The seats mowers are designed to handle all kinds of abuses, but many seasons of exposure to the sun and humidity will have its effect. Cushioned padding is a sign that the mower seat needs repair. The rips and holes in the cover are even worse – they allow moisture to enter the foam cushion, causing mold and soaking through the seat of your pants. Fortunately, you can easily reupholster your mower seat by following the steps below.
Step 1: remove the seat assembly
Most lawn mower seats consist of foam glued to a fiberglass base, known as a “tray,” attached to an adjustable metal bracket. Details differ by manufacturer and model. Make a note of the latches, screws, and bolt locations on the pan. If your mower has a backrest, you will find a tray for the seat and another for the backrest.
After releasing the pan from the holder, you will see where the vinyl cover spread over the foam and stapled to the bottom of the pan. Loosen the staples with a flat screwdriver or pliers and remove them. If you find rivets instead of staples, just cut the cover around the rivets and leave them in place. Peel off the cover to reveal the shaped foam cushion.
Step 2: repair or replace the foam
At the very least, your foam will need patches. Pack pieces of rebond foam into dents and splits in the seat pad. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth. When you replace the seat cover, any small bumps will even out. If the foam is badly worn, take note of the height and width at several points, remove it from the pan, and attach a new foam block with spray adhesive. Open cell rebond foam is fine for most applications, but if you expect to store the mower in humid conditions, use a closed cell foam product.
Cut the foam with sharp blades, or cut with an old steak knife. Use a bandsaw to make large cuts. The seat cover will lose support over the concave areas of the foam, so keep the shape as convex as possible.
Step 3: Roll out a new seat cover
You will need to use a weather resistant material for the upholstery of your new seat. You can use marine grade vinyl with a non-slip leather-like texture. Synthetic canvas is another possibility – you can even use upholstery pieces from old outdoor furniture. Cut a piece of cover material for your seat, leaving a lot of overlap. Place the cover face down on your workbench and place the seat in the center, top side up. Fold the lid and put in a staple. (If fiberglass tray resists staples, switch to carpet tacks or rivets.) On the opposite side from your first staple, firmly stretch the cover until you feel the foam compress, using pliers if necessary, and staple the cover at this end. . Work around the pan, tightening the cap and stapling it. Your staples should be no more than ½ inch apart.
Put the seat back on the stand of your mower, and voila!