Compare Specs Discover '24 PWCs Browse Reviews
How to Reupholster a Jet Ski Seat by Yourself [Video Guide]

How to Reupholster a Jet Ski Seat by Yourself [Video Guide]

We get this question frequently: How do you reupholster a jet ski seat?Even if you take care of your jet ski properly, over time the signs of wear and tear are unavoidable.

The seat is arguably one of the most abused areas on your jet ski. Sun, saltwater, your and your passengers’ weight, and improper storage can cause faded colors, tears, and cracks.

This means that the seat is probably among the first areas where you will notice aging!

If you want your seat to look like brand new, best practice would be to replace the entire seat cover. Just like polishing, it will do a great deal towards refreshing your jet ski’s appearance.

So now, without further ado, let’s see how you can replace your jet ski seat cover by yourself!

How do You Reupholster a Jet Ski Seat?

You can easily reupholster a jet ski seat using a manual or pneumatic stapler. Just purchase a good quality aftermarket seat cover, and install it on the seat with stainless steel staplers. You don’t even have to remove the old cover! You can see the whole process in this tutorial video, but you can also find many helpful tips and tricks in the following sections.

Tools and Materials You Will Need

As the first step, it’s wise to gather everything you will need for the process ahead of time, like:

Tools

Screwdriver: You will need a flat head screwdriver to remove the old staples from the seat base. If you are looking for something professional, you can invest in a cheap staple remover (staple puller) which will make the process even easier.

Stapler: You can use a manual stapler, electric or even pneumatic stapler (known as ‘air stapler’) to install the new seat cover on your jet ski. In general, any stapler that can shoot wire staples can do the job, but “long nose staplers” are more appropriate, as the space around the front latch is tight on many seats.

A manual stapler is the cheapest and easiest solution but be prepared to experience a strong arm pump from it.

But, air staplers can be dangerous! So, if you are not familiar with this tool be really careful, as it can shoot the staples everywhere. Thus, proper protection is a must, so always wear appropriate clothes, gloves and safety glasses.

Hair dryer/Heat blower: You will also need one of these tools to warm up the seat and the cover.

Scissors and box knife: You will also need these basic tools to trim and cut the material.

Aftermarket vs. DIY Jet Ski Seat Covers

If you want to reupholster a jet ski seat, you have two different options to choose from.

If you have a vintage 2-stroke jet ski, you can consider a DIY jet ski seat cover.

As these jet skis usually have seats of a very basic shape you can install a simple DIY cover on them quite easily. These covers are usually just a piece of marine vinyl that comes in in a variety of colors.

Unlike vintage models, newer jet skis have seats that are much more complex, with bolsters and many seams.

Although sewing these covers from scratch is not impossible, it’s a tiring job, one that requires tools and skills:

This is where aftermarket jet ski covers come in handy. These custom jet ski seats come in different colors and designs and are available for every jet ski model.

While you can find covers with a stock design, you can also customize your jet ski with a more stylish and unique aftermarket cover.

Moreover, they are made of high-quality materials that make them very durable. Some of them feature special non-slippery surfaces, which offer better holding compared to the standard slippery vinyl covers and provide you with a better and safer riding experience.

The main advantage of these aftermarket seat covers is that they are available for any jet ski model ever made.

This means you can find plenty of seats that will fit on your jet ski perfectly and tightly. If you invest in one, you get a “ready to install” cover, and all you do is simply fasten it on the seat without any further work required.

That’s why these aftermarket jet ski seat covers are so popular!

Regarding manufacturers, you can find many good quality products on the market from JetTrim, RivaRacing, Hydro-Turf, or even BlackTip.

Staples: Aside from the new cover, you will also need a bunch of staples.

Make sure you use similar staples to the originals. You will need stainless steel wire staples, which are very skinny and short.

In general, 1/4″ Leg x 3/8″ Crown Narrow Wire Staples do a good job, but make sure they fit into your stapler before you purchase.

Jet Ski Seat Cover Replacement Guide

Should You Leave the Original Cover On?

When it comes to reupholstering a jet ski seat, you have to decide whether to remove the old cover or not.

Be aware, that most seat cover manufacturers recommend not removing the original factory cover from your seat.

This is because it’s much easier to install the new cover if you leave the original in place. As you will see, you can stretch and move the new cover around much easier on the original.

Another concern is that if you remove the old cover you risk the foam moving out of position. Additionally, the double cover makes your seat much more waterproof.

The only situation in which it makes sense to remove the cover is if your jet ski has a simple seat and you want to make a DIY jet ski cover from a piece of marine vinyl.

In this case, you can use the old cover as a pattern. Just remove the seat cover, lay it onto the vinyl and draw around the edges.

Then you can simply cut it with scissors, making sure to oversize it, as you will need ample material at the ears. If you cut it too tight you will make the job harder!

