So Many Bimini Tops for Pontoon Boats Are Available Online!

Should You Repair it or Replace It and How Do You Choose?

Highlights

  • Should I repair or replace it?
  • The difference between custom and retail bimini tops for pontoon boats.
  • Pontoon bimini add-ons.
  • Adding pontoon boat enclosures to a pontoon boat canopy.
  • Buy a bimini top for a pontoon boat.
  • Have a question that wasn't answered? Ask your question here!

We get regular phone calls about bimini tops for pontoon boats.

The following is a list of questions and answers meant to help you evaluate your options.

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Should I fix my pontoon bimini top or replace it?

Let's break this question down below!

Thread rot , is it repairable?
Yes, restitching has to be done to all bimini tops for pontoon boats at some point. It's a fact, boat thread rots, unless it is lifetime thread and it is very unlikely that you have it or it wouldn't be rotten.

Important: Each year you should give your thread the tug test. Check to make sure it isn't rotten in several places. If you find rotten thread in one place, restitch the entire top, the other thread won't be far behind. This quick check might help keep you from a costly repairs.

How do I tell if my fabric in my pontoon boat canopy is worth repairing?
Can you see light through small cracks and holes in the fabric when you look up? Is the fabric brittle or thread bare? If so, these signs are an indication the fabric is gone.

Next give your fabric the tug test in several places, just like the thread. Grab it with both hands and try to tear it. Don't use excessive force, but enough to allow weak fabric to give way. If it stays stable and has passed your previous inspection, then it might be good a good candidate for a repair.

My zippers are shot, are they repairable?
Yes, zippers like thread will have to be replaced at some point.

The zipper sizes that normally come with a pontoon bimini is #8 or even #5 zippers. This small size zipper is typical of online pontoons tops. When you find it necessary to replace your zippers, ask for #10 zippers. There won't be much of a price difference and the zippers will last longer. When you couple zipper replacement with a restitch, repair prices starts to add up.

My pontoon bimini has a damaged frame, can I get that fixed? /br> It is hard to replace or repair square tubing at most local canvas shops. I think I can safely say, the majority do not bend square tubing. Bending these frames requires special equipment and since pontoon frame repair and replacement is a small segment of income for most custom canvas shops, it may not justify the investment. If the frame is really damaged or in poor condition. You may need to replace it with a product found online.

Note:(remember pontoon frames purchased online come in pieces with assembly required by you). This is because shipping the entire unit is cost prohibitive. Another thing you might check online are the specifications of the metal and materials. Not all online products are created equally.

If after you evaluate the fabric on your pontoon bimini top, it seems repairable. You will then decide if you have enough life left in the fabric and frame to make repairs worth while.

If you are unsure, your local custom canvas shop will be able to help you with this decision.

The difference between custom and online bimini tops for pontoon boats?

How much will it cost to recover my pontoon bimini?
You will be surprised to learn that the cost to buy a cheap pontoon bimini top online, including both frame and fabric can cost less than a custom version at most, if not all custom canvas shops.

How is it possible to buy both the frame and the fabric for less online?
A big factor is the cost of production labor verses custom labor. Another reason, is the quality of the materials used. Also, online pontoon bimini tops are usually made with materials that are purchased in large quantities at a deep discount.

If I buy my new cover without the frame online, will it fit my existing frame?
If it does, it won't be a great fit, except by shear coincidence Each manufacturer for bimini tops for pontoon boats uses their own frames to make the patterns. So the chance of it fitting your frame properly is pretty slim.

Should I go ahead and buy the pontoon bimini top frame and all?
This might actually be a valid option for you, especially for older boats.

Here are some main points to keep in mind as you evaluate your online options.

  • The frame you will get comes in pieces that will have to be assembled by you.
  • The mounting hardware you already have on your pontoon boat may not work, so be prepared to add more mounting hardware to your boat.
  • The metal of this new frame may be of lesser quality than you are used to. The wall thickness may be less than what came with your boat. So shop around and notice the specifications when purchasing online.
  • The material may also be very basic quality (check the warranty on the fabric you are buying). If you can buy fabric with a 5 years warranty or more, do it.

Pontoon bimini top add-ons.

What do I need to do in order to attach a second pontoon top canopy to the main top?
You will need to have a zipper sewn in. Ideally you would sew this zipper onto a lip. A lip is basically a flap that hangs down from the forward and aft edge of the pontoon bimini top.

Our shop doubles the material on this lip for extra strength. A zipper sewn onto double thickness fabric is better than a zipper sewn onto a single thickness of fabric. After all, there is a whole lot of stress on the area where the zippers are sewn.

Many online pontoon bimini tops don't give you a lip at all. If this is the case, then you would need to have this modification done.

I would like to add a pontoon enclosure in the future.
Can I add an enclosure to the pontoon bimini tops available for purchase online?

Many of the pontoon tops you purchase online will have a hard time supporting an enclosure or pontoon top canopy extensions. They are not built with this added stress in mind.

If this is your plan and your frame is worthy, then plan on modifications or consider a recover done by a local custom canvas shop. They will reinforce it properly and sew the zippers in the appropriate places.

Next check your frame. A week, bent frame may be better off being replaced. Especially, when adding the stress of the weight, plus the wind factor.

Since pontoon enclosures are expensive, don't add one to old bimini fabric. Your local canvas fabricator should be able to help you determine the quality of the fabric and it's ability to hold up. Most fabricators do not like to build a bimini top that has to attach an older enclosure, and some may not even do it.

So start with the right stuff, that way they will age together.


Do You Have a Question You Would Like to Ask About Bimini Tops?

We'd like to help you find a solution! You just might be able to help someone else trying to solve the same problem. Please include your email, I may contact you directly with an answer.

