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Pontoon Seat Covers

Pontoon seat covers are used to protect pontoon seats when they is not in use. The covers can be used on a single chair or can be designed for larger seating units. Pontoon boat covers are large enough to cover the entire pontoon boat. Most often, pontoon seat covers are put in place when the boat is docked for the night. Longer boat storage periods require more significant protection, since UV rays can damage all parts of the pontoon boat. When a boat is not to be used for several days or longer, tarps and boat covers should be used to make sure adequate protection for the boat is achieved. Several types of fabric have been used as seat covers, with varying degrees of success.

Simple plastic tarps offering short-term protection may be considered pontoon seat covers but are not especially durable and are not recommended by pontoon boat companies. Canvas tarps were used in the early years of sporting pontoon boats. The fabric is durable, but it is susceptible to mold and mildew and other natural enemies. In fact, many fabrics referred to as canvas today are, in fact, marine vinyl. Canvas was the generic term assigned to boating fabric, and has remained popular over time. Vinyl, popular for so many products, is the pontoon seat cover of choice for many owners and is available with a number of protectants to prolong the lifespan of the pontoon seat cover.

Although marine vinyl is very strong and durable, many everyday products can stain or damage it. Products like ink, lipstick, eye shadow and other types of makeup can stain vinyl. They must be removed from pontoon seat covers as soon as possible to minimize damage. Bird droppings, sun lotion, baby oil and other petroleum products can actually damage the protective surface of vinyl and cause oxidation. Pontoon seat covers protect your investment by absorbing or blocking the damaging agents before they reach the seat vinyl.

Pontoon seat covers are most often manufactured using polyester or a vinyl blend. The cover is placed over the upholstered seat and fastened in place using a drawstring. The bag-like cover can fit a number of styles and sizes of seats. Ventilation gaps allow moisture to escape from the cover offering protection against the growth of mold and mildew. Pontoon boats are continuously exposed to a damp environment and are susceptible to attacks from mold and mildew. Although marine vinyl has protectants that inhibit mold growth, a warm and humid environment like a seat cover can actually promote growth. Ventilation allows the humidity to escape and reduces the chance of mold and mildew damage.

Small tears in pontoon seat covers and in pontoon upholstery can be repaired using a vinyl repair kit. Clear vinyl repair kits allow the color of the seat upholstery to show through. The kit includes grain-patterned paper to enable the repair to be blended with the original vinyl. The repair is virtually invisible if done correctly. If seams of pontoon seats come apart, the seams need to be re-sewn to regain the integrity of the waterproofing. Also, any loose seams should be inspected to determine if rotting thread is the culprit. The seams are the most vulnerable part of pontoon furniture. If they are in disrepair, water can seep into the seating, causing more damage.

Why Pontoon Seat Covers are a Necessity

Pontoon seating is available in a number of sizes, shapes and qualities. Most seating uses a molded polyurethane base and padded vinyl pontoon seats. Pontoon seat covers fit over the back and seat of pontoon furniture, and are gathered with a zip line, or cording. The cording is tightened, encasing the seat in a cover that protects it from the elements, birds, wind and other damaging effects.

All marine vessels are exposed to countless natural and manmade forces, many of which can cause significant damage. Pontoon furniture has evolved to become comfortable, durable products. But as tough as it is, pontoon seat furniture still has natural enemies. One of the ways to protect against losing your investment to a nasty storm or to the ravages of wear over time is to cover pontoon furniture with pontoon seat covers.

The nature of pontoon boats ensures that the furniture will be buffeted with wind as well as damaged from blowing dust, sand or dirt and other airborne debris. Wind forces the material it carries to act like a sheet of sandpaper, wearing off protective layers of vinyl, paint, and anything else in the way. Pontoon seat covers provide an additional, substantial layer of fabric between damaging effects and pontoon furniture surfaces.

Replacing or reupholstering pontoon seat furniture is much more expensive than using pontoon seat covers. When the pontoon boat is first purchased, confirm that pontoon seat covers, boat covers, and any other protective gear is included in the pontoon boat price. The protective seat covers are usually constructed from vinyl bonded with fabric. They keep the furniture in mint condition when the pontoon boat is not in use.

Pontoon upholstery vinyl is a durable product, but can be harmed by UV rays and wear and tear. Protect your investment from the beginning by proper cleaning and maintenance. Appropriate pontoon seat covers, boat covers and other protective layers should be used when the boat is docked, when it is out of the water, or when it will not be used over long periods.

Prefab or Custom Pontoon Seat Covers

If the seats in your pontoon boat are original pontoon furniture, or if they were replaced with original equipment manufacturers' products, the seat covers will be easy to find. The pontoon manufacturer keeps an inventory of all products for each model of pontoon boat, including pontoon seat covers or boat covers.

Prefab or ready-made pontoon seat covers are designed to fit the standard pontoon furniture for your boat, as it was originally designed. Covers for each piece of furniture individually - or the boat as a whole - are available to purchase and will substantially reduce the wear and tear suffered by pontoon furniture. Perhaps more important than the type of pontoon seat cover is simply making sure it is actually used.

