Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Make Your Own Gear: Sealing Silnylon Seams


Display Avatars Sort By:
Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
Dilution on 09/11/2007 09:33:43 MDT Print View

I used full strength seam sealer on my first silnylon tent. What a disaster!!! The stuff was thick, unsightly and started to peel off within one month of application. I now use thinned silicone sealer at about a 5 to 1 mixture and apply it sparingly. My goal is to thin the sealer enough to allow the threads to absorb the material. That way any excess that gets rubbed off doesn’t affect the water-tightness of the seam. No problems yet!!!

I also use the same mixture to paint lines on the floor of my tent and bottom of my pad to keep the pad from sliding on the silnylon floor. This works well and doesn’t stick or peel off like full strength sealer does.

Helge Melbye
(st.helge) - F

Locale: Norway
Re: sealing silnylon seams on 09/11/2007 11:45:28 MDT Print View

I might be wrong but I think mineral spirits are called white spirits in the UK. At least that is what it is called in Norway.

H.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Make Your Own Gear: Sealing Silnylon Seams on 09/11/2007 16:24:29 MDT Print View

Deleted

Edited by ouzel on 09/11/2007 16:33:03 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Sealing Silnylon Seams on 09/12/2007 02:39:42 MDT Print View

Thanks Jay, following the instructions on SilNet for my BD Lighthouse was tricky, messy, and wasteful. This lower viscosity method looks neater and easier. Ill use it for my poncho/tarp which is inbound.

Dr Andrew Allan
(mathouramedical) - F

Locale: Melbourne
Tape sealing PU coated fabrics on 09/12/2007 07:20:06 MDT Print View

I've been told by Sheri Tingley, owner of Alpacka rafts in Alaska(a separate obsession in their own right!), that Tyvek building tape (used to stick building paper together) sticks really well to PU coated fabrics. It is readily available in Australia for about $40 for a roll, and can also be used for picture framing, if you are lucky enough to share 2 pursuits, as I am.

I have tried the sailmakers tape for siliconised fabrics, as mentioned by Roger C - it seems to work well, and I have used it successfully for making a packliner out of silinylon. Presumably with some fiddling, where you stick silinyon to one side, and cut it to 12mm wide, it can then be used as a seam sealing tape. It seems to take a while to "cure" though, so don't expect it to bond perpetually within a few minutes!

Andrew Allan

barry hitchcock
(barryspoons) - F
sealing silnylon on 09/12/2007 17:10:58 MDT Print View

helge----thanks for imformation---regards barry

David Corbin
(wildyorkie)

Locale: New York
Sealing nylon or PU tents with mineral spirits thinned McNett SeamGrip sealer on 09/29/2007 01:22:29 MDT Print View

Can I assume correctly that McNett SeamGrip thinned with mineral spirts will work similarly well for nylon or PU cloth tents? And will Husky 2500 tape also work on them?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sealing nylon or PU tents with mineral spirits thinned McNett SeamGrip sealer on 09/30/2007 01:18:50 MDT Print View

> Can I assume correctly that McNett SeamGrip thinned with mineral spirts will work similarly well for nylon or PU cloth tents? And will Husky 2500 tape also work on them?

I am not sure whether SeamGrip thins all that well with mineral spirits - you would have to try it out with whatever passes for mineral spirits where you live. I believe it thins very well with Xylene, but try buying that at your local hardware store!

Husky 2500 tape will NOT bond well to PU or nylon. It uses a siloxane adhesive which reacts chemically with silicone coatings to make a really good bond, but it bonds poorly with non-silicone surfaces. On the other hand, a sailmakers seamstick tape (eg 3M 9845 I think) does bond very well to PU.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Superior product for sealing silnylon on 09/30/2007 15:38:17 MDT Print View

Just read Jay Ham's article on thinning silnylon, and have a few observations.

Discussions with the technical folks at Duco (the glue and sealant people) produced the following information:

1. Thinning silicone resin with mineral spirits or anything else weakens the cured resin because the slurry structure interferes with the resin forming long polimer strings as it cures.
2. If you want thinner silicone sealant, buy a thinner silicone sealant. It will be a unitary formulation containing no thinners, just a thinner formula of resin.

"Permatex Flowable 100% Silicone Windshield Sealant", available at any auto parts store, is such a thin, unitary resin.

I have used Permatex for both sealing and glueing seams for over a year and just finished 6 months on the AT with all my silnylon seams sealed with it. Compared to Silnet, it is tougher, less sticky, more liquid with better penetration, and perhaps more UV resistant. It cures to the touch in 30 minutes, sets as a glue in 20 minutes, fully cures in 24 hours. It's also cheap - half the cost of Silnet for twice the amount of product.

Edited by vickrhines on 09/30/2007 15:42:13 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Superior product for sealing silnylon on 10/01/2007 02:04:25 MDT Print View

Hi Vick

Thanks very much for posting this information. A few comments:

> 1. Thinning silicone resin with mineral spirits or anything else weakens the cured resin because the slurry structure interferes with the resin forming long polimer strings as it cures.
Well... that depends on the solvent.
If you use a volatile solvent which can evaporate quickly, it should not interfere very much. But such a solvent may be more difficult to buy.
If you use a silicone oil (eg Dow Corning OS-2 I think) as the solvent it will integrate with the silicone polymer and should not affect it at all. But buying silicone oil is even more tricky.

> Permatex Flowable 100% Silicone Windshield Sealant", available at any auto parts store
I am off and googling!

