Even though vinyl is an excellent and durable boat seat material resistant to cold and saltwater, you can expect it to wear out over time. In other words, you will need to replace it after a while, but the crucial question is how much to reupholster a boat.
Be aware that no one can give you the precise answer since the final price depends on the upholstery type, used material, and location. Basically, you can spend $600 to $3,500 on this job, according to the national average. However, you can make an estimation based on your needs. Let’s see.
Ways to Reupholster a Boat and Expected Costs
There are two ways to have boat seats reupholstered, engaging a professional and DIY project. The option you choose will directly affect the overall costs.
1. Professional upholstery shop
Upholstery shop hour rate ranges from $55 to $150 on average, but most professionals will charge you $80 per hour. However, the final price will vary, depending on:
Boat type – Hiring a professional is the best solution for owners of quality or even luxury boats that cost over $8,000. Those people often want the vessel to look the same as before reupholstering. To be honest, it is possible only when an upholstery shop does the job.
So, if you have a luxury $50,000+ boat, be prepared to pay more for detailed workmanship and higher-end materials. The thing is that professional upholsters have the necessary expertise and more sophisticated equipment for doing that job, and it costs money.
Work type – As expected, the professional will spend time doing the ordered job, but some boat parts require more dedication. For instance, seat cushion reupholster will require one to two hours of labor. So, you can expect to pay $100 to $200 for this job, including labor and vinyl costs.
On the other hand, the 5 by 5 feet (1.5 x 1.5 m) sundeck recovery will cost you at least $800. This boat part requires about 8 hours of labor plus material.
In most cases, the upholstery shop will need at least five days to complete the five boat seat upholstery. You can expect them to charge $640 for this service.
However, the price will be higher for a $100,000 boat than when reupholstering seats of an $8,000 vessel due to a larger number of seats and more demanding work.
Reupholster boat seat costs by dimensions
|Seat back||24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)||$100|
|Seat back||24 by 36 inches (61 x 91.5 cm)||$150|
|Seat back||24 by 48 inches (61 cm x 1.2 m)||$200|
|Seat back||24 by 60 inches (61 cm x 1.5 m)||$250|
|Seat back||24 by 96 inches (61 cm x 2.5 m)||$300|
|Sink base||24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)||$200|
|Rear deck pad||24 inches by 8 feet (61 cm x 2.4 m)||$250 per piece|
|Rear deck pad||24 inches by 8.5 feet (61 cm x 2.6 m)||$250 per piece|
Marine vinyl cost – Be prepared that marine vinyl prices can significantly vary, depending on its quality and color, and shop location. In most cases, solid color vinyl of decent quality will cost you $15 to $25 per 1 yard (0.9 m), while the better quality material price ranges from $50 to $60.
On the other hand, you need to set aside at least $100 per 1 yard (0.9 m) for high-quality material with a unique design. It sounds costly but will look fantastic and significantly increase your boat value.
Most local fabric stores have marine vinyl on offer, but they probably don’t have wide color and design selection. Another option is to order material online. Plus, you can use other, more affordable materials, like artificial leather or polyester.
Particular boat parts’ reupholstering – However you count, a boat reupholstering is less expensive than purchasing new boat seats. Unfortunately, it is not cheap either.
For instance, the simplest reupholstery of a worn-out cushion can cost you up to $300 per seat, depending on:
- Seat number
- Seat damage
- Material used
- Professional who will finish the job
Remember that replacing the more worn seat vinyl, particularly moldy ones and those damaged under UV rays, will be more expensive. Plus, a new seatback will cost you an additional $100 to $300, depending on required dimensions and workload.
When you need to reupholster the front sleeper lounge, that will cost you at least $150. Then, you should calculate $500 to $650 for a captain chair, depending on the model you have. The price won’t be the same for chairs with and without armrests.
You also need to set aside $450 for either a bolster seat or strengthen seat, while a lounge seat is pricey and costs $550 to $600. An engine cover costs about $350 and jet ski seats approximately $600, while a flip flop seat back price is $100.
Reupholster furniture costs
|Armrest with cup holder||$100|
|Bass boat pedestal seat (with or without back)||$100|
|Flip flop seat back||$100|
|Front sleeper lounge chair||$150|
|Bass boat seat back (full width)||$400|
|Bass boat deck pad||$400|
|Captain’s chair without arms||$500 to $550|
|Lounge seat||$550 to $600|
|Jet ski seats||$600|
|Captain’s chair with arms||$650|
|Pontoon deck replacement||$1,000 to $1,500|
When deciding to replace all vinyl on your boat, you will probably need to spend about $3,500. However, experiences are different, and completing the whole work or its part yourself or choosing cheaper material will significantly reduce this price.
Remember that reupholster in other countries can be cheaper, so you can probably spend half less money for the same job in Europe.
Before beginning the cooperation, you should make an appointment with a service provider to discuss design, material type, and color. Be aware that most of them require at least a 50% deposit.
2. DIY boat seat upholstery
Hiring a professional upholstery company to do this job can be too expensive for cheaper boats. However, it is better to visit at least one local shop and get an estimation before deciding to reupholster the vessel on your own.
For instance, the low season is an excellent period to get a discount. Additionally, shops sometimes don’t have too much work to do at a particular period, so you can take advantage of that and look for compromise options.
Upholstery with sewing
A DIY project can be an excellent solution if you are skillful. Be prepared that some parts of the job are really demanding and you need to pay attention to numerous details.
For instance, some boat seats have pull-downs that look awful when failing to make them evenly. Plus, uneven sewing on the sundeck will look ugly and cheap.
On the other hand, you can do a lovely DIY upholstery project on a boat with a value under $8,000 if you are skillful enough. The best of all is that the final price can be much lower than in case you hire a professional.
Unless planning to do multiple upholstery projects, you may not need a commercial-grade sewing machine. In some cases, a classical sewing machine will do the job. Otherwise, it is possible to find used professional models on Amazon or eBay for a couple of hundred dollars.
Then, it is time to prepare and clean a working place. You will need a work table, bright lighting, and goodwill. Be prepared that your first project won’t be perfect, but it will be acceptable with a few instructions. Plus, the whole thing can be fun and increase your boat value.
Upholstery without sewing
If you are not into sewing, you can pick out a design that allows stapling, particularly on the boat’s side panels. On the other hand, it is not the best solution for cushions since you can’t get defined edges, making them pretty ugly.
How to Save Money When Reupholstering Boat
1. Finish some job stages on your own
If you have a limited budget or want to lower your expenses, you can finish some tasks yourself. For example, you can remove the damaged upholstery or clean seats with rubbing alcohol. Keep in mind that you need a standard vinyl repair kit for successful preparation work.
2. Choose a less expensive marine-ready fabric
Even though most manufacturers use vinyl, you can look for alternatives, like marine fabrics that are not entirely made of vinyl. Instead, they combine viable material, like polyester, with vinyl. Choosing this option will increase the upholstered seat durability but keep excellent vinyl characteristics.
3. Buy in local upholstery shops
Purchasing vinyl in family-owned upholstering services in your region can decrease your costs. Plus, they often offer affordable customization to your desire.
4. Look for cheaper services abroad
The truth is that you can find top-notch upholsterers in other countries that will charge far less money for the same work than in the US. If you need to have a boat seat reupholstered and plan a trip abroad, you should consider this option.
The price of boat reupholster varies depending on the job you want to be done, the shop where you buy material and its type, quality, color, and the design you choose. Always plan and calculate all expenses in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.