Proper Care of Marine-grade Vinyl
Many owners choose marine-grade vinyl as the material of choice for their pontoon boat seats and other furniture. Marine-grade vinyl is excellent for pontoons that have a great deal of their deck space exposed to the elements. Marine vinyl is resistant to the damaging effects of sun and water, and consequently rarely fades from outdoor conditions. Marine vinyl is quite durable and resists tearing and other common forms of damage. Marine vinyl is also resistant to oil and mildew. Finally, for those restoring or customizing their pontoon boat on a budget, marine vinyl is relatively affordable. As many advantages as it has, you will want to have some ideas in mind for preventive care of your marine vinyl in order to extend the lifespan of your pontoon boat's seats and accessories.
Although marine vinyl is resistant to water, this does not mean that you should regularly douse the material. You should try to keep the vinyl dry at all times. Even through the material itself is impervious, the seams are not and can absorb water, which can lead to fraying. When it rains, cover or remove (if possible) the seats and store them out of the elements.
Over time, dirt and grime will invariably build up on your pontoon seats. This shouldn't be a cause concern because marine vinyl is resistant to these sorts of stains. Once a week, wipe down your vinyl with water using a soft damp cloth. Afterwards, towel-dry the vinyl surface. To remove dirt build-up, wash the vinyl down using warm water mixed with mild dish soap and a soft bristle brush to scrub the surface down, then dry with a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. For difficult cases of dirt build-up, you can purchase specialty vinyl cleaners on our online store.
Marine vinyl is mildew-resistant, but mildew can build up on its surface over time. This is especially the case if you operate your pontoon boat in a humid climate. Likewise, it can build up during the winter months when you've sealed the boat's interior for storage, since lack of ventilation and condensation spur the growth of mildew. To remove the growth from marine vinyl, use warm soapy water and a soft brush. In resistant cases, you might consider using a small amount of bleach mixed with clean water, but bleach should only be used in extreme cases and only as a last resort. Carelessness or excessive amounts can severely damage your seats. Never use bleach without diluting since pure bleach can weaken and damage the surface and integrity of marine-grade vinyl.
Although normal cleaning of your pontoon boat's marine vinyl surfaces is simple, there are many ways that you can go wrong and end up damaging your pontoon furniture. Most of your cleaning needs can be fulfilled with warm water and mild dish soap. Steer clear of powdered abrasives, cleaners containing abrasives, steel wool, and industrial-strength cleaners, as they will all irreparably damage the vinyl. Never use a lacquer solvent because this will strip the vinyl's top protective coat, eventually leading to it drying out and cracking. You should try to avoid using strong household cleaners such as Simple Green®, Armor All®, Son of a Gun!®, Murphy Oil Soap®, and Formula 409®. These cleaners may remove the stain in question, but they could either immediately damage or weaken your marine vinyl. The use of these strong household cleaners and abrasives can void the warranty of your pontoon boat's furniture and accessories, so you'll want to steer clear of the products listed above. A good general practice is to test whatever product you are going to clean your marine vinyl on an inconspicuous area first to ensure no unpleasant surprises.
One of the biggest threats to the marine vinyl of your pontoon boat furniture and accessories are stains. Once the party starts, Murphy's Law dictates that someone is certain to spill something on your marine vinyl. Unless you treat these stains quickly and properly, they will set and become permanent additions to the boat's aesthetic. Knowing how to treat these spills is important in order to preserve the look of the interior of your pontoon boat.
Ink from ballpoint pens and permanent markers will stain vinyl. Treat these stains by immediately cleaning the area with a towel soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Many pontoon boat owners enjoy grilling while on the water, but some are unaware that condiments have are a threat to their marine vinyl. Mustard and ketchup stains should be immediately sponged with a mix of water and mild soap and rubbed gently on the affected area. If the stain persists, treat with water mixed with a very small amount of diluted bleach, rinse with cold water, and repeat until the stain is gone.
Your marine vinyl may receive some stains while you work to restore or repair your pontoon boat. You can use turpentine to remove fresh drops of oil-based paints. If the oil-based paint dries, try wetting the area with a semi-solid gel stripper and scrape the paint away. Latex paints are much more forgiving when it comes to removal. You can wipe away fresh drops of these paints with a damp cloth and hot soapy water will quickly remove dried areas of paint. In any case, you should never use paint strippers to treat these stains because they are very corrosive and could weaken and stain the vinyl surface.
Other stains may be more distasteful to treat, but will not stain your marine vinyl if you given them the proper attention. Blood can be removed by rubbing out any spots with a clean cloth soaked in cool water. Bird droppings can be treated by sponging with soapy water mixed with diluted bleach until the stain is removed, then rinsed with clean, fresh water.
Some products meant to protect your body can harm your marine vinyl. Insect repellants and suntan lotions will stain and weaken vinyl and should be treated immediately with a wash of water and soap. Once finished, rinse the area with warm water and then dry with a towel.
In optimal conditions, marine-grade vinyl can last many years and provide an eye-pleasing interior to your pontoon boat seats and furniture. However, marine vinyl requires regular care and maintenance in order to extend your pontoon's lifespan.