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  • Writer's pictureSileather

The most suitable coated fabric for boat upholstery

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

“Sileather - just had my cushions redone with this magical, wonderful, amazing material and I am a convert for life! So easy to clean, comfortable to the touch, durable, and easy to work with, no worries about the dreaded pink staining, many colors, and texture options... What's not to love?!?!" ——A user of Sileather silicone fabric commented like this.

Sileather has been on the top of marine-grade upholstery coated fabric in recent years: has been adopted by many famous boat builders and loved by users.

What is the difference between Sileather and other common marine-grade coated fabrics, and is it really the most suitable fabric for marine environments?

We will compare Sileather silicone fabrics and other coated fabrics for boat upholstery in terms of reliability, ease of care&comfort, and safety.

Introduction of common coated fabric for marine

Common marine-coated fabrics on the market include vinyl and Sileather silicone-coated fabrics. The following content will give us a basic understanding of them through the composition of the fabric, raw material, and the performance of raw material.


Vinyl is a synthetic material coated with PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) resin on the fabric.

PVC resin is a polar non-crystalline polymer with strong force between molecules. It is a hard and brittle material; its impact strength is low. Therefore, when PVC resin is applied to coated fabrics, plasticizers must be added to improve its plasticity and flexibility and reduce brittleness.

Polyvinyl chloride has the advantages of flame retardancy, high chemical resistance, and good mechanical strength.

But it has poor stability to light and heat. Without heating the stabilizer, polyvinyl chloride starts to decompose at 100°C and decomposes faster above 130°C. When heated, it decomposes and releases hydrogen chloride gas (hydrogen chloride gas is a toxic gas) to change its color, from white → light yellow → red → brown→black. Ultraviolet rays and oxygen in the sun will cause the photo-oxidation and decomposition of polyvinyl chloride, which will reduce the flexibility of polyvinyl chloride and eventually become brittle.

Sileather Silicone coated Fabric

Sileather silicone coated fabric is also a synthetic material, unique in that its material is silicone and Sileather's experience in R&D.

Silicone is a thermosetting resin with nice ductility, so it does not need to add plasticizers when it develops to the silicone-coated fabric. Besides, silicone is one of the most human-friendly compounds. It is used in food contact materials, such as baby pacifiers; cosmetics, etc.

In addition, the performance of silicone is stabled which has low surface tension, high and low-temperature resistance, weather resistance, flame resistance, water repellency, corrosion resistance, etc.

Comparison of vinyl and silicone fabric in the marine


The characteristics of the raw materials largely determine the performance of the coated fabric.

When vinyl is used in boat upholstery, the most common problem is pinking staining which is a specific type of bacteria called streptoverticillium reticulum that exists in freshwaters such as rivers, lakes, and streams., these bacteria produce a digestive by-product, a pink dye, that is soluble in plasticizers. On the other hand, most plasticizers are harmful to the human body and the environment. In addition, vinyl also has problems such as cracking and yellowing.

Sileather silicone-coated is praised by users for its weather resistance with long life and does not provide a mold growth environment in actual use.

Easy to care for and comfort

Ease of care and comfort allows us to enjoy boat life more, making daily maintenance worry-free. For example, we won't like stains sticking to the fabric that cannot be removed, we won’t like the fabric piping hot under the sun, etc. Therefore, the stain resistance and rapid cooling of the fabric are also important.

Sileather silicone fabric is inherently stained resistant due to the low surface tension which means won't disappear with time. The users can remove stains easily with wipes, and it is bleach-cleanable.

Vinyl could be stain resistant with additives.


Last but not least, the impact of materials on the human body and the environment.

We mentioned above that silicone is the most human-friendly compound. In addition, Sileather adopts an environmentally friendly production process, and silicone can also be recycled. Click the link to learn more about Sileather's sustainability

As we mentioned above, most of the plasticizers that vinyl needs to add are harmful to the human body, and toxic gases will be generated at high temperatures.


In summary, Sileather silicone fabric has an excellent performance in marine environments due to its superior raw materials, effectively extending the service life while enhancing the user experience.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in knowing more about Sileather or require samples to evaluate

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