Is there any practical way to enlarge my Bimini top?

by Chuck Pazman
(Longwood, FL)

Most of the zippers on my bimini had frozen-up, therefore, I couldn't attach the side curtains and the other sections of the camper top. (Yes, lack of maintenance on my part!)The zippers on the attachment pieces were just fine, as they were kept dry in the cabin. I decided to have my canvas guy replace the zippers on the top. Later, when I tried to attach all of the sections, it seemed that the top had shrunk about 2" EVERYWHERE! So, I couldn't snap the sections in place. I'm sure the zippers were replaced in the exact same locations. So, what could have caused this? I know I can make short snap-straps to bridge the shortfall but that doesn't help the water-tightness of the bimini - especially the front windows in a heavy rainfall. Is there another way to solve my problem? Thx.

Chuck Pazman

Hi Chuck,
What happened is unfortunate, but normal shrinkage. I can see you were looking for bimini top parts that might help you, but as you found there isn't any hardware that can help with this problem.
When clear vinyl panels are removed and stored and not left zipped and snapped into place they begin to shrink. It sounds as though the enclosure was most likely pretty tight to start with, so the additional shrinkage makes it even worse.
As you mentioned you can use snap extenders, unfortunately once the panels aren't directly snapped to the boat anymore they become loose and the connection is compromised.
Another solution is EZ-Xtend Boat zippers found here on this website at
http://www.canvas-boat-cover-and-repair-advisor.com/ez-xtend-boat-zippers.html
They provide additional space by adding a zipper spacer.
They can be used both vertically and horizontally and are cut to length on your boat.
Other solutions aren't so convenient. You can find a marine fabricator and have them make modifications.
Cutting down your bimini frame isn't a great idea, because it will change the mathematics of the fit of your canvas, and when do you stop. Pretty soon you have lost to much headroom under your bimini top.
So it boils down to these 4 solutions.
1. snap extenders
2. EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers
3. Canvas modifications
4. Cut down frame.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for the question.
Tammy

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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

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"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.

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Owner, Boatbutler Marine Services, Inc.
Alpharetta, Georgia

Brilliant and Simple Solution

WOW!  I just got the EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers for my canvas and what a simple solution! Thank you for coming up with this.  I am telling my friends about this product.

Susan M. 

You Made Everything Easy

We just installed the zipper we received on our sea ray boat canvas- what an incredibly easy experience!  It makes snapping the canvas so much easier with the zipper extension.  Thanks for the crimper & tape - you made everything easy.  We just ordered 5 more longer ones to completely update our canvas.  Thank you so much for your quick response on our first order. 

F.Summer

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

Made our boating season very enjoyable!

Our boat was 10 years old when we purchased it and the canvas was stored all rolled up in the boat.   When we tried to put the canvas together the force required to zipper the canvas together was making the canvas split on the seams or causing the zippers to tear, so we had to leave parts of the canvas unattached and every time it rained we would get water in the boat.  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 R.

EZ-Xtend Zipper Saved the Day 

Tammy,
I purchased a used 27' Sundancer about a year ago.
I came with the Bimini, side curtains & windshield eisenglass panels along with a bimini to transom cover with eisenglass also.
I don't think the original owner ever put anything up except the bimini.
Nothing would fit, ever where it was short. 
If I cheated and put the windshield panels in the side curtains were never even close. If I did it the other way, sides first front panels were off. The canvas is hi quality material from a well known manufacturer.
Started researching about what to do. Then I came across a blog on the Searay owners site. One of the chats was about what I had going on. One owner who replied had purchased your zippers and was raving about solving his problem using them.
Well I'm here to "RAVE" about them also. My $300.00 investment with you has saved me thousands in replacing what is perfectly good canvas.
Boaters if you have a shrinkage problem and we're not talking the George Costanza kind this is your answer.
Your site has also grown to include more helpful information on boat care and maintenance. Great information and wonderful tips.
Thanks again Ron W.