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Boat Shade Tops Care & Use

Congratulations on your purchase of a shade top from SugarHouse Industries. With occasional cleaning and careful use, you will enjoy your shade top for many years.

Warranty

Warning

Bimini Operation

Caring for Your Shade Top

Cleaning

 Warranty

10 Year limited manufacturer warranty of Solution Dyed Acrylic (Sunbrella™) fabric.

7 Year limited manufacturer warranty on Vinyl Coated Polyester (Top Gun® 1S) fabric.

3 Year limited manufacturer warranty on Solution Dyed Polyester (SunLast®) fabric.

2 Year limited warranty on frame workmanship.

Warranties are contingent upon proper use and care of your boat top. Failure to follow these guidelines may void the warranty.

Warranty can be redeemed through SugarHouse Industries. Detail information regarding warranty coverage is available on our warranty page.

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Warning

  • Although some tops are designed to travel short distances while standing up, ALL tops should be laid down and secured when traveling long distances to prevent rubbing holes in the fabric. Frame or fabric damage caused by towing with tops up is not covered under the warranty.
  • Clear plastic windows should never be stored in direct sunlight. Do not leave them on a seat in the boat or anywhere else where the sun may hit them. Sunlight shining through the clear plastic is magnified which may cause the plastic to fuse together and/or damage boat upholstery.
  • Although designed to be used on a moving boat, tops should only be used at speeds below 35mph in calm weather conditions to avoid personal injury or property damage.

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Bimini Operation

Setting up your bimini:

  • Open the bimini up and clip in the front and rear hold down straps by attaching the snap hook to the eye straps.
  • Adjust the hold down strap so that they are as tight as possible and the top is level.
  • Ensure that the rear brace is securely fastened to the deck hinges with a screw or quick release pin.

Folding down your bimini:

  • Unclip the front hold down straps.
  • Fold the top backward, taking care that the canvas folds in as wrinkle free as possible.
  • If you have a storage boot, place it securely around the bimini so that the curve of the bimini follows the curve of the boot and zip.

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Caring for your Shade Top

  • Mildew can be your shade top’s worst enemy. Mildew is always a result of negligence. Our marine fabrics are specially treated to resist mildew growth, but mildew can and will grow on any surface that is dirty and damp. Once this mildew growth has started, it will then attach the fabric of the top itself. To help prevent mildew growth, keep your boat top clean and always thoroughly dry it before storing it for an extended period of time.
  • For easy operation, keep the snaps and zippers on your boat tops free from dirt and corrosion. A lubricant will prevent as well as breakdown existing corrosion. We recommend using a commercial lubricant such as E-Z Snap. Avoid using oil-based lubricants which may stain your fabric.
  • Boat tops with transparent plastic windows require special care and attention. When storing, the windows should always be rolled up instead of folded. Hard creases in the plastic can leave marks and may cause windows to tear or crack.
  • Regularly check all deck fittings for tightness and tighten as needed.
  • Ensure that hold-down straps are snug. There should be little or no slack in the hold-down straps when attached to the gunwales.
  • You do not need to use a waterproofing or “Scotch Guard” spray on your new boat top. It should have all the treatment it needs for several years.
  • Repair any holes, tears, or pulled out snaps immediately. Catching problems early will help extend the life of your top.

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Cleaning

Proper care and cleaning of your new boat top is important for maintaining its appearance and durability. Most of the cleaning products mentioned can be found at our store or other retail locations.

Solution Dyed Acrylic (Sunbrella®) Fabric

Vinyl Coated Polyester (Top Gun® 1S) Fabric

Solution Dyed Polyester (Sur Last®) Fabric

Transparent Plastic Windows

 Solution Dyed Acrylic (Sunbrella®) Fabric:

CAUTION: Never use a high-powered pressure washer or commercial car wash sprayer. Never machine dry these fabrics – AIR DRY ONLY.

Acrylic fabrics will withstand years of normal exposure to sunlight and rain.  They resist mildew, sun-rot, and atmospheric chemicals while retaining their color and strength.  They carry a 10-year, limited manufacturer’s warranty and feature a water and stain resistant finish which simplifies cleaning.

To prevent the need for vigorous cleaning and to maximize the life of your boat’s shade top, the fabric should be rinsed off with a hose each month to remove dirt and other debris. The fabric should have a deep cleaning every 2-3 years. Solution-dyed acrylic fabric does not promote mildew growth.  However, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric.

For simple stains or a light cleaning the fabric may be washed with a solution of mild detergent (i.e. Woolite or Dawn) and lukewarm water. Let the solution soak into the fabric and use a soft-bristle brush to scrub gently. Rinse thoroughly with clean water until all cleaning residue is removed and then air dry.  Size permitting, your cover can be put in a washing machine, using a natural soap with cold or warm water and then air dried.

For a deep cleaning or to remove stubborn stains (i.e. mildew), prepare a solution of one cup of bleach, 1/4 cup of mild detergent, and one gallon of water.  Allow the solution to soak into the fabric for 15 minutes. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub gently.  Rinse thoroughly with clean water until all cleaning residue is removed and then air dry. After a deep cleaning or five years of use, the water repellent finish (i.e. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard) should be reapplied to the fabric.

Smaller fabric pieces that can be removed entirely from their supporting framework can be machine washed in a front-load washer using cold water with a mild detergent and air dried.

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Vinyl Coated Polyester (Top Gun® 1S) Fabric

 CAUTION: Never use a high-powered pressure washer or commercial car wash sprayer. Never machine dry these fabrics – AIR DRY ONLY.

General Cleaning Procedure

Hand Washer:

We recommend using a soap and not a detergent when cleaning. Detergents contain surfactants that are very difficult to remove completely causing the effectiveness of any post treatment water repellent to be greatly reduced.

