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How to Reupholster Boat Seats

how to reupholster boat seats

Reupholstering boat seats is a great way to add comfort, style, and value to your vessel. Whether you’re looking to update the look of your boat or simply want to prolong the life of your existing seating, reupholstering is a relatively easy process that can be completed in a few hours.

In this article, we’ll show you how to reupholster boat seats step-by-step, including what tools and materials you’ll need. We’ll also provide some helpful tips along the way so that you can get the best results possible.

A Simple Guide for Reupholstering your Boat Seats

Tools & Materials for the Tasks

To reupholster boat seats, you’ll need the following tools and materials

  • Fabric of your choice (this guide uses vinyl)
  • Foam padding
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Upholstery tacks or staples
  • Upholstery adhesive
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Sailor’s needle and thread (or heavy-duty sewing machine)
  • Vinyl protectant product, preferably a liquid spray

Step 1: Remove the Old Fabric

The first step in reupholstering boat seats is to remove the old fabric that was already subjected to decay. This can be done with a sharp knife or scissors. Be careful not to damage the underlying foam or padding when removing the fabric.

Once the old fabric is removed, you will want to add new foam padding for additional comfort.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the New Fabric

measure and cut the new fabric

Measure the width and length of the seat to determine how much foam cover and seat vinyl you’ll need. Add a few inches to your measurements to allow for any errors or adjustments that may be necessary.

You can use the old foam and fabric just taken out of your seat as references for measurement.

Once you have your desired vinyl and foam sizes, customize them using scissors or a sharp knife. Again, be careful not to damage the underlying foam or padding in the process.

Step 3: Attach the new Fabric

Now it’s time to attach the new fabric and foam to the seat. You should place the cut vinyl fabric onto a flat and clean surface of your boat floor, then put the foam and seat base onto it.

Next, you use the fabric’s front to entirely cover the wood seat and press hard, so it tightens around the foam securely. Now, continue by stapling or tacking one side of the vinyl to the foam.

Then, stretch the fabric tight and staple or tack it down on the opposite side. Repeat this process until the fabric is secure.

Make sure to staple and smooth the vinyl fabric to avoid wrinkling.

Finally, use a sewing machine or needle and thread to stitch the fabric in place around the edges. This will ensure that it doesn’t come loose over time.

Step 4: Apply the Vinyl Protectant

To protect the newly installed vinyl fabric from future wear and tear, it is important to spray it with a suitable protectant product.

Make sure you make an even protective coating layer, so the seat is safe from cracking, moisture intrusion, and UV rays.

That’s it! Your boat seats are now ready for use. Sit back, relax and enjoy the comfort of your handiwork.

How much to Reupholster Boat Seats

how much to reupholster boat seats

You’ve probably seen it happen before. You’re out on the water, enjoying a beautiful day, when suddenly one of your boat seats starts to rip. Or maybe you notice that the fabric on your seats is beginning to fade and looks a little worn. Either way, it’s time to start thinking about reupholstering your boat seats.

But how much does it cost to reupholster boat seats? The answer depends on a few factors, including the type of fabric you choose and the size of your boat. In this article, we’ll break down the costs so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to reupholster your boat seats.

Type of Fabric

The first factor that will affect the cost of reupholstering your boat seats is the type of fabric you choose. There are a variety of fabrics available, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

Some of the most popular options for boat seat upholstery include:

  • Sunbrella: This is one of the most popular options for boat seat upholstery. Sunbrella is a synthetic fabric resistant to sun damage, mildew, and stains
  • It’s also extremely durable, making it a good choice for boats that see a lot of use. The downside to Sunbrella is that it can be more expensive than other fabrics
  • OEM Fabric: OEM (original equipment manufacturer) fabric is the type of fabric that was originally used on your boat seats. If you’re happy with the way your seats look and feel, you may want to stick with OEM fabric
  • This option can be more affordable than some of the other options, but it may not be as durable as something like Sunbrella
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is a popular choice for boat seat upholstery because it’s very durable and easy to clean. However, vinyl can get hot in direct sunlight

Number of Seats

It is obvious that the number and size of your boat seats will affect the cost of reupholstering. The larger your boat, the more fabric you’ll need to cover all of the seats. This will, of course, increase the cost of the project.

Average Prices

Now that you know a little bit more about some of the factors that will affect the cost of reupholstering your boat seats let’s take a look at some average prices.

  • For Sunbrella fabric, you can expect to pay between $30 and $50 per yard
  • For OEM fabric, you’ll probably pay between $15 and $30 per yard
  • And for vinyl, you’ll likely pay between $20 and $40 per yard

Remember, these are just averages. The actual cost of the fabric will depend on the type of fabric you choose and where you purchase it.

As far as the size of your boat goes, that will also affect the final cost.

  • For a small boat with four seats, you can expect to pay between $400 and $600 to have all of the seats reupholstered.
  • For a larger boat with eight seats, the cost will be between $800 and $1,200.

Finally, the number of seats you need to have upholstered will also affect the final cost. If you only need to have two seats reupholstered, you can expect to pay between $200 and $400.

But if you need to have all eight seats on your boat reupholstered, the cost will be between $800 and $1,200.
Of course, these are just estimates. The actual cost of reupholstering your boat seats will depend on several factors, including the type of fabric you choose and the size of your boat.

However, by knowing approximately how much it will cost to reupholster your boat seats, you can decide whether or not to do the project.


So, if you’re in the market for a new set of boat seats or just want to breathe some new life into your old ones, consider giving reupholstery a try. It can be a fun and rewarding project, and with the right tools and instructions, it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Have you ever tried reupholstering boat seats before? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below.

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