ifai_logo

necpa_logo

mfc_logo

Deb Hood

Top 10 Questions and Answers

Q? How long should my clear vinyl windows last?

A. Improper care is the quickest degrader of marine windows. Cared for properly, you should get many years of service. This includes regular rinsing of salt spray, cleaning with soap, water, and sponge, and applying a Cleaner/Polish. We recommend using Sun Socks on frames to protect marine windows. We use 40 GA Strataglass or 40 GA O'Sea as our standard window material as they have the best clarity and feature a durable urethane finish to prevent scratching. 60 GA Makrolon Polycarbonate and 80 GA Acrylite Bonded Acrylic rigid windows are extra cost options.

Q? How long should my new Sunbrella top last?

A. Seven to ten years, seems to be typical, provided it is fit properly and under the proper tension. Baggy tops that flutter in the wind tend not to last as long. We have had tops last as long as 18 years with proper care and maintenance.

Q? Is Sunbrella waterproof?

A. It is water repellent, not waterproof. Sunbrella has a waterproof finish applied at the factory that repels water. Over time this deteriorates and needs to be reapplied. The proper procedure is to remove the top, clean, and apply a sealant to restore water repellency. Sealants will not work on a dirty top. We stock 303 Fabric Guard as it is recommended for Sunbrella.

Q? Is there a waterproof Sunbrella?

A. Yes, it is sold under the name Seamark and it is a converted product. They take Sunbrella and add a heavy vinyl backing to make it waterproof. The colors are the same as regular Sunbrella and we will typically use Seamark on bimini tops and make the enclosure out of regular Sunbrella.

Q? How long should my thread last?

A. We use SolarFix PTFE 2000 denier thread exclusively in all our fabrications. It is superior to the other PTFE threads on the market. It is impervious to Ultra Violet Rays and is guaranteed to last the life of the fabric without breakage or fading. You will never need to worry about thread breaking or restitching.

Q? Why do clear vinyl windows become yellow and brittle?

A. From the first day, the plasticizers embedded in the vinyl to keep it soft and pliable begin to migrate to the surface, where they leech out into the atmosphere. This causes the clear vinyl to dry out, discolor, and become brittle. A Cleaner / Polish will seal these plasticizers in, protect against atmospheric pollutants, reduce scratching, and extend its useful life.

Q? Why will you not copy my old top?

A. Generally, not a good practice. At best, the top will be as good as the original fit. You eliminate guess work by making a new pattern on the boat that will fit perfectly the first time. Exceptions being sail covers or other non-tensioned canvas items.

Q? Why can't you make me a new top using the old side panels?

A. Again, not a good practice, unless we have the original pattern of your top. We like to build from the top down, not the other way around. We would rather help a customer repair his top until the top and sides can be done together. This way we can design an engineered system of top and enclosure panels with no compromises.

Q? Is it necessary to make a pattern of every job?

A. It involves an extra step in fabrication, but well worth the end results of a tight and wrinkle free top. We use Tyvek exclusively, as it is the best medium for perfect results. When a pattern gets back to the shop it goes through a development phase of cutting, taping, marking windows and divisions before any Sunbrella is cut. We store it with the customers name for future use.

Q? What should I do prior to storing my canvas for the winter?

A. Store dry and clean in a well ventilated area, not a musty basement. Clear vinyl windows should be cleaned and polished to remove atmospheric residue prior to storage. This is extremely important to avoid unpleasant surprises in the spring. Also store large panels flat if possible with padding between individual pieces. It is OK to roll a top or dodger, but be careful not to fold and put a crease in the windows or fabric.

Return To Top