Also, make sure the foam is completely dry before you install the new cover. If it’s not, just leave it under the sun for a day or two until it completely dries.

Preparing the Seat

If you’ve decided to leave the old cover on, you may want to completely clean and dry it out ahead of time.

You can also repair the tears and rips on it with duct tape. Just make sure you apply it smoothly, otherwise it will be noticeable under the new cover.

The rear seat latch also has to be removed, since on many seats it’s mounted on the vinyl.

Removing the Old Staples

Unlike the old cover, the staples have to be removed no matter what. This is because you probably won’t be able to install the new cover without removing them. (Unless you can work around them, but this is unlikely.)

To do this, simply flip the seat over and remove the staples one-by-one with a flat screwdriver or a special staple removal tool. Don’t worry as it’s usually a pretty easy job, it just takes some time.

Just make sure you don’t remove all the staples, as you have to leave a few in to keep the old cover in place.

Installing the New Jet Ski Seat Cover

Before you start to install the new cover on your jet ski seat, inspect it carefully. Take your time to understand how it should fit.

Then, best practice is to warm up the new cover for easier installation. You can use a hair dryer or a heat blower for this, just make sure that the latter is set to low level!

Another trick is to leave the new cover and the jet ski in the sun for a while, but only if it is a hot day.

The heat helps soften up the vinyl and make it stretchy. This makes the installation process easier and results in fewer wrinkles.

As the next step, center the new cover front-to-back and side-to-side. Then, start working on the seat lip, and install a staple at the front.

If you use an air stapler, make sure you set the air correctly. If it’s too much, the staple will go through the vinyl. But if it’s not enough, the staple won’t fasten the material firmly enough to the seat. If you are unsure, start with 65psi.

Afterwards, continue with the rear side, then move on to the corners. It will help you to keep the new cover in the right position.

The key is not to pull the material too tight as it may end in ripped vinyl or loosened staples on the other side.

After each staple, flip the seat over and carefully check the entire cover. It has to be centered, plus you need some overlap on each side. Don’t hurry, as it does more harm than good.

Pull the cover a little tighter to remove the wrinkles and install new staples again and again.

While doing this make sure that you aren’t going in a straight line as you have to jump back and forth between the sides. In this way, you can eliminate the wrinkles and ensure that the new cover stays in position.

The trickiest areas are always the corners as the vinyl folds over there. Best practice is to check how the factory cover is installed and follow the same pattern.

If there is too much material in the corners you can cut the excess with scissors. But always make sure that you really don’t need that part before trimming it off!

Use a bunch of staples to tightly attach the cover to the seat, and check for wrinkles tirelessly.

If you can’t eliminate them, you may want to remove the staples and start again. You must be prepared to readjust the cover where it’s needed.

After you’ve finished and can’t see any wrinkles, you can trim the excess material on the bottom of the seat with a box cutter.

Be very careful as doing it wrong can damage your final work. Best practice is to use the original cover as a reference, but you can even leave a little more material on it, about 1/4 inch between the edges and staples.

The final step in replacing the seat is to make sure it fits on the hull perfectly. Note that if you leave too much material on the bottom of the seat it may not fit in place!

How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster a Jet Ski Seat?

It costs around $100-$300 to reupholster a jet ski seat if you do the job yourself and have the necessary tools (stapler, scissors, box cutter, screwdriver, hair dryer). The cost of the new cover depends on its quality and the type of jet ski you have. If you get it done by a professional, the labor cost varies depending on the shop.

Repairing a Jet Ski Cover

Repairing a jet ski seat cover makes sense in many cases. There are some critical parts on the seat where tears are prone to appear much faster than any other area.

You can easily fix these tears easily with a small piece of vinyl. Repairing a jet ski cover is much faster and cheaper than replacing the whole cover:

Conclusion

Reupholstering a jet ski seat is not so difficult. You will just need some basic tools like a screwdriver, scissors, box cutter, stapler, and a hair dryer.

If you have a vintage jet ski, you can use a piece of marine vinyl to replace the cover. But if your craft has a larger seat with a more complex shape, it would be best if you invested in an aftermarket seat cover that fits your jet ski seat perfectly.

You don’t have to even remove the old cover, just heat the new cover up with the hair dryer (or a low-set heat blower) and carefully fasten it to the seat with the stapler.

Make sure that it fits tightly, and that you’ve eliminated all wrinkles before you trim the excess material.

Once your seat has a new cover, you have to maintain it properly. Always wash it carefully after each use, but never use high-pressure water!

Moreover, you should keep the jet ski covered while it sits under the sun to save your new seat cover from harmful UV rays.

This is our short jet ski seat replacement guide. We hope you find it useful!

References:https://www.seadoopartsnation.com/how-to-reupholster-a-jet-ski-seathttps://www.personalwatercraft.com/features/transform-your-aging-pwc-with-an-aftermarket-seat-cover-1251.html