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I need to replace the bunk and cushion covers on a racer cruiser. Any suggestions on a material (other than vinyl or leather), which is waterproof so that the foam doesn't absorb water from crew in wet weather gear, sails etc. Preferably want something comfortable for cruising, deliveries etc. 

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Open cell foam with mesh bases on the covers will drain, that means you can use a softer material such as Sunbrella Cushion (or whatever they've renamed it this year). We use Dry Feel foam for this style - very open cell structure to drain water. You will need to rinse and dry the cushions after each 'wetting' to avoid any possible moisture  build up and associated mildew etc.

There is a huge colour/pattern range available in the Sunbrella upholstery lines, just be careful with some of the more 'interesting' pattern options as they often have a more open weave which is not a combination with foul weather gear, sail bags etc.

The other option is a PU coated acryllic, such as Sunbrella Plus. This is waterproof so will not absorb water but is not as soft/tactile as the upholstery version, it won't be quite as comfortable and you'll still need to maintain it by rinsing the outer layer and re-applying the water repellent coating every season (maybe more with heavy use) to stop the actual threads absorbing water and staying damp. It is also a bit harder to sew because it's thicker and stiffer - tight radius corners etc on cushions can be awkward with this coated cloth. 

There are other brands of acryllic available, some are perfectly good whilst others aren't worth the cost saving compared to Sunbrella. Materials such as WeatherMax are more durable and hard wearing but not as soft as acryllic so less comfortable in this application (better suited to exterior covers).

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7 hours ago, Rawhide said:

I need to replace the bunk and cushion covers on a racer cruiser. Any suggestions on a material (other than vinyl or leather), which is waterproof so that the foam doesn't absorb water from crew in wet weather gear, sails etc. Preferably want something comfortable for cruising, deliveries etc. 

It’s common to have two covers 

the permanent base cover is durable  sunbrella 

The  top removable  protective cover   is  a fashionable , washable ,  lightweight fabric 

typically microfiber fabric 

This top cover is a fitted sheet style with an elastic perimeter 

the system is nice because you can throw it in the washing machine 

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I'd be hesitant to fit a towelling/microfibre cover onto a vinyl/pleather cushion - they'll slide around which would be an issue when sleeping underway. It'll work on Sunbrella covers but this may not be a solution for the 'waterproofing' issue the OP was looking for....

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Sunbrella Furniture Fabric is not the same as the exterior canvas. It is what you want for cushions. It will not resist water. The way to deal with that is to wash the cushion covers, and air the foam, from time to time. You could cover the foam with thin plastic scrim before installing the covers.

Im in something like my 5th year full time liveaboard with SFF salon cushion covers and I could not be more pleased. They wash beautifully and have been very durable. I do not put them in the dryer, but they dry so quickly it is not an issue

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The closed cell foams I saw were very pricey and very heavy compared to poly foam.  I also don't remember closed cell being as comfortable to lay on as a medium or high density poly.  

Sailrite has a video with a good comparison of foams.  They mention silk film for waterproofing.  I havent tried it.

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17 hours ago, yoyo said:

The closed cell foams I saw were very pricey and very heavy compared to poly foam.  I also don't remember closed cell being as comfortable to lay on as a medium or high density poly.  

Sailrite has a video with a good comparison of foams.  They mention silk film for waterproofing.  I havent tried it.

Closed cell foam does not breath  , best to use closed cell outside in the weather 

For inside,  memory foam and combinations of foam types  , laminated , are best  

talk to a marine bedding    shop for options 

 

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Besides Sunbrella, Outdura and Tempotest are great too -- more colors, patterns and textures to suit your taste.

If you want cheap, check out the Charisma chenille from Bartson (distributor). It comes in dozens of colors and patterns, is comfortable, super-tough, nothing sticks to it, and I've never seen a faded example. It comes from India, and the closer to the source, the cheaper it gets. It's usually all over eBay.

Reticulated foam is great for cockpit cushions, but overkill for interiors, unless your boat gets super wet all the time. 

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