When choosing pontoon seat covers over pontoon boat covers, keep in mind that there are important uses for each product. Pontoon seat covers are typically used when short-term docking or when the boat cannot be properly covered in water. The use of seat covers does not provide full protection for the rest of the boat. The carpet, console, accessories, and other parts of the pontoon boat are still left vulnerable. Pontoon boat covers protect the entire vessel but are difficult to put on and take off quickly.

Pontoon seat covers, boat covers and other coverings are available in different weights and sizes. Some coverings should not be used if the pontoon boat will be moved on a trailer over land. Covers specific to the task of protecting pontoon boats in the winter are thicker and more durable. They may have special braces that keep the snow from damaging the contents of the pontoon boat. Check with manufacturers, marinas and online forums to determine which type of boat cover will work for your need.

Pontoon seat covers are typically a semi-formed piece of fabric that fits loosely over the furniture. The ends of the fabric are drawn around the bottom of the pontoon seat and tightened, to provide a snug sack that covers the seat. The sack has ventilation built in so that air can circulate, eliminating any dampness. Seat covers absorb environmental damage so that pontoon furniture is left unscathed. Since the cost of pontoon furniture is much higher than the cost of pontoon seat covers, the expense of using seat covers is worthwhile.

Customized pontoon seat covers can be very intricate... and expensive. Some pontoon owners have "skins" designed for their furniture. A skin is short for "second skin," another term for a close-fitting pontoon seat cover. Skins are often created so that the boat can take on a whole new look by covering the furniture with the new skin. While it may protect the furniture, that is not the main function. Primarily, the skin is used for aesthetic value. Unless pontoon owners are experienced upholsterers, it is daunting to undertake creating pontoon seat covers or skins.

Boating stores, marinas, online vendors and other upholsterers offer customized pontoon seat covers for pontoon seats that are functional, efficient and much less expensive than skins. Check with online pontoon boat forums to get more information and advice from other boaters.

Maintaining Pontoon Seat Covers and Your Investment

Several steps can be taken to prolong the life of your pontoon furniture and pontoon seat covers. Preventive maintenance, including routinely cleaning your pontoon boat when docking, and any time spills occur, ensures a longer lifespan for your pontoon boat and its furniture. Keep cleaning products handy to remove potential stains before they can do any damage. Keep trash bins handy, too, so passengers can quickly dispose of any debris.

When boating, keep pontoon seat covers neatly folded in a protected area. Keeping them out of the way is not only a safety factor, it protects them from unnecessary spills and wear. Keep pontoon seat covers clean using recommended products. Often the same products used on the pontoon furniture can be used to spot-clean pontoon seat covers. Protect your pontoon furniture while boating. Sit on dry towels when wet or when using sunscreen. Clean spills as soon as possible to avoid damaging fabric.

Clean the pontoon seat covers, pontoon seats and all other areas of the boat often with a good quality marine cleaner. Do not use household cleaners, they can damage pontoon seat covers. Check for marine quality products that have been approved for use on your vessel. If you have questions, contact the manufacturer. After carefully washing, rinse thoroughly to ensure all soap residue is removed. Soap residue can act as an abrasive if not removed from pontoon upholstery. Rinse more than once to make sure the upholstery is clean.

Apply replacement protectant to the clean furniture. Marine protectants will keep vinyl upholstery material pliable and block harmful UV rays, keep mold and mildew under control, and protect against other destructive agents. Do not use household products on pontoon boat covers or furniture. They can actually be a damaging agent. Use only marine grade products for pontoon boat covers and furniture. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer for more information.

When you dock your pontoon boat for the night, use pontoon seat covers to protect the pontoon seats from blowing debris and water damage. Using a tarp will also help block out UV rays, water, tree pollen and dirt. Longer docking periods require protection for the entire boat, particularly from UV rays, which cause oxidation. When it's time to store your pontoon boat for the winter, try to find a covered location, like a carport or garage. After you clean the pontoon boat one last time before winter and apply the protectorant, cover it snugly with a tarp. Check manufacturer's recommendations for appropriate tarp and winterizing instructions.

Storing pontoon boats over long periods of time, for example, over the winter, means damaging elements have free reign until the boat is revisited in the spring. Pontoon seat covers and boat covers may actually encourage mold and mildew growth by trapping humid air. Products are available to remove dampness from the air to reduce mold and mildew growth on your pontoon seats. Desiccants work to absorb moisture or to attract water to stick to the desiccant. By using the appropriate amount and type of desiccant in the covered pontoon boat, the air can be dried. Other methods to remove dampness include fans in the boat storage area or lights burning.

Pontoon boats provide an exciting outlet for sportspeople and for those who simply want a weekend of relaxing on the water. Getting the right equipment, like pontoon seat covers and other protective gear, helps you to enjoy your hobby even more. Taking care of your boat and boating gear will reduce the long-term costs associated with it.