Last Updated on January 2, 2022 by Douglas
Pop up campers are a great way to boost your roadtrips and vacations if you don’t have the budget for something like a full on motorhome or trailer. However, they do require a bit of maintenance. Most pop up campers use some kind of canvas in order to give residents a bit of privacy. While canvas is a great material that’s pretty durable and facilitates a lot of ventilation and airflow, at some point or another it might get damaged. When this happens, you would need to replace the canvas. Understanding how much pop up camper canvas replacement can cost is important if you want to make sure that you do it the right way.
What Do The Costs Look Like?
A number of different factors come together to influence the kind of costs that might be incurred during the canvas replacement process. For starters, are you going to be replacing the entire sheet of canvas or will you just be adding patches wherever there is a little bit of wear and tear? Replacing the entire canvas would obviously cost a lot more. The make and model of your pop up camper will also affect this sort of thing.
However, perhaps the most important choice that you would need to make when determining costs has to do with either doing it yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. The latter would be more expensive of course, but it does make things easier for you along with ensuring that the job is done in the best way possible. DIY, on the other hand, gives you more control over the process. If you want to fit the canvas in a very specific way, doing it yourself might be your only option, and it also helps that it would save you quite a bit of money.
Generally speaking, professionals that replace canvas for a living might not need more than an hour to get the job done. They would charge you anywhere from $300 to $500 for the privilege. Depending on how big the canvas is as well as other factors such as the size of your pop up camper and how it has been designed. This much money for just an hour of work might seem like a lot, but if you try to replace the canvas yourself you would see that it’s a really difficult task. Professionals are only able to do it so quickly because they do it every single day and are experts in this activity now.
Doing it yourself would take a lot longer. If you don’t have experience with this it can take up to five hours. That’s a lot of time, almost a full day’s work, for something fairly simple. Hiring someone is costly but it takes a fraction of the time. You don’t want to spend a whole day on one task after all. Unless you are really strapped for cash, in which case doing it yourself should be fine too.
Signs That You Should Get Your Canvas Replaced
You wouldn’t need to replace your canvas until one of several indications become noticeable to you. Most new campers wouldn’t need canvas replacement for several months at the very least, if not years. How often you ride in the camper matters too, though. The more you use it, the more wear and tear would occur on the canvas. There are six main signs that you need to replace your canvas. Other signs are also possible, but these six are the most common reasons for people to opt for canvas replacement.
Most of the time when you have mold it will be relatively easy to clean. Soap and water should do the trick and have your canvas looking good as new. Some people don’t clean their canvas often enough. This leads to a sever mildew and mold buildup. If you try to clean the mold off of your canvas but have a difficult time of it, it might be a better idea for you to just get it replaced. This is a common sign, especially if you haven’t used your pop up camper for a while.
If you are planning on cleaning your canvas, make sure that you leave the camper open afterwards. Otherwise a lot of humidity would accumulate. This humidity would wreck your camper. It can lead to an excessive buildup of mold. If you close your camper right after cleaning it, the moisture would cause a lot of damage. If you see water marks or if your canvas is unusually humid, this might be another sign that it needs to be replaced. Try drying it out first and give it a sniff. If it smells fine then it doesn’t need to be replaced. A stale smell or perhaps even a foul one is a strong sign that you should replace the canvas right away.
Sometimes if you’re short on money, buying untreated canvas can seem like a good option. It’s cheaper and it looks more or less the same so why not go for it, right? Well, the truth is that untreated canvas causes a lot of problems. It’s a lot more prone to damage. The main reason for this has to do with sunlight. Treated canvas is more resistant to various kinds of sunlight. However, untreated canvas will fade and wither quite quickly if exposed to sunshine.
No matter how durable your canvas is, eventually it would start to look rather ragged. If it’s been a while since you bought your pop up camper or last replaced the canvas, it might be a good idea to think about how you can replace it. Taking a look at the canvas can give you an estimate of how bad the damage is. If it has been discolored in any way or of it seems threadbare in certain places, a replacement would be necessary before you embark on your next journey.
