Only you will know if you have the patience and the skill level to install the upholstery skins yourself.
Most likely if you have the knowledge and experience using basic tools along with our tips, phone
and e-mail support, you should be able to install the skins yourself.
Should you decide to hire someone to install the skins, visit a marina and/or boat dealer and talk to people that have had upholstery work done and see what kind of work the upholsterer does. DO NOT assume that any upholsterer can install the skins. You want an upholsterer that has experience upholstering many boats. HOME and AUTO UPHOLSTERY are NOT THE SAME AS MARINE UPHOLSTERY. Many marine upholsterers will install our skins, some will not because they feel that they are losing profit they would make if they made the skins, so it is best to line up a installer, if you are not installing the skins yourself, before you order the skins.
Should you hire someone to install the skins, please print our installation tips, give to the installer and ask that they please read before they start the job. Our installation tips do not contain anything that an experienced marine upholsterer shouldn’t know but it will allow you some recourse should they not install the skins correctly and/or damage the new skins.
Please READ this before REMOVING any of the old upholstery skins or INSTALLING the NEW upholstery skins!
The following replacement upholstery tips are in no particular order:
Recommended for Ease of Removal and/or Installing our Skins (Most can be found on our DIY page) :
- Staple Remover – China Marker – Stapler – Staples (Stainless Steel)
- Slip Film (optional) – Dacron &/or Layer of Foam (some areas) – Heater
- Other tools/items, might be needed
- Phillips screw driver – ratchet and sockets
- Can Spray Adhesive (use to stick slip film and foam pieces down & to hold some vinyl in place – at your local Auto Parts Store)
1. Unpack and spread the skins out in a warm environment, if possible, to prevent stubborn fold marks.
ALL SKINS AND EXISTING FOAM MUST BE STEAMED PRIOR TO INSTALLATION TO ALLOW THE VINYL TO BE PLIABLE FOR PROPER INSTALLATION.
The warmer the skin the easier to install and adjust. Once the skin is good and warm, begin the installation leaving the heater blowing on the skin as you work. You may get a little warm but it’s worth it to have the vinyl much easier to stretch and fit. Before using any other heat source, CALL or E- mail US!
2. We recommend that you replace the stainless steel machine screws that you remove on motor box handle, some hinges, etc. as Correct Craft/Nautique cut the ends off and getting the nuts started back on them is very difficult, if not impossible.
Tighten any loose screws on the coaming pads, rear hatch hinges, etc. that you can only get to when the skins are off. Replace any Hardware at this time.
3. When installing the skins, always staple close to the edge of the vinyl away from the edge of the item.
That way, if you need to remove the staple to readjust the skin, there is no chance the holes from the removed staple(s) will move into an area that will show. After you are sure the skin fits correctly, you can staple closer to the edge of the item.
4. Do not trim any excess off of the skin until you are positive it fits properly and does not need any adjustment.
Have plenty of razor blades/knives handy for trimming. Dull blades cause mistakes. After the skin is totally installed, manually manipulate all of the welt so that the tail on the welt, (which is on the inside of the skin so you have to go by feel), is turned so it lays flat along the sides of the item.
5. Cover every piece with the plastic slip film (optional), you can staple it or use some aerosol spray glue, making sure to cut it as needed where there are listings passing through the foam.
This is not to keep out water though it may help with that a little, it allows the skin to be installed without sticking to the foam. Without the plastic, installation will take twice as long and look half as good!
6. VERY IMPORTANT ! Mark the back side of the board of coaming pads, seat backs, etc. where seams of stripes on the skins are wrapped and stapled.
This is the only way to ensure that all stripes will line up from piece to piece assuming they line up before you remove them. The hidem and underliner will have to be removed first on most items before you can mark location of the seams and welt start and stop on the boards.
7. Start with the listings, (the piece that is sewn to the skin that pulls down between the 2 pieces of foam and staples to the foundation on seats and some backrest), is made long intentionally.
