There is nothing harsher than the elements that face the interior of a boat. From salt water to scorching summer sun, the upholstery on a boat takes a beating without proper care. Weather-torn seats can age a vessel and depreciate its value.
But, it’s not hard to fix battered boat upholstery to give new life to your boat’s interior. Here are some tips for small upholstery repair:
- Decide if you can patch the area in question or if you’d be better off reupholstering the boat seat. If it’s a small hole or tear, you can probably get away with a vinyl repair kit, but if the material is lacking moisture due to sun damage, you may be better off having the entire seat or section redone. Upholstery, especially custom boat upholstery, may need professional assistance to maintain its continuity with the other seats.
- Find a vinyl repair kit which allows you to customize your upholstery color so you can get a close match with your existing upholstery. Be sure you are buying something that is marine-grade quality or can at least withstand abuse from the sun.
- Mix the vinyl colors to come up with a color that is close to the existing colors on the boat.
- Prepare the area you are repairing by thoroughly cleaning and drying the upholstery. Many repair kits also suggest placing a backing material into the hole so the vinyl or leather repair has something to adhere to other than the seat’s filler.
- Once you have an adequate color, fill the hole with the vinyl mixture. Apply the compound in thin layers, with a feathery motion, using a small spatula-like tool.
- Apply the grained paper to give the vinyl texture. Most repair kits will include a patterned paper to help give texture to the patch, replicating the original patterns in boat upholstery.
- Using a heat device, usually included, cure the vinyl patch. Do not remove the grained paper until after this step is complete. The paper protects the original upholstery and helps seal in the patch’s appearance. Apply the heat based upon the manufacturer’s suggestion. Some kits do not require heat application.
- If you’re not completely satisfied with the final outcome, repeat steps 6 and 7.
Voilà. You’re done. Step back and admire your work. Then, get your boat back on the water and enjoy the sun and fun.
If you’re not the DIYer or simply don’t want to risk messing up your boat’s upholstery, no worries. Canvas Craft can fix the smallest of holes or the recover the entire seat, it’s up to you. And, the best part is, you’ll never know the difference.