How to Repair Vinyl Upholstery on a Boat

by Laure Justice
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Boats are expensive, so when the vinyl upholstery gets damaged, it is more than just a little problem. It is an important problem that takes away from the boat's value as an investment. Large damaged areas usually require re-upholstery, but small cuts or burns in the vinyl can be repaired with a vinyl repair kit. Using a vinyl repair kit is the simplest way to make small repairs because it does not require removing the upholstery from the boat.

Step 1

Place the bucket on a flat surface and put the dish washing liquid and warm water in it.

Step 2

Drop the wash cloth in the warm, soapy water. Lift it back out and wring out the excess water. Wipe the surface around the damaged spot so you will have a clean surface to work on.

Step 3

Open the clear adhesive repair compound and get out the spreading tool. The spreading tool will normally look like a small butter knife or putty knife.

Step 4

Spread a layer of vinyl compound over the area you are repairing to fill the deepest part of the damage. Make it as smooth possible. Let the vinyl repair compound dry completely.

Step 5

Open the color compound jar that matches your upholstery. Spread the color compound over the damaged section using the spreading tool and then smooth it down.

Step 6

Choose the grain pad that matches the texture of your upholstery from your kit and press it textured side down into the vinyl repair. Press lightly so that you do not push the compound out of place.

Attach the grain pad with pieces of masking tape. Let the repair sit until it is completely dry. It will take a minimum of eight hours to dry with the grain pad covering it.


  • Buy a vinyl repair kit that is labeled complete. This will save you from having to track down each separate part.
  • Vinyl repair kits come in heat and no heat styles. No heat is simpler to use for a beginner, so if you have purchased a heat style kit, practice on scrap vinyl before applying it to your boat upholstery.
  • Vinyl repair kits can be purchased from automotive parts suppliers, hardware stores and upholstery shops.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • 1 tsp. dish washing liquid
  • 1 gallon warm water
  • Soft cloth
  • Complete no heat vinyl repair kit
  • Masking tape

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