Everything You Need To Know About Buying And Installing Pontoon Bimini Tops
Pontoon boats were initially built for the traditional fishing buddies but over time it has become apparent that they are also great for parties and family outings. Today’s models are sleekly designed and offer a smooth ride hence buying one can be a momentous recreational investment. Even so, making such as step necessitates keen and informed decision-making since there are various factors that need to be considered beforehand.
Choosing the Right Pontoon Boat Bimini Tops
There are different types of bimini tops available in the market today, most of these are manufactured by different companies and sold by various distributors. That being said, the only way to really tell the confidence of the manufacturing company in its product, is by checking the warranty put on it. Whether it’s the material or the craftsmanship of the top, the warranty should be long enough to show the company’s faith in the product.
When picking out a new bimini top and frame, you need to be conscious about the material you choose in order to maximize its value for money. The best decision you can make is going for tops made using treated marine grade thread which can hold up against UV rays from the sun. You need also to check the make of the zippers such that they have strong sliders, preferably metal, and that they are either YKK or Lenzip. The sewing of the zipper should also be color matched and secure at the edges so that it does not unravel under tension.
The top should also have heavyweight webbing and stainless strap hooks that have been treated to resist UV rays. All the same, the warranty of the all the parts should cover free replacement since it’s a small price to pay by the company.
Top Five Pontoon Boat Bimini Tops
The 4 Bow Bimini Pontoon Deck (91-96”) is a high quality cover top featuring a double-walled aluminum frame and a 600 denier heavy duty canvas. It can be ordered online from Amazon for $109.95 inclusive of two straps and two rear support poles.
The New Square Tube Frame Vortex (4 Bow) Pontoon bimini top is 8’ long, fits 91-96” width and is supplied as a complete kit with support poles and other hardware extras. It can be got for $269.00 from Ebay.
The New Grey Pontoon / Deck Boat Vortex (4 Bow) bimini top is a great bargain at $249.00 on Amazon. The 10’ long, 91-96” wide, 54” high top, is supplied with its complete kit, canopy and hardware.
The Buggy-Style Surlast Pontoon bimini top (91-96”) is another great choice available in multiple colors with a standard frame. It goes for about $479.99 and can be got from evertons.com.
For up to 30% more coverage, the Extra-Long Big Top Surlast pontoon bimini top is a great choice. The top is priced at $629.99 at evertons.com.
Installing a Bimini Top
A bimini top offers the versatility and freedom to shade or catch some rays whenever needed. The tops can be mounted in a number of ways and reinforced using either nylon or steel fittings depending on the type chosen. Whichever the type you choose to install, you will need to determine its size by measuring the fixed width (between the two deck hinges) as well as the length and height. You should ensure that the height leaves sufficient headroom and the length is suitable for your pontoon boat.
When you want to install the top, you will need somebody to hold it in an extended position as you pick the spot for the hinges. If you find your gunwale mounts to be unworkable, you may use side-mount deck hinges so long as you mark the spots directly opposite to each other and check that the folded top stows with minimal interference. Before drilling the mounting holes, you should first place pieces of masking tape on the surface which you will use to mark the holes. You then need to confirm that the underside is free of wires or hoses.
After drilling, you will need to chamfer the holes with countersink which eliminates gelcoat cracking. Remove the masking tape and seal the surface with marine polysulfide before screwing the deck hinges into place. Once firmly fixed, you can now bolt the bow bases and erect the top to extend its web straps in line with the bow legs. In the M-shaped position, you will be able to mount the eye straps by marking, drilling, chamfering and bedding the each pair parallel to each other. At this point, you can now attach the snap-hooks and tighten the top using the buckles.
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