Vinyl fabric is a synthetic plastic polymer produced from ethylene and chlorine. Because of its durability and flexibility, it is a universally popular material.
From bags and belts to furniture upholstery, numerous products are made from vinyl. Vinyl is produced in different textures, colors, and designs.
More or less it has taken the place of leather and is sometimes called faux leather or artificial leather.
Vinyl boat fabrics are subjected to environmental impacts and they can sustain moisture and ultraviolet (UV) rays to an extent. Because of exposure to the water and heat of the sun, this material eventually wears off.
This calls our attention to the main question:
How To Repair Cracked Vinyl Boat Seats?
The process of repairing cracked vinyl boat seats includes cleaning with mild detergents or vinyl cleaners. Sanding and buffing the damaged portion of the seat.
Then there are the steps of application of vinyl formula and color compound.
A graining pad or paper is pressed on the repaired area to engrave the texture of the graining paper onto the newly repaired layer.
In the end, vinyl conditioner is applied to the repaired portion to protect it from future damage.
First of all, with the availability of the right stuff and equipment, even inexperienced boat owners can repair vinyl boat seats.
In this article, we will show you the entire process of repairing vinyl boat seats.
Let’s get down to business.
Marine vinyl is a popular type of vinyl. It is weather-proof material that can endure sunlight and moisture.
Boat seats, cushions, outdoor furniture as well as awnings are prepared from marine vinyl.
To begin with, boats endure the heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun for longer periods of time.
This is why marine vinyl is designed to provide protection from extreme heat and UV rays.
In other words, boats are exposed to the waters on a daily basis and are an easy target for fungus and mildew. Vinyl this quality that it is stain resistant and water-proof.
Most of all it is also easy to clean. These qualities make your boat seats secure from fungus, mildew, and bacteria.
Although it is a long-lasting material, yet time plays its heavy toll and it gets scratches and cracks. It is going to happen in the long run.
Repairing The Vinyl Boat Seats
Restoring and reconditioning the vinyl is a less expensive and cost-effective process than replacing the entire vinyl fabric with the new material.
This is possible when the vinyl fabric has a few small rips, tears, or cracks.
And the damage is to a limited extent.
It is not worth considering if the material has completely worn out and faded. Because the repair kits can only patch up the small rips, cracks, abrasions, and tears in vinyl seats.
Items Required For Repairing The Vinyl Boat Seats
Here is the list of the supplies that are required for restoring the vinyl boat seats. And if you plan to do it then go ahead and gather up the following supplies.
1. Clean the water bucket
2. Mild soap or detergent
3. Rubbing alcohol wipes (optional)
5. Dry towels
7. Iron (optional)
8. Vinyl repair kit (usually includes liquid vinyl formula, backing material, repair compound, color mixing guide, and spatula-like plastic applicator)
9. Vinyl conditioner
This process may seem lengthy, But the steps are very easy and simple. Here we will discuss the complete process of how to repair cracked vinyl boat seats.
Step1 – Cleaning The Vinyl Surface
Cleaning the ripped, torn and cracked vinyl surface is the very first step of the repairing and restoring process.
The vinyl boat seats are softened and wiped up with lukewarm water. Afterward, the surface is washed off with a mild detergent and a washcloth.
Then the cracked area is scrubbed to remove grime, dirt, and oils from the surface of the vinyl.
Wipe this cleaned area with a clean washcloth to remove the traces of detergent.
Rub this portion with a soft, dry cloth.
Repeat the entire process to make sure there are no contaminants.
Depending on the instructions of the repair kit, you can also apply to rub alcohol with a cloth to disinfect the surface.
A word of caution: rubbing alcohol must be used with extra care as it can damage the coating and the color of the vinyl fabric.
Special vinyl boat seat cleaners are also available to remove the mildew stains, dirt, and grime that has accumulated over the years.
Step2 – Sanding
Wait for the wet surface to get completely dry.