What Questions Have Other Visitors Asked?

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

do i repair a tear in bimini top the same way as boat cover? 
caught corner in overhead boat shed and have an L shaped tear of 3 inches. i also will restitch seams as rest of canvas still good. The repair for …

If I send you a canvas top for a crownline boat, could you measure off it to have a new one sent to me? 
Need a new canvas top for crownline. Also, what would a matching boot cost and would the top come with the poles too? This is a great question to ask …

How to remove fabric from pontoon bimini top 
One of the interior sleeves ripped during a storm. I went to take the frame apart and slide the fabric over the end to take it to be repaired , but the …

TRYING TO FIND REPLACEMENT FABRIC 
have a 4 bow, 69'w x 79'L canopy. cant find replacement fabric. That is because there isn't one available. The reason is because each bimini top (fabric) …

replacement rail 
I need the main rail that stretches from side to side due to it being bent. It would be the second from bottom when closed. Hi Donald, Sorry to hear …

Bimini Top 
I have square tubes with a gray plastic insert in the end of it that has a notch for attaching to the frame. There is one on each end (4)of the bimini …

Click here to write your own.


Be sure to check out these EZ-Xtend companion boat products:

Great for bimini tops for pontoon boats and enclosures!

EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers
EZ-Xtend Boat Track
EZ-Xtend Drip Shields

New! Comments

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Eagle Ranch

A Christian based children's home for boys and girls in crisis and in need of hope and healing.
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Testimonials

Fantastic Results

"I wanted to thank you for the fantastic results I have with the EZ-Xtend zipper solution you provided for my Sea Ray.

The isinglass had shrunk to the point that installing it was an all-morning job, with some snaps totally unusable due to the material shrinkage. I really was preparing to purchase a complete new canvas set, but hated to spend the money-especially since the canvas is still in excellent shape.

The EZ-Xtend zippers have made the canvas/isinglass installation and removal about a 10 minute job! (and looks great too!) Thanks again for the quick solution and the reasonable cost, I really do appreciate it."
Steve Donovan
Georgia

The Bottom Line

The extend zippers have been a resounding success. Zippers were needed for the starboard stern section of my bimini top, and for both side curtains of my camper canvas. It is a clever design you came up with to increase the width of connectivity between my bimini top and camper canvas sections. I do not know what I would have done otherwise as the camper canvas sections have shown shrinkage over time.
M. Marien
Missouri

Such a Great Idea

I got a chance to install these yesterday and just thought I'd get back to you to let you know that they worked perfectly for me. I couldn't be happier with that simple to install solution to my problem now allowing me to properly and fully enclose my cockpit again. Such a great idea.
J. Reed
British Columbia

Easy to Install

The Ez-xtend zippers were very easy to install---especially with a little lubricant ( which I always apply periodically to zippers)
E.Chesnavich
New Jersey

Rare Traits

"True skill and craftsmanship are rare traits in today's society. When they're held by a person that truly cares about her customers, brings honesty, creativity and passion to her work, you have just described Tammy Hampton. Better known as "The Cover Girl," Tammy has been both a friend, mentor and business partner for nearly twenty years.

I found Tammy by her name tag.... sewn to a sailboat cover, in a nearby marina. The boat cover was fitted with such precision, it clearly stood out from the others. In the years since, Tammy has 'dressed out' at least twenty boats for me. She has yet to meet a challenge for which she could not find a creative and effective solution.

Tammy has become a valuable resource to my BoatButler business, and she has actually created sort of a "cult" following among my customers. Once they see the quality of her work, the choice is an easy one.

I am still grateful for that little tag on that sailboat cover I found nearly twenty years ago."

Steve Hammond
Owner, Boatbutler Marine Services, Inc.
Alpharetta, Georgia


Love Your Website

I love your website and wish we lived closer, so that I could stop by your shop - sounds like a wonderful place!
Judy D
Winchester, TN


Thanks for the education

Thanks so much for the education I received from your site! I have been in to two local shops for estimates on a new canvas enclosure for my little boat. Both commented that they were happy to have a customer who knew what he wanted and was familiar with the material and options available. I learned it all from you!!
Alan S.
Arlington, WA


Zippers solved a major canvas issue!

With your zippers in place we could button up all of the canvas and make a very nice weather tight space which made our boating season very enjoyable.
Phil


Excellent customer service!

We finally got the chance to install of the ez-xtend zippers on our enclosure. (in between numerous Florida rain showers). and it turned out great! Everything finally fits together and it keeps the rain and the bugs out. Yay!
I will be sharing your zipper solution with other boating friends and will be sure to mention the excellent customer service too.
Toni


Great Website!

Looking forward to getting these items as it will save me a $3000 boat top replacement. Great website and sure glad someone thought to make these items up.
Bob
Lake City, MN


Boot looks and fits great!

Received the boot, it looks and fits great! Thanks for the fine craftsmanship, communications and speedy service.
Brian


Very Satisfied Customer

I have received your product in a very timely manner and they worked great. I have already shown your zippers to my brother in law and he placed his order yesterday. I am the past commodore of a Boat Club up here in the great lakes region and have many boating friends. I am sure that once I show them how great your product works you will be getting more orders.

Greg L.

Praise for the outstanding cove that you recently made for my RIB!

In 45 years of boating my new cover is the best that I have ever seen anywhere" Thank you so much and it was worth the effort!

Matt M. Pennsylvania


Thanks so much for the quick and comprehensive reply!!

I never know about the EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers and plan on giving them a try. Apparently, others have had great success with this product. I'll let you know how I do with it. Thx again. You've got a great website.

Chuck P Florida