Everything You Need to Know About Marine Upholstery

Buying a new boat and taking it out onto the open water can be thrilling! However, boats can be expensive and time-consuming to maintain. If you own a boat – whether for commercial or personal purposes – you need to invest in marine upholstery that lasts and doesn’t add to your boat maintenance to-do list.

Keep reading to learn all about marine upholstery, including the requirements for marine upholstery and the best fabric options. Don’t furnish your boat without reading this information!


What Is Marine Upholstery?

Marine upholstery refers to the fabric used to coat the furniture on boats. Usually, this fabric must be water-resistant to prevent damage, staining, and wear-and-tear over time. Since boat upholstery is exposed to damp conditions regularly, the material must be resistant to mould. The salt from seawater is also highly damaging to fabric and can quickly cause deterioration, so marine upholstery should be an easily wipeable surface.

Boats already require a significant amount of maintenance, so you need to opt for a marine upholstery fabric that will be low-maintenance and durable.


What Are The Different Types Of Marine Upholstery?

Here are your best options to help you decide which trendy fabric to use for your marine upholstery.



Vinyl is a popular choice for marine upholstery because it is water resistant and low maintenance. You can easily wipe down the surface of vinyl upholstery with a damp cloth to remove any traces of salt and keep the fabric free from mould.

Additionally, if your vinyl upholstery becomes torn, you can quickly restore the fabric. You don’t even have to replace it! Most fabric stores will offer vinyl repair kits that allow you to seal any tears or holes in the fabric.

Vinyl has the appearance of leather and comes in a wide range of styles and colors – so you can purchase vinyl that matches the existing features of your boat’s interior or exterior.



One alternative to vinyl is acrylic fabric, however, it is not entirely waterproof, so you should opt for a laminated acrylic fabric. Or, if you already have your sights set on a particular fabric, you can easily have it laminated by a fabric professional to make it more waterproof and durable.

When you have a fabric laminated, this also makes it fire-resistant, which is a massive bonus for marine upholstery. The only downside to choosing laminated acrylic for your marine upholstery is that it can be more expensive than other options.


Heavyweight Canvas

Heavyweight canvas is often used in marine upholstery because the fabric is highly breathable. If the stuffing of your nautical furniture becomes wet, then the heavyweight canvas material will allow it to breathe and dry out. Interweaving threads form to make canvas material – typically crafted from cotton threads – to create a material with small gaps in between, adding these handy breathable properties.

Although heavyweight canvas is inexpensive for marine upholstery, it isn’t as durable as vinyl or acrylic. Since it is made from cotton, you cannot remove any salt on the surface, leading to fabric deterioration. Additionally, since it can become wet, it is more susceptible to mould.


Marine Upholstery Foam

When using padding for marine upholstery, it’s crucial to select a type of upholstery foam that will not become damp and encourage mould growth.

Our preferred material is outdoor reticulated foam – it is perfect for marine upholstery as it does not collect water. The water simply runs through it without collecting inside the furniture (which can be unpleasant for those who wish to take a seat).


Stainless Steel Staples And Eyelets

When applying marine upholstery, it’s essential to consider the staples and eyelets. The staples secure the furniture’s material, and eyelets are small holes in the fabric circled by metallic rings – similar to those you would see in curtains.

For marine upholstery, you must ensure that the staples and eyelets are made from stainless steel to prevent rust and guarantee your marine upholstery has a longer life.



Now that you know about the best fabrics for marine upholstery, you can start choosing different styles and colours to suit your boat’s interior. Set sail in a chic cabin. Contact us at Sydney Upholstery to learn more about marine upholstery fabrics, and we can help you find the best style for your boat’s design.