boat upholstery replacement skins

Boat Upholstery Replacement Skins: Steps in Detail


If you are thinking about changing your boat interior, replacing the upholstery skin is the first plan. It is also an important part of the maintenance of your boat. A few tools and proper knowledge can make this work quite hassle-free for you. 

So, how you can do boat upholstery replacement skins?

Although the process is a bit longer the steps are quite simple. But you also need to be extra cautious about every step.  Firstly you have to remove every layer of staples. For that, you can take the help of a screwdriver. After that choose the perfect sized foam for your frame. Finally, attach the foam with staples as evenly as possible. 

This is not everything about our discussion. We have an entire discussion on this with every detail. 

So if you are interested, keep your eyes on the following. 

Boat Upholstery Replacement Skins: 5 Simple Steps

If we talk about boat upholstery skin replacement, refers to replacing the seat skin. The best part is you can do it on your own without taking any professional help. The steps are pretty simple.

So let’s not make any delay and jump right into the details. 

Step 1: Staple Pin Removing

At first, you have to turn your fitted boat seat cover on which you want to make the replacement. On the back side of the seat where the skin is attached, you will find a strap. The strap is being used for hiding all the staples. 

So before removing all the staples, you have to remove the strap first. You can use a sharp screwdriver head or any sharp tool to remove the strap. On the strap, you will find the first series of staples which you have to remove.

For removing that push the pin heads against something harder so that it easily came out through the other side. 

Step 2: Removing the Back Sheet

Next, you have to remove the second series of staples which is attaching the plastic wrapper. The plastic wrapper is hiding the wooden frame of the seat. Use a screwdriver or staple remover for removing the staples. 

After removing the staples, you can take the plastic wrapper off. Now it’s time for removing the final set of staples securing the main leather skin. 

Be careful in this part as the staples are hardly attached to this part. And also you don’t want to break the frame of the seat. That is why use a flat-head staple remover. And start removing staples from a corner. Then it would be easier to remove the staples from the rest of the sides. 

After that, remove the leather skin from the seat. If it is sticky in any part due to previous glue, use a hair dryer to heat the place. That would be removable easily after heating. 

Step 3: Attaching Seat Cushion 

Next, bring out the perfect piece of foam or bedding for the seat frame. Make sure it is the exact size that aligns with the frame size. You can also take the measurement from the previous one if that is in the condition of measuring. 

Now it’s time for setting the skin. First, you have to place the bedding on the board and then cover the bedding with the skin. Make sure the skin is 2-4 inches extra than the actual measurement. 

So that you can staple it with the frame. 

Now cover the frame and the seat bedding with the skin. You can also use neoprene boat seat covers here. Start stapling from the straight side. Use a staple gun to staple this time. 

Make sure you are stapling the straight side first. So that you can hold the skin to the frame primarily. 

It would be helpful for you if you can learn how to build a boat seat box.

Step 4: Assembling the Corners

Now it’s time for the bent corner. The trick for the corner is to pull and staple as there is some extra skin there. That way you can make the surface even from the outer side. That way you can stretch away all the excess material.

You will find some creases on the outer side of the seat due to access material. Don’t worry. You have to heat the surface with a dryer so the creases get even away. 

It is very important to have extra skin material underneath. That way you have a chance to make more Pleiades and even out the surface. After pulling and stapling the part, get rid of the extra skin.

Use as many staples as you need to even out the Pleiades. Now we will cover up the staples with another leather sheet from the backward. And will secure the skin with a hard strap all around the sheet.

So first we will staple the sheet using the staple gun over the first batch of staples. 

Step 5: Final Setting

Now it’s time for setting the stripe on top of it. The strap is quite stiff and you have to staple it exactly in the middle of it. 

Here the trick is to use the hair dryer again to heat up the strap. It will reduce the stiffness of the strap. Now use a shoehorn to open the strap. You have to staple it inside the stripe. The staples won’t be visible that way.

Finally, after stapling the whole stripe, you can check if the is any unevenness in the front part. If not then you are done replacing the skin. 

Sometimes it will be helpful for you if you know how to build a boat seat box.

Here are a few products including boat seat upholstery kits for making your job easier. 

Product 1
Product 2

Hope you found the products helpful enough during the replacement journey. 


What is the approximate cost for reupholstering boat seats?

If you want to make the replacement in a professional place, you have to pay on an hourly basis. Most of the shops charge around $50-$150 per hour. You have to spend about $90-$100 for a 24″ x 24″ seat. The cost will increase by around $300 for a 24″ x 96″ seat. But mostly it varies due to the service provider. 

How time-consuming are reupholster boat seats?

If you are doing the replacement by a service provider, the time would be counted hourly. It would take more time if you decide to do it by yourself as a non-professional. Also, it will vary from place to place. For example, if you are replacing the seat cushion it will take one hour or two by professionals. 

How to restore faded sun-damaged seats of a boat?

First, you have to vacuum away all the loose dirt and dust. Next, wash the seats with soap or detergent and warm water. Dry the seats properly with a towel. Evenly spray vinyl paint onto the vinyl seats. And finally, wipe out the seats again gently with a soft towel. That way you can easily restore the faded seats. 

Final Word

We hope we could solve all your doubts regarding boat upholstery replacement skins. The steps are pretty simple if you can follow them accordingly. 

One last tip for you, be careful with staple guns and also staple pins. One carelessness can cause unwanted accidents. 

That is everything this time. 

Have a great day!

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