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Old 03-05-2013, 11:52   #16
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Re: Upholstery Material?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Yes you can. UltraSuede is a 100% man made material that outperforms Sunbrella on all fronts except price. We are not attacking your choice for Sunbrella, just advising the OP on what is best when price is not an issue. It's always good to have that benchmark. Budget will dictate choice as always and Sunbrella interior fabrics is another choice at a lower cost level. It is however not as comfy as UltraSuede, especially not in high humidity of the tropics.
I don't agree with Jedi on much... But he has given you the right advice

Ultra Suede is a great material for interior use. We have it on our boat and the material has lasted seven years so far, including our sheep dog lounging on them for 4 of those years. Ultra Suede is easy to clean and wears well.

The real advice is do not go cheap on foam...

There are different grades of foam and going cheap will mean less life, depending on how much you cushions are used.

The original factory foam used in our cushion seats deteriorated after 3.5 years of fulltime live aboard use. We sent the ultra suede covers back and upgraded to a denser foam, which is firmer, but so far shows no signs of breakdown.
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Old 27-07-2013, 13:21   #17
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Re: Upholstery Material?

I was led to believe leather wasn't an ideal material for a boat. Is this true? If so, why?
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Old 27-07-2013, 13:38   #18
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Re: Upholstery Material?

I don't know what "ideal" means in this instance, but despite the negative comments that have appeared above, we are very happy with our leather upholstery. It is now a bit over 11 years old, full time cruising for the past 10 and is in good nick. Looks and feels nice to me, even in the tropics... well, if one is really sweaty, maybe not so, but then not much feels so great then!

On our previous boat we tried Sunbrella covers. Found that there, just like in exterior canvas applications, it has poor chafe resistance. Corners wore too fast for our liking, piping too, and we would not choose this route ever again.

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Old 27-07-2013, 13:41   #19
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Re: Upholstery Material?

We are replacing our leather upholstery now after over 15yrs. The problem is that some of it exposed to more sunlight (under a window) has dried and cracked. Also, there are some areas where small mold dots are appearing.

Those two problems are what most point to as the drawback to leather. However, I must point out that ours was 15yrs old before this happened, the cushions spent 5 of those years sitting on an unoccupied boat for 6 months in the middle of winter layup, and we abused them by never washing or treating them with leather protectant.

So, all in all, that is pretty good and I don't really blame the material or think it did not perform well.

We are replacing with Brisa. Ultraleather, Brisa and Ultrasuede (all the same company) is almost identical to leather and is not a natural skin that needs any care. The only difference I can see from leather is that the finish is softer, which may be a pro or con depending on how you like your leather. Our old leather was a shinier and harder finish (think stuffed chair in a cigar room) but the Brisa is very supple.

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Old 27-07-2013, 14:03   #20
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Re: Upholstery Material?

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We are replacing our leather upholstery now after over 15yrs. The problem is that some of it exposed to more sunlight (under a window) has dried and cracked. Also, there are some areas where small mold dots are appearing.

Those two problems are what most point to as the drawback to leather. However, I must point out that ours was 15yrs old before this happened, the cushions spent 5 of those years sitting on an unoccupied boat for 6 months in the middle of winter layup, and we abused them by never washing or treating them with leather protectant.
I just read in this thread that it's because of rot, and was ready to dismiss leather as an option based on that claim. However, considering you've experience with its durability for 15 years, I've concluded it to be a viable option. Thank you.

I would like to hear other people's opinion of leather if they've experienced less desirable results. Forgive me for being frank (my name isn't Frank!), but if you expect your upholstery to last more than 15 years, I think you're unhealthily frugal, but I do respect your decision. However, I find it a bit self-indulgent to express a preference based on unreasonable expectations if those expectations weren't disclosed.
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Old 27-07-2013, 14:18   #21
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Re: Upholstery Material?

We have 'nice' upholstery material, but we also have sunbrella 'sailing/passage' slip covers to go over the nice stuff. I have to say that the sunbrella has pleasantly surprised me. It has lasted well and been more comfortable than I expected and we only rarely take those 'sailing' covers off.

I have an ultrasuade 'sheet' on the bottom of my bunk, with a light blanket or heavy sleeping bag over depending on our latitude. As has been mentioned about that ultrasuade is comfortable and easy to keep clean . . . . but I really have it there because it does not move around or slip off.

So, honestly I think both work surprisingly well. I do my own sewing, so for us, it's just the material costs.
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Old 27-07-2013, 14:30   #22
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Re: Upholstery Material?

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Here's a good site for material. Upholstery Supply & Marine Fabric Superstore They are cheaper than Sali-Rite. The new Sunbrella upholstery fabric is comfortable.
Yeah, good source.
I bought a lot of vinyl from them and redid my ski boat seats, and made cushions for my backyard kitchen patio chairs. Couldn't tell you exactly which material. They have closeout deals that are great bargains, got quite a bit of some thick stuff at $3/yd, more than I'll ever need most likely, patio chairs still look great after a few years now. I sold that boat, got a new 17ft jet boat project, and will have to make all the seating for it.

Another source is Great Lakes Skipper, bought some SeaDoo orange material for accent color for the new boat seats,
Sea Doo 54 Inch Burnt Orange Fuzzy Backed Boat Vinyl (Linear Yard) | Great Lakes Skipper
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Old 27-07-2013, 14:59   #23
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Re: Upholstery Material?