Broken Zippers, Worn Out Seams
These are common signs of wear and tear. Sometimes the canvas itself would be fine. But the zipper that you use to close it up would not be. A zipper can be hard to replace. If other kinds of damage are significant enough, you might want to consider just replacing the whole thing. This can be a good way to get a fresh start before a new vacation as well. Looking into your options here would show you that replacing the canvas is usually the right thing to do.
Should You Go For Repairs Instead?
Having a DIY mentality means that you would often be looking for solutions that you can implement yourself. Repairing the canvas is an affordable option. You wouldn’t have to buy a whole new sheet of canvas. Instead you can just make do with some cheaper supplies. This is perfect for when you only have smaller issues with your canvas. Spending so much money on an entire new sheet does not make sense if this is the case. You would be better off repairing it if you know how to go about doing such a thing.
In fact, repairing your canvas proactively and regularly might just be a great way to keep it well maintained. A lot of the time rips would form while you are out on the road. Repairing them then and there would prevent them from getting any bigger. If you let the rip stay there, it will continue to get worse. Eventually the small tear in your canvas would end up being a huge flap that is blowing in the wind. Frequent repairs are useful if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Undergoing a massive repair job will always be more difficult than just fixing holes as and when required.
How to Clean Your Pop Up Camper’s Canvas
Regularly cleaning your canvas and making sure that you are storing it adequately is a really important aspect of ensuring that it lasts as long as possible. We have a few tips that you can follow to make this process a bit easier for yourself. We will be starting off with a few more obvious tips after which we’ll try to mention some of the most obscure factoids that should ideally be taken into account when cleaning out your camper.
Make Sure The Canvas is Completely Dry
After the cleaning process has been completed, you might be tempted to just stow the camper away and call it a day. However, before you do so you need to dry the canvas. Otherwise it would start to rot. Lay it out flat on a surface and have it fully exposed to the sun. This would make it dry a lot faster. It would also ensure that every corner of the canvas is fully dried. Make sure you check every crevice and fold for moisture. Even the smallest bit of humidity can lead to widespread rot.
Clean The Interior
A lot of people think that only the outside of the camper needs to be fully cleaned regularly. This is because they assume that outside air would be dirty and it would make the canvas dirty as well. However, cleaning the interior of your camper might be just as important. You probably cook and do other things in your camper. This generates smoke and fumes which would coat the interior of your canvas. Cleaning the canvas regularly will help prevent a buildup. Otherwise your canvas would end up greasy and grimy.
Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals
The best thing that you can use to clean your canvas is good old fashioned soap and water. This would get pretty much all of the dirt off without you really having to worry about anything else. Whatever you do, never use any harsh chemicals like bleach. They would ruin the canvas and cause even more damage. Regular use of harsh chemicals will really wear your canvas down. It will only last half as long as it would have if you had just used soap and water. Canvas is a pretty rugged material but harsh chemicals don’t go well with it.
Use a Vinyl Finish
Cleaning is important, but so is protecting your canvas from getting dirty in the first place. Spraying your canvas with some vinyl finish can coat it and prevent dirt from clinging on to it. This wouldn’t mean that you can avoid cleaning altogether, though. It just means that you would have to engage in cleaning somewhat less frequently. Clean the canvas before you apply the coating too. Otherwise dirt might get trapped under it. Vinyl coating is also a great way to protect your canvas from damage. It’s a simple solution that greatly increases the lifespan of your canvas. In many ways it’s the exact opposite of using harsh chemicals. You should spray your canvas with a vinyl coating about once a year. This is about how long it lasts before wearing away.
Don’t Miss a Spot
Canvases are really large. It can be easy to miss a spot during the cleaning process. Try to split the process into sections. You won’t move on to a different section until the previous section has been fully cleaned. When you’re done, give the canvas a long hard look. If you see any spots that you missed, clean them then and there. It’s very important that you try to be as thorough as possible. Canvas cleaning isn’t something that you would have to do all that often. So when you do it, it helps to do the job properly rather than trying to find shortcuts that would lead to your canvas still being dirty after it’s washed.