How To Waterproof a Fabric Convertible Top on Your Car? THE GUIDE

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waterproofing canvas convertible top on car

Even though soft convertible canvas (cloth) tops on vehicles are waterproof, their hydrophobic properties may weaken with exposure to all the weather elements (UV rays, rains, snow, dust, dirt). Since convertible tops need to stay waterproof all the time, I decided to show you a quick and easy way to waterproof them on your car. 

To properly waterproof a convertible top on your car, you need to spray it with a dedicated protectant and repellent product. Those products will make your fabric convertible top waterproof, as well as protected from UV rays, dust, dirt, and other harmful elements. 

Prevention is the primary key to keeping your soft convertible top like-new for as long as possible. When you regularly protect and waterproof convertible tops, they’ll last much longer, and they should never leak any water, unless there’s physical damage, of course. 

There are more types of convertible tops, but I’ll show you everything about waterproofing soft convertible tops made from fabric materials in this article. Without furder ado, let’s see the proper way of waterproofing convertible tops. 

1.Thoroughly Clean Convertible Top Fabric

Before anything else, you need to make sure that a convertible top is clean from any dirt and dust. So, you should wash and clean it as thoroughly as possible. 

Quick steps for cleaning fabric convertible top:

  1. Spray it with water (garden hose or pressure washer). However, if you use a pressure washer (check my recommended pressure washers), make sure to keep the wand far away from the fabric, and that way, you’ll avoid any damage to it. 
  2. Spray APC on the fabric and let it sit for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Use a soft brush (the ones for leather are great) and agitate the area in circular motions. Be thorough and don’t skip any areas. 
  4. When you have brushed everything, rinse the top. Again, be careful if you’re using a pressure washer. 

There are tons of products marketed as “convertible top cleaners,” and they work. But there’s no need for you to spend additional money on that. Any high-quality APC (all-purpose cleaner) will do the work fantastically. 

If you don’t know which brush to use, check my recommended brushes for leather cleaning, they’ll also be great to clean convertible tops. If you use a too harsh brush, you will speed up the wearing of the convertible top and maybe even damage it immediately. 

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2.Dry The Convertible Top

You can’t apply convertible top protectant to wet fabric. For protectants to work, the area should be completely dry. Otherwise, it won’t work. 

There are two main ways of drying soft convertible tops:

  • Leave it overnight. It should dry if the area isn’t highly humid. 
  • Use a drying microfiber towel and soak it to the convertible top. That way, it’ll collect most of the water from there. After that, leave the convertible top another hour or two to dry completely. 

When I’m waterproofing convertible tops, I like to leave them overnight, and it’s the best scenario, in my opinion. That way, I’m 100% sure that the fabric is dry enough to apply a waterproof protectant. 

3.Apply Waterproof Protectant On Fabric Convertible Top

Now that everything is cleaned and dried, it’s time to apply a product that’ll give your convertible top fabric hydrophobic properties – make it waterproof, but also protect it from other external elements such as Sun’s UV rays. 

Protectants also extend the lifetime of fabric convertible tops. So, instead of only waterproofing them, you’ll also give them more protection and more longevity, which in the end saves you a bunch of money. 

So far, the best product for waterproofing and protecting fabric convertible tops is RaggTopp Fabric Protectant (check the price on Amazon now).

There are tons of products on the market, but this one worked best for me and thousands of other people. Just check the reviews, and everything will be self-explanatory. 

Do these steps to apply convertible top protectant properly:

  1. Tape some newspapers around the convertible top, so you don’t spray the product on unwanted areas. If you don’t do it, don’t worry. Just clean any overspray with a clean microfiber towel as soon as possible. 
  2. Spray the 1st coat of product on the fabric. Pay attention to the seams. Apply more product over there since those are the most vulnerable areas of the convertible tops. 
  3. Work the product into the convertible top by massaging it with your hands. That way, the product will go into all pores and offer even better protection. (Don’t forget to wear safety gloves)
  4. Let it dry for 30 minutes.
  5. Apply 2nd coat the same way you applied the 1st one. 
  6. Let it dry for 1 hour. 

And that’s it. Your soft convertible top is now waterproofed and protected. If you want, you can also apply the 3rd coat, but in my opinion, there’s no need if you’re using the RaggTopp Protectant. 

Furthermore, don’t be afraid that you’ll put too much protectant on the fabric. I usually spend the entire bottle on one car. That way, I’m 100% sure that it’s well waterproofed and protected, and that way, it’ll last longer. 

If you need video advice on using RaggTopp, here’s a great tutorial.

FAQ

How to know if my convertible top lost its waterproof properties?

The easiest way is to spray some water on it. If there’s no water beading on the convertible top, it’s not waterproofed. And you should apply convertible top protectant as soon as possible.

How often to re-apply fabric protectant to convertible tops?

If you’re using high-quality protectants like RaggTopp that I recommended above, you can re-apply it every 6 months.

Can I use an air blower to dry the canvas quicker?

Yes, of course. Air blowers will significantly speed up the drying time. That way, you’ll finish the task sooner.

Conclusion

Those were all the steps to protect the canvas convertible top on your vehicle adequately. If you follow them strictly, you’ll have a hydrophobic convertible top that’s also protected from UV rays and other harmful elements. Remember, maintaining the convertible soft tops is the key to their longevity. 

It’s around two hours of work, but it’s totally worth it, especially if you don’t have a garage for your cabriolet car. Having those cars is fantastic, but what’s the point if the canvas is leaking water. So, follow my advice, and you’ll be a happy convertible top owner. 

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