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  #1  
Old 04-23-2009
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Opinions wanted - fabric vs vinyl, open vs closed cell foam

Hi All...

Well I am finally getting those new cushions to replace the 30 year old moldy ones that are falling apart. A guy named Joe from Maine is doing them, and he does many.

I was going to go with vinyl and closed cell foam, because my boat still has some leaks and tends to be wet.

Joe pointed out that with vinyl, as the temp changes, condensation can build up inside the cushion covers and cause moisture. He suggested that Sunbrella fabric is better because it can breath.

As for the foam, he said he no longer uses closed cell foam. I think his concerns were comfort / stiffness. He uses memory foam, open cell foam in a few different firmnesses and some kind of very expensive foam that water passes right through.

He did say the open cell foam is like a sponge, and that it can be dried out in the sun if it gets wet. He recommends for the cabin, using the open cell, and for cockpit using the kind th water passes through. (Im not getting cockpit cushions).

I think he has a good point about the fabric, but I am not so sure on the foam choice. What do you folks think? Its about a $2,000 expense, so I want to make the best decision I can. Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-23-2009
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The idea of the 'pass through' foam sounds interesting but as you say - very expensive. As for Closed Cell it is also more expensive and every example of it I have ever sat on was really not that comfortable. I'd compare a 1.5" layer of Closed Cell to a thick terrycloth towel folded once. Better than bare fiberglass but certainly no lounge chair I've mostly had standard foam filled vinyl on previous boats and always just flipped them over for the nightly dew or brought them in for rain. Now I have the W.M. knockoff Porta-Seats that I use for cockpit cushions and still do the same thing as they have a rubberized bottom that can stand the morning dew. Edit..... Sorry I missed your little (that you weren't talking about cockpit cushions)
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Old 04-23-2009
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I'm currently re-upholstering my interior - for the settee's, I went with the recommendation from my upholsterer to go with a faux leather vinyl but with cloth backing on the undersides for breathability. The one upside about condensation is that it is extremely easy to wipe off of the vinyl - fabrics will trap it and then you could be dealing with a mildew issue.
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Old 04-23-2009
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Do you really use the cushions or they really just for show? If you really use them then do it right and use a high quality fabric, probably sunbrella, and a good open cell foam AND fix your leaks. If you're spending $2000 on some new cushions they should be comfortable and you should protect them.
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Old 04-23-2009
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I WISH my new cushions were $2000! I think I ended up at some 10-12K for ALL of them, Including sunbrella and new foam. I used a stiffer open cell style. Really nice to sit on compared to the originals from 85.

In the Vberth were we sleep, we also went with 5" foam instead of 4". A LOT nicer.

I should also add, some of the cushions are shaped, so more cost. Also had piping, and buttons on some of the cushions. I am recalling, and counting in my head, 14 cushions, and about 5 matching pillows. Of course, the pillows had fringe, rope and some kind of frilly stuff on some of the pillows too! Wifes idea, and if you want to argue with her, go ahead, you'll lose, as did I!

Original look after redo of aft cabin.




Salon with new cushions and new varnish, head liner etc. Same design thru out the boat. with pillows in the back ground.
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Old 04-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DwayneSpeer View Post
Do you really use the cushions or they really just for show? If you really use them then do it right and use a high quality fabric, probably sunbrella, and a good open cell foam AND fix your leaks. If you're spending $2000 on some new cushions they should be comfortable and you should protect them.
Great questions. Maybe a little of both. We'll probably do an occasional over night trip. Most of the sailing will be day sailing and club racing. Probably the head sails will spend more time on the V Birth cushions then people will.

But we'll probably hang out there as well, so I do want it to be comfortable.

So I am hearing that breathable fabric is best, that closed cell foam squishes down easily and is less comfortable then open cell foam, and that 5 inches on the sleeping surfaces is much better than 4in.

I am in the process of fixing the leaks, but the thing that slows that down is finding them. But i will do all I can to protect these.

One more thing the cushion guy said is that he uses special fabric on the bottom of the cushions, I don't recall exactly why.

Thanks everyone! Sounds like i should go with the vendors recommendation of open cell foam, Sunbrella top and whatever he uses for the bottom.
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Old 04-24-2009
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I used the same thing top and bottom. BUT, my original ones had a different fabirc on the bottom, that was heavier than the top. Probably as you can see, the original was a loose woven Wool like material, and would snag easy. Meanwhile the bottom was a tight weave like the sunbrella we choose. Rumour was, there was not that much difference in price to stay with the Sunbrella top and bottom.

Ask for a quote difference. Also, we found sunbrella fabrics from high teens$$$ to mid even upper $100 per yard, one approached $200! Ours was around 30, and we needed 35'ish yards IIRC.
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Old 04-24-2009
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Vinyl? Ewwww I think it would be just about as comfortable as plastic couch covers.

Go with the open cell. They should last quite a while if the leaks are dealt with and the boat is given a chance to dry and air out during the season.
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Old 04-24-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
I used the same thing top and bottom.

.
.
.

Ask for a quote difference. Also, we found sunbrella fabrics from high teens$$$ to mid even upper $100 per yard, one approached $200! Ours was around 30, and we needed 35'ish yards IIRC.
Your cushions look great, I hope mine come out as well, thanks for the pics!

We discussed using the same fabric top and bottom, so that the cushions that were rectangular could be used upside down. But, there are very few like that and also he said he puts velcro on the undersides, so that I can velcro them to the boat. Otherwise, they flop around as I sail. Seemed to make sense.
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Old 04-24-2009
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Mine have velcro too. I believe, but do not quote me, that velcro on the bottom is a pretty common way to keep cushions from moving.

Also, something to think about, assuming you have cushions currently. I took in my V berth, where there was two, and made it on bigger one. Added a cushion I did not have for the saloon, and IIRC, in the aft stateroom, a spot where there was two med and on smaller, I made into two cushions also. It made getting under these area's actually easier.


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