Poptop screening


New member
YAY!! I'm just in the process of buying my first baby VWWestie! Everything looks and sounds good, however, the above mentioned screen is missing. Totalled, and so removed. Does anyone have any experience replacing the screening? I've called Home Depot, and they have the fiberglass screen, but any ideas on installing it? I can't find any postings on this topic. thanks. Leester ps It's a beauty, an 86.

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on September 04, 2003 at 07:54 PM.]


New member
Leester, We just finished that job today! We have an '89 and the front screen developed a tear due mainly because it was too tight when the canvas was originally manufactured or installed. We also went to Home Depot, Lowes and various tent companies and there was not a product available that would work. It was either fiberglass screening material or the wrong color. I went to a local fabric store, Hancocks, and there we found white screening material that was perfect. I bought a yard for $3.50 it was more than enough and we proceeded to install the screen. We put the material up to the window and pinned it in place. My wife, she did the entire job, traced the shape of the opening on the material. We pulled it off and cut it on the line along the top and sides, leaving the bottom long for play. We then sewed double-folded seam binding (bias tape) around the top and sides of the screen material with a sewing machine (and sewing just one side of the bias tape to the bottom of the netting (so if it was in the wrong place, the stitches could be removed and done over by hand before actually cutting off the leftover on the bottom edge of the netting) (good thing because a minor adjustment was made to a small section) We then proceeded to hand sew the completed binding edge (top & sides) to the side of the zipper of the original screen, on the inside of the original screening, which was still in place. Along the bottom of the opening she unfolded and basted one side of extra wide double fold seam binding (bias tape) to the bottom edge of the original screening, getting the edge of the binding as close as possible to the canvas. Then the bottom edge of the original netting was trimmed to almost 1/2 inch and the wide S.B. was folded over the trimmed netting of the old screen that was left in place. With a seam cutter, we then carefully sliced out the old screen closely to the edging of the zipper, then hand-sewed the two horizonal edges of the seam binding together, putting the thinner of the two on the inside edge. It is a perfect replacement. We photoed the job and I would be happy to E-Mail photos to you, and or answer any questions you might have. Also under this section click on "Exteriors" and look for "pop top canvas" there are a couple of other ways to replace the screen. Our method seemed the the easiest for us. I know you don't have a screen, and not knowing exactly what you have I suppose you could attach the zippper directly to the screen material and then attach it to the canvas top in it's original position. For the bottom, where we attached seam binding to a small strip of the old screen you could sew the binding directly to the canvas. If you have trouble finding a zipper you could sew velcro to the screen and the canvas and attach it in place. We used Coats Upholstry thread, it is super strong and important for sewing to the zipper material and regular thread for the seam binding to the netting material. The entire job was about $8.00. All other items, thread, seam binding came from Walmart.


New member
We also replaced the screen. I bought mosquito netting from REI.com, where you buy it buy the yard, and have a choice of colors.
Our zippers were shot, so I used velco. One note of caution: while the self adhesive velco makes it easier to put into place, sewing is really difficult, as the needle gots all gunked up.
While I was at it, I made a screen for the sliding door area. Lots of screen and lots of binding (use the double fold bias tape) and magnets and its great. All of that sewing was done on a machine. Good luck and have fun, Marjie

Capt. Mike

Self-adhesive velcro will usually come loose from canvas with time. The 'breathing' and treatment of the canvas will eventually break the bond. There are fabric 'primers' that will seal the canvas before applying the velcro. 3M made one for attaching reflective tape to life-jackets and currently sells small wipes that clean specifically for self-adhesive decals and trim. However, I still recommend sewing the final product after attchment, even if just sewing the ends or edges where the first failures are most likely to occur.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

papakeats Junior Member posted August 20, 2003 02:16 AM

I have a '90 synchro camper with what I believe to be the original standard poptop tent, although I've only owned it since '98. It's in okay shape except that the screen panel in the front needs to be replaced. I looked on different parts sites and didn't see a replacement offered so I asked GoWesty about it and was told that because it doesn't zip completely out, a replacement is not available. Well it turns out that mine does in fact zip completely out. There's a zip attachment on top and bottom, with velcro strip attachments on the sides. Since it doescome out, it won't be difficult to sew a new screen mesh panel onto the zippers and velcro, but I'm curious as to whether there is something unique about this setup and whether others have anything similar. And since it does zip completely out, I'd also like to know whether there is an option to zip in a solid plastic window instead of the screen panel.

Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted September 03, 2003 05:37 AM

The ability to completely zip out the screened window was not OE from VW's sold in this market, thus the responses you've had. That leads one to believe you have either a replacement canvas from an aftermarket source or there has been an excellent repair.

One explanations might be that, if new car damage, it may have been repaired by the dealer or VW's POE facility. Another might be that it is a 'factory' replacement that is a superceded model. Even after a vehcile goes out of production, replacement parts are produced and the may be superceded by improvements that would not be documented.

Capt. Mike

Screening topic created; Transferred following from canvas topic.

gmcelroy Junior Member # 132 posted 09-06-2000 02:35 PM

I would appreciated any hints and suggestions on installing new screen material on the POP-Up tent.
The canvas is in good shape but the screen has several holes in it.


Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 09-06-2000 09:26 PM

If the holes are fairly small, you can get screen repair patch kits at most camping supply places. This is a 'screen pattern' clear vinyl tape and you put it on BOTH sides of the hole. It can be cut to match the hole or tear, but be sure an allow at least a ½" overlap.
The hard, but correct way is to remove the canvas and have the screen replaced at an upholstery shop or marine rigging loft -- not a fun alternative.

What some do is to cut away the old screen and install a canvas border on the new. You could make the screen opening size exact and sew the canvas border to the old window "frame" canvas by hand; or if the holes & tears are not near the edge, you could leave a margin strip of old screen and make the new canvas border fit just within the window opening, using a second backing piece on the inside. There are a number of good canvas adhesives and I would use one.

Even with adhesive, I'd stitch. Either style, you have to do that by hand. There are a number of hand stitching awls that will do the job. (It will end up being a 2-person job as you get close to having the window closed off -- one operating the awl and the other guiding the lock thread.) Or you can get a sail palm from any boat store and a couple of sail needles to do your own lock stitch.

If you use the old screen as an attachment point, be sure and use lots of adhesive and inner & other layers of canvas, else the screen will unravel. Make sure your thread is synthetic and I'd still wax it with beeswax to help seal the holes and make it slide smoother. Finally seal your stitching with a good canvas sealer or wax.

Dave in KC Member #135 posted 09-13-2000 09:30 PM

Well, gentlemen, I just completed the replacement of the screen in my Westy. The outcome was, if I may say, first class. Here is our method of procedure:

1. Unzip the old screen and use a seam ripper to take out the stitches holding in the screen at the bottom.
2. Remove the metal clasp on the passenger side that clips the zipper together.
3. After completing steps 1 and 2 the screen will come free of the canvas.
4. Remove the zipper from the old screen using a seam ripper.
5. Obtain replacement nylon screen from a camping supplies store. We got way more than we needed, but it wasn't very expensive -- around $10.
6. Using the old screen as a pattern, cut out the new screen.
7. Sew double folded bias tape (available at any dry goods store) around the entire perimeter of the replacement screen. The tape comes in 3 yard lengths... This is almost exactly what you need. You'll have a couple inches extra to cut off. The tape is already folded, so just make a sandwich with the screen material in the middle and machine sew with a zig zag stitch.
8. Once the bias tape is on the screen, reattach the zipper to the new screen.
9. Now comes the hard part:
a. CAREFULLY align the new screen by zipping it into place in your Westy.
b. Once you have it positioned properly, reinstall the clasp removed in step 2. You will have to force it through the canvas using a pair of needle nose pliers. Once it's in place, use conventional pliers to bend it in order to make a tight grip on the zipper.
c. Using a medium sized needle and the heaviest thread you can fit through the eye (hopefully color coordinated with the canvas), stitch away! (This took me probably a total of 4 hours. I found standing on a stepping stool helpful to enable me to get closer to my work.) There were two seams originally, but with the bias tape around the screen, I found that I could make a satisfactory installation of the replacement screen using just one seam. You will have to work with the screen unzipped so you can reach both sides of the canvas with your needle. ZIP THE SCREEN IN PLACE FROM TIME TO TIME TO ENSURE YOU ARE SEWING THE SCREEN INTO ITS PROPER POSITION.
Good luck! (PS... I just added a picture of my completed job to the Westy section of my web site... http://members.fortunecity.com/davebaker1/westy/westy.htm

I sincerely hope this helps.

Dave in KC

Repairing screens & canvas

toot Member # 1796 posted 08-15-2001 11:19 AM

Thanks for the suggestion on replacing the front screen.I took the lazy route and went to a canvas shop that repairs tents and pop ups.He had some very heavy duty screening called Textilene that will probably keep noseemums out as well.The beige color matches the canvas perfectly.He cut a pc using my old screen as a pattern,stitched a binding all the way around, and then sewed the zipper back on.I started to sew the screening back in place, and quickly came to the conclusion there had to be an easier way.The fabric store sold 1 yd packages of 3/4" sticky back velcro in beige for $1.59 ea.

I bought 2 pkgs,attached the hook to both sides of the screen bottom,and attached the loop to the inside and outside of the channel so that they faced each other.I let the adhesive set for a few hours,and then installed the screen.They recommend sewing the Velcro onto fabric,but I think I'll wait to see if it holds up without sewing.This way,if the screen ever gets damaged or needs replacing, I can easily remove it for repair.If anybody wants to do it the same way, the fellow would be glad to make more,either you or he supplying the zipper section.Please email me if I can help.

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on September 06, 2003 at 07:39 AM.]


New member
Searching for experience here...

My '89 Westy's rear hatch screen has some discoloration at points, like fabric staining where folded corners must have gotten damp or dirty. Has anyone had success in removing stains from the screen without damaging it?

Although this fix is only cosmetic, I'm really trying to tend to all those little things here and there. If you've done this before, could you tell me what worked... or didn't.


still lookin' & learnin'...and lovin' my westy