Click for Walker Click for Mag Bay Click for Nordhavn Click for Westport Click for Bering

Sunbrella vs Stamoid in the Florida sun

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Silver Lining, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Chesapeake/Florida
    Hi. We are planning to replace several pieces of canvas (cockpit enclosure, flybridge cover etc.) on our 50 Viking Sport cruiser. We have Stamoid now but have not been happy with how some pieces stood up in the Florida sun, especially the bow cushion cover and flybridge cover (went through 2 each in 6 seasons). We are choosing between a very dark blue Sunbrella and the off white Stamoid.

    What are your experiences or thoughts with the two materials particularly in the Fl environment. Breathability and trapping heat are the tradeoffs, but longevity is the biggest question mark.
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,799
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    It's been a few years since I've spent time in South Florida, but I had a gray Sunbrella bimini up there for over 6 years without problem. The boat was used every day and it was continually washed and folded back often. Never had a problem. It held its color, but again it was gray. I would question going with dark blue in Florida however as it will attract heat and may also fade. I can't comment on Stamoid there. I know probably what you do about it. It's light, easy to work with and looks good, but it gets stiff and feels cheap. After it's been stowed for a period I expect it to crack as I unfold it, but haven't experienced that happening. I have found that grommets and snaps tear out of Stamoid easier, and I'm not sure how repairs are done on it, if they can be. Canvas can be sewn and patched.
  3. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Stamoid can be repaired and stitched (must use Tenara!). The biminis on my boat (see avatar) are 10 years old. Imar makes a protective cream that really helps, though I have to say I only used it onc on the bimini; we have a stamoid cover for the front bow bench that is likewise 10 years old, takes a lot of sun, and green water too. Boat spent a lot of time in FL, and summers in NC. By "flybridge cover do you mean the bimini top? Not sure I'd go with dark blue for that. Not going to argue with someone who might want to try heavy Sunbrella, great stuff (again make sure it is sewn with Tenara). I just think the Stamoid looks sharper and can't argue with the longevity in my case.

    The craftsmanship of the fabricator is probably the biggest X factor. Mine were done by Lighthouse Canvas in Middle River Md. We've had other canvas guys on board for miscellaneous work, such as replacing zippers or fabricating screens and they all remark on how well they were made.

    The EZ2CY enclosures on the aft deck are also set in Stamoid and it is really excellent for that.
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    9,404
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I don't know why you're replacing tops/canvas twice in 6 years. You should be getting close to 6 years out of either material easily, unless you're using the wrong boat soap and cleaners on them which usually is the case. Do not use a bleach product/cleaner on Stamoid. Sounds like you need to educate your boat washer.....

    I manage/maintain yachts in Fort Lauderdale, FL and have a lot of experience with both. The Sunbrella in dark blue is hotter than hot and noticably hotter than say the dark beige color. After about 3 years, the Sunbrella will start leaking water through it (bimini top etc) and an application of the Starbrite waterproofing agent once a year will seal it, but you have to do it once a year. Sunbrella will last a tad longer than Stamoid overall IMO.

    Stamoid is a great material and lasts a long time. My experience with it is in both white and black. The white can be a little difficult to keep bright white. But it's a great material. The IMAR cleaner (hard to locate) does work great in keeping it clean, if not Krud Kutter from Home Depot works but can be a little tough on the stitching like Spray nine can be (don't use on Stamoid). The spray protectant from IMAR I've found to be a waste of time. But the IMAR stamoid wax/creme, works great and helps the longevity out. Both are good products, the cleaner and the wax. For a Bimini you can go either way (Sunbrella or stamoid), but for cushion covers I much prefer the stamoid for ease of removal and folding and the weight factor..... I also use stamoid for windshield covers (solid).
  5. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Chesapeake/Florida
    The flybridge cover is not the Bimini but a cover over the flybridge seating and upper helm (used when not on boat). The Bimini has held up well because it is only exposed when we are on the boat, otherwise it is folded back and covered. I am surprised how well your Stamoid has held up, our large flat bow cushion cover and the flybridge canvas are very exposed and have not held up in the FL sun. I have tried the Imar product a few times, but was not really happy because it seems to almost absorb the dirt and stain in the hot sun.

    I like the look of the Stamoid as well, but having a fabric that breathes may be nice for the cushion covers and the cockpit cover. The Bimini is not enclosed so heat build up may not be too bad. The cockpit cover has held up fine other than a few zipper repairs.
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    9,404
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Sunbrella is not going to breathe and navy will be a lot hotter than the stamoid you're replacing. On a boat like a 50' Searay with a navy Sunbrella bimini/enclosure, it's a good 20 degrees hotter inside of the enclosure than Sunbrella khaki color or Stamoid white/tan. I know, I manage both identical boats.....One has a Navy Sunbrella Bimini/enclosure.....the other had Sunbrella tan, then switched to Tan Stamoid and white stamoid on back cover and sides. I've You'll be much better off using stamoid and properly taking care of it. The Sunbrella will be far heavier and a royal pain to remove and store. ALL of the boats I manage are in the hot South Florida sun year-round and in direct sunlight all of the time, and I'm getting at least 5 good years out of stamoid on ALL of them.

