There’s nothing quite like taking your boat out on the water. Yet being out on the water also causes upholstery to wear, tear, and fade. When it’s time to replace upholstery, knowing how to restore boat vinyl and selecting the right vinyl fabric for the job can make all the difference in the world.
Marine vinyl fabric provides a higher level of protection against the outdoor elements compared to other fabrics. Here are some tips for making your boat seat vinyl replacement process easier.
Choose the Right Type of Vinyl Fabric
Marine-grade vinyl stays in good working condition in an environment that would normally cause other upholstery to deteriorate within a short time. It is very durable and will last through many cleanings and abrasion cycles.
Marine vinyl fabric is the best boat upholstery material because it does an excellent job of combating the outdoor elements. It is UV-resistant, which prevents color fade and breakdown from the sun. It is also resistant to moisture, mildew, and bacteria. Static and stain blocking properties also make for safe and clean surfaces.
Check the Foam and Plywood in Your Boat’s Upholstery
Making sure the foam and plywood underneath the fabric is good shape is just as important as using the right boat seat vinyl replacement. The foam can often be reused, but in some cases, such as severe water damage, the foam needs to be replaced.
If you are replacing the foam, it’s best to use one that has an open cell design. This allows water to drain before mold and mildew can form. Some foam has antimicrobial properties as well. If you aren’t using marine-grade foam, seam sealer can do a great job of keeping water out of the foam.
Also, check underneath the foam to make sure that the plywood is in good condition. If plywood is warped under the existing foam, it will need to be replaced since the warping will create space for water to seep in and cause damage. Make sure new plywood is marine grade, since marine plywood uses a water-resistant wood and glue.
Streamline the Process for Updating Boat Upholstery
You may be tempted to just throw away old materials since you are installing new ones on your boat. However, your project will benefit from using old vinyl and plywood for patterns. For the vinyl, use chalk to mark the size of the old fabric on the new one. Plywood can be used as a template as well. Put the old plywood on top and pencil the outline as the exact size to be cut.
Foam is the only material that should not be patterned after itself. Instead, use the plywood as a template, cutting the foam 3/8ths of an inch larger than the size of the plywood.
Keep in mind that because of its thickness, boat vinyl often requires the use of an industrial sewing machine. Make sure that your sewing machine can indeed handle upholstery per its manufacturer. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your machine in your boat seat vinyl replacement process.
All Vinyl Fabrics has the right marine-grade vinyl for your boat project. Contact us today to find out more our wide selection of high-quality marine vinyl fabric.