Water Sports - 11 min read

Cost of Reupholstering Boat Seats (The Ultimate Cost Guide!)

Betty Nelson

Betty Nelson, Updated October 23, 2022

Your boat seats encounter harsh external factors like saltwater and sunlight whenever you go on a sail. Over time, these factors cause the seats’ quality to deteriorate. If your boat seat is no longer in shape, you have two options: either replace the seat entirely or reupholster it.

On average, the cost of reupholstering boat seats ranges between $100 to $500. Factors affecting the price include size, type of seat, and whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. The cost is per seat. However, you can usually find a professional who is willing to give a discount to any extra seats you need reupholstering.

Reupholstering your boat seats doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be too cheap. Before making the decision, inspecting your boat seat properly is important.

You should check the seat’s foam, wood, and corners for damage or rot. Some boat seats will need a 360-degree reupholstering, while others may only need a few touch-ups. The extent of damage after inspecting will help you determine which is appropriate.

Supposing you’ve decided to reupholster your boat seats. In that case, you’ll find this article helpful. It covers all the common questions about the cost of reupholstering boat seats.

How Much Does It Cost To Reupholster Boat Seats?

Reupholstering boat seats might cost upwards of $80.00 per hour if you hire a professional: most boat yards and marinas over such repair services. However, you’ll spend around $200 on average if you can carry out the task yourself.

It’s usually better to have a professional handle the reupholstering task to get the best results. However, if you’re on a budget, you can opt to do it yourself.

DIY vinyl boat seat reupholstery can be a simple task, especially when the damage to the seat isn’t much. However, one thing is certain: it’ll take time. Unfortunately, many boat owners don’t have this time, so they opt for a professional service.

Professional reupholstering services typically include additional charges, including labor fees and the price of the marine vinyl you want to use. Normally, the higher the damage to the seat, the higher the materials they’ll need, and the higher the price you’ll pay.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Professional To Reupholster Boat Seats?

Professional upholstery shops charge an average of $80 per hour, with the cost ranging from $55 to $150. However, the exact cost you’ll pay will depend on two main factors – boat type and work type.

If you own a high-end boat – a luxury boat – that costs more than $8,000, you should probably hire a professional upholstery shop. Only these professional shops can perform satisfactorily, as they have the tools and experience.

You should know that a luxury boat is expensive to maintain, just as its price. In addition, you’ll need to pay for more quality materials; thus, the cost may be over $150 per hour.

Furthermore, depending on the nature of the work, a professional may need to devote more time to complete it. One example of work is reupholstering a seat cushion, which may take up to two hours.

Another example is if you want to reupholster a sundeck that is 5 feet by 5 feet. Again, the professional shop will typically need at least five days to finish the upholstery, and you could pay up to $640.

How Much Does It Cost To Reupholster Boat Seats by Yourself?

Reupholstering your boat seats yourself will cost you a total of $150 to $200 for regular boats. But, of course, smaller boat sizes will cost much lesser.

As you’d expect, it’s less expensive to reupholster boat seats by yourself compared to hiring a professional. However, it’s only ideal to do the job yourself when minimal damage is needed. Unless you have experience with boat repairs, you will find it difficult to reupholster a boat seat with heavy damage on your own.

You can perform DIY reupholstering with or without sewing. If you have the skills, sewing will make a great option. However, note that there will be areas that need much effort and focus on many details.

Some boat chairs, for instance, feature pull-downs that look terrible if they are not made equally. Furthermore, suppose you’re reupholstering a sundeck. In that case, you need to pay attention to make the stitching even, or else the result will be unattractive.

If you don’t want to sew, patterns are available that will let you staple the seams, which is especially helpful for the boat’s side panels. However, the downside of not sewing is that you can’t create clean and defined edges.

How Much Does a Simple Boat Seat Reupholster Cost?

A simple boat reupholstering job is not expensive, and you’ll most likely do it yourself and spend around $100; however, if you hire a professional. In that case, it may take an hour or two to complete the task. Hence, you should expect to pay around $150 to $200.

However, the fact that it’s a simple boat reupholstering job doesn’t mean you should use cheap materials. Subsequently, you’ll still expose the upholstery to weather and other outdoor elements. If it’s cheap material, you’ll find yourself redoing an upholstery sooner than later.

Fortunately, the primary materials you need for a simple boat reupholstering job – vinyl and silicone – are not highly expensive. You can purchase quality vinyl material and UV-resistant silicone without breaking the bank.

Other factors like abrasion-resistant material, mildew-resistant materials, high tear-strength, and antimicrobial medium-density foam are also important.

How Much Does a Fancy Boat Seat Reupholster Cost?

Upholstering a boat is already a costly endeavor. Therefore, you’ll pay higher if you want any special details added, like a certain shape, some piping, or any other embellishment. A fancy boat reupholstering job can cost as high as $500 for regular boats.

The price is higher because not only will you need to purchase extra materials for the decorations, but you’ll also spend more time on the job. The latter is highly instrumental if you hire a professional upholstering shop.

