Why Is Boat Upholstery So Dang Expensive? Here’s The Real Cost…

how much does it cost to reupholster your boat

Have you taken a look at your boat upholstery lately and noticed how the material is starting to separate and come apart?

If you have ever thought about redoing the upholstery on your boat, you may not know that it can be one very expensive investment that many boat owners are surprised to find out.

Here’s what one boat owner said when someone asked about the high quote they received for reupholstering their boat seat:

“Just an FYI, I had this seat recovered two different times over the years. The first time was $1,200, the second time was $1,500. So that price doesn’t sound too bad.”

JDinSWFLThe Hull Truth

boat upholstery cost can be very expensive

Upholstering your boat can be expensive but it will rejuvenate the look and feel of your entire vessel.

In today’s article, we are going to help you understand why it’s so dang expensive to reupholster your boat interior.

Of course, you’d love to know the exact cost of doing your project, but honestly, that is very difficult to answer.

If you surf the web long enough, you’ll find many boat owners saying the same thing, that boat upholstery is very expensive because of how much work it takes.

The reason for that can be any or all of the following when it comes to the cost of boat upholstery:

  • Hourly Cost of Work: One of the significant components of boat upholstery cost is the labor involved. Upholsterers typically charge an hourly rate for their services.

    The more intricate and time-consuming the work is, the higher the cost will be.

    Factors such as the size of the boat, the number of seats, and the complexity of the design will influence the amount of time required, thereby affecting the overall cost.
  • Simple vs. Fancy Designs: The complexity and intricacy of the upholstery design also impact the cost.

    If you opt for a simple and straightforward design with minimal detailing, the cost will generally be lower.

    However, if you desire a more elaborate and intricate design with custom patterns, piping, or embroidery, it will require additional time and skill, resulting in a higher price.
  • Quality of Work: The skill and expertise of the upholsterer can significantly influence the cost.

    Experienced professionals who specialize in boat upholstery and have a track record of delivering high-quality work may charge higher rates than less experienced or general upholstery service providers.

    The level of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and precision in executing the upholstery work contribute to the overall cost.
  • Quality of Materials (Foam & Wood): The choice of materials used for boat upholstery, such as foam and wood, affects both the comfort and durability of the finished product.

    The cost can vary based on the quality and type of materials selected. High-quality marine-grade foam and durable wooden frames are typically more expensive but offer better longevity and resistance to moisture and other environmental factors.

The Hourly Cost To Reupholster Your Boat

Many Shops Charge An Hourly Rate Between $55-$150 For Reupholstering Boat Interiors.

cost to reupholster boat seats

The amount of hours it takes to do a project depends on many factors, and it can sometimes be hard to give an accurate estimate.

For example, you may come in wanting only the seat cover done, only to find out that the wood and foam are full of mold and need to be replaced.

Here’s what one boat owner had to say about how much it costs to reupholster your boat:

“Good job, man. Now that you have done it, you know why it cost so much to have it done, very time-consuming.” – ChillinTheMostThe Hull Truth

Simple Vs. Fancy Upholstery Designs

cost to reupholster boat interior

Boat owners love good-looking upholstery patterns, especially the diamond pattern stitching in the seats.

However, they fail to realize just how much time that custom work takes.

Boat upholstery by itself is expensive, so when you start adding requests for fancy designs like shapes, piping, or decorative elements, know that this will increase the time it takes significantly.

Another thing to note when it comes to fancy designs, especially stitching, is the less life expectancy of the upholstery.

Stitching adds more holes in the material; the more holes in the material, the more weak points where the upholstery will break down the fastest.

Always keep in mind these things when choosing what type of upholstery designs you would like for your boat.

Quality Of Boat Upholstery Work

how much to reupholster boat seats

Here’s what one boat owner had to say about the quality of boat upholstery work:

“If you want high quality, be prepared to pay several times what you probably think. Thousands…..not hundreds.”
MBBThe Hull Truth

Depending on how clean and professional you want the look of your upholstery, you’ll obviously need to pay a higher price for that.

If you want to pay less, you’re most likely going to get less quality work.

The real art of boat upholstery is in the corners and the bends.

You’ll easily be able to tell the difference between an amateur and a pro when it comes to these areas.

So depending on what your project is and how many difficult areas will need to be reupholstered, you could end up with really professional looking work or not.

Here at Caribou Upholstery, we know quality takes time and we will never rush, if it means sacrificing the quality of work.

Quality Of Materials To Reupholster Your Boat

Not only do you not want to cheap out on the quality of work when it comes to reupholstering your boat, but you most definitely don’t want to cheap out on the materials used.

This is because your boat is highly exposed to the elements that can quickly deteriorate your boat upholstery if you do not use high-quality materials.

We know that many places will be happy to reupholster your boat with such low-quality materials to offer you a lower price, but we also know you’ll only make that mistake once.

For the boat upholstery, there are a few materials that can be used, such as:

VINYL: The more common, less expensive option

SILICONE: This can be upwards of 3x the cost of vinyl for its comfort, mold, stain, and higher UV resistance.

how much to reupholster a boat

When it comes to high quality materials for your boat upholstery, there are a few key things you want to consider:

ABRASION: How well can this material hold up to abrasions over time. This is usually rated by a “Double-Rub” rating.

MILDEW RESISTANCE: Since your boat is always exposed to moisture, you’ll want to make sure the wood, foam, and covers are mold resistant.

USES: Is the selected material recommended for boat interiors?

COLD CRACK: Depending on your geographical location and the use of your boat, you’ll want to know if your upholstery will withstand the cold.

TEAR STRENGTH: The higher the tear strength rating for your upholstery, the longer it will last.

WOOD: You’ll want high-quality wood like marine-grade plywood or similar.

FOAM: The foam should be an antimicrobial medium density that is also fast drying.

Caribou Upholstery knows the benefits of using high-quality materials and will always make sure we provide not only high-quality work but also high-quality materials every time.

Protecting Your Investment

cost to reupholster boat interior

Now that you understand how much it costs to reupholster your boat, and you have chosen what’s best for you, we highly recommend you protect that investment so that it lasts longer by using a custom boat cover.

Moisture and damaging UV rays will quickly deteriorate the materials of your boat upholstery if not protected.

That’s why adding a custom boat cover can keep your new boat upholstery looking new for even more years to come.

At Caribou Upholstery, we always recommend protecting your investment with a custom boat cover because we want you to enjoy your boat for longer.

In Conclusion: How Much Does It Cost To Reupholster Your Boat?

Boat upholstery is an investment, and you want to make sure it’s done right the first time.

We know that it can be hard when shopping for boat upholstery materials or services.

Caribou Upholstery in Prince George, B.C., offers quality service at affordable prices. From simple designs to more elaborate ones.

Be sure to check out our brand new product Boat Trailer Rock Guard

Our experts will do their best to ensure all of the details are taken care of with precision and perfection.