We bought our first camper in March, a 2005 Niagra. On our first trip the last night we were there, it rained. We found a very significant leak in the rear tent section (we had a lake under our mattress), and looking at the side canvas found some noticeable wear on the canvas on the outside of the pole frame.
I took it back to the dealer who said they would make it right under the 90 day warranty.
Yesterday they called me and said all it needed was a "canvas treatment", and we would need to do this "periodically".
They said they located the leak, treated it, did a 4 hour leak test, and all was ready to go.
My question is...is this "canvas treatment" for real or am I getting some smoke blown up my bum? I have searched for "canvas treatment" here and come up with nothing.
I am not speaking as someone knowledgeable about that particular popup, or any popup. I AM knowledgeable about canvas tents, and I mean the REAL cotton canvas used before ripstop nylon took over. And yes, cotton canvas does need a waterproofing treatment from time to time in order to be and remain waterproof.
It is not expensive, nor difficult, nor does it need to be done often, but when it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Canvas is porous, and unless there is something water repellant there, it will leak. Take for example, a tee shirt hold it out horizontal, and pour water on it. What happens? The same thing happens with untreated canvas.
Here's one article on the topic: http://midtown.net/dragonwing/waterproofing.htm
Just to be technically correct......your 2005 Niagara doesn't have canvas but rather Sunbrella. You can "Google it" to find out more about what it is and how to take care of it. Rarely does it need to be waterproofed. Most pop-up leaks are not through the Sunbrella/canvas, but rather water finding a way to get around it. Hopefully the dealer fixed your problem.
04 Mercury Mountaineer, V8, Tow Package
04 Fleetwood Sequoia
I had a hole develop on the vinyl, or whatever coated material that Jayco uses, for the tenting. I applied your standard Coleman Seam Sealer to the area, a couple of coats inside and outside, and that held for years.
Check yours for signs of a clear, shiny gel applied to the area, and that will probably indicate they used something like seam sealer. This sounds especially the case, with them saying that you'll need to do it every so often.
Water repellent treatments for tent fabrics are for canvas and duck, cotton or linen fabrics that are not normally water repellent. Like my 1970s vintage umbrella tent, or the Army Surplus tents we used in the '50s. In the good old days, this was just paraffin dissolved in more volatile petrochemicals.
I would hope that the tent fabrics used in a 2005 vintage popup are more modern that that, synthetics or even plastic-coated synthetics. These fabrics do not usually leak, but seams will leak, and fastenings to hard parts of your trailer might leak. Treatments for modern tents are usually seam sealants, to plug up the holes from sewing, or to deal with worn spots.
Your dealer could be doing the second thing, and yes, it needs to be done periodically, because the sealants lose their flexibility, crack and leak.
I bought a produt called Camp Dry, it was made by Kiwi. It's a heavy duty water repellent. Had it for years, I think I got it at Walmart in the camping/fishing dept. it'll water proof any thing you spray it on. Putit on when the material is dry, and let it dry before getting wet.