**Edited Dec-2008: not cheap, but it worked very well. Recommended.

But note that some thin silicones meant for other tasks do not like to be used in thin layers. I have one such silicone, very liquid, but incapable of curing in typical thin seam-sealing applications unless I brush catalyst over the silicone a day later. Painful... It was meant for fine detail casting.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 12/12/2008 16:20:58 MST.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Sealing Outside vs Inside on 10/01/2007 09:00:36 MDT Print View

I know the conventional wisdom is to seal the under side of a tent fly or tarp rather than the outside. However, if you don't care that the outside of the fly shows seam sealer, wouldn't you get a more waterproof job by sealing the outside? It seems to me that by sealing the underside only, you allow water to work into the seam before it is stopped by the sealer. Why not stop the water before it has a chance to get into the seam?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sealing Outside vs Inside on 10/01/2007 14:41:13 MDT Print View

> if you don't care that the outside of the fly shows seam sealer, wouldn't you get a more waterproof job by sealing the outside? It seems to me that by sealing the underside only, you allow water to work into the seam before it is stopped by the sealer. Why not stop the water before it has a chance to get into the seam?

Since the edges of the seams are usually on the inside of the tent rather than the outside, I agree 100%. After all, my tent is not there as a fashion item: it is there to shelter me. I don't care if the seams show a band of sealant. And it takes a lot less sealant to treat the lines of stitching, compared with trying to cover the whole seam.

Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
easy way to seam-seal on 11/09/2007 21:49:22 MST Print View

A much easier way to seam-seal is this. Put a dab of seam sealer on a piece of paper. Dip the brush in this dab. Spread the sealer on the seam. After about 30 seconds, the sealer will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and swell up. Avoid smearing the sealer after it has swelled up since this weakens it. This process is very simple. After you have finished, wipe the brush off on the paper so you can use it again later and then throw the paper away.

If you thin the sealer, it will be weaker, and yet one of the main purposes of sealer (at least for silnylon) is to strengthen the seam, since the line of needle holes becomes a natural line of weakness in the fabric. You don't want the sealer to make a globby mess (and it won't if you first put it on paper and then transfer it to the fabric like I am suggesting) but at the same time you DO want the sealer to be visibly thick enough so that it is obviously adding strength to the seam.

It helps to have high relative humidity in the air while the sealer is curing, such as by closing the windows and running a hot shower before applying the sealer. This is mainly an issue when sealing indoors in the winter, when the relative humidity indoors is sometimes extremely low. I don't worry too much about the fumes when sealing indoors since I'm retired and hence don't need my brain anymore. But if you are worried, then just leave the house for a few hours after you finish sealing with a window cracked and all the fumes should be gone when you return.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: easy way to seam-seal on 11/10/2007 13:22:02 MST Print View

> It helps to have high relative humidity in the air while the sealer is curing, such as by closing the windows and running a hot shower before applying the sealer. This is mainly an issue when sealing indoors in the winter, when the relative humidity indoors is sometimes extremely low.
Good point. Here in Sydney, Australia, the humidity is usually well above 60%.

> I don't worry too much about the fumes when sealing indoors since I'm retired and hence don't need my brain anymore.
Cackle!
But in fact silicone sealant does not emit harmful fumes. Some versions emit a slight smell of vinegar, while others don't: that's all.

F. Thomas Matica
(ftm1776) - F

Locale: Vancouver, WA
Rejuvenate Nylon Coated Packcloth on 12/25/2007 21:18:26 MST Print View

I have used the silicone/mineralspirits solution to recoat a pair of old REI overmitts. The original coating had dried an pealed off on the inside of the packcloth portions of the mitts. I have read that it is not possible to recoat when this happens. Well, I gave it a try anyway and it seems to work just fine. The packcloth has regaind its waterproof character. A really thinned out coat seems best as it is less likely to crack or peal off. Is it as durable? No matter, just a simple task to recoat. the thinned out silicone really seeps into the cloth where the original coating had worn off. I'm thinking of using this method on my day pack or at least portions of it....as another experiment.

Deb dePeyster
(Trudy) - F
Permatex clear RTV silicone adhesive sealant on 04/09/2008 17:01:21 MDT Print View

I couldn't find the GE Silicone II clear sealer that everyone recommends for silnylon. I looked in 3 stores. What I did find was the above.

Can I use it the same way, mixed with mineral spirits?

It comes in a caulk tube or a small squeeze tube.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Permatex clear RTV silicone adhesive sealant on 04/10/2008 16:55:29 MDT Print View

I have used the Permatex Flowable Windshield sealant on my latest winter tent. I did not bother to thin it. Instead I applied it with a 20 cc hypo to the seam and rubbed it in with my finger. It dried fast and seems to have done a very good job.

I have used un-thinned hardware store clear silicone wet-area sealants with a hypo as well. A little thick, but they worked fine. So I don't bother with thinning very much these days.

As an aside: I find the hardware store sealant makes better non-slip stripes on my groundsheet than the Permatex. A detail.

David Adler
(davidadler) - F
Sealing GORTEX type tent seams. on 04/24/2008 21:53:50 MDT Print View

Unfortunately i read the article on sealing silnylon seams after i sealed my BD Lighthouse tent in conventional manner.
My question is, has anyone used the mineral spirits thinning technique with regular Seam Grip?

René Enguehard
(ahugenerd) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland
Inside vs. Outside seam sealing on 06/26/2008 06:51:12 MDT Print View

I'm glad someone finally addressed the whole inside versus outside seam sealing question. Previously I have heard people say that an inside seam seal is better because it doesn't degrade as fast as the outside one since it isn't out in the elements. That being said, it stands to reason than an outside seal would prevent water from coming in completely, thus providing a more efficient seal.

Good to hear a definitive answer on this. :)

E C
(ofelas) - F

Locale: On the Edge
SeamGrip + thinner = better flow on ToddTex? on 10/10/2008 12:05:27 MDT Print View

Any further insights on diluting McNett Seam Grip with paint thinner or rubbing alcohol to flow better?

Thx.