    What boat soap are you using to wash the boat and how often? What type of washdown brush? What are you using to clean the stamoid?
  7. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Chesapeake/Florida
    I have been using a combination of 2 gals. warm water, OrPine conc. and a few squirts of dishwashing soap like Dawn. Never any bleach or harsh detergents. We only use the very softest blue shurhold brushes on the canvas.

    I used the Imar stamoid spray cleaner but not the cream. As I said above, I did not have very good results with the spray. The Stamoid wrap around 3 piece cockpit cover has held up well. But those pieces that get the most exposure have not, and the front bow cushion cover has been the worst.

    Why do you say the Sunbrella will not breathe? Thanks for the advice, specific input from boats in S FL is what I was hoping to get.
  8. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The Imar stuff I am referring to comes with a little sponge pad applicator. And only clean Stamoid with a vinyl cleaner (preferably the Imar Stamoid).

    Sunbrella comes in lighter weights and I find it very good for covering the flying bridge benches and chairs. Use 303 fabric protectant to "seal" it after any cleaning.

    I get my Imar products from these guys, a really good source for a lot of obscure quality stuff you won't find at West Marine, and they really know Stamoid and fabrics in general:

    Scalise Marine - Internet Ship's Store :
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    9,404
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Dawn and Orpine together, not harsh? Very harsh actually. Try the Aquatech boat soap. It takes black streaks off and does a great job and isn't concentrated ammonia like Orpine. The Imar stamoid cleaner and a magic eraser work well, then the Imar wax works wells also.....I have found the Imar Strataglass spray protectant is near useless......
  10. Searay400EC

    Searay400EC New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Bush River, Md
    Just joined and thanks for the info on the two products. I am on the Cheseapeake Bay and my Sunbrella already looks tough in just two seasons. I may take a look at this Stamoid.
    Good info
  11. 993RSR

    993RSR New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    annapolis/ft lauderdale
    I have a full F/B length white Sunbrella bimini and enclosure on my 45 Viking Sport Cruiser. Cleaning it is a pain but otherwise it has held up well. Discolored now, kinda grey but otherwise is fine. 6 years old.
  12. Searay400EC

    Searay400EC New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Bush River, Md
    Mine is in good shape but the molding action is crazy. Mine is also white and shows everything. I have hit it with the 303 put at best it looks whitish gray.
  13. 993RSR

    993RSR New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    annapolis/ft lauderdale
    Canvas company in West Palm told me not to scrub the Sunbrella. Soak it in Dawn/water overnight in a garbage bag and all the grime will soal out. Worked pretty well but not perfect. Better than scrubbing which had little effect
  14. Searay400EC

    Searay400EC New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Bush River, Md
    I will try that for sure. Like all things when we first got it the boat looked great even up close but now I hate sitting under it. I will give that a try this weekend. I'll let you know.
  15. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Stained or mildewed Sunbrella should be washed with bleach. Clorox Cleanup or equivalent is excellent for day to day cleaning. Here is a link to their cleaning guide:

    Care and Cleaning: How to: Sunbrella fabrics
  16. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Chesapeake/Florida
    As an update, we went with the Stamoid. Main reason is the additional heat from dark sunbrella, and we like the look of the white.

    I do have a question about magic eraser and cleaning Stamoid. So after a few weeks in the rain and sun the white stamoid is dirty and it doesn’t come off with soap and a gentle brush. I ordered the Imar stamoid cleaner and got some magic erasers. It cleans the vinyl to new with no effort. Just like magic! So I try to clean the aft corner of the boat where after many hours at sea there is some discoloration due to exhaust. This stains the fiberglass and wont come completely off with a scrub brush and the orpine and detergent soap I had been using, So, I try the magic eraser with water only and it comes off perfectly, like magic again.

    The question is, will this damage the vinyl or gelcoat after repeated usage? It works so well I did a little research on how it could work so well. “The secret behind these types of erasers is a material commonly called melamine foam. Melamine foam erasers are formed differently from other cleaning products and only need water to effectively clean most stains. When melamine resin cures into foam, its microstructure becomes very hard -- almost as hard as glass -- causing it to perform on stains a lot like super-fine sandpaper. ¬¬The cavity-ridden open microstructure of melamine foam is where the second major boost to its stain-removing capabilities comes in. Apart from being able to scrape at stains with extremely hard microscopic filaments, melamine foam is aided by the fact that the dirt is pulled into the open spaces between the spindly skeletal strands and bound there.”

    So it works so well because of the hard microscopic filaments. Are they harder than gelcoat and will it immediately remove any wax and damage or wear the fgelcoat after repeated use? Will it wear the vinyl over time, and can it be used to clean a hypalon dinghy? I have to admit that I am amazed at how easy and well they work. I did order the Aquatech soap Capt J recommended but have not had a chance to test this yet.
  17. Ilir

    Ilir New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Yes, magic eraser will damage the gelcoat and the vinyl (and sunbrella of course which is highly susceptible to abrasion)

    Magic eraser is a hard hard micro abrasive. Its the equivalent of wiping your gelcoat with Brillo or a rough polishing pad. it will haze the coating.
  18. bayoubud

    bayoubud Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Florida
    We had a Stamoid cockpit cover made for our sf. It was white and very hard to clean. The third time it was wind damaged we gave up and trashed it.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    9,404
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    For a cockpit cover.....the Sunbrella is way too heavy to deal with.

Share This Page