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Originally Posted by o_q View Post
I just read in this thread that it's because of rot, and was ready to dismiss leather as an option based on that claim. However, considering you've experience with its durability for 15 years, I've concluded it to be a viable option. Thank you.

I would like to hear other people's opinion of leather if they've experienced less desirable results. Forgive me for being frank (my name isn't Frank!), but if you expect your upholstery to last more than 15 years, I think you're unhealthily frugal, but I do respect your decision. However, I find it a bit self-indulgent to express a preference based on unreasonable expectations if those expectations weren't disclosed.
Actually, our 15yr old leather upholstery still looks better, and is in better shape, than probably 75% of the boats cruising we have been on.

There are probably a wide range of leather qualities and finishes/cures and some may well be much lower lifespan, but I don't know anything about leather - our boat came from the factory with this upholstry. It was made by JSI in Florida.

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Old 27-07-2013, 15:01   #24
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Yeah, good source.
I bought a lot of vinyl from them and redid my ski boat seats, and made cushions for my backyard kitchen patio chairs. Couldn't tell you exactly which material. They have closeout deals that are great bargains, got quite a bit of some thick stuff at $3/yd, more than I'll ever need most likely, patio chairs still look great after a few years now. I sold that boat, got a new 17ft jet boat project, and will have to make all the seating for it.

Another source is Great Lakes Skipper, bought some SeaDoo orange material for accent color for the new boat seats,
Sea Doo 54 Inch Burnt Orange Fuzzy Backed Boat Vinyl (Linear Yard) | Great Lakes Skipper
I can tell one thing for sure: you're not going to find ultraleather or ultrasuede for $3 a yard these materials are so far apart from vinyl that it's dazzling to find them in the same thread. It's like wearing Duluth Trading "angry beaver proof fire pants" under an Armani costume

About leather: if it fits in the budget, I would go for either Ultraleather or Ultrasuede instead. We are replacing the ultrasuede in our salon now after 20 years! It might be more expensive than leather but there are many qualities of leather too so the difference may be small to none.
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Old 27-07-2013, 15:11   #25
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Re: Upholstery Material?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
About leather: if it fits in the budget, I would go for either Ultraleather or Ultrasuede instead. We are replacing the ultrasuede in our salon now after 20 years! It might be more expensive than leather but there are many qualities of leather too so the difference may be small to none.
Or Brisa - that belongs in the same family. I doubt any of the Ultra-products are more expensive than leather, but haven't priced leather. In the larger scheme of things, the amount of fabric needed for most boats is pretty small, so the cost of high-end fabrics does not add up that much more. Especially if you use cheaper fabric on the bottoms/backs of the cushions - that cuts the amount of expensive stuff by about 30%.

Nick, you could save a lot of money by just picking up some leather off the road along your way!

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Old 27-07-2013, 15:26   #26
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Or Brisa - that belongs in the same family. I doubt any of the Ultra-products are more expensive than leather, but haven't priced leather. In the larger scheme of things, the amount of fabric needed for most boats is pretty small, so the cost of high-end fabrics does not add up that much more. Especially if you use cheaper fabric on the bottoms/backs of the cushions - that cuts the amount of expensive stuff by about 30%.

Nick, you could save a lot of money by just picking up some leather off the road along your way!

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Old 27-07-2013, 15:34   #27
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Re: Upholstery Material?

Nice! Is Willie on the radio also?

Looks like you will be downsizing moving back to the tiny Deerfoot!

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Old 27-07-2013, 15:58   #28
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Re: Upholstery Material?

We did ours in ultra suede as well. It is tough, easy to clean especially using a steam or bissell upolstry cleaner. I've managed to spill almost every thing on it and managed to get it off.
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Old 27-07-2013, 16:47   #29
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Re: Upholstery Material?

Good material for hot/wet/humid seating is the stuff with little dimples in it,
way better than leather or anything like it, for any price.
You never stick to it.
Got some of that too from rockford and have it on my patio swing chars.
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Old 27-07-2013, 18:33   #30
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Re: Upholstery Material?

Leather as a material on a boat is pretty borderline. IF you live aboard and and don't close the boat up ever for periods of time it probably can be OK. IF you close up the boat and do extreme temp ranges then you WILL get mold. Mold is the death of any natural product and it takes no prisoners. If you get mold you will NOT get rid of it. Mold comes from the air. It's all over the planet. Mold on a boat is the primary problem. Once a natural material (leather, wool, cotton) gets mold you can NEVER get rid of it - short of destroying it. Cotton bed sheets are not a problem as washing regularly does a good job.

We have UltraLeather and love it. It feels like the best leather you even plopped a behind on! We don't live aboard and Virginia ain't pretty this time of year for humidity. I use solar fans on the boat to keep the ventilation flowing and it does a great job with mold propagating. Using real leather is not cheap and crappy leather still costs a lot of money. Real UltraLeather isn't cheap but the "Brisa" line is breathable and we sleep on it - no problem!

Once you have paid BIG money for a good foam base the cost of the upholstery isn't that great compared to how long it will last and how happy you will be. I'm a huge fan of outside and interior fabric for comfort. If you spend a lot on a boat cheap fabric is a dumb idea! Living on a boat is living outside and the fabric you sit and sleep on matters! The foam under the fabric actually matters more!
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