We get frequent phone calls about bimini tops for pontoon boats.
We have listed some questions and answers below to help you evaluate your options.
Let's break this question down . . .
Is thread rot repairable?
Yes, restitching has to be performed on all bimini tops for pontoon boats at some point. It's a fact that boat thread rots unless it's a lifetime thread. It's very unlikely that you have lifetime thread if it's rotten.
Important: Each year you should give your thread the "tug test". Check in several places to make sure it isn't rotten. If you find rotten thread in one place, restitch the entire top because rotting of the other thread won't be far behind. This quick check might help keep you from more costly repairs.
Is the fabric in my pontoon boat canopy 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.
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 inspection, then it might be a good candidate for repair.
If my zippers are shot, are they replaceable?
Yes, zippers just like thread, will have to be replaced at some point on bimini tops for pontoon boats.
The zipper sizes that normally come with a pontoon bimini are #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, the repair price starts to add up.
My pontoon bimini has a damaged frame, can I get that fixed?
It is hard to replace or repair square tubing at most local canvas shops. I think I can safely say that the majority do not bend square tubing. Bending these frames requires special equipment. 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 worthwhile.
If you are unsure, your local custom canvas shop will be able to help you with this decision.
How much will it cost to re-cover my pontoon bimini?
You will be surprised to learn that the cost to buy cheap bimini tops for pontoon boats online, including both frame and fabric, can cost less than a custom version at most 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 unless by shear coincidence. Each manufacturer of 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 on bimini tops for pontoon boats:
Utilizing my lifetime of fabrication experience, I've looked around to find a bimini top for pontoon boats that you can buy and install yourself that has all the right stuff.
So whats the right stuff for a pontoon bimini top in a box?
You just can't beat these features in pre-manufactured bimini tops for pontoon boats:
For other sizes, search for pontoon bimini tops offered by Restore Pontoon
Attaching 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 completed.
Adding a pontoon enclosure to my online purchased pontoon bimini top . . .
Many of the pontoon tops you purchase online will have a hard time supporting an enclosure or pontoon top canopy extension. They are not built with this added stress in mind.
First, check your frame for strength. A weak or bent frame may be better off being replaced. Especially with plans to add more weight stress coupled with the wind factor.
If this is still your desire and your frame is worthy, then plan on modifications or consider a re-cover done by a local custom canvas shop. They will reinforce things properly and sew the zippers into the appropriate places.
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 to an older enclosure, and some may not be willing to do it.
Your best bet is to start with the right stuff so everything ages together!
Are you considering doing your own pontoon bimini top repair? Here are some of the items you may need to accomplish this! You should definitely visit our very informative boat cover repair page. You may also need our EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers to extend the life of your bimini tops for pontoon boats.
Relieve stress on zippers and add slack to shrunken pontoon canvas . . .
Repair your own canvas . . .
Boat Canvas Repair Kit
Other Tools Needed
Also see our Boat Canvas Material selection here.
92 Polyester Thread 4 oz. Available in Black and White
138 Polyester Thread 1 lb. Available in Black and White
Replace your own zippers . . .
Purchase our polyester Bimini straps . . .
OR use our Heavy Duty Quick Polyester Webbing to make your own straps . . .
Replace worn frame parts . . .
Square Tubing Clips 1"
Square Tubing Clip 1 1/4"
Bimini Top Hinge 1 1/8"
Sliding Bimini Bracket 1 1/4"
We wish you the best on your DIY bimini tops for pontoon boats repair!
Visit our store to find products for your other boating needs!
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