Take sandpaper and rub it down onto the damaged portion. Apply a little pressure.
A few rubs of sandpaper will do the magic.
Buffing and sanding will smooth out the surface and will create friction on the external coating. This friction is essential for fixing and bonding the cracked layer with the liquid vinyl.
Step3 – Apply Liquid Vinyl Formula
The vinyl exterior is now ready for applying the liquid vinyl formula.
The vinyl repair kit contains the liquid vinyl formula.
It is a strong solution used for patching up small holes, cracks, tears, rips, and abrasions.
Spread a thin and smooth layer of vinyl liquid over the torn surface.
Use the spreading tool or spatula that came with your repair kit.
Cover the damaged and cracked portion completely with the liquid vinyl. Considering the condition of the boat seats, you may have to apply them more than once.
Some vinyl repair kits supply vinyl formula ready-mixed with color compounds whereas the others come separately and require blending.
Moreover, there are some manufacturers who provide backing materials. These fabric materials are cut into pieces, according to the size of the torn area. This cutout fabric patch is inserted under the torn area.
Then the repair compound is applied to this area.
For this reason, you need to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer to avoid damage. And this all depends on the type of product available in your area.
Step4 – Application of Color Compounds
After the liquid vinyl has completely dried out, it is time to apply the color compound.
Check out and select the color that matches your upholstery with the help of a color-matching chart.
Find the perfect matching colors with the help of a color-matching guide.
Make a mixture of these colors.
Spread the color compound on the repaired section. Let it dry.
Sometimes the colors are difficult to match. You can rematch, remix and apply the color compound again if it does not match the fabric of the seat.
Step5 – Embed And Emboss With A Graining Pad
Take a grain pad and put it lightly over the repaired portion. Apply a little pressure but do not push.
Take a heated iron and swipe it onto the grain pad three to four times.
Be warned heat can burn the vinyl coating.
This way the texture from the graining paper will be embossed on the repaired area. Some graining pads may not require heat; it depends on the brand of the product.
If you are not heat-drying the repair compound, then let the grain pad stay on the repaired portion. Wait for at least four hours before pulling the graining pad off the surface.
Step6 – Vinyl Conditioner
This is the last step of repairing the vinyl boat seats.
Vinyl conditioner is applied to prevent and protect the vinyl from further damage.
Vinyl protectant works as a shield against UV rays, and the heat of the sun. It penetrates the surface of the vinyl and hydrates it, giving it a glossy shine.
As a matter of fact, it is more feasible to prevent the vinyl from desiccation than to replace or fix it.
Can A Boat Upholstery Repair Kit Help You?
Vinyl repair kits are fairly convenient and easy to use for covering and masking torn or ripped vinyl layers.
This could be a useful and practical investment when the boat seats are untarnished and in tip-top condition. You can only patch up the small areas. In this situation, a vinyl repair kit will be worth it.
Therefore the bottom line is, there is absolutely no chance of success if the layer has already been destroyed and worn out. Large and long cracks and tears are difficult to fix.
Therefore a vinyl repair kit is a handy option for fixing up small cracks, cuts, holes, tears, and abrasions.
Duct Tape: A Temporary Masking Solution
Some boat owners use duct tape to cover the torn area, instead of investing in a repair kit. Well, this is a temporary solution. And it will not work for long. Moreover, they make your boat seats look hideous.
Maintenance Of Vinyl Boat Seats
Vinyl fabric requires constant upkeep and maintenance. Furthermore, cleaning the vinyl boat seats on a routine basis can guarantee the durability of this material and the value of the boat.
We have walked you through the whole process of redoing the vinyl boat seats.
You know by now that these time-saving, easy-to-use vinyl repair kits are convenient for restoring and reconditioning vinyl boat seats.
But if your seats have gone through severe damage and the vinyl covering is peeled off, then it is not remotely possible to put them back together.
Now, you know how to repair cracked vinyl boat seats. It is quite easy even for inexperienced boat owners.