face Expedition 36 tent (10 years old) for car camping and winter time group backpacking on the trail. It's larger and heavy, but no problem when packed across 3 people. It's a bombproof and very stable shelter, best I've ever owned.

Unfortunately, the floor and fly were worn. North Face replaced the fly under their lifetime warranty, but could not replace the tent because they no longer carried spares in stock. The wear on the floor is limited to the interior urethane floor coating. Everything else is fine.

To recoat the floor, I need to remove the urethane. To do this I'll be soaking the floor fabric in a Woolite bath for 6 hours, then washing the tent in a front loading machine. What's left of the coating will be removed by rubbing it using a towel with an isopropyl alcohol solution, followed by drying. 

OK, so, in theory, I should have close to a "clean" nylon floor when finished (these tents have 70D 210T nylon taffeta floors) because the urethane coating delaminates easily when soaked and washed. I have two choices for refinishing, an interior water based urethane coating ("Tent Sure" by Mcnett) or the system I use for coating my back backing nylon tarps (1 part silicon to 3 parts mineral spirits) applied to both the interior and exterior floor, which I prefer. 


Here's my problem. I've searched just about everywhere but can't find anyone who has tried recoating using silicon after removing a urethane treatment on a tent floor. I have some test material I can try this on first, but I thought I'd post this to the group to see if anyone else had experience. All responses appreciated and respected!

11:08 a.m. on July 21, 2015 (EDT)
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I have never done this...exactly as you describe.

I wonder, even if you do remove all the Urethane from the floor, would there still be any Urethane embedded in the fabric fibers....and if so would it be enough to create any compatibility problems with the Silicone? I don't know.

It seems to me a Urethane coating may be more compatible, but also heavier & more expensive.

Great looking tent by the way!

2:06 p.m. on July 21, 2015 (EDT)
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I agree with Mike...I would probably stick with Urethane as there might be a chance that while you have cleaned away most of the prior coating there may be unseen amounts that could result in the silicon failing to bond in some spots (it is also annoying to carry two kinds of repair I try to stay away from silicon if I have other options)

Also...why would you coat the outside of the tent floor (unless you plane to just dip the entire floor in your silicon solution?)...abrasion is sure to remove the coating very quickly on the outside.

11:44 p.m. on July 29, 2015 (EDT)
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Or, skip the re-coat.  Buy a roll of plastic sheeting at a hardware store, cut to size and place it inside the tent over the nylon floor.  Water won't come through the plastic and you'll likely stay dry.

6:29 p.m. on July 30, 2015 (EDT)
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I was chatting with a local outfitter after getting some seam sealer for my 30 year old Moss Solus II (still in use)

He told me that Moss tent floors had the coating on the outside which makes sense in that abrasion per movement thereon wound be on the inside

Alicia suggested a review of the Solus some time ago, I don't know what more can be said about a 30 year old tent other than, "Yup, good tent" (Apologies for home town Farmington Maine humor)





9:27 a.m. on July 31, 2015 (EDT)
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If you set up your tent in the right place you will never get wet. I have learned this by camping for years in tents and tarps with no floor.

Some people really like to work on their equipment. If that is the case, then proceed by all means.

12:00 a.m. on August 15, 2015 (EDT)
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Hi All: Thanks for the nice replies. OK, so here's what I did. First, I washed the tent. I was expecting some peeling of the urethane, but it didn't happen. I then wiped the floor down with isopropyl alcohol, scrubbing it with a course cotton towel. I never saw the urethane come off, but it was gone. Water could drip through. I then set the tent up and let it dry. After drying, I started applying the Tent Sure product.

This stuff is watery and white. I was working on a hot day, so it dried quickly. I could effectively cover a 16 inch by about 10 inch section at one time by laying down a thin bead and quickly brushing it in with a one and one half foam brush. One problem is that you can't tell what was covered as it dries, so you need to mark sections. If you double coat, the area dries white and gooky, so try and avoid. Here are a couple of in progress pics, tent and tarp.



After coating, I let the tent dry for 48 hours. The floor did still slightly stick, so I sprinkled corn starch down and rubbed it in prior to packing for a trip to Shenendoah Valley Campground in Virginia. Arrived and set up on a Thursday. It rained some Friday, then rained all night Friday night. Floor of tent stayed mostly dry, but I could see spots on the bathtub sides where water bled through because I missed them when recoating. The tarp footprint had no bleed throughs, it stayed completely dry. No ground condensation, nothing. Here's my tent and MOAT setup for rain. Yep, we had campfires under the MOAT.




i'll recoat the missed spots on the tent this weekend, before I go out again. Overall, I was pleased with the outcome, although Tent Sure was not the easiest product to work with. Thanks again for the help!

8:18 p.m. on August 22, 2015 (EDT)
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 Glad you guys got to get out and have some fun!

Thanks for sharing.

January 25, 2020
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