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June 02, 2021Now Trending

How To Fix Ripped Canopy

You’ve had your canopy tent for a while now, and through its many uses, it has endured major storms and intense gusts of wind. So much so, that you end up with a small tear in your fabric. Now what?

It’s a smart idea to know how to fix a ripped canopy in case of disaster strikes so you’re not left high and dry. Buying a new tent top is expensive, and sometimes unnecessary when you can patch the hole instead! It’s best to catch the rip right away before it tears anymore, so luckily for you, American Tent will provide you with a tent repair kit free of charge that will arrive in under a week!

Tools You May Need for Repair

  • Cleaning solution
  • Canopy repair tape and glue
  • Sewing machine
  • Extra vinyl/patch kit

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to repair a torn gazebo canopy so you are prepared for whatever comes your way.

What Fabric Does Your Canopy Have?

What Fabric Does Your Canopy Have

Knowing what fabric your tent is made from will help you decide on how to fix your ripped canopy most effectively. Different materials need different treatments, so you have to know the proper method for canopy maintenance. Make sure when you purchase a commercial canopy, you find out the details of what the fabric consists of. Most often, you will see PVC-coated vinyl.

Check out our blog What Are Tents Made Of? for more information on canopy materials and their different qualities.

Clean The Canopy

Before you go to repair a ripped canopy, make sure you take the time to clean it first. An oil-free cleaning solution can be used on the front and backside of your canopy around where the tear is, or you can simply use soap and water in a pinch. Once clean, dry it completely because the tape will not adhere properly if the fabric contains moisture.

Find The Right Fabric for Your Future Patch 

Ideally, you will want to patch your fabric using the same material as the canopy. Not only will this help with appearance, but it will also help to create a stronger seal between the fabric and the tape binding it.

Of course, the main goal of fixing a tear is for practical reasons, but aesthetically, using the same material will avoid the appearance of your patched area standing out like a sore thumb. You are likely planning on continuing to use your tent for events to come, so it’s fair to assume you don’t want one section of your tent looking different from the rest.

Sew a Patch to Your Hole

#1. Sew holes shut

Locate the hole and sew it shut with a sewing awl and thread. Make sure your stitches are set to an appropriate length. A sewing machine works wonders, or a Speedy Stitcher hand tool is a portable, less expensive way to patch up. Check out this YouTube video for details on how to use the Speedy Stitcher!

#2. Cut patches

Make sure your patch is bigger than the hole since the damaged area is going to be weaker. Round the edges of your patch or make it a circle--square patches tend to lose their adhesiveness on the corners. Waterproof canvas is ideal for the outer layer, and you will want another layer of canvas on the inside of the tear as well.
Tent Patches


#3. Apply patches

Start with the inside patch, using Tear Mender glue (or something similar that comes with a patch kit), and then use something steady to hold down the area until dry. Now, follow the same process for the outside patch, and voila! Your tent is good as new!

Apply patches tent

    Inspect Your Canopy's Canvas

    After finding one tear, no matter how small or insignificant, you should look over your entire canvas for any other small holes or weak spots in the material, especially if your tent has been used for a long time. As aforementioned, canvas canopy repairs should be done as soon as possible to avoid the tears getting any worse.

    What Are The Other Ways to Fix Your Ripped Canopy?

    How to repair a ripped gazebo canopy without a vinyl patch:

    Though patching with the same materials as your canvas will yield the best results, you may also want to know how to repair a tear in the canvas canopy if you don’t have the same fabric. Before trying to cover the blemish, trim any loose threads (no matter what method you use for repair). For small holes, simply apply a dab of clear silicone caulk to the area to hide the spot.

    You can also steam the area surrounding the tear to seal it. After steaming, adhere Tenacious Tape to the inside of the tent and apply Seam Grip to the outside. Once you allow this to dry for 24 hours, you will have a strong, finalized bond!

    What If The Tent Seam Got Ripped?

    What If The Tent Seam Got Ripped

    How to repair a torn gazebo canopy if the tent seam starts to rip or unravel:

    Before beginning your patchwork, make sure you remember to cut away the loose fibers on the torn section of the seam. Use Seam Grip, similarly to patching a rip anywhere else on the tent. If the tear in the seam is larger, you can utilize a sewing machine! You’ll need waxed thread, and you’ll want to make sure the stitches are close together to ensure the strongest possible hold. After all, the seam is what keeps the canopy together!

    How to Prevent Holes and Tears in Your Canopy

    While some snags are unavoidable, there are a few ways you can avoid lacerations in your canopy material.

    First, during set up, don’t forget to lay down your drop cloth! American Tent provides these tarps specifically to protect your canvas from sticks or other sharp objects that may be on the ground.

    Second, check for trees that are close by to where you are setting up your commercial tent, and watch out for branches that may poke into your tent top!

    Third, keep checking your canvas consistently while it is set up.

    And finally, once you take your tent top down, use the drop cloth again, and then clean your canopy and double-check it one more time!

    What If I Can't Fix My Canvas?

    Contact American Tent and we’d be happy to help figure out a way to patch your canvas and give some possible options for canvas canopy repairs. If for some reason it really can’t be salvaged - for example, if the tear is very large and wide, or hinders the integrity of your material strength - we can assist you in getting a new tent top to replace your torn one! Visit, message us on Facebook, or call us at (920) 280-3516.

    Tony Ehrbar's headshot

    Tony Ehrbar

    Owner & CEO

    Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

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