New Canvas Considerations

Posted: October 1, 2013  |  Tag: Canvas/Enclosures/Covers

By: John Temple

We need to replace our canvas, and I am looking for advice. What are the major factors to consider?
The most important factor is the vendor you choose. Walk a marina or two and look at canvas you like, and look for a label. Ask boat owners to share who did their canvas. Search online and in the “yellow pages.” Once you have a short list, visit those vendors.

When replacing canvas, design is important. No matter how good the workmanship, it can’t make up for a bad design. Know who at the vendor will handle the design, and how he will stand behind the design and the end product. You need to be involved in the design all the way.

If you are enclosing a bridge, the most important consideration is no leaks. Second is being able to open the windows. My preference is no rolling, especially since there are clever ways to lift up the canvas and attach it. We have straps for our front windows that attach to the frame when the windows are lifted. In the aft sundeck of our Carver 390, we snap the windows to the “ceiling.” We also use sliding sections — dual slides, so one window piece can slide behind another. If bugs are an issue where you cruise, buy screens that insert in place of the windows.

Material selection is very important. Use only the highest grade of canvas. Sunbrella is a great example. For the windows, EZ2CY is the best quality but not very good to hang up while running and bouncing, as it may crack during the worst circumstances. In a situation where flexibility is required, I suggest isinglass, but only at a decent thickness. We often see people with thin isinglass that is rolled up, but when it is rolled down, there are scratches and lots of wrinkles. I suggest .040 thickness, and never roll and “pin” it up.

Clean canvas carefully with a very soft mitt and lots of water. We have used Mermaid’s plastic cleaner and polish for more than 20 years. Never use anything other than clean cotton rags to clean canvas — no paper towels. If you are going to run while looking through your “glass,” install wiper inserts.

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