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Old 19-05-2007, 16:52   #1
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What Is the Best Material for . . .

I need to have new fabric covers made for my sailboats foam bedding, saloon and main cabin. I have been thinking sunbrella but I recently became aware of a product called Ultrasuede. I would love to get some opinions on fabric options as well as what is required for high quality construction, i.e. what kind of zippers, thread, etc.

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Old 19-05-2007, 17:49   #2
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I have Sunbrella inside and outside.
Going on 13 years with no problems except the Bimini top, it lasted 10 years and the downfall was the stitches/threads, not the fabric.

Getting a bit fed up with the fabric guard recommended for Sunbrella however, called 303 or some such thing.
2 coats did not last a year. $80.00 per gallon....

Going to try for the cheaper silicone stuff next time.

Oh, and use plastic sippers, no metal..It will corrode.
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Old 19-05-2007, 17:55   #3
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UltraSuede is top shelf. Look at the the "double rub count" on any fabric. Sad truth is any natural fiber in the fabric is bad. We recently redid ours with UltraLeather "Brisa". It has to be the best possible choice. You'll find the Ultra products used on the very best new boats. Check out the Ultra Leather Brisa. It breaths, feels like VERY nice leather and you can spill red wine on it and clean it with 409 spray.

The only bad thing is the price per yard. Check around you can get deals in the $80 / yard range. The retail price is double that. Sunbrella is in the $30 / yard range and the woven patterns are I think the very best lower price choice. They look great. I'm not talking dodger fabric these are patterns woven in the solution dyed threads. They look good enough for you home. They are tough as iron. Even at that the "Ultra" products will out last even those.
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Old 19-05-2007, 18:38   #4
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Thanks Gents
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Old 19-05-2007, 22:48   #5
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Ouch, for $80/yard you can buy good upholstery LEATHER!
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Old 20-05-2007, 05:40   #6
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Quote:
Ouch, for $80/yard you can buy good upholstery LEATHER!
Worst mistake you could make would be to use real leather. Leather will turn to crap in a short period of time. You want no natural fibers or materials in marine fabric. If you look at the better interior commercial grade fabrics like you might see in a fancy hotel lobby, a nice restaurant (even a not so nice one) you'll understand what durable materials cost.

The Gozzard 36 we just finished used about 11 yards plus we used a different less expensive material on the cushion bottoms. If you add up what it costs for a new boat interior the cost of the fabric isn't the biggest part. You can spend a lot more on fabric and not increase the overall cost by much. Right now good foam is expensive as it relates to oil prices. You can save money by avoiding patterns with a large repeat and some stripes as you need to align the pattern and can often waste a lot of material.
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Old 20-05-2007, 11:27   #7
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I would think the durability of leather below decks would be more a question of how good the leather was. I've met junk leather and great leather, I can feel and appreciate the difference, and can't think that really good leather wouldn't work down below. Properly tanned, treated, maintained...I can't see why it wouldn't last.

And unlike synthetics, leather isn't flammable. And doesn't use carcinogens for flame-retardant, either.
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Old 20-05-2007, 20:31   #8
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Leather is certainly nice - but I think it might prove a bit impractical in a salt-water environment. Sea water is very bad for it. The salt basically sucks the oil right out of the skin - it's used for curing and drying a lot of organic items. As well, it reacts with a lot of the dyes that are used in both leather and fabrics. Hence, there will be spotting and cracking in the areas that get wet. It is impossible to repair this nicely once it has occurred.

The spotting issue is common to all organic fibres. The dyes used on orgnaics are different than those used on synthetics. They do not permeate the yarns to the same extent, which is why we end up with faded sheets and T-shirts.

Synthetics are dyed with solvents that actually form a chemical bond with the fiber - hence they are permanent and colour-fast. They are pretty impervious to saltwater/freshwater, and most other things. It is usually only oil-based spills that cause permanent damage.

Occasionally, hot liquids such as coffee can leave a semi-permanent stain, as the heat induces a temporary bonding of the pigment to the fiber, but hot water will usually solve the problem.
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Old 21-05-2007, 10:35   #9
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But Sailormann....Gentlemen don't GET salt water below decks.<G>
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Old 21-05-2007, 11:28   #10
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I had/have a peair of leather shoes stored in one of our lockers. I pulled them out after a couple of months and found mold growing on them. There was no mold on the tenis shoes right next to them. I think the mold used the organic content of leather as a nutrient. Made me rethink using leather aboard. Temperature, food, and water, great culture medium.
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Old 21-05-2007, 11:43   #11
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Originally Posted by Strygaldwir
I had/have a peair of leather shoes stored in one of our lockers. I pulled them out after a couple of months and found mold growing on them. There was no mold on the tenis shoes right next to them. I think the mold used the organic content of leather as a nutrient. Made me rethink using leather aboard. Temperature, food, and water, great culture medium.
I think you're right here. Leather seems to help mold grow if left alone.
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Old 21-05-2007, 14:09   #12
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We have leather settee cushions and backs. The bottoms are finished in a breathable synthetic material. Nine years old, holding up very well (look new) and no mold. They even stay in the boat over winter storage.

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Old 14-06-2007, 14:44   #13
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I'm getting ready to redo the cushions in my salon and main cabin and am trying to decide between regular Ultraleather and the "Brisa." I know the Brisa is supposed to breathe better, and the original Ultraleather has better durability, but is one easier to sew than the other? Is there any difference in the finish (pulling, sagging, etc.) that would sway me towards one over the other?

BTW, I believe you can get either fabric for around $48/yd on ebay -- still pricey but much better than $80/yd!
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Old 14-06-2007, 15:13   #14
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We just finished a new Brisa for everything below. I would not say that the brisa is less durable when you consider it's more durable than about anything else you can buy. Compare the double rub count and it's already more durable than most commercial grade products. They all have a bias so in that way it's not unlike other fabrics. Real leather has a whole lot more problems as far as sewing. You can find fabrics that have no stretch in any direction and I'm not sure you would really like the feel of it. nIf ease of sewing a major concern then maybe this isn't the product you want to use. You'll want to use another fabric for the bottoms since Brisa does cost a lot. This isn't something you want to learn with.

Where I really like the Brisa ia the breathability and the really great feel especially if you sleep on top of it. The last advantage over other fabrics is the resitence to stains. I played with a sample before we decided on it and had a hard time finding anything ordinary that can damage it. Sure a sharp knofe will cut or many strong chemicals. It does handle red wine well and about anything ordinary you might spill.

You won't find it on eBay today as I just looked. You'll do better hitting the main fabric suppliers that have internet ordering use Google and search Ultraleather. You can find some specials on limited colors. A full 40 ft boat might use 14 to 16 yards assuming you do the bottoms in something else. We used 13 yards on our 36 ft.
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Old 14-06-2007, 15:56   #15
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Thanks Paul,

I'm looking specifically at Ultraleather's family of products rather than real leather, and trying to determine the pros/cons of the different styles. I've narrowed it down to one Ultraleather (original) or one Brisa and before investing the $, I was hoping for some insight from other's experience with the various UL products.

It seems like you are very happy with the Brisa, which is great feedback. If anyone else (or if you have worked with the other UL products), I'd love to hear about that as well.

Here's a link to the ebay pricing I was referring to:
eBay: ULTRALEATHER Ultra Leather Faux Leather ANY COLOR new!! (item 160126509904 end time Jun-21-07 06:18:38 PDT)
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