Guide to Custom Boat Upholstery and Boat Canvas Design

Jan 4, 2022

Blend Unique Visual Appeal With Functionality A professional shop can design, sew, and fabricate vinyl boat upholstery. Moreover, they can also do canvas canopies enclosures, and the cover these are all essential for boat owners. These custom upgrades and outfitting are a great way to protect your investment and maximize your enjoyment while cruising in absolute comfort. Here’s our guide to custom boat upholstery.

Keep in mind it is not just the design and creation of the sewn pieces that’s important. The proper installation is a key element of the process. For repairs and restoration, this means careful removal and solid re-installation of items like seats, and the hardware that supports an enclosure or canopy. 

relaxing boating in sunset

Your boat’s upholstery and canvas create comfortable spaces to relax.

Every aspect of the seating, canopy, or enclosure must be reinstalled and tested for integrity. Lakeside Marine makes certain your outfitting is ready for the rigors of the marine environment. 

Lakeside Marine excels at getting the details correct. We carefully inspect mounting hardware for stress cracks, ensure that seat mounts and frames have integrity, and ensure that all of the snaps and tracks used to fasten your canopies and covers are secure. In addition, Lakeside Marine coordinates the complete repair and re-installation of boat upholstery, canopies, flooring, and carpet.

Upgrading or Repairing Boat Upholstery

Your boat’s upholstery plays a huge role in the style, comfort, and enjoyment while out on the water; whether it is the vinyl cushion engine cover that’s so perfect for lying on, or the open bow seating that creates a perfect party nook for cocktailing. Your boat’s upholstery creates spaces for relaxation.

Over time, the upholstery on a boat is subjected to wear and tear from use and from the elements. Usually, the driver’s seat is the first piece of upholstery to need attention. However, we all know the phrase a stitch in time saves nine, and it is important to catch repairs early so they remain minor repairs.

Sometimes a seat cushion gets blown away in a storm or during transport. Other times a seat cushion gets torn from a mishap. Lakeside Marine has the expertise to match and reinstall a newly fabricated seat or cushion so it’s a perfect blend in your upholstery scheme.

green and gray boat upholstery

A renovation of a classic boat with new flooring and upholstery is a cost effective way to preserve a family favorite.

Lakeside Marine also performs complete upholstery restorations. This is a great way to go for a favorite classic craft that has been in your family for years. You’ve maintained the mechanical parts of your boat over time, and the boat has many years left in it. It creates a cost-effective opportunity to upgrade your upholstery, canopies, flooring, carpeting, and covers to make the boat feel like new again, perhaps better than ever! 

Caring For Your Boat Upholstery

Boat seating upholstery is almost always constructed from marine vinyl. It is waterproof and the cushion material is selected to resist water and mildew. It is important that after every outing to quickly wipe down the entire boat with some clean towels. Two people can wipe down an entire boat in a couple of minutes. 

By wiping your upholstery dry, it prevents the opportunity for mold and mildew. This is what eats away at the stitching and creates separated seams in your upholstery.

In a saltwater environment, it is imperative to rinse down the entire boat with fresh water and wipe the boat and upholstery dry to prevent the growth of black mold. An occasional wash with soapy water and a light mix of bleach will keep mold at bay.

If you have seat covers to protect your cushions when the boat is not in use, be sure the fabric breathes. It is why seat covers are typically made from canvas, rather than vinyl, because the breathability of canvas keeps the vinyl dry and lets in fresh air.

Use of Canvas For Enclosures, Canopies, and Covers

Canvas is the material of choice for enclosures, canopies, and covers. Canvas is waterproof mainly, it resists color fade and is incredibly durable. But possibly the most important characteristic of canvas is that it is a breathable fabric. 

Sunbrella is a widely used brand and highly rated canvas fabric available in a wide array of color choices.

Without the breathable nature of canvas, enclosures and covers would trap water vapor, and lead to mold and mildew problems. Canvas can be sewn with acrylic or isinglass windows to create stunning inside spaces that offer protection from the elements.

With an enclosure, everything within is protected from the outside environment. The seats and instruments are out of the sun, rain, wind, and dirt. And when you’re underway, you can enjoy protection from the elements and cruise in comfort.

A very popular style of enclosure is an aft enclosure that covers everything from the windshield back. These typically have zip out and snap off panels so you can open the enclosure partially or fully depending on weather conditions.

bimini boat top

A canvas aft enclosure creates an indoor space that provides protection for seats and instruments, and comfort while cruising.

A Bimini top is also a popular design using canvas. This is a sturdy canvas rooftop on a frame that provides shade and shelter in the mid section of the boat. Other common custom canvas tops for the boat include T-tops and easy to install bow shades.

Covers made from canvas include outboard motor covers, helm seat covers, consul/ instrument covers, full boat covers, windshield back covers, and bow covers.

Make Your Canvas Last For Years

Make sure when you stow canvas covers or sun shades that they go into the stuff sack dry. Also, if you keep your canvas out from under trees and out of the shade, your canvas can last ten years or more. Mold is the enemy of both canvas and the thread. Keep your canvas clean and it will perform well for years. 

boat with red canvas in front of lakeside marine store

Never store a canvas covered boat under a tree or shade. The moisture will cause mold and mildew.

Remember to lubricate zippers and snaps at least once a season. This makes them a pleasure to use. Use a product called Snap Lube. Put it on the canvas side of the snap where the little spring is located. And then the snaps go on and off with little effort.


Boat upholstery and the use of canvas are creative ways to customize your boat, upgrade the comfort level, and at the same time, protect your investment from the constant elements.

Lakeside Marine is your one-stop-shop for all of your boat repairs, upgrades, and restoration projects. Lakeside Marine has earned a reputation for exemplary customer service. Our goal is to exceed customer expectations at every step of the way.

Lakeside Marine is the most trusted boat shop on Lake Lanier for routine boat maintenance, complex wiring and engine repairs, boat fiberglass and gel coat repairs, and custom boat upholstery and canvas installations. Call Lakeside Marine today at (678) 322-7877 or Email to experience customer satisfaction guaranteed.

Canvas and Upholstery Repair


Advantages of a Center Console Boat

Advantages of a Center Console Boat

Center console boats are akin to the SUV's of boats. You sit up high, they're sturdy, utilitarian, and a blast to drive. The primary advantages of a center console boat are ease of operation, superior view from the center helm, clear access to all sides of the boat,...

Boat Propeller 101: Frequently asked questions

Boat Propeller 101: Frequently asked questions

Is boat propeller selection important?  Yes! After the engine, boat propeller is the essential component that gives your boat connection to the water and creates thrust to propel the boat forward. It is akin to tires on your car. You can feel higher performance...

How Does Marine Audio Equipment Differ?

How Does Marine Audio Equipment Differ?

Marine Audio equipment is specially designed and manufactured to perform in the harsh conditions of the marine environment: sun, rain, spray, salt, and the shock of pounding waves. Marine audio equipment is either waterproof or highly water-resistant. The internal...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *