There are a lot of different bimini tops out there. Or are there? If you really look you will find a lot of DISTRIBUTORS out there that sell bimini tops made by companies like Carver, Attwood, and Taylor Made. Sure you can find some that manufacture their own but how well do those companies stand behind their work? You can tell the confidence a company has in its products by the warranty it is willing to put on it. Many businesses simply warrant the material. For example Sunbrella has a 10 year warranty against fading and deteriorating. Glen Raven Mills who makes sunbrella warrants the material, not the bimini top manufacturer. But what about the craftsmanship of the bimini top itself? You may find some distributors and manufacturers that will give you a 2-3 year warranty on their craftsmanship. I find this insulting and you should too. Basically they are letting you know that they are not confident in either their ability to sew a quality item or they are not willing to use the correct raw materials to do so.
The main factor that determines cost of a bimini top is the fabric. The fabric manufacturer such as Glen Raven Mills’ Sunbrella already warrants the material. All that is left to a bimini top are zippers, thread, and binding -also called edging. These are very inexpensive items. You shouldn’t have to buy a brand new bimini because your zippers break. You also shouldn’t have to pay a custom canvas shop a lot of money to replace that zipper. You SHOULD be able to send it to the company that manufactured it and have them fix it for you. These items are inexpensive for the manufacturer and these are items that you can’t walk into a big box store to buy. You are at the mercy of the manufacturer or a custom canvas shop to have your bimini top repaired. There is at least one company out there doing what is right- they guarantee their work for the entire time you own their bimini top and frame.
When you are shoping for a new bimini top and frame make sure the company you buy your bimini top from only use marine grade thread that is treated to hold up against UV rays. They should use YKK or Lenzip zippers with metal sliders not plastic sliders. They should use color matched binding and send the entire bimini top through a machine called a surger to make sure the material will not unravel around the edges. The front and rear “pockets” (pieces of material that go around the framework) should be sewn down with three lock stitches instead of just one. This ensures the bimini top won’t separate when tension is applied to the frame to hold the fabric tight. A zipper is usually utilized in the pocket so it can zip around the framework.
Heavy duty stainless strap hooks and heavyweight webbing straps should also be utilized. All the parts that hold the framework together should be treated to resist UV rays. Their should be a warranty on those parts as well. Should you break a strap or the pieces that hold the frame together, you should be able to have those parts replaced for free. Why? Because they are inexpensive items and your piece of mind that you have a company standing behind you is worth it. You are also more prone to tell your family and friends about a company that will do this for you. It just makes sense for everyone.
It will pay off for you to do your homework on the company you buy your bimini top from. Make sure you ask these questions and demand answers. Make sure you are aware of what kind of service after the sale you will be getting. If the company you want to buy the bimini top from does not offer a warranty for more than a few years put them on the spot and ask why. Demand better. Demand service. Demand quality.
Northstar Products’ mission is to provide boat owners with high quality parts and products for their boats. We strive to do this at the lowest possible prices while still retaining a high level of customer service. We will exceed your expectations with our quality, timeliness, and professionalism. We are committed to making sure you are pleased with your purchase now and in the future. Northstar has been designing and building canvas for boats for over 35 years. Let our expertise and experience help guide you in making a good decision. If we can’t help you we will point you in the direction of someone who can. Our goal as a fellow boater is to give you the best products at the best prices with the best warranties.