Note that elaborate patterns, particularly those involving stitching, can reduce the durability of the upholstery. An example is if you add too many fancy designs with stitching. In addition, since stitching creates new holes in the fabric, it also creates new weak places that will wear out the furniture faster.

With all these, a fancy boat reupholstering job may not be a good idea. It’s expensive and can make the boat seat vulnerable. If you conclude to perform a fancy boat reupholstery, ensure you hire the best available professional service – you shouldn’t do it yourself.

What Is the Cost of Marine Vinyl for Boat Seats?

Gold Eagle Co.

Marine vinyl is one of the most important materials you need for boat reupholstery. The price of this material varies; the deciding factors are quality and color.

However, you should expect to spend around $15 to $25 per yard for a good quality vinyl material. On the other hand, high-end materials can cost anywhere between $50 and $60 per yard.

Some high-end vinyl materials, especially those that feature rare colors and notable designs, cost up to $100 per yard. These costs can be intimidating, but at the end of the day, you should go for a material that suits your boat.

How much vinyl you’ll need to reupholster a boat depends on its size and the number of seats. So it’s always better to stock up on more than you’ll need should your estimations be incorrect.

If you hire a professional upholstering shop for the job, ask about the cost of the marine vinyl. You may be able to purchase it at a lower price elsewhere.

The same applies if you’re doing the job yourself. You can compare different shops’ costs before deciding which to buy from.

How Much Does It Cost To Purchase New Boat Seats?

Several factors affect boat seat prices. While some seats are single, others are sold in pairs. You can purchase single seats for a regular boat for $100 to $200. On the other hand, you can pay up to $300 to $500 for double seats.

As explained earlier, it’s more affordable to reupholster a boat seat than purchase a new one. However, your boat seat may be damaged beyond repair in some situations. As a result, you have no option but to get a new one.

When you opt to buy a new boat seat, here are the factors you should consider:

Comfortability

A new boat seat should make boating more comfortable. Thus, comfort is the most important factor. Consider purchasing a boat that caters to your every physical need, with special attention paid to your butt and back.

In particular, you should go for foam-padded seats, which are widely considered more comfortable than their uncushioned counterparts. If you plan on spending many hours on the boat for activities like fishing or sightseeing, this is non-negotiable.

Resistance To Weather

Seats on boats are always at risk of being damaged by harsh weather conditions. As explained earlier, it’s one of the main reasons why they need reupholstering. Therefore, a boat seat’s durability depends on how well it can survive such harsh conditions.

Covered seats designed with UV-resistant materials tend to hold up well even after prolonged exposure to sunlight. Also, if your boat seat gets wet, which will happen regularly, mold and mildew might build up. For this reason, you should get a seat resistant to mildew and mold growth.

Available Space

In addition to comfortability and weather resistance, the available room in your boat is another important consideration when purchasing a new seat. In particular, the new seat should be able to fit easily into the space of the old seat.

Furthermore, you should also consider the boat’s carrying capacity. Most importantly, be careful not to overload the boat.

Carrying Capacity

Seats that fail after just a few outings can be frustrating for boat owners. However, this often happens when they ignore the seat’s carrying capacity.

Manufacturers always list the seat’s maximum carrying capacity, and the seat will collapse if your weight exceeds the specified limit. As a result, when you purchase a boat seat, be sure it can accommodate you properly.

Design

Finally, if you’re a fancy person, you’ll want to be on the lookout for the seat design. In addition to increasing the boat’s aesthetic value, a well-designed boat seat may increase your return on investment if and when you decide to sell.

However, just as when it comes to reupholstering, a premium-designed boat seat can be expensive. 

Is It Cheaper To Reupholster Your Boat Seats or Buy New Ones?

Boat seats range in price, just like the cost of reupholstering them. Generally, it’s more expensive to buy a new boat seat than reupholster it. However, this is not always true, especially for small boats.

Small boat seats cost anywhere between $100 to $200. In fact, you can even purchase some boat seats for less than $80. For such boats, it’s better to buy a new seat than reupholster the damaged one.

However, supposing the damaged seat is a premium pontoon seat, a bench seat, a lounge seat, or a swing back seat. In such cases, you will spend more than $400 if you want to replace the seats entirely. Meanwhile, a reupholstering job will cost around $300.

How Much Does a Complete Boat Interior Restoration Cost?

In some cases, you may need more than reupholstering your boat seats. Rather, a complete interior restoration will be what brings your boat back to life.

Such a restoration is expensive and can cost you up to $800 to $1,000. For higher-end boats, you should budget up to $1,500 to $2,000.

Boat interior restoration doesn’t always involve damaged or old interior parts. Some boat owners redesign their boat’s interior if they don’t like its original design.

Seats, interior side panels, the dashboard, the boat engine cover, and the carpets may all need replacement as part of a full restoration. As a result, an expert is the best for the job. However, opting for a DIY isn’t ideal. 

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