Status Auto Detailing HOW TO: Protect your fabric convertible top with CQuartz Fabric Springfield Missouri

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Status Auto Detailing Springfield Missouri

Jeremy Hargett, owner of
Status Auto Detailing in Springfield, MO is an automobile and motorcycle enthusiast who found a way to take his passion for cars and turn it into a career. 

Whether you own a Maserati or Honda Accord, Jeremy has the knowledge, experience and attention to detail to correct issues such as stains, odors, scratches and scuffs. He is also knowledgeable in the detailing of suspension, engine, and undercarriages of a wide variety of vehicles. 

Meticulous  Focused

HOW TO: Protect your fabric convertible top with CQuartz Fabric

Now that fall is in full swing and people start prepping the convertibles for the open roads, it may be a good idea to consider protecting those fabric convertible tops. Many products exists on the market however my favorite remains CQuartz Fabric. In the past I've used 303 High tech Fabric , the RaggTop product line etc.. but my best results have always been with CQuartz Fabric. There is just something about seeing it in action. Since it is a product available to the general public, I get a lot of question as to the benefits and on the "How-To" properly apply it. So I finally decided to share the pearls of wisedom.

For those that may remember the "CQuartz Fabric and Leather", please note that the company actually reformulated the products and specialized each to its own intent.

As with any coating products, PREP IS KEY! Not only do you need a very clean surface to provide the best bonding, but you also need to properly protect the surrounding surfaces which you are not intending to coat. Some carefully apply and then spread the product, and some decide to tape and use anything from towels to split garbage bags, and some will use bodyshop masking paper/plastic sheeting etc.... To be honest, there is more than one way to skin this cat, and my method is just one that is not only safe and economical, but also serves a dual purpose (you will see later).

The Process

As per manufacturer recommendation you need a clean surface, void of anything that could interfere with the proper bonding on the Fabric coating. The cleaning process I use is simple:
  1. A good rinsing
  2. A diluted APC scrub (10:1)
  3. A THOROUGH rinsing!!!!!
  4. A wash with CarPro Reset (which does not leave detergents/surfactants behind)
  5. A THOROUGH rinsing!!!!!
  6. A drying process using MF waffle weaves and my trusty MasterBlaster (paying specific attention to the seams)

Once the top is completely dry, then comes the taping (of the appropriate areas) and the protection of all the surfaces which won't be coated. So what is my method? Well, I actually use old bed sheets which I tuck and pinch between the frame and windows and the actual top. ( I unlatch the top, tuck under and latch one side back down to keep the sheet in place)

It may look like an overkill but you will see the reason after.

As you can see from the backview I pre-taped the rear window. I find it much easier to tape the back window and then fold an old split pillow case, which I tape to the base tape. This is much easier than to try and fold and tape to the edges the pillow case itself, trying to follow the contour of the glass perfectly.

As you can see from the photo above, you simply need to fold the edge and don't have to be very meticulous when taping to the base tape.

Now comes process of applying the product. The process I use is pretty straight forward

  1. A quick 15% IPA wipedown (making sure it is completely dry before proceeding to the next step) 
  2. Shake the CQuartz Fabric bottle and apply a THIN layer of the product making sure to overlap passes and applying well to the edges and seams
  3. I then use a small sponge to "massage" the product in the fabric. I use a multi-directional small circular action with enough pressure.
  4. Next comes a second layer, also applied THIN (which is applied perpendicular to the previous layer)
  5. For the second layer I use a nitrile glove to "massage" the product into the weave paying specific attention to the edges and seams.

One point of precaution is that you need to make sure and apply the product in a well ventilated area. Ask me how I know 

After application, enough time needs to be allowed for the coating to cure before exposing to water. You can use IR lamps (or the sun) to "bake" the coating (speed cure) or you can simply keep it away from the elements for 12hrs (which is what I normally do).

What are the intended benefits??

  1. To create a Super Hydrophobic barrier which repels water instantly (and prevent water damage to the fibers)
  2. Wear resistance: increases the fabric wear capacity
  3. Chemical resistance (Acid rain, detergents and other chemicals)
  4. UV protections (protects against UV fading)
  5. Resists bacteria growth
  6. Requires less cleaning: In most cases simply wipe with a damp towel
  7. Versatility: Suitable for a variety of textiles such as fabric upholstery, carpets, mats, & convertible fabric tops (not intended for vinyl tops)
  8. Long lasting protection: 1+ year, depending on exposure and maintenance

How does it look in action? If a picture is worth 1000 words, what about a video ? 

Care and Maintenance.

Once the product is cured the maintenance is a BREEZE. A simple damp MF is all you need in most cases, although bird bombs may require a good spraying. A quality soap which does not contain waxes or silicones is recommended. Note that those soaps do not "remove" the coating but rather interfere with its function. Basically the surface would take on the characteristics of the wax/silicones temporarily (until they wear away or until they are removed, restoring the characteristics of the coating).

Do not forget that the coating is chemical resistant and not chemical proof, which means that products with pH <4 or="">12 will affect the longevity of the coating.

Application note: Make sure to apply THIN! This product unlike it predecessor will leave a sticky surface if the product is applied too thick.

Are you interested in knowing the dual purpose of the oversized bed sheet? Well, here it is..... I always do the work on the top first and then go about polishing and coating the vehicle. I normally tape the car before tucking the sheets so that once the top is cure (overnight) I can simply lift the sheet and wrap/protect the top just like a nice little gift. That way I can proceed with the polishing without worrying about flying compound, compounding dust etc....

Hope you enjoyed! I am sure that I missed something so feel free to comment, criticize and ask questions....

ADDENDUM: I wanted to add this addendum since the question was asked of me before, and I thought it is important to answer it preemptively. This Fabric coating coats the fibers but is non-clogging (which helps maintain the fabric suppleness). As such, the weave of the fabric is maintained and water will eventually intrude those spaces between the fibers. After enough exposure to water (or if the water is driven in the fabric) the fabric will appear to be saturated. This saturation effect is due to the hydrophilic nature of water. Once water intrude the fabric weave, it will attract itself puddling at first and then saturating the fabric weave. If you look back on the video, you will at first note the superhydrophobic quality, but upon further inspection you will note a puddling effect where the water hits the canvas. What is not shown on this video is the fact that a gentle tap on the top helps drive the water away from the weave and restore the hydrophobic characteristics. In essence, it is not because the fabric appears wet/saturated that the coating has failed. Since I don't have a personal example of what I am talking about I will share a CarPro video which shows how the behavior of the coating change once APC was introduced, however a good washing and drying (driving the water out) restores the superhydrophobicity (the test starts at around 5:00). The APC surfactants affect the surface tension of water and allows intrusion in the coated fabric. This "saturation effect" is noticeable sooner in looser weaves, whereas seems almost non-existent in tight weaves (like the suede MF media in the video) until it is exposed to "something" that affects its surface tension. REGARDLESS, the coating did not fail and its protection value still remain. The only way around this (from what I understand) would be to have a product that "clogs" the fabric weave which ultimately would affect the flexibility and suppleness of the textile.





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