How to Repair Vinyl Upholstery

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Vinyl upholstery comes in all shapes and sizes.
Vinyl upholstery comes in all shapes and sizes. (Image: chairs in a row image by Michael Drager from Fotolia.com)

Vinyl is one of the most common alternatives to leather because it costs less and is easier to clean. However, just like leather, it's susceptible to rips and tears. But a tear in your vinyl upholstery does not necessarily mean a huge repair bill from a professional upholsterer. With the help of a vinyl repair kit often you can fix and mask the rip.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinyl repair kit: backing cloth, colored adhesive palette, plastic spatula, grain paper, heat transfer tool
  • Scissors
  • Paper plate
  • Iron (depending on heat transfer tool)

Cut the backing cloth so that it is 1/4-inch larger than the actual rip or tear. Gently insert it beneath the vinyl. Smooth it out so that it is not bunched or wrinkled in any area.

Select a color from the color palette of adhesive, or mix two colors together using the plastic spatula included in your kit on a paper plate. Close up the rip so the sides are touching or as close to touching as possible, without stretching the vinyl.

Apply the adhesive on top of the vinyl all around the rip. Choose a grain paper that best matches the grain of your vinyl and draw an "X" shape lightly in the middle of the paper with a pencil. Press the X into the middle of the tear and press down firmly. This will help you more efficiently match up the middle of the grain paper with the middle of the tear. Do not move the grain paper.

Turn on your heat transfer tool included in your kit. Some of these tools will have a button that lights up when it is ready, others require you press them against a heated iron until they are extremely hot. When ready, press your heat transfer tool against the grain paper, moving it around the rip in a circular motion for three minutes. This is necessary to cure the vinyl. Allow the grain paper to cool for an hour.

Peel off the grain paper and inspect. The adhesive you applied should be completely firm. Your rip should be well concealed.

References

  • "Ultimate Auto Detailing Projects;" David H. Jacobs, Colin Date; 2003
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