How to waterproof fabric: leather shoes, clothing, and more
Waterproofing leather is one of the easiest ways to extend its life. Learn what products are out there and how you can protect your favorite leathers.
Water and leather do not mix. Leather that has been dampened or exposed to excessive amounts of moisture, loses its natural oils, leaving you with stained, dry, stiff material.
Waterproofing involves applying a surface coat to leather that will help to preserve its quality, workmanship and value. When you waterproof something, you're providing a barrier that water cannot penetrate.
KNOW YOUR LEATHER
There are several different types of leather which are used in making many different products. It is of utmost importance to know which type of leather you're dealing with. Harsh silicone sprays and waxes, for example, cannot be used on thin, delicate split leathers. Likewise, you would receive inadequate waterproofing protection from a nubuck leather coating if you applied it to a work or hiking boot.
HOW MUCH PROTECTION DO YOU NEED?
How much protection you want to apply to your leather is up to you. Items that will be used outdoors frequently in damp or wet conditions should be treated with maximum protection. Boots and shoes worn during cold winter months, most often benefit from heavy oils, waxes and dressings. Dress gloves, nubuck shoes, and suede coats that are only exposed to a minimal amount of moisture need not be treated in the same way.
Before waterproofing anything, it's always best to perform a "spot check" Many leather cleaners and protectors can change the color or texture of leather. Find a small patch of leather and treat the spot, allowing it to soak in overnight. If you're satisfied with the result, go ahead and treat the rest of the product.
NOTE ABOUT DELICATE LEATHERS
Split leathers, such as suede and nubuck, should never be treated traditional oils, waxes or silicone sprays. Heavy duty oils and waxes change the color and texture of delicate leathers. When shopping for an appropriate waterproofing product for these leathers, look for one that specifically states it can treat nubuck and suede.
DRESSINGS, OILS AND WAXES
Heavy duty dressings and waterproofing oils and waxes are sold as brush-on or rub-on products. They are usually oil based and combine tanning agents (to help extend the life of your leather) with waterproofing agents (that bond to the material). This type of waterproofing works well on products containing mixed ingredients (nylon and leather), heavy work and hiking boots, baseball and softball mitts, and other outdoor leathers. Many heavy oils, such as mink oil, also condition leather, leaving your product soft and supple.
Sprays are a bit more convenient than dressings and take significantly less time to apply. Silicone sprays repel water and give material a slippery feel. Oil based silicone spray is perfect for boots, shoes, jackets, mittens and other garments. Water based silicone spray can be used on more delicate leathers, like suede and nubuck, car seats, office furniture, briefcases and thin garments. Because silicone does change the texture of the leather, you may not appreciate the slippery quality on your favorite baseball glove.
Acrylic copolymer sprays are best used on split or nappy leathers. This type of spray covers leather well, but remains flexible and still allows the material to breathe. This is a good covering for nubuck and suede.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO TREAT LEATHER?
No matter what type of treatment you use, you will need to reapply it from time to time. All forms of waterproofing rub off eventually, leaving your leather unprotected. Outdoor leathers should be treated four times per year. Most other items need only be treated twice a year.
APPLYING WAXES, OILS AND DRESSINGS
Waxes, oils and dressings are sold as a fairly solid material. They can be applied with a soft cotton rag or shoe brush. To reap the benefits of this type of product, follow these guidelines:
1. Remove all excess dirt and debris from the leather you want to coat. Pay careful attention to seams and stitching. Leather can be brushed or scrubbed.
2. Using a clean cloth or brush, apply a generous amount of product on all areas of the leather. Be sure to thoroughly coat seams.
3. Using a brush or cloth, work product into the leather as evenly as possible.
4. Using a clean rag, wipe off excess oil, wax or dressing from the leather.
5. Allow to stand overnight.
1. Clean leather you will be treating with a soft cloth.
2. Hold can 6 inches away from leather and spray an even coat over material.
3. Allow leather to dry completely.
4. Repeat, as necessary.
Lighting Glossary: Terms to aid your search for the perfect light
Shortly after venturing into the world of lighting, you'll probably realize that it's a bit more complex than you might have thought. Incandescent, fluorescent, downrods, baffle - it's easy to get lost out there. Our glossary of lighting-related terms will aid your search for the perfect light. If you can't find the answer here, call us with any questions you may have, (800) 457-2109. We have a trained staff of lighting experts who can help you.
Ambient: Ambient light, also known as "general light", is an overall level of lighting in your room. Ambient light should provide a comfortable amount of light to suit how the room is used.
Base: The decorative body of the lamp, a base can be constructed from an array of materials: metal, brass, porcelain, crystal, hydrocal, or wood to name a few. Bases should be solidly constructed to resist tipping during normal use.
Color Rendering Index: Light bulbs offer a varying range of attributes that can produce different light outputs and qualities. The color rendering index (CRI) provides a base of mesaurability to render color accurately and consistently.
