Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Properly Care for Your Boat Lift Canopy Fabric

Boat lift canopies carry the crucial task of shielding your boat from the elements when not in use. Selecting the right canopy fabric is an important decision when protecting your investment. However, improper care of the canopy will ensure its fast demise and compromise your boat’s protection. Knowing how to clean and care for a boat lift canopy cover is an important step in protecting your boat and increases the lifespan of your boat lift awning. In addition, knowing how to store a canopy properly makes sure it doesn’t deteriorate when not in use. At Boat Lift and Canopy, we offer several different fabric types for your canopy, and each has different care instructions.

18-oz. vinyl
Our aptly named 18-oz. vinyl weighs 18 oz. per square yard and offers many significant advantages over other fabrics. It is heat sealed, rendering the traditional stitching used to hold a canopy together unnecessary. As a heavier, more durable fabric, it is estimated these canopies can last 10 years or more with the proper care. The most prominent enemy of your canopy’s durability is UV rays. These can make the vinyl brittle and inflexible, making it prone to cracking. In order to combat this, rinse it in cool water and wash it with a mild soap like Ivory. When cleaning, use a sponge, cloth or a soft brush for extra stubborn areas. Rinse thoroughly and allow your boat canopy to dry completely before storing. This ensures no mold or mildew can accrue while storing your canopy. Do not use harsh chemical cleansers on your canopy – this could prematurely affect the UV coating on your vinyl. Prior to the season beginning, make sure to spray your vinyl with a UV protectant like Vinylex offered on our website.
vinyl fabric cleaner

Top Gun fabric
Top Gun fabric consists of a woven polyester fabric coated on top and bottom with acrylic. Weighing in at 11.5 oz. per square yard, it’s lighter than the 18 oz. vinyl but still offers strong protection as a mildew and UV-resistant fabric. In order to properly care for Top Gun fabric, prepare a cleaning solution of four ounces of bleach and two ounces of a mild soap mixed in with a gallon of warm water. Use a soft bristle brush or sponge to remove all dirt from the canopy and rinse it with water. Ensure your canopy is completely dry, and then to increase the life-span, use a spray like Aqua-Tite Green water and stain repellent. When storing your Top Gun fabric, always make sure it is completely dry so no mold or mildew can develop on the canopy, diminishing its lifespan and ability to protect your boat.

Sunfield Acrylic
Sunfield Acrylic fabrics are 100% solution dyed material frequently used in commercial applications. Its durability as well its colorfast properties make it a great solution for boat lift canopies, and proper cleaning and storage can ensure it lasts for years to come. The main source of damage to Sunfield Acrylic fabrics is UV rays. When these infiltrate the cover, they make it hard and brittle and prone to cracking. If this happens, be sure to replace your canopy cover as soon as possible. In order to properly care for Sunfield Acrylic fabric, wash it in warm water with a mild soap and rinse and dry thoroughly. Although UV rays are the biggest enemy of Sunfield Acrylic fabrics, a UV protectant isn’t necessary so long as you are cleaning and storing the canopy properly.

Hemp cover fabric
Hemp fabrics are the most environmentally friendly option for a boat lift canopy, but just because it’s ecofriendly doesn’t mean it’s weak. These canopy covers are naturally mildew resistant and able to hold their shape well, stretching less than any other natural fiber. Over time, your hemp fabric can be broken in and will hold fast against the elements due to its strong organic fibers. Unlike other fabrics, this one will absorb water to become watertight while still protecting your boat. However, make sure your hemp is completely dry before storing it to protect it from mold and mildew.

By following the care instructions above, you are protecting the investment of your boat canopy and making sure it will last for years to come. No matter what type of fabric, make sure to fold and store it in a bag in a cool, dry place so it is kept from the elements until next summer. The storage bag should NOT be airtight, we want it to breathe if there is excess moisture on the canopy when packed.