Boat upholstery is generally easy to maintain and clean but it’s imperative that you use high-quality products and protect the material against damage caused by spills and exposure to the elements. There are three main types of materials that are used to make boat upholstery; leather, vinyl, and synthetic fabrics. Each type has different advantages when compared with each other but the best choice usually comes down to your budget, the amount of time you’re willing to invest maintaining your boat’s upholstery, and what type of lifestyle you’re looking to live. It’s true that many high-quality materials are more expensive than others but the long-term investment can ultimately be well worth it. Synthetic fabrics tend to be the least expensive but they don’t hold up as well to prolonged exposure to water and have a tendency to wrinkle easily. If you find yourself in this situation you should invest in a high-quality boat upholstery cleaning product.
Vinyl boat upholstery tends to provide the most durability. The only downfall is that the appearance of vinyl can get dull over time. Fortunately, most manufacturers have great options to keep your upholstery looking new. The good news is that repairing vinyl seats is relatively easy, especially if you purchase microfiber fabric which can simply be wiped off and re-applied.
Foam boat upholstery is made from squishy memory foam and a synthetic material which looks like cotton. The only downfall of this type of material is that it stains quite easily. This makes it imperative that you stain-proof your boat upholstery as soon as possible. Keep in mind that stapling is the best way to seal a foam seat cushion. In addition, most manufacturers offer a variety of pre-fabricated seat cushions which make stapling a breeze.
Most waterproof boat seats utilize either polyester or denier polyester. Denier polyester is considered a higher quality, but unfortunately is more expensive. Both types are typically waterproof, but the Denier is considered to be a better choice for extreme weather conditions. Depending on your budget, it may be worth investing in a high-quality, waterproof boat upholstery fabric in order to protect your seats.
If you are looking for a durable, waterproof fabric, polyurethane is highly recommended. This is a high-quality waterproofing agent that produces an incredibly tight weave that is highly durable. However, the downside of using polyurethane is that it is susceptible to mildew and must be regularly cleaned.
Depending on the manufacturer, there are two basic types of seat coverings. The first type is known as a marine grade. This is the highest grade available and is guaranteed to be leak-proof. This type usually has a vinyl coating over it in order to prevent various elements from seeping into the vinyl. Marine grade seats will generally have padding over the cushioning as well as a waterproof top seal.
Another type of marine-grade vinyl upholstery fabric is called a heavy-duty grade. These seats are designed for heavy rain and snow, but they do not have the UV resistance of the marine grade. A heavy-duty grade typically has a heavy plastic coating over it along with a waterproof top seal. The only downside of this product is that it fades quickly if heavy rain or snow falls on it.
Boat owners who want to buy high-quality marine grade vinyl urethane should consider the heavy-duty variety. This type offers excellent abrasion resistance, excellent stain resistance, ultra-smooth fabrics, and long-lasting wear. However, it does not have the UV resistance of the marine grade. If you need that feature, choose the polyester version. The polyester will also last longer than the heavy-duty variety.