Fill a large container with warm water between 100-120˚F. Dissolve 1 cup of mild soap and 2 cups baking soda. Soak the stained material in the cleaning solution for 3-5 hours. Avoid crushing or creasing of the fabric. Gently swirl or agitate the material every half hour. At the end of the soaking period, visually inspect for remaining stains. The mild scouring action of baking soda and a mild soap should loosen most stains. If necessary, use a soft bristled brush to scrub in a light circular motion around any remaining stains. For more stubborn stains, we have had success using a 10% solution of Mean Green via a spray bottle (this is a detergent and will negatively affect the application of a post treatment water repellent). Spray the solution onto the stains using a spray bottle application. Use the same scrubbing directions listed above to loosen the stains. After removal of all stains, rinse once with warm water and three times with cold water. Continue with a cold rinse until only water remains. Hang material to dry. A post treatment water repellent such as AQUA-TITE® GREEN must be applied after fabric is fully dry and/or at least once a year to help the fabric’s longevity.

Industrial Washer:

If possible, select appropriately sized washing equipment to avoid crushing or creasing of the fabric.

Load material into washer and select warm cycle, temperature range 100-120˚F (do not use high temp or hot cycle). A gentle cycle should be selected to avoid strong spinning or tumbling of the fabric.

Dissolve 1 cup of mild soap, plus 2 cups baking soda in 1 gallon of warm water and add to washing machine.

Before the end of the drain cycle inspect the fabric for remaining stains. The mild scouring action of baking soda and a mild soap should loosen most stains. If necessary, use a soft bristled brush to scrub in a light circular motion around any remaining stains. For more stubborn stains you will likely need to use a detergent; We have had success spraying a 10% solution of Mean Green via a spray bottle. (As mentioned above, a detergent will negatively affect the application of a post treatment water repellent). Spray the solution onto the stains using a spray bottle application. Use the same scrubbing directions listed above to loosen the stains.

If necessary, repeat above steps to remove any remaining stains.

After removal of all stains, use a multiple rinse cycle to thoroughly clean all soap from the fabric. Rinse once with warm water and three times with cold water. Visually inspect to ensure all soap has been removed, if not, continue with a cold rinse cycle until only water remains.

To dry material, avoid excessive spinning or tumble drying. Hang material to dry. A post treatment water repellent, such as Aqua-Tite Green, must be applied after cleaning. Allow fabric to fully dry before storing or applying this treatment.

Cleaning Procedure for Mold & Mildew Growth:

Procedure describes a hand cleaning method for removing mold and mildew growth. Please note that most mold and mildew have to be removed by some kind of soak. Scrubbing will likely not remove it.

Use a container with a lid and large enough to avoid crushing or creasing the fabric. If you cannot find a container large enough for your cover, follow the below steps performing them on a section of the cover that can comfortably fit and repeat until all sections are clean. Fill the container with a with warm water between 100-120˚F. For every 25 gallons of water, dissolve ½ cup of mild soap, ½ cup baking soda, and ½ gallon of bleach (safety note: wear gloves and eye protection while handling bleach). For best results, weight the piece down with jugs of water or the like (something that won’t bleed on the fabric or degrade in bleach) to completely submerge the piece.

NOTE:  If your cover has any vinyl windows, DO NOT SUBMERGE THEM!  Bleach will mar or cloud them permanently.

Soak the areas around the window a little at a time.  Seal over all grommets, snaps, or metal fasteners as bleach will cause these to dull and tarnish.  Reusable rope caulk weather-strip or clear fingernail polish works best.

Soak the fabric for 24 hours under a closed lid. Avoid crushing or creasing of the fabric.

Gently swirl or agitate the material every half hour for the first 2 hours and the last 2 hours of the total 24 hour soak.

At the end of the soaking period, visually inspect for remaining stains. The mild scouring action of baking soda and a mild soap should remove most stains. If necessary, use a soft bristled brush to scrub in a light circular motion around any remaining stains.

If necessary, the cycle can be repeated once more to remove residual mold and mildew growth.

After removal of all mold and mildew growth, use a multiple rinse cycle to thoroughly clean all soap from the fabric. Rinse three times with warm water and three times with cold water. Visually inspect to ensure all soap has been removed, if not, continue with a cold rinse cycle until only water remains.

Hang material to dry. A post treatment water repellent, such as Aqua-Tite Green, must be applied after cleaning. Allow fabric to fully dry before storing or applying this treatment.

Treating Color Transfer:

The pigmentation in vinyl coated polyester fabric should not migrate onto upholstery vinyl. If some surface rub-off should occur, remove it with vinyl cleaner of mineral spirits. In areas where vigorous movement of the fabric against a hard surface will occur during use, use of a buffer strip is recommended.

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Solution Dyed Polyester (Sur Last®) Fabric:

Add 2 ounces of mild soap such as Woolite or Dawn dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon of lukewarm water.

Clean the fabric with a soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and air dry.  For stubborn stains Add maximum 1 cup of bleach to one 1 gallon of water. Spray on lightly to the fabric face (non-coated side). Do not soak fabric. Prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals can damage the coating. Rinse immediately. Do not leave on for more than 2 minutes.

Cleaning with harsh cleaners such as bleach will require a re-treatment like 303® Fabric Guard™ to restore water repellency.

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Transparent Plastic Windows:

Tops with transparent plastic windows should be sprayed with clear water regularly.  The windows should also be treated with a plastic cleaner/polish such as 210® Plastic Cleaner/Polish.  This will seal the plasticizers in, which will help keep the window from becoming discolored or brittle.

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