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Billboard Or Other Vinyl Roof Cover

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Old 04-19-2020, 09:30 AM   #1
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Default Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

Hi all,
I've been making my first yurt. It's a tiny playhouse yurt for an outdoor preschool program I run. After this one is finished, I'd like to build a 20 ft one on my own.

Now for this one, I've got some billboard covers, but as I was fitting one for the roof yesterday, I found it still had a horrendous vinyl offgassing smell, so much so that I developed a headache.

So the first question is, does anyone with experience using billboards know if this smell will go away?

Obviously if it wont, I'll need to get something else.

Which brings me to my next question. I've read about using vinyl coated polyester. I've found what seems to be a very cost effective choice, but am wondering if it's too good to be true. It's around $6.10 a yard if you buy 50 yards. Is this realistic for a decent product?

Thanks for any help
Fox

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Old 04-19-2020, 06:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

Never been in a vinyl covered yurt so no comment on that as a cover. Never handled bill board cover either so no comment. I do remember smell coming off vinyl children's pool toys, floaties, balls etc. So, that might be a normal part of typical cheap vinyl that has heat sealed seams. Whether it goes away over time beats me, those pool toys never lasted long enough to tell.

As for vinyl coated polyester, never handled that stuff either. I DO know that 50:50 polyester/canvas fabric is a WHOLE lot longer lasting in the weather than cotton canvas. I had my yurt walls covered with it and it held up WAY better than cotton canvas roof cover.

So any fabric that has a poylester base is probably going to make for a decent yurt cover. Ain't much but that's what I got. Hopefully some pro will come along and give good advice. Good luck.
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Old 04-19-2020, 07:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

Thanks Bob. I used another billboard for the walls, which I cut a couple weeks back and that one didn't stink. I went back and smelled it today, and it did not have the same chemical smell that the one for the roof does. There must just be something strange in that one.

I'd like to use something other than billboards for the larger yurt I make which will be erected year round, so I'm still hoping someone can weigh in on the vinyl coated polyester. I've seen some companies selling vinyl coated polyester for 4x the price of the company I found. Really hoping it's not total crap.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

I'd buy a few yards of the material before a yurts worth. You can make a tarp, tent stake, rope, tool, tote storage bags out of it. That will give you info on the fabric quality and/or smell before buying many dozens of yards for a 20' yurt.

I have seen substantial discounts online of quantity buy of bolt material, like fifty yards and more, on U.S. companies, but not at 25% of their cost for a few yards.
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

There are many different types and qualities of vinyl fabrics. Cheap vinyls are typically not stable materials and release toxins (much like cheap shower curtains) under normal use. I suspect the difference between your two billboards is the quality of vinyl used. One sign shop used a better product than another.

There are lots of different fabrics that are considered "vinyl coated polyester". Most fabrics by this description are woven fabrics with a fairly light vinyl coating (similar to the acrylic coating on our polyester side covers) that is applied as the fabric is run through rollers, to help embed the coating while it is in a liquid state. These fabrics are typically sewn rather than being welded using heat or radio frequency welders.

Fabrics described as "vinyl laminated polyester" or "coated vinyl" are often made from higher quality materials and are less likely to off gas. These fabrics usually have a polyester scrim (rip-stop) that is embedded in the vinyl, so they are strong as well. These will be more expensive, but fire rated, strong and long lasting. Their fire resistance will usually be integral in the material rather than a coating that is applied onto the surface of the material (i.e. It can't wear or wash off).
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Old 04-20-2020, 06:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

Thanks for your help, guys. I'll get a couple of yards first to see how it does. It does have some sort of fire resistance in it. Hopefully it's a decent product.
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

Good. There you go. Enjoy the build.
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Old 04-21-2020, 03:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

Keep posting, Foznsox! Lots of folks coming to this site will be interested in your hands on experience - and anything you learn.
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Old 04-22-2020, 04:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Billboard or other Vinyl roof cover

I've lived in a 12' homebuilt yurt covered with recycled billboard vinyl for about 5 years. I vaguely recall a little of that smell initially, but one advantage of recycled is that it's sat outside for at least a few months so it has to time to outgas. Even in 103 o F summers here in Austin, I don't really smell that smell anymore.

The material is almost free, maybe $20 for a 15'x50' sheet. It can be glued together in a watertight manner with Oatey X-15 Shower Pan Adhesive. I get mine from Lamar Billboards but any billboard company has them. I generally tell them "it's for an art project." It usually comes with one side with the ad on it and the other side either white or black. In Texas we look for lighter colors.

It will sometimes have small holes that can be patched with high-quality duct tape (on both sides) or other vinyl repair methods. In full sun my roof will last about two years before the sun starts to really break it down. The walls last longer. It probably wouldn't be expensive to coat it with something UV resistant and then it would last a lot longer.

It's stiffer than canvas so it's a bit harder to get it to conform to rounded shapes. To get my yurt sealed near air tight I have to put some padding around the join between the roof and the walls. You can also paint it pretty easily to look like whatever you want. For yurt experimentation it can't be beat. I usually try to get enough to cover the whole yurt twice just in case.

When I make a bigger yurt to live in I'd rather have treated canvas, but so far this has worked swimmingly.

-Scott
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