With the fall camping season right around the corner, you may be breaking out your camper for the first time this year. As you open it to make sure everything is in order before you go camping, you might notice that it may smell a little bit, there’s a little bit of mold in the bottom corner or there’s a small tear that you didn’t notice last time you put it away. You’re thinking, am I going to need to replace my canvas, and how much is this going to cost me?
Replacing a pop-up camper canvas can be an expensive process. All said and done. It can cost upwards of $2,500.
Despite the eye-opening price tag, the cost of replacing your pop-up camper canvas can be made more manageable if you are willing to put in the time and effort. In addition, you may not even need to replace the canvas at all! This article will cover all of the costs associated with replacing a pop-up camper, how to take care of the canvas, and the signs that it’s time to replace your canvas.
How Much to Replace Canvas on Pop Up Camper?
The cost of replacing your pop-up canvas can vary significantly based on several determining factors. The type of canvas, the size of your camper, how old your camper is, and where you’re having the work done can all impact the overall cost of replacing the canvass.
In general, a pop-up camper replacement can cost between $1,000 to $2,000 for the canvass and an additional $500 to $600 for the installment.
Let’s take a look at a few of the factors that impact the overall price so that you can get a better estimate of what it will cost to get a pop-up camper replacement.
Size of the Pop-Up Camper:
One of the biggest influencing factors of the overall cost of replacing your pop-up campers canvass is the size of the camper itself. A larger camper requires more material, meaning that it will cost more to replace.
Pop-Up Camper Model:
Another huge influencing price factor is the model of the camper that you own. Websites and stores that sell replacement canvasses typically sell each canvas specific to the model of the camper. The chances are that if you bought a more expensive camper, then the replacement canvas will be more expensive than a cheaper model.
Additionally, the year of the model of your camper also impacts the price. A canvas for an older pop-up model tends to be cheaper than one for a newer model.
Material of the Canvas:
Pop-up canvases are typically made from cotton or vinyl. Cotton is the cheaper of the two, but vinyl is much more durable. Therefore, if you do have an option when buying a replacement pop-up camper canvas, you should consider the benefits of the material verse the cost difference.
Type of Replacement:
We will discuss this in more detail later in the article, but the type of replacement that you have done will significantly impact the overall cost. For example, if you only need to have one wall of the canvass replaced, it will be significantly cheaper than replacing the pop-up canvas in its entirety.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vs. Professional Canvas Replacement:
Many people who own pop-up campers are do-it-yourselfers. While you do have the option to self-install a replacement canvas, there are definite trade-offs.
Let’s start with the benefits. Installing a replacement canvas for your pop-up can save you the $500 to $600 installment fee, but is the struggle of self-installing worth it?
Which is Faster?
The first problem with doing a self-installation is the time commitment. Even if you are able to install the canvas correctly on your first try, it will likely take at least 4 to 5 hours of your time. You will most likely need to re-install the canvas at least once, which means that you would be committing a full one to two days to install the canvas.
Companies that professionally install pop-up canvases have the process down to a T. They typically can install your replacement canvas in under an hour. Therefore, the time saved by paying for a professional install is almost worth the steep cost depending on how much you value your time.
Does it Really Save Money to Self-Install Your Canvas?
The obvious answer seems to be yes. If you pay for a professional installation, you end up spending about $600 on the labor. While a self-installation only costs you the time it takes to install the canvas. However, there is more to consider than just the upfront costs.
In the worst-case scenario, you could rip or damage your canvas by installing it incorrectly. This would result in you having to buy another replacement canvas and then either trying to install the canvas again or, more likely, ultimately paying for the professional installation so you don’t damage the second canvas.
In a more likely scenario, you end up installing the canvas incorrectly, which puts wear and tear on the incorrect areas of your canvas, and it ends up significantly reducing the lifespan of your new canvas. Unless you have experience installing pop-up camper canvases, it’s almost always cheaper, in the long run, to pay for the professional installation.
When Do You Need to Recanvas Your Pop-Up Camper?
Before you go investing a lot of money into a recanvassing camper project, it’s important to understand when it is actually necessary to recanvass your pop-up. If you purchased a brand-new pop-up, you would not need to worry about replacing the canvas for several years. A high-quality canvas will last 10 to 15 years with regular use and even longer with the proper precautions.
