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Seam Seal Job
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Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Seam Seal Job on 05/01/2014 17:51:19 MDT Print View

I'm concerned i'm going to do a BAD job at seam sealing

I have a strat 2 sent coming in next week and am very concerned about seam sealing it. I don' want to do a bad job.

Seem to me (from watching henry's video via tarp you paint it on then massage it in with a towel.

is it messy?

does the silicone tend to drop down and 'stain' the tent?

do i do it on the outside? inside? i hear conflicting reports on that too.

give me your best seam seal options

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Seam Seal Job on 05/01/2014 18:21:16 MDT Print View

As they say, there are many ways to skin a cat.
The way we do it at TT (Henry and Co use sponge brushes I use mostly a syringe, the rest is the same) is so that you can get a seal without being too obvious or ugly
Because we do that at different temperatures and humidity levels, diluting our own works well with those variables and we use the leftover silicone and Mineral Spirit for the next one.
(mineral spirit here is about $3.50 per liter, enough for 20 tents or more).
Henry does not massage his shelters (that I know of) what you see him doing there is wiping off the excess using a mineral spirit impregnated rug.
My work, not as nice as the one from TT HQ, looks like this :
Seam sealed
I only wipe off the spill-over (silicone not on the seam) because as well as having the silicone penetrating the seams I like to give the seams a bit more body
Do keep in mind that doing dozens (well hundreds at TT HQ..) of shelters is not like doing one or two.
On my own shelters I do the seams from the inside too because I have the time.
For that I just stick a thin cloth covered finger into the silicone mix tuna can and "fingerpaint" them.
Please also consider that I am not at all concerned with fumes or stuff like that, others are.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/01/2014 18:28:29 MDT Print View

When sealing seams, sometimes I am trying to get the sealer into the needle holes. At other times, I am trying to get it into the space between two fabric layers, but if the seam is properly sewn, you can't find much space.


Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/01/2014 19:49:09 MDT Print View

I did the Henry Shire method on my mid, took about 10 minutes and aesthetically you can't tell it was seam sealed. Quick, not messy, and passed some pretty abusive water tests. Will never do another method again. "Stupid easy".

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/01/2014 19:53:54 MDT Print View

I was all worried about it before I did it (just as you are)...and the first seam sealing job I did was horrible, because I just used undiluted seam sealer.

But then I discovered (via BPL) the mineral spirits & silicone method. I worried about making the mixture, but honestly: stop worrying and do it. You'll be surprised at how well the whole thing goes. Just make a tiny effort at neatness, and you'll be fine.

Worrying about it beforehand is MUCH harder than actually doing it. [I also had this same experience about sewing with cuben.]

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/02/2014 01:21:39 MDT Print View

Yeah, it's super easy when you use a narrow sponge brush and you dilute your silicone enough (olive oil consistency).

Just be sure to give your tent a nice setup beforehand so all the seams are taut and pick a time when you know you'll have dry weather for at least a day to let the silicone thoroughly dry out.

By the way, while you're at it, you'll probably want to paint some silicone stripes on the floor of your tent for some grip so your pad doesn't slide all over the place.

Edited by dmusashe on 05/02/2014 01:22:28 MDT.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Seems on 05/02/2014 01:42:19 MDT Print View

Try it. So simple and literally no way to ruin it. You could not waterproof it -seem sealing is't necessary in the first place, depending on the piece of gear and you ask - it may look ugly or leak but you can't hurt your tent.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/02/2014 08:15:49 MDT Print View

I fingerpaint it on while wearing vinyl gloves. I do it outside if possible, but I've also done it in the garage or unfinished basement. I always get at least a few drips on the ground. Wipe drips off of the tent with a dry paper towel. They're really no big deal anyway.

Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Did it!!! on 05/08/2014 19:03:56 MDT Print View

Ok just seam sealed my tent today. Did the outside on the fly and the corners of the nest

Two questions:

Should I do the inside of the fly?

Should I put a second coat on?

Am I being to paranoid with it?


Jonathan Chin
(JonRC) - MLife

Locale: Northwoods
Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/09/2014 00:17:48 MDT Print View

When I first seam sealed my TT Stratospire 2, I was a bit concerned I over diluted the silicone/spirits mix, as the tent fly looked the same as before I began. Also the stripes I painted on the floor were so thin that, while visible, were so thin they provided little to no grip.

However, the tent remained perfectly waterproof through an intense, night long thunderstorm.

So, I doubt a 2nd coating is necessary. If you're really worried about it, just bust out the garden hose and see how waterproof she really is :)

Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Seam Seal Job on 05/09/2014 05:49:30 MDT Print View

ok. I guess i'm being paranoid.

My wife and I are sleeping in it this weekend in the back yard.

We are suppose to get some storms too!