You will have to remove the front or the back section of foam to get to the stapled area. Remove the old staples, then staple the new listing into place. Roll it up to get the desired length that pulls the skin down to the proper depth and staple.
8. Take several pictures of each item before and as you remove the item from the boat and before you remove the old skin so you have a reference as you install the new skin and reinstall the item in the boat.
9. DO NOT cut the old skins off.
Remove all of the staples to remove them. You want the old skins to be just as they were installed for comparison. It also insures that all the staples are removed thus no chance of one staple sticking up damaging the new skin.
10. Any required openings in a skin, ie; speaker holes, walk thru wall net openings, throttle opening, etc., are cut AFTER the skin is installed.
11. Coaming pads and backrest have welt, (aka cording, piping, etc.), that is stapled on after the skin is stapled on.
The welt DOES NOT go all the way around. After removing the underliner, (aka backing), from the item, mark where the welt begins and ends on the board with a pencil or china marker for reference when installing the new welt.
12. Install new skins as you remove the old skins.
Don’t remove all the skins then go back and install new ones. It’s a lot easier to reverse the process while it is fresh in your mind. While removing a skin, if there is something you see and you say to yourself, “I’ll remember that”, take a picture of it before you proceed.
13. Mark, (use pencil or a grease/china marker, never use ink or “magic” marker while handling/installing the skins), the back side of the board, on items that have welt/cording stapled on separately, where the welt/cording starts and stops.
Also, use a china marker to mark the position of stripes where they wrap around and are stapled on the back of the board on all skins with stripes. This will ensure that stripes line up from one piece to another.
14. We use a narrow crown stapler and only stainless steel staples.
Crown size does not matter. The narrow crown staples 3/8 inch length works everywhere except pass thru walls and some coaming pads, (if board is less than 1/2 inch thick), which need 1/4 inch or they will stick out the other side.
15. Dacron can be used to fill worn or compressed areas of the foam, such as the corners or for filling imperfections in the foam.
You can also choose to cover the entire top layer of foam for added fullness to the cushion. When repairing or replacing foam, remember, installation of the skin will compress the foam a little so a little large on the foam is better than too small.
16. When installing a stern seat backrest skin and/or a bow backrest skin, spray contact adhesive, is very helpful. It is available at most home improvement and auto parts stores.
Spray the glue a few inches wide along all the edges of the back of the backrest and the corresponding area of the skin. Place the skin on each top corner. Once in place, pull the skin down around to the bottom corner and stick the skin to the backrest along the short edge from the top to the bottom then start in the center of the top and work out to each corner stretching and sticking the skin towards the corners. You will be able to un-stick the skin if necessary to make adjustments for a proper fit. Once the top and ends are stuck where you want then start at the center of the bottom and follow the same procedure as the top edge. When satisified with the fit, you can now staple in place and add the welt. There is only about 1/2 inch area that will accept your staples close to the edge of the fiberglass place and add the welt. There is only about 1/2 inch area that will accept your staples close to the edge of the fiberglass edge. DO NOT turn up the air on the stapler, it will only cut through the skin you are trying to install.
17. When Installing your Motor Box skin. This skin may require 2 people to install.
If your Motor Box comes with carpet attached to the skin, DO NOT pull on the carpet when installing the skin. Pull on the vinyl underneath. You can tape the carpet up and out of your way while you are pulling the skin to the desired position. Glue the inside of the motor box and the inside of the skin up about 2-3 inches from the bottom. Do all 4 corners first. Starting at the back 2 then move to the front 2. The sides should not have to be pulled very hard if the corners are in the correct positions. Do the carpet in the same order. The carpet has to be butted and glued or hand sewn at the corners after the skin is installed. Gluing is the better choice. A small scissor cut on the upper inside of the folded carpet may be needed to make the corners adjust properly to the bottom of the motor box. Making the carpet in one piece makes it impossible to install without a steam box therefore we make it in 4 pieces to help with the application.