Trolling along in your boat during warmer weather is a great hobby and offers relaxation for hours. But it may be important to first consider boat seat repairs or replacement. We answer some common questions about boat seat upholstery services here.

How are boat seats constructed?

There are basic supplies used in every boat seat. A wood base starts the project, followed by a foam cushion. The firmness and height of this foam may vary, and you may have an individual preference for your comfort.

Sometimes, a moisture barrier is added as an extra layer before the final fabric is applied. Marine-grade vinyl is used to cover the entire surface.

What type of wood is best for the base?

There are two basic types of wood commonly used for boats.

Marine grade wood is soft wood glued together with exterior waterproof glue. The wood is not waterproof, but the glue holding it together acts as a water barrier.

Pressure treated plywood goes through a chemical process to deter mold, mildew and rot. Insecticides are also sometimes applied to the wood, to prevent insect damage.

Frames are also constructed of blow-molded plastic, which seem to last longer than wooden frames.

What type of foam cushion is best for boat seats?

High density foam is best for these seats. The firmness level is often a personal preference, and the same density is often used in the cushion as in the back rest.

What is marine vinyl upholstery fabric?

Marine vinyl is manufactured to be fade-resistant to direct sunlight. It is also treated to have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Materials that comply with the ASTM standards have passed UV testing and mildew resistance requirements. Most marine vinyl has a similar weight, so the visual preference is often a deciding factor in the type of material used.

Decorative materials like piping or welt trim should also match the marine standards of the vinyl fabric.

Keep in mind that some colors will naturally fade faster than others, especially when exposed to the weather. Colorfastness of the dyes used in different types of fabric can vary, and red colors are usually the ones that begin fading the fastest.

Are the seat seams waterproof?

Seams themselves are not waterproof, even direct from the factory. Using a UV-grade thread when sewing the seams will help deter the sun’s rays from breaking down the seam. A seam sealer can also be applied across the seam after sewing, but this is typically done to boat covers, not on seats.

What is the proper way to clean and store boat seats?

It is important to use cleaning products designed for marina fabrics. The constant presence of moisture and changing temperatures are an invitation for mold and mildew to begin forming on the surface, which could eventually creep through the seams to the foam cushion beneath.

Be aware of the many different colors of mold, which include a range of black, white, grey, bluish-green, and pink. Each type grows due to a slightly different environmental condition, and sometimes requires different cleaning methods.

It’s best to avoid bleach or vinegar when cleaning marine vinyl. Instead, look for products that are made for the job, and offer protection from the elements. Two popular products for cleaning and protecting vinyl include the 303 Aerospace Protectant and IOSSO Stain Remover. These both have a high UV protectant, which will help prevent the vinyl from drying, cracking, and fading.

Contact D&N Upholstery for help when you’re ready to give your boat seats a new look!