However, if you have owned a pop-up camper for a few years or are purchasing a second-hand pop-up camper, you will want to look out for a few signs that the canvas will need to be replaced. These signs include:
- Large tears or fraying
- Broken or separating seals or zippers
- An untreated canvas that looks sun-damaged
- Dry rotted canvas
- Mold or mildew that remains even after cleaning
If you see any of the above signs, it’s probably time to look into replacing the canvas on your pop-up. Make sure to inspect the canvas of any second-hand pop-up that you intend on purchasing for the above signs. Replacing a canvas on a second-hand camper can negate the savings compared to buying a brand new one.
Can You Repair Your Pop-Up Campers Canvas?
In some instances, you do not need to completely replace your pop-up camper’s canvas when there’s a small tear or even just a portion of the camper that needs to be reinforced; you can generally take care of the problem by yourself.
The key is to ensure that you make the repair properly. While it may seem tempting, simply sewing the tear is not the answer. Sewing a rip will compromise the water resistance of your canvas and prevent the material from stretching properly.
Instead of sewing the canvas, you will need to pick up the following materials:
- A piece of canvas that matches your pop-up camper’s canvas
- Canvas glue
- Waterproofing spray or wax
If you are having a difficult time locating the above supplies, reach out to your local RV store to help you identify the correct items.
Once you have all of your supplies, you will want to take the following steps:
- Cut a piece of canvas that is about an inch longer and wider than the hole or area you are trying to reinforce.
- Apply the canvas glue to one side of the cut canvas and place it over the hole on the inside of the canvas.
- Allow the glue for 10 to 15 minutes to dry. Repeat the same process on the outside of the camper.
- Leave the glue to dry overnight to ensure a strong bond. The following day treats both sides of the canvas with waterproof spray or wax.
These quick repairs can help increase the life of your pop-ups canvas and keep you from having to spend a lot of money on replacing the canvas for a small tear. Canvas repair kits only cost about $20 online. Just make sure that you are choosing the correct type and color of canvas for your camper.
How to Take Care of Your Pop-Up Camper Canvas?
The key to increasing the longevity of your pop-up camper’s canvas is taking the time to properly take care of it after each use. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you get the most out of your pop-up camper’s canvas:
- Dry out the canvas completely after each use. If it rains while you are camping, open the pop-up back-up to let it dry when you get home.
- If at all possible, avoid closing the camper when it’s wet. This is what allows mold and mildew to grow.
- If you live in a humid area, use a dehumidifier to ensure that your camper is completely dry after each use.
- Avoid cooking inside of the camper. If you need to cook inside of it, thoroughly clean the inside of the canvas after each use. Additionally, keep the windows and any ventilation open while cooking.
- Use soap and water to clean your canvas. Harsh chemicals can remove any water and sun-proof treatment and ultimately damage the canvas.
- Store your camper in a garage or shed to keep it from being unnecessarily exposed to the elements.
- Re-treat your canvas every five to seven years with a waterproof treatment. Opening and closing the camper causes the coating to wear off.
Of course, the longevity of the canvas depends on how often you camp and the type of weather that you are camping in. However, if you follow the above tips, your camper’s canvas can last the entire lifetime of the camper.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Here are some of the more frequently asked questions about replacing a canvas on a pop-up camper.
- How much Does it Cost to Replace a Pop-Up Canvas?
It can cost between $1,000 to $2,000 for the canvas and $500 to $600 for professional installation.
- Can I Install a Pop-Up Canvas by Myself?
It is possible to install a pop-up camper canvas by yourself, but it is a lengthy process that can be difficult.
- Can I Repair a Hole in My Pop-Up Camper Canvas?
Yes, you can repair tears or weak spots in your camper’s canvas. You’ll just need to purchase a pop-up camper canvas repair kit.
- How Much Does a Pop-Up Camper Repair Kit Cost?
You can purchase a repair kit for about $20. Make sure to buy the material and color that matches your pop-up.
- How Do I Increase the Longevity of My Pop-Up Campers Canvas?
You can increase your canvas’ longevity by storing it in a dry place and taking the proper cleaning precautions after each use.
- How Often Should I Clean My Pop-Up Camper Canvas?
You should clean the canvas after each use. Make sure that the canvas is free from all debris and dry before closing the camper.
- Do I Need to Retreat My Pop-Up Camper Canvas?
It is recommended that you reapply waterproofing spray to your canvas every five to seven years. Pay special attention to seams when doing so.
Owning a pop-up camper is a fun and exciting thing. It allows you the freedom to go pretty much anywhere, anytime you like, for a fraction of the price of a hotel. While paying to replace a canvas on a pop-up may seem expensive short term, it will ultimately save you money and give you access to more adventures in the long term. If you take care of your canvas and clean it properly, you will have a great shelter that will take you anywhere you want to go.