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Restoring Vinyl Tops


Dick Price asked:

We have a 1988 19′ Bayliner and the vinyl canvas is starting to be stiff and I was wondering what I could use to bring it back to life. There are no rips or tears just stiff. We do no store it in the sun except for 2-3 months out of the year at our lake place, but, we do cover it with a canvas top when not in use. We hope to be able to bring it back to life without buying another top.

Thank you for your help


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Your top is 23 years old, which is pushing the life limits of vinyl. It sounds like you were taking good care of it and that’s why it has survived so long. The stiffness is caused by the loss of plasticizers. Vinyl is naturally rigid and the manufacturers add plasticizers during the calendaring process to make it flexible and supple but over time. When these are lost vinyl reverts back to it’s rigid state.

The loss of plasticizers is a natural phenomenon but can be accelerated by UV, Infrared, airborne pollutants or improper cleaners or protectors. The loss can be retarded and the useful life of vinyl extended by application of a protector that restores the plasticizers. One such protector is Vinyl Guard. Regular use has been proven to double the life of vinyl. This applies to vinyl seats as well as tops.

My suggestion is to try washing the top well with Boat Clean Plus. Rinse well and let dry. Then, apply 2 coats of Vinyl Guard. You should feel an immediate difference. It will be slight at first but re-cleaning and application every 2 to 3 months should increase the suppleness and flexibility. if this does not work there are no other options and you will have to replace the top.

Thanks for your question

Captain Aurora
Richard Kittar

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