How to Fix Ripped Vinyl Stools

by Karie Lapham Fay

It's a fact of life: if it gets used, it's going to wear out. While vinyl wears much better than many other upholstery materials, it's still vulnerable. A vinyl stool withstands so many sittings -- and perhaps occasional kneeling and standing as well -- that eventually it's bound to happen. It rips. Suddenly the ease of cleaning it and its invulnerability to spills matter little. A torn vinyl stool is an eyesore, and replacing it costs money you hate to spend to replace something so simple. Instead of buying a new one, invest your money in a vinyl and leather repair kit. Using one is fairly simple, and with a little patience, you can make your stool look almost as good as new.

Items you will need

  • Soft cloths
  • Mild dish soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sandpaper, fine-grit
  • Small scissors
  • Canvas or similar fabric
  • Tweezers or similar tool
  • Vinyl repair kit, one- or two-part formula
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • Small spatula, plastic knife or other applicator tool
  • Cotton swab
  • Iron (optional)
  • Clear vinyl finish spray (optional)
Step 1

Clean the vinyl on the stool. Use either hot, soapy water -- the gentlest cleaning solution -- or a little bit of rubbing alcohol to remove dirt, grease, sweat residue and other contaminants. Rinse with a damp cloth, then rub dry. Any residue interferes with the repair's bond.

Step 2

Scuff up the torn area with a small piece of sandpaper to improve repair adhesion. Snip away any frayed edges using small scissors, leaving the remaining vinyl material blemish-free. Any blemish in the repair area will transfer to the patch, making your job needlessly difficult.

Step 3

Cut a repair patch to measure a little larger than the rip itself. Use canvas or a similar, durable fabric for best results, measuring about 1/2 inch larger than the rip on all sides.

Step 4

Fold the repair fabric slightly and push it into the rip and through, so it's inside and under the vinyl. Straighten and smooth the fabric to ensure it lays perfectly flat. A pair of tweezers or a nail file may help achieve this.

Step 5

Mix the vinyl repair mixture according to the product instructions. Add tint as specified to match the existing vinyl, or use a product that's pre-colored. Follow the manufacturer's instructions precisely for best results.

Step 6

Spread the repair formula under the edges of the tear, using the application tool included with the repair kit or a small, flat tool like a small spatula or plastic knife. Leave a thin but consistent layer, like butter on bread, underneath the vinyl border to bond the patch to the edges of the tear.

Step 7

Pull the edges of the vinyl tear together. Fill in any gaps between the tear edges before smoothing on more, similar to frosting a cake. Use a wet fingertip to smooth any problem areas as you work. Allow the repair to air dry as directed -- perhaps 10 or 15 minutes -- before applying another layer. Feather the edges of this and any future layers past the edges of the first layer to avoid a ridge where the buildup abruptly ends. Continue as directed, or until you are satisfied with the appearance. Smooth the final layer with a fingertip or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Avoid drenching the material.

Step 8

Create a grain pattern with the graining paper, if enclosed. Lay the paper over the repair area and apply a hot iron as directed. Smooth the heat over the paper to transfer the pattern.

Step 9

Spray with a clear vinyl finishing spray to create a sheen on the repaired area, if necessary, to match the shine of the surrounding vinyl. Following the product instructions, spray lightly and evenly. Extend to the surrounding chair to blend the finish thoroughly.

Tips

  • A hairdryer, held several inches from the vinyl, helps the vinyl repair mixture to dry quicker. Avoid overheating the vinyl with either the hairdryer or the iron, if used.
  • Clean the application tool between coats to prevent it drying to the tool and making a smooth application difficult.

About the Author

Karie Fay earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in law from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. After growing up in construction and with more than 30 years in the field, she believes a girl can swing a hammer with the best of them. She enjoys "green" or innovative solutions and unusual construction.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images