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Restoring acrylic canvas boat covers
Old 04-21-2014, 11:25 AM   #1
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Restoring acrylic canvas boat covers

I know there are a number of boaters here so I figure I would try to tap into the accumulated knowledge.

I have an 18' bowrider boat that came with a red bow cover and cockpit cover that are now almost 10 years old. They are each in good condition and still fit well but are sun faded and no longer water repellent. I believe that they are made of acrylic canvas.

I use them to protect my boat upholstery from 1) the sun and 2) water.

I would like to restore the faded red to the original color (which I can see on the back of the canvas), restore the water repellent and possibly even add some sort of UV protectant.

In terms of restoring the color, from what I have read, acrylic canvas requires special dyes that are difficult to dangerous for DIYers. Fabric paint is also a possibility.

There are a number of water repellent products that I could use but they tend to be expensive. I actually have an old (1993) 1/2 can of Thompson's water seal that indicates that it can be used to waterproof fabric, canvas, tents and tarpaulins that I am considering using.

I haven't researched UV protectant much yet.

I could live with the faded color if restoring the color is too complicated or expensive and just restore the waterproofing.

Any thoughts on the best approach, products to use, etc from this esteemed group?

I'm willing to spend some money for a solution that works but am definitely looking to avoid spending $600-800 on new canvas.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:29 AM   #2
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When you say acrylic canvas is that similar to seat upholstery material? I have used vinyl upholstery paint with some success but that was on vinyl seats and door panels. It wears fairly well but not sure how it would hold up out in the elements.

ALSO, if the material on your boat cover is similar to the material used on a soft tonneau cover like on the bed of a pick up truck, there is a brand called ACCESS. I have had a black cover one on my pick up for over 10 years and it still looks new and has not faded. They make a spray on ACCESS cover care cleaner that provides UV protection. I don't know how to add the link but you can google ACCESS cover care cleaner to find it. I have no connection to this company but I think they make a quality product. I even contacted their customer service to see if they could recommend a type of vinyl paint if someone wanted to renew or change the color of their product but the person I talked to had never heard of someone painting one. If mine was really faded I would research a vinyl paint that is made by several manufacturers such as Rustoleum and Dupli-Color
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:45 PM   #3
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The looks like canvas but is made of acrylic fibers rather than cotton. It is common for boat covers, sail covers, etc. because it breathes well and lasts longer than cotton canvas in moist environments and doesn't mold/mildew as easily.

From what I have read the material is dyed when it is made but does not accept normal dyes. There are special dyes available but they require expensive special equipment or are somewhat dangerous from what I have read.

I am chasing down the possibility of restoring the color with the Duplicolor fabric paint and then waterproofing it.
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