How To Reupholster Boat Seats


Sure, you keep your hull clean, keep the bilge smelling
fresh, and keep your boat’s surfaces protected from the sun. But no matter how
hard you work on your boat, none of it will quite come together unless your
boat seats look new. And sometimes, that means you have no choice than to
completely reupholster those boat seats. How can you make it happen in a way
that’s relatively inexpensive and easy to perform without turning to an expert?
Here are a few suggestions on how to reupholster boat seats the right way.

Removing The Old Seat

First, make sure you’re certain that the old seat is in need
of replacing or reupholstering. In some cases, you may even need to re-do the
wooden base and backer boards of the boat seat. Hopefully this won’t be
required, but when you do remove the old seat, be sure to check for rotting.

Note: sometimes,
through the reupholstery process, you can be confronted with a surprise like
rotted wood that means you have more work on your hands than you imagined.

In such cases, you’ll need to remove the old seat
completely. Either way, you’ll need to make sure that your boat is in a safe,
dry place while you work on these elements within your boat. You don’t want any
rain to get into any woodwork while any elements from your boat are missing.

Use this opportunity to clean any difficult-to-reach areas
on your boat as well. BoatLIFE offers a number of boat cleaning
products and supplies
that you can use to ensure the upholstered,
difficult-to-reach areas of your boat remain clean for years to come.

Adding New
Upholstery: The Basic Steps

Once you’ve successfully removed the old boat seating
upholstery and cleaned it out thoroughly, it’s time to add the new upholstery.
Here are the basic steps you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Get
    precise measurements.
    Working with a baseboard for your seating, you’ll
    want to know exactly what kind of measurements you’re dealing with so that when
    you apply the upholstery, you get a precise fit. Remember the phrase “measure
    twice, cut once”? That applies here. Professionals often turn over the base and
    sketch out the exact dimensions so they’re sure they have a proper fit.
  • Vinyl
    Some people building from scratch skip the vinyl sewing step when
    they get a precise match for vinyl that goes over the entire area of the seat,
    but you may have to do some vinyl sewing first, especially if you’re working
    with an awkward area and not working from scratch.
  • Foam. It’s
    a recommended practice to measure, mark the end with a sharpie, and then cut
    off the appropriate amount of foam with an electric knife. There will be some
    extra foam added to “oversize” and give the vinyl the appropriate “stuffed”
    cushion feeling. This may require some tight packing, but the end results will
    be worth it—so long as you didn’t leave too much foam left over.

Applying and sealing the rest of the vinyl, you’ll now have
boat upholstery ready to resist the water and provide plenty of comfort for
your future boating endeavors. Don’t forget to procure yourself some VinyLIFE
Vinyl Cleaner and Protectant
to keep your upholstery in its current state!

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