Sunday, June 21, 2009

Researching Waterproofing Options

I'm making my son a Green Pepper raincoat from this pattern. I've used this pattern before as a winter coat. This time it will just be the fabric and a lining. Because of that, I want it to be waterproof even at the seams. There are several products out there that claim to waterproof a seam. I bought them and tried them out.

I'm a science teacher. I like experiments. I like being methodical. Yes, I'm type-A in a very big way. So, I made four samples and tested the waterproofing ability of each product. First up, Seam Sealer 3. It's a water-based product that claims to "put an end to leaky seams and joints." This product is super easy to apply with a dauber cap and dries quickly with little odor.


K-Tape is a "universal repair tape that can be used on all smooth synthetic fabrics, fleece, and vinyl." It's 18" by 3". For this sample, I cut it to a width of about 1/2". This is a very easy product with which to work. It's just like masking tape that stretches. I did notice that if you stretch it when you apply it, the fabric will gather as the tape shrinks back to its regular length.



Seam Grip is like rubber cement. It smells similar and had a similar consistency. You use a brush to apply it and you should be in a well ventilated area. It "permanently seams, bonds, and repairs tents, outerwear, and gear." This one has to cure for 8-12 hours. If you want to glue two things together you apply a light coating of Seam Grip to both surfaces, let them dry for a few minutes, and then stick them together. Sound familiar? Rubber cement uses the same directions.


Here they are together. I had high hopes for the K-Tape but I think Seam Grip won out in the end.



Here they are after a good washing. I wanted to see how they held up under a washing cycle.



After washing the seams on the Seam Sealer 3 sample started to peel up. And, I think it's actually okay. It's not a glue, it is supposed to soak into the thread itself and make the thread waterproof. It's kind of like Fray Check.


The Test: I pinned all the samples and applied about 3mL to each sample. This fabric (Nylon Burlington DWR) is so waterproof, it was hard to stop the beads of water from rolling off. The bottom, my control, is a sample with no sealant on it. On all samples, I tried to concentrate the water to the seams. Like I said, that was hard to do because they wanted to roll off.


This is what it looked like an hour later. Notice the control sample has visible water spots along the seams.


These were pinned to a cardboard tube to test for water leakage. Of all the samples, the only one to leak was the control (ignore my goof-up at the top).



Overall, how did they do? Well the easiest to apply was the Seam Sealer 3. You just dab it on. I think the most effective one will be the Seam Grip. It acts like a silicone caulk that moves with the garment. I think it will be the best overall. I may use the tape for a large area though. If I decide to embroidery something on this coat, I will probably tape it inside with the K-Tape and use the Seam Grip around the edges of the tape.
Helpful? I figure someone out there has gotta be into outerwear like I am. :)

27 comments:

Paulette said...

Um, nice to see how much spare time you have on your hands!! LOL!! Of course this would make for a great class assignment/lesson.

:)

Anne LO said...

Great test! You should put in under tutorials.

quba said...

Hi,

We have just added your latest post "Two On Two Off: Researching Waterproofing Options" to our Directory of Science . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory and get a huge base of visitors to your website.


Warm Regards

Scienz.info Team

http://www.scienz.info

racheljm said...

Been reading for a while but not yet commented. Yes it's very helpful! Waterproof coats are on my list of hope to achieve for the year. NOrth Wales isn't quite as wild as Alaska but maybe a bit wetter! Thanks for pointing out this great pattern, might have to order it for my two boys. Thanks again
racheljm

Amy said...

Very helpful! I made my own tent (http://customsewingbyamyj.blogspot.com/2009/06/bilgy-update.html), but have not yet sealed the seams. The information about the products was helpful, but I really appreciate the thouroughness of the testing process. Not being Type A myself, I wouldn't have thought to check things this carefully! Good job!

cidell said...

Hmmm. Interesting. I want to make a trench and sealing the seams never occurred to me. Thanks.

Sally said...

While I will probably never need to waterproof anything where I live, I loved reading about your experiment. I just kept thinking, "Wow--that would have made a great science fair project all those years ago when we were wracking our brains for an idea!" And how cool is that that you are being added to the Directory of Science. I love to see what you are going to post next and find myself disappointed when I have to wait a few days. :o)

Rosesred said...

very cool post, and very useful as I´m getting ready to make my own raincoat. Where did you get all this stuff? I´ve been asking around in stores for this kind of thing and nobody knew what I was talking about ±P

Shelley's Garden said...

I recently finished a Gortex jacket. I ended up using Seam Sealer 3 because it was most available and only a few dollars a bottle. I found the iron-on seam sealant expensive-per yard whereas I still have most of the Seam Sealer 3 available for another project. But that was for my locale. What price difference did you find? .

BConky said...

Info not needed in my climate but enjoyed the experiment anyway.

Cindy said...

Although our rain is warmer here in Florida, we get tons of it. Your post was really helpful. Thank you.

Sew-Ann said...

Great experiment. I've starred this post for later.

Mary Nanna said...

I am just about to start making a trench out of water proof fabric - will be lucky to be able to source even one of your products, but if I have a choice, now I know. Thanks for the detailed post!

anita said...

Very apropos info for me - I'm planning on making some waterproof stuff sacks soon. Thanks for this very helpful post! I enjoyed your experimental approach. :)

Anonymous said...

Great info, thanks. I hope you and your family are OK after the earthquake today!

Tina in Va

judy said...

This is awesome info! Thanks science teacher!! I am buying some outer material for ski/snow wear next winter and this info will be useful!

Lady Be Good said...

Thanks! I do love experiments, but I have no patience for them, so this was very informative.

Johanna Lu said...

Oh, I wish you had done this experiment before I did my raincoat. Great idea! I used tape allover and it was a pain in the but to use where the seams are curved. Plus the tape needed more heat than the fabric could stand to properly seal, so it was a scary undertaking. Tape for straight seams and a glue for the rest would be my conclusion after my first waterproof project.

julianne said...

Thank you for this! Coming in late via a google search. Bought a raincoat I love but it leaks a teeny bit at the shoulder seams, despite them being taped on the inside. I'll have to find the Seam Sealer 3 and give it a whirl.

casserole said...

Awesome info!! I posted a link on Craft Gossip Sewing: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/products-for-waterproofing-fabric/2009/07/07/
--Anne

Sarah Doyle said...

This is fantastic information. We've posted your findings on our SewingBusiness blog - http://sewingbusiness.com/2009/08/01/waterproofing-your-outdoor-cushion-seams.aspx

Thanks again
Sarah J Doyle
http://PatternsThatFitYou.com
http://SarahJDoyle.com Blog

Building Preservation Specialist said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas on waterproofing. This is a great help to me and to others.

HyunChard said...

How about basement waterproofing systems? Does this water proofing method really lasts a long period of time?
Interesting post. I'm interested to keep up with your blog and see what other fascinating information you post about.

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Anonymous said...

Your tests are very helpful...and thorough thank you. I want to use a sealer in snack bags that I make using a laminated cotton on the outside and a waterproof diaper liner inside. The problem is the cotton is getting wet due to liquids seeping through the stitching. Do you think 'seam grip' would be suitable sealer for this project, bearing in mind food is involved here? I look forward to your feedback.

taylorparker said...

This article is a great idea - so informative and user friendly! My husband and I, after buying our first home last summer, realized that there is a lot of maintenance that goes into it. And that that this maintenance is very important! basement waterproofing was one of the first things that my husband and I did when Spring came around and the ground started defrosting. If you take care of your basement waterproofing first thing, it can save you a lot of frustration and a lot of money down the road. 

Waterproofing los angeles said...

Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.