How To Reupholster Boat Seats

If the seats on your boat have seen the best of times and are beginning to look like they need a change, then you should think of either replacing them or reupholstering them. If you’re going the route of reupholstering, you would be saving yourself some pretty pennies, as well as giving yourself the chance to play with different designs or colors as you would like on your seats.

Is It Really Necessary To Reupholster The Seats On Your Boat?

How To Reupholster Boat Seats

If the money invested for getting better seats on your boat seems a bit much, and the issues they have are not so complex, or it’s just minor wear or tear, then you could do it yourself. All you need to do is to get some tools and materials for repairing boat seats and get to work.

But this method can only be useful if your seats are fairly new, or are still in top shape. If this is the case, then, it would be unrealistic to replace the whole seat cover, just because of a little tear or damage.

Do you need a boat seat repair kit?

These repair kits are only there to aid you in repairing minimal damages, but not for major repairs. For those, you will need total reupholstering. Some things that determine the success of your boat seat upholstery project:

  1. 1. The color of your seat. You may find it difficult to replace some seat covers, as their design or color can be difficult to find.
  2. The area that is damaged or torn. If the tear is long or wide or is located in crevices or corners, then it might be difficult to do a smooth job of repairing it.
  3. The type of tools and materials you are using for the repair. Some materials are good with vinyl seats, others are not. Therefore, you have to take into consideration the quality of the tools you will be using. Make sure that they are the best fit for the job.
  4. Your adeptness at repairs. If you have prior practice, or you are quite familiar with the process of repairing boat seats, then this will be a walk in the park for you. Otherwise, it might take a bit of practice and a couple of failed attempts to get the job done right.

Procedures For Reupholstering The Seats Of Your Boat.

Procedures For Reupholstering The Seats Of Your Boat

  1. Measure the area that needs replacement

You need careful measurements of the area you want to reupholster for a more fitting result. To get this, you would need the measurement of the old cover, as these are exact. That would mean being careful while you remove the covers, so as not to cause rips.

After getting the old covers off, you can observe how they were cut, where they were fit into so that you could do the same with the new covers. The same thing goes for the cushion.

  1. Get all your tools and materials in one place.

Now that you are armed with the measurement of the materials you will need, you now have an estimate of what you need, which you can list out. In drawing out your list, here are a few guidelines to help you with the process.

– Keep an eye out for marine vinyl which is resistant to ultraviolet light. Some examples are, Vista Vinyl and Plastex, and you can pick any color shades you want. It is not advisable to use normal vinyl, because these could break down after an extended period of exposure to sunlight and humidity.

– Use the right cushion and wood type. Using the right materials will give you the best results. So ensure you do your research on which materials (cushion and wood) would be the best fit for your boat upholstery project.

Other items you will need include;

  • – Scissors,
  • – A screwdriver,
  • – A staple gun
  • – Markers (for taking measurements)

When all your materials are ready, then you are ready to begin working. A quick tip: Ensure that you purchase a little over the budget, as it becomes useful when you make mistakes. This is because you want to have extra materials available and do a good job, rather than having to manage, and have the tears bursting open again. If you are pretty tight with your budget, then you will need to pay careful attention when taking your measurements.

  1. Cut the cushion and the cover according to size.

There are various ways you can do this. You can either trace out the cutout of the old materials on the new one, or you could just measure newly on the new cover. Also, depending on the type of padding you want your chairs to have, you might have to use an electrically powered knife, rather than regular scissors, if your chairs will be stuffed. However, in cutting out the cover pieces, always male sure to leave a bit extra room for the joining,

  1. Putting together your creation.

Now that you have measured and cut out the seat covers, it is time to put all of them together. The new cover should be put on a level surface and the cushion placed in its middle.

  1. Fixing the covered cushion onto the seat.

After arranging your cover and your cushion properly, you can now take them and place them on the wooden frame of the seat. Ensure that it is well-aligned. You could stretch the cover over the cushion to allow for a snugger fitting.

Then apply your staple gun. Attach the staples to the corners to hold the cover and cushion in place. Take your time while carrying out this step to ensure that you do a really good job.

When you’re done securing the corners, then you staple the edges, until all exposed sides are covered up. Always make sure you start from front to back and then repeat the process again until you’re done.

  1. Protecting your vinyl cover.

Now that you are done with fixing your vinyl seats, you have to put in some finishing touches. This comes in the form of a protectant specifically designed for vinyl covers. This prevents the seats from wearing out easily; shielding them from dangerous rays such as ultraviolet light, and it also gives them a lasting sheen. Ensure to go for quality while searching for the right protectant for your seats.

Read Also: How to clean vinyl seats

Some additional tips to note;

  1. Picking quality fabric or vinyl

It is not just enough to buy sufficient materials when reupholstering your seats. You should also go for quality and style. Pick something that you’re comfortable with, and that matches the setting of your boat. But unfortunately, you may not get to find your preferences in upholstery stores in your vicinity. But here are some tips for picking boat seat materials

– The color of the seat.

As you might have observed, most colors of fabric or vinyl for boat seats are always in lighter shades. Why is this? This is because these shades reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. Hence you are saved from sitting on a very hot seat on sunny days. Darker shades absorb rather than reflect light, and so, might not be advised.

– Avoid having too many grooves in your seats

Having too many grooves on your seats can provide a place for dirt and mold to the harbor. Also, it increases the chances of tears occurring.

  1. Using a sewing machine

It is not a bad idea actually, because that is what manufacturers use in making new seats. But, if you do not have the necessary skills for it, it will just result in wasted efforts. And a sewing machine also costs a pretty penny. In all, it will be advised to forget about these ideas if you’re not skilled at them. On the other hand, staplers do quite a good job and they are easy to use.

  1. Have an idea of what it will cost to reupholster a boat seat

Different types of boats have different seating patterns and seats come in different sizes. So, you have to take these factors into consideration when planning for your reupholster project.

A small seat cost around three hundred dollars, while you could get a helm seat for about five hundred bucks. If you need to install benches or L-shaped seats, those are going to cost around fifteen hundred bucks.

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