How to Reupholster a Jet Ski Seat
When it comes to your favorite jet ski, you want to keep it in top condition for years of riding enjoyment. While a jet ski is built to withstand the water, salt, and sun it is exposed to during every ride, that doesn’t mean it is completely resistant to wear and tear. The seat is a common area where signs of wear and tear will be most evident. Let’s take a look at how to reupholster a jet ski seat so you can get back to riding in no time!
- Know the signs:
The first step in how to reupholster a jet ski seat is to know when it’s time to perform this task. While the most obvious sign is a rip or tear in the cover on the seat, there are a few other reasons to consider reupholstering. For starters, other than rips and tears, the most obvious reason to replace a cover on the seat is that the color is sun faded from years of riding and exposure. If the seat cover is supposed to be teal or purple for a stylish ride to match your hull and it’s faded, changing it with a new seat cover is an easy way to bring back the pristine appearance of your ride. Another reason to change the upholstery on your seat is mildew or signs of rot. While seats are meant for exposure to water for long periods of time, if the original seat cover wasn’t placed with enough staples and left an opening for water to get in, you may have a bit of mildew or mold growing there which has warped the material under the seat itself. Staples can also rust over time which can lead to stains and rot on the underside of the seat where the upholstery is stapled.
- Remove the seat from ski:
The only way to reupholster the seat is to remove it form the jet ski. There are usually clamps, screws, or straps securing the set base to the frame of the jet ski. You should consult your owner’s manual for your particular generation and model to find the right way to remove the seat based on your ski.
- Remove old cover:
The next step in how to reupholster a jet ski seat is to remove the old cover or upholstery. The easiest way to do this is to flip it upside down so the seat bottom is exposed and then remove the staples holding the cover in place. The good news is that the staples are easy to remove. Using a flat head screwdriver, you can pull the staples up away from the seat base in one spot to start and then pull out the rest by way of wrapping the material around needle nose pliers and twisting to get the rest of the staples to give way of the seat. This will allow you to remove the old cover all the way leaving just the seat base.
- Make sure the seat is dry:
Once you remove the cover completely and all the old staples, you should check your foam. If the foam is damp, you should set the set the base out in the sun for a day until it dries all the way through. You don’t want to upholster wet foam and end up with mildew and mold trapped between the new cover material and the seat foam.
- Position new upholstery over seat base:
When working with the upholstery for the new seat cover, you can warm it up a bit by putting it in the sun for a little bit. This will give it more stretch so you can position it. When it comes to positioning it, you want to pull it taut over the seat with enough excess hanging over to place your staples and then some. Make sure any logos or seams line up the way you want them to when positioning.
- Place a few staples to hold it:
Once you have the right positioning in place, you want to place a few staples to keep it in place as you work on the rest of the task. Using an air-powered upholstery stapler, place a few staples in key areas such as the front, back, and on the sides to keep it in place. Once you have your main staples in place for position, you can put the seat back in the sun for a bit for the vinyl to get a bit more stretch to it to make it easier. This will allow the vinyl to mold more closely to the seat for a tighter fit over the base.
- Make any necessary cuts or repositioning:
You may need to make a few cuts and retighten the material again once the vinyl has molded to the seat base. Make sure you don’t cut too much because you still need enough to staple the material in place when wrapped around the edges and bottom of the seat base. This is the time to make any repositioning to get a better fit now that the vinyl is warmed up and loose for easy movement.
- Staple in place:
Starting at the corners and pulling taut, you can begin stapling the material down. Make sure you keep the material pulled taut to get a good fit and then work your way to the inside until all areas are stapled down.
- Trim the excess:
Once you have your staples in place, you need to trim the excess material from the bottom of the seat. For this step, it is key to trim the right amount. If you trim too much and too close to the staple, you will lose the hold and have to start over if the vinyl rips. If you leave too much excess, it will make it harder to place the seat back in place on the ski. A good rule of thumb is to trim enough to still allow for about a 1/4 of an inch of material between the staple and material edge.
- Replace seat on ski:
Once you are done trimming, you are ready to replace the seat on the ski. Make sure you follow all guidelines for replacing the seat and that the seat is secure before your next ride.