On a boat, vinyl seats regularly endure damaging treatment from both the natural elements and from regular use and misuse. The nearly constant moister weakens materials. Seats located where people frequently step are especially susceptible to damage. On boats where fishing is a regular activity, the seats have fishing rods and other fishing gear to contend with. While manufacturers make boat seats very durable, it is not uncommon for damage to occur. When it does, it is best to repair the damage as soon as possible so that what may be a quick easy fix does not become major repair job. Fix it quickly by assessing the type of damage, gathering the necessary supplies, and carefully following the appropriate instructions.
Besides stains and burns, which may require that a large section of the vinyl be removed, there are two main types of damage that happens to vinyl boat seats. The first type, a split seam, requires minimal skills to repair and the supplies are readily available at most fabric or craft stores. The second, a tear on the vinyl itself, requires a bit more work, but it is not as difficult to repair as many people believe. The items needed for the repairs are often available at marine supply stores or on the internet. Examine the damage to determine if it occurred along a seam where the stitching of two pieces of vinyl simply came undone or if the vinyl itself is damaged.
Fix a seam that has come undone by first gathering the supplies: good quality thread and a curved upholstery needle. A number of thread manufacturers produce outdoor thread that is specifically designed for use on outdoor items. Choose some in a matching or complimentary colour that is high quality and able to hold up against the extreme conditions on the boat. A strong, high quality curved upholstery needle allows the user to do the repair work from inside the seam.
With the needle threaded, tie a secure knot at the end. Then, work it under the vinyl, past where the split ends, and start stitching in an area where the seam is still intact. This helps to lock the repair stitching in place. Take time and carefully push the needle through each existing needle hole, pulling the thread through each time before moving to the hole adjacent to it on the other piece of vinyl. Working under the vinyl in this manner is called a blind stitch and, when the repair is complete, there should be no evidence of the damage at all as all of the stitching is hidden.
Repairing damage to the vinyl itself requires a vinyl repair kit. These kits typically contain everything necessary for repairing vinyl in a way that makes it virtually impossible to see that there was ever any damage. There are a number of these available, but many may not be suitable for this kind of repair.
When shopping for a vinyl repair kit, keep in mind that this vinyl is often exposed to harsh outdoor elements such as the hot sun, rain, and lake or sea water. People also often stand on the seats or use them as work areas when fishing. It is important to choose a kit designed for such use. The repair should be waterproof and durable enough for outdoor use. Kits that include backing material create a very strong repair.
The contents and instructions for each vinyl repair kit may be different, so it is very important to carefully follow the instructions that come with it. Typically, the steps begin with instructions to clean the damaged area well, lightly sanding it with emery cloth or fine sand paper. The next step is to cut a piece of the backing material to size and slip it under the tear.
With the backing material in place, apply the vinyl repair compound, following the instructions included with the kit. Generally, this is done in several steps, allowing for drying time in between. If the kit includes paint, the final step is to match the colour and apply paint to the repaired area. Some kits do not include paint. Vinyl paint is readily available at many retail stores and online.
Save time and money by shopping for all of these repair items on eBay, where sellers regularly list a variety ofvinyl repair kits,vinyl paint,outdoor thread,curved needles, and even replacement boat seats if the damage is too extensive to repair. Shop the Deals page for even better bargains.
Boat seats endure harsh weather, constant moisture, and rugged treatment. Even though they are very durable, they are particularly susceptible to damage because of all this rough treatment. Repairing the damage quickly is reasonably easy to do and prevents it from becoming a major repair job.