Color Temperature: Color characteristics of light (temperatures) measure the appearance of the light from warm (yellows/red) to cool (white). Color temperature is rated in degrees of Kelvin and do not reflect the physical temperature (or heat) of a lamp. Light sources such as incandescent bulbs (2700 degrees Kelvin) and halogen lamps (3000 degrees Kelvin)are at each end of the color spectrum.
Dimmer Switch: Gradually increases/decreases light intensity. Most torchieres are equipped with dimmers or high/low switches.
Downlight: A light fixture that concentrates light in a downward direction. Most often this refers to recessed lighting, though many ceiling fixtures now have more concentrated beams of light.
Non-unifrom Downlighting: Non-uniform downlighting uses less light sources and delivers a more "individualized" beam spread of light. This lighting technique creates a more interesting visual effect in a space as the beams do not overlap as in general uniform downlighting.
Unifrom Downlighting: Unifrom illumination bathes horizontal surfaces in light. Typically a general lighting technique, uniform illumination adds little dramatic impact to a space.
Downrods: An accessory for pendants and chandeliers to add length
General Lighting: General Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. General lighting is basically the lighting that replaces sunlight and is fundamental to a lighting plan.
Lumens: The amount of light a bulb produces.
Swag: Decorative motif, image of a garland of fruit and flowers or of a length of cloth, tied with ribbons and attached to a background. If tied at both ends and suspended from them in a loop, a swag is generally called a festoon.
Task Lighting: Task lighting is for those areas where tasks or activities such as reading, paying bills, etc. take place. Task lighting should work with a room's general lighting and enhances the use of a room. Task lighting can be provided by adding portable lamps, undercabinet lighting as well as the addition of recessed lights at specific areas.
UL and CUL: Underwriters Laboratory, Inc., like Electrical Testing Laboratory (ETL), is an independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization.
Uplighting: Uplighting visually expands a room by providing ambient light. Use them as a complement to recessed down lighting, and place them where they appear aesthetically balanced in the room.
Wattage: The amount of electricity consumed by a bulb.
Wall Lighting: The illumination of vertical surfaces can impact that perception of a space more than any other type of lighting. Light reflecting off walls creates a bright, spacious feel and adds visual interest. Dramatic effects can be achieved with light to illuminate vertical surfaces and highlight objects. Through proper lighting selection and placement a room can appear more spacious and interesting.
- Grazing: For dramatic effect on textured surfaces such as stucco, stone or brick, place fixtures 6-12 inches away from the wall. Grazing is not recommended on smooth surfaces as surface imperfections will be exaggerated.
- Light Scallops:Light scallop is an effect created when the fixture is placed closer to the wall resulting in a more concentrated and tighter scallop. Scallop light effects are often a part of the lighting plan for added drama, however they can be inadvertently created is fixture placement is not properly calculated.
- Wall Washing: For a gentle and even illumination of a vertical space, place fixtures the same distance apart as they are from the wall. Wall washing is best suited for smooth surfaces.
Address Light: This light fixture is usually composed of a backlight that illuminates street numbers. Affixed to the front of a house, or at the end of the driveway, and Address Light lets visitors find a house even in the dark.
Bathroom Ceiling Fan: Bathroom ceiling fans are used to clear out the hot and humid air that occurs when the shower is running.
Bathroom Vanity Light: Bath or vanity lighting refers to fixtures used to light the mirror in a bathroom. A bath strip is a long fixture that mounts along the top or sides of the mirror.
Ceiling Cloud: Ceiling clouds are indiscrete overhead lights that blend into their surroundings. They get their name from their white color and conventionally curved shape.
Chandelier: A branched, decorative lighting fixture that holds a number of bulbs or candles and is suspended from a ceiling. These fixtures come in a variety of finishes and are most often traditional or contemporary styles. This fixture if often used to elevate the decor of a room. Some manufacturers are no carrying select styles of outdoor chandeliers to illuminate your covered patio or gazebo. Additionally, many manufacturers have now begun to carry mini-chandeliers. Mini-chandeliers are best for hallways and smaller rooms.
Convertible Pendant: A convertible pendant is a dual function light fixture. It can be used as a hanging pendant with a chain or rod, and can also be mounted as a semi flush mount to the ceiling surface.
Deck Light: These light fixtures are mounted on deck surfaces and are used to illuminate hand rails, steps, as well as to create an overall ambience in your exterior living space.
Desk Lamp: This fixture is used on desks for work or study. These can be very utilitarian styles or a more decorative style such as a banker or pharmacy lamp. The light source should be sit about 15" above work area.
Directional Light: A fixture commonly used for mood lighting. They can provide a decorative accent that draws attention to a particular area. Directional lights are also known as exhibit, display or spot lights.
Display Light: Display lights have a focused direction that is used to highlight or accent a specific element of the room. A wall mounted display light, for example, might be positioned over a painting to emphasize its impact in the d