When it comes to boat upholstery, there is a lot that can go wrong. As for those who use their boats often, damage can occur easily and at the very least if not easily avoidable. If you own a boat, it is important to maintain your boat in top shape so that you can enjoy it for many years to come.
Boat upholstery differs from any other upholstered furniture because of the upholsterer must consider sunlight, moisture, and exposure to rough treatment. This is because one is not just floating on the ocean but also exposing the boat to sun, harsh winds, and even salty sea water, as opposed to conventional home upholstering. The first thing you need to do when your boat starts to look faded is to determine whether it is from sun or salt water exposure. If you find out that the damage is indeed from the sun or bad weather, you can simply buy marine grade marine vinyl that can be purchased at any local hardware store. Simply apply this sunscreen or protective film to prevent further deterioration.
Most often boat upholstery fabric will start to fade after prolonged exposure to sunlight. If you live on the shore you should take steps to block out the sun by installing curtains on your windows. If you live on the Gulf Coast, purchase marine grade canvas that will prevent the sun from directly hitting the fabric. The curtains will help prevent fading while also allowing some sun to filter through to keep the interior of the boat warm and comfortable. The curtains are available in many colors and sizes that will also provide some added insulation for your boat interior.
If your boat is prone to fading, it’s important that you purchase an appropriate fabric for the job. There are two types of fabrics to consider; stretchy and heavy duty vinyl. Stretching is necessary because it helps give a fabric its flexibility, but over stretching will cause the fabric to lose its elasticity and the boat seat will become less stable. Heavy duty stretches are more durable and last longer than regular vinyl, but they are much more expensive and you should only consider purchasing high quality products. Keep in mind that a heavy duty piece will cost more than a stretchy piece.
When shopping for marine upholstery fabric consider the weather conditions as well. The best fabrics for boat use are made from marine grade fabrics that are both durable yet soft. These types of materials will withstand not only the sun, but moisture as well. In general, the best choice for a boat seating area would be one that is made from heavy duty but stretchy fabric, such as theliner fabric. This type of fabric may seem like it is a little more expensive, but it will protect your investment as well as provide you with a soft, comfortable seating surface.
You can keep your boat looking clean and tidy even when you don’t want to invest in new marine grade fabric. Simply take a soft bristled brush and gently clean the outside of the boat seating using a non-skid pad. Make sure to thoroughly wipe down all surfaces, including the bottoms and any armrests, of the seats before moving on to the inside of the boat. This process will remove built up dirt, which keeps it looking fresh. The same cleaning process can be done after every time you take a dip, ensuring that you maintain proper cleaning routine.
If you have purchased a heavy-duty polyester fabric, you should consider washing the boat furniture at least once each year. This will keep the seat covers looking clean and shiny, even when you don’t use them. You can use a gentle soap, such as Dove, to wash the fabric. If the stain still remains, simply dry it using a hairdryer and then vacuum afterwards. However, if you have invested in a heavy-duty polyester boat upholstery fabric, you should wash it regularly to ensure that it always looks its best.
If you already own boat furniture, you may opt to replace your old upholsteries with the latest in modern fabrics and patterns. There are plenty of manufacturers who offer vinyl upholsteries in a wide array of patterns and colors. You can also find durable, low maintenance materials such as heavy-duty polyester. Most boat upholstery manufacturers are able to customize any fabric used for boat seating to meet your exact needs. No matter what your style or decorating taste, you’re sure to find a variety of options to suit your needs.