How To Select The Right Marine Upholstery Fabric?

November 26, 2022

When it comes to selecting a cloth, there are superior possibilities for different objectives and needs.

It is critical to consider all the available information and decide what would work best for your way of life, your boat, and your residence.

We will offer you an overview of a few of the characteristics you should take into account while picking fabric for your upcoming cover job.

1. Choose Between Chafe Resistance Or UV Resistance

In a cover cloth, both chafe resistance and UV resistance are crucial, but depending on where you live, one of these characteristics may be more significant than the other. If you boat in offshore seas or close to the coast, UV protection is definitely your first priority. Due to the fact that boats are frequently in the water and the sun is intense around the coast, you will need a marine upholstery fabric that can survive all of that UV exposure.

Your boat benefits from a break from the elements during the winter if you sail inland or in an area with four distinct seasons, and the summer heat doesn’t become as scorching as it does on the coastlines. Chafe resistance may consequently take on greater significance. A solid chafe-resistant cover for the interior will not require additional effort to install more reinforcing patches and will last for a very long period.

2. Waterproof Or Water Resistant?

Although it might seem that “waterproof” and “water resistant” are interchangeable, they are not. Waterproof textiles always repel water, regardless of how old the cloth is. Vinyl, vinyl-coated fabric, or laminated fabric are the most common materials used to make waterproof fabrics. Rather of naturally repelling water, water-resistant materials are treated to stop it from penetrating. These materials’ coatings will eventually degrade and start to let water leak through. Water-resistant materials can potentially leak if water is allowed to build up on their surface.

The obvious choice would then seem to be waterproof fabrics, and they can be, with one caveat: they lack breathability. Air cannot pass through the surface of these fabrics because they are impenetrable. If air and moisture are kept trapped beneath a cover, mold and mildew can grow and cause serious problems.

3. Do Not Overlook Durability  

You might want to think about the fabric’s durability over time when choosing between the polyester and acrylic cover fabric. Polyester is more resilient than acrylic when brand-new. In comparison to acrylic, it is therefore more dimensionally stable and resistant to wear. However, acrylic maintains its strength over time, whereas polyester loses a significant amount of strength within the first five years (up to eight years for Top Notch).

In essence, the trade-off is that your acrylic cover will last up to 10 years, even in areas with more intense UV rays, if you do not mind adding a few chafe-resistant patches to it. Choose polyester to get better strength for the first five years and then reevaluate your cover if you do not want to deal with patches and fixes.

4. Thread Choice And Color

Use lifetime thread to sew your cover if you decide it needs the highest level of UV protection. You will not want to have to resew the cover after just a year or two because UV polyester thread will significantly lose strength in the sun, much like polyester cloth.

If you want to utilize a brilliantly colored cloth that will not fade, go for a solution-dyed fabric. The color, therefore, permeates every fiber, reducing the likelihood that it will fade when exposed to UV rays.


There are many factors to take into account, but if you take the time to think through all of your options, you will select a cover fabric that is perfect for your needs.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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