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DIY And Natural Waterproofing For Canvas?

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Old 05-09-2022, 09:08 AM   #1
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Default DIY and natural waterproofing for canvas?

We are getting ready to build our own yurt and I am looking for recommendations for eco-waterproofing. I donít want to use sunforger or any other industrially waterproofed fabric as I do not think it is good for our health or the planet. I donít trust industry to use environmentally responsible materials for waterproofing. I understand I am being idealisticÖBUT oh well thatís me! Does anyone have experience or recommendations for waterproofing plain canvas with boiled linseed/beeswax (tin cloth)? Apparently it cloth is still breathable so I donít suspect there would be condensation issues but maybe Iím being naive. I live in Maine USA so relatively wet but not sopping. Thanks for your input!!

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Old 05-09-2022, 10:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: DIY and natural waterproofing for canvas?

Things may have changed since I looked into this 10 years ago, so let me start by saying that..

When I DID do this research, vinyl actually turned out to be the greenest alternative. You have to consider all the energy it takes from beginning to end to make the roof. Right from seed to table as they once used to say.

Considering a vinyl roof lasts 20+ years whereas a canvas roof at best, when used full-time gives you 3-5 years, you have to take into consideration whatever energy it takes to make a canvas roof, gets multiplied by 4. Also, when canvas is done, there isn't much you can do to reuse it. You can compost it I suppose, but that's it.

Vinyl can be recycled to make more vinyl.

Maybe there are some new natural materials or methods out there since I last looked, but I would advise you dig through the entire process when you grade which is the most environmentally friendly.
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Old 05-10-2022, 01:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: DIY and natural waterproofing for canvas?

IMO a 15 year professionally made vinyl cover is the way to go, especially in Maine. Cotton canvas covers don't last more than a few years, even in a semi arid climate. As for 'green' that won't mean zip if you are living in a wet moldy cold and miserable yurt. I'm not 'anti green' by any stretch, just practical.

100% canvas outfitter wall tents can last a couple decades but they are only used a few weeks a season. And even then they have to be 'dead' dry before storage or they will rot.

I had three yurts with 'proofed 17 oz. canvas cover. Totally shot after five years of continuous exposure in semi arid CO climate. 1st year absolutely fantastic, second year good but not like year 1, third year ok but fading , fourth marginal at best not good for living in, and fifth torn, leaking, structural strength gone, and worthless for anything other than wind blocking. Year six yurt dismantled and cover trashed. Barn shed built on yurt deck.
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Old 05-15-2022, 10:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: DIY and natural waterproofing for canvas?

You are likely going to have serious mold issues with canvas in Maine. Maine is a very wet state. Chronic mold is far worse for you than a commercially made vinyl cover will ever be. The mold will likely penetrate the canvas and you will be exposed to it continuously.

The type of waterproofing you are talking about using is likely going to require that you do it yearly, which means the canvas cover is likely going to have to be removed, which is labor intensive.

Vinyl covers will off gas for short period of time and then will not be an issue. If they mold, the mold will likely be exterior. Now Yurts that have indoor plumbing and utilize moisture/utilities of some kind can mold on the interior regardless of type of material used.

Now I am one who believes that we must all be good stewards of this planet and do everything we can to keep it clean, but we also have to be realistic. If you are using a computer, phone, car, live in any home of any kind there are all sorts of plastics and non-natural material used. Everything made is made and or transported to you, utilizing fossil fuels in some manner, as is a vinyl Yurt cover.

Using Tyvek type breathable waterproofing material (which is non-natural) under your canvas/vinyl can mitigate the

moisture

that penetrates from the outside. That is what I did and have never had any issues with condensation or mold, but I also have no inside utilities that produce

moisture

.

My Yurt is a traditional Mongolian Yurt that has a canvas cover, however I built a complete cover over it to protect it from snow and the climate so it will last longer than most canvas covers. When it has to be replaced I will have a custom vinyl cover made, because they are more resilient.

Not trying to get political just provide information so you can make the best decision for you.

Chris

Last edited by trihartsfield; 05-15-2022 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-15-2022, 10:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: DIY and natural waterproofing for canvas?

Using Tyvek type breathable waterproofing material (which is non-natural) under your canvas/vinyl can mitigate the moisture that penetrates from the outside. That is what I did and have never had any issues with condensation or mold, but I also have no inside utilities that produce moisture.

Thanks for that.
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