Jim H
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Paranoid on 05/09/2014 09:14:59 MDT Print View

I haven't seam sealed my sil MYOG tarp yet, but out of curiosity I put it through a drenching with the garden hose, and I didn't notice any water leaking through the ridgeline seam. Seems to me the sealing is about a factor of safety and keeping the seams dry (mildew prevention?) more than preventing major leaks. I'm going to go with the quick and dirty tarptent method with the sponge brush. Just waiting on this PNW weater forecast to call for more than 8 hours without rain.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: No need to be Paranoid on 05/09/2014 09:33:06 MDT Print View

Set up your tent or tarp Tight.

Pour diluted silicone (about like warm honey) into a 10 cc syringe body.

Grip the syringe in the palm of your hand, with your thumb on the plunger to control the flow.

Use the needle-seat stub to work the silicone into the treads.

You will end up with one or two silicone tracks covering the stitching, and nothing else.

No wiping required.

Let it dry for at least 24 hours, maybe more. It will be tack free when it's cured.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Did it!!! on 05/09/2014 09:53:41 MDT Print View

Nathan, when in doubt set up the shelter and hose it down heavily for as long as you like, then check for any leaks. Instant backyard monsoon. I've done this several times when taking out a tent/tarp that I sealed years before. Just as useful for relieving paranoia the first time you seal a shelter.

Edited by millonas on 05/09/2014 09:54:56 MDT.

Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
STORM on 05/09/2014 11:38:06 MDT Print View

we just got a flash of rain. And it did well. I'm going to seal some of the inside, up near the vent, just because i felt some moisture there but not a big problem.

I really like this tent. It did well in the strong wind we just had as well.

I do have a terrible video and commentary if anyone is interested i could throw it up on youtube. its terrible though lol.

I don't think i've ever been more excited about rain. As soon as i heard it i grabbed my umbrella and my iPhone!

Edited by werne1nm on 05/09/2014 11:38:39 MDT.

Dan Goggins
(hjuan99) - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
How did you do it? on 05/09/2014 16:08:11 MDT Print View


So which procedure did you do? Henry's version where you dilute and wipe off excess or more of a fingertip application where it goes on thick? (like the instructions on MLD's store).

I once sealed a trailstar using the permatex flowable silicone ...straight (undiluted) by basically using a latex glove and fingertips. It went on thick. From buying several shelters on the gear swap, I think I did a comparable job to what others have done for that "style" of seam sealing. I'm sure it increases the strength of the seams, but it doesn't look good and it makes the seam "thick" and increases the weight of the shelter. It especially looked terrible at the apex of the shelter where there was stitching around the apex but no "fold" of the a line of dabbed or foam brush was SUPER obvious and way overkill and never looked straight and nice.

After seam sealing the trailstar, though I think I did a fine job with that "technique", I swore I would never do it again.

I then had ordered a new stratospire 2 from tarptent and had them seam seal it. I swear when it came in I could not tell if it was seam sealed or not....except that the floor of the innernet had seam sealed stripes painted on and there was some different material on certain points of the fly that wasn't silnylon that the seam sealing went over but didn't "stick" so it flaked off. Otherwise....very hard to tell unless I held up the fabric to light and turned it in just the right angle I could faintly see the remnants of seam sealer after it was wiped off.

I just acquired a flat tarp and a supermid that both need seam way am I doing it any other way than the henry shires method of massaging the sealer into the seams and then wiping it off. It keeps the shelter looking much neater and clean.

Edited by hjuan99 on 05/09/2014 16:09:49 MDT.

Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: How did you do it? on 05/09/2014 18:54:46 MDT Print View

I did a hybrid method.

I used diluted silicone via tarptents online store and then used a foam brush to apply the sealant on the seams. Worked well.

Dan Dru
(Dandru) - F

Locale: Down Under
Re: Re: How did you do it? on 05/11/2014 17:22:40 MDT Print View

I did my Moment yesterday, the last few weeks of weather haven't been that great, so I set the tent up in the house, diluted the Silicon as per Franco's instructions, used a brush to apply the liquid and wiped the excess off as per Henry's method, looks a lot better than the Scarp I sealed a few years back.

Kenda Willey
Re: Needle-seat stub on 05/11/2014 21:24:15 MDT Print View

Greg, what's a needle-seat stub? I've seam-sealed a couple of items, using a foam brush and the dilution method preferred by most bplers, but I'd like to know how to press sealant into the needle holes.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Needle-seat stub on 05/11/2014 22:00:42 MDT Print View

A new one -


I file away the outer collar so more of the inner stub is exposed -


I use the syringe to limit the mess and to massage the diluted silicone into the treads. I don't try to "pressurize" each needle hole with silicone.

Edited by greg23 on 05/11/2014 22:19:32 MDT.