upholstery & canvas repair details
How does an upholstery repair work?
Upholstery comes in many different forms, being made out of many different products, each with it’s own advantages and dis-advantages. When completing upholstery repairs for marine applications, most of the time we are dealing with a marine grade vinyl, which provides us with a couple of different possible paths to go down when repairing.
If the repair is small and in the middle of a sewn panel, we will always weigh up the options of a vinyl weld repair, vs a complete replacement of that panel with a new section of vinyl. While the vinyl weld will not provide the same level of repair as a completely new section of vinyl, it will still provide a nice finish and seal off a hole or small tear in the vinyl to a good standard, while being a fair amount easier and cheaper to complete that a full replacement of the vinyl section. On the other hand, if a perfect finish is required, you cannot beat a new section of vinyl sewn into the existing skin, which will provide a flawless finish on the entire panel. Depending on the condition of the panel, your budget and how fussy you are with the upholstery will generally dictate which repair process you would like to go down.
When it comes to large scale tears in the upholstery, or if the seams in the seats have started to pull away and expose the foam underneath, then the repair process requires the vinyl seat skin to be removed and repaired properly. In some cases if the seams have started to pull away, the vinyl can simply be re-sewn back together and the cover fitted back on to the seat. However a lot of the time the reason the vinyl is separating or is starting to tear can be due to older vinyls that have become stiff and hard after a lot of UV exposure, making them brittle. In these instances, the vinyl really needs to be replaced in order for the repair to last the distance and not fail within a short period of time. When it comes to replacing a damaged panel of vinyl, it is generally seen best practice to replace all the panels and sew up a new seat skin altogether so that you will have a long lasting seat that has been repaired properly and will not need to be re-visited for more work only a short time down the track.
How do canvas repairs work?
Canvas is a slightly different ball game than upholstery, as it has a lot of different characteristics than vinyl or your standard upholstery materials. In general canvas is quite stiff when brand new and so it does not conform to the shape you require a lot of the time, especially when completing repairs and trying to match old canvas with new. In most cases, canvas is relatively easy to patch up and reinforce. A lot of the repairs to canvas we complete are due to fittings on the boat wearing through over time. This results in a torn area of canvas around the fitting. In these instances we would start the repair by sewing a section of rip-stop PVC on the underside of the canvas that will act as a wear protection strip over the fitting that caused the issue. Then we go about patching the top section so that the original tear is hidden underneath a new section of canvas. This is all completed so you will only see a small patch on the area repaired and we can go about sewing a patch on the same area on the other side of the canvas so it has a symmetrical look if required.
When it comes to large scale tears in canvas, it is generally easier to replace the whole cover than to try and complete a suitable repair that could end up failing down the track. We utilize the widest rolls of canvas available, so that more often than not we can complete a full road cover, bow cover or Bimini in a single cut of canvas, without the need of separate pieces that need to be sewn together, adding both an additional time and material wastage aspect into the canvas replacement.