Note: For all products mentioned, please read the manufacturer’s directions regarding safety, surface preparation and clean up.
Please read the update at the bottom of this article. We tried a different repair method for the seat to our Toro riding lawn mower, which had several splits and had lifted completely out of the plastic seat shell.
There’s nothing worse than sitting down on your riding mower and getting “soggy butt”. The water that the foam has absorbed through tears, rips or splits in the vinyl seat rises up the second your full weight is in the seat. If there is damage on your mower seat, you can definitely buy a new replacement seat for $89 to $200 dollars. Or you can perform the repairs yourself.
Our reliable old craftsman mower had a badly neglected seat that needed repair. There were minor rips at the top and major splits on the edge of the seat. The molded foam underneath the tears had become crumbly and porous and was missing in sections. To repair the seat, we needed to fix the foam and repair the vinyl so that it was airtight.
Repairing The Foam
The foam of our seat is molded and the biggest split was on the right side of the seat. It was now wider than the left side, so we used strapping ties to pull it back into proper position. Then all the damaged foam was removed. We decided to useLoctite TITE Insulating Foam because it is semi-flexible after curing, and also provides adhesion. It becomes tack-free in about 8 minutes, and can be cut, trimmed or sanded after about an hour.
UsingLoctite TITE Insulating Foam, we applied foam into the missing foam areasinside the seat until it was almost 75% filled. You can fill it all the way, if you plan on trimming it to shape afterward. After the foam became tact-free, duct tape was applied to span across the vinyl and foam areas. A few random heavy items were placed over the repaired area, in a way that they conformed to the shape of the seat. We wanted to repairs to have the same molded shape as the rest of the seat.
We removed the weighted items and checked the repairs every 5 minutes or so, repositioning the weights as needed. After about 30 minutes, the weights were removed and we let the foam cure for another hour.
The nice part about doing the foam repair this way, is that the insulating foam is also adhesive, so it sticks to the original foam as well as to the bottom of the vinyl seat cover. No need to use an adhesive to make the vinyl stick to the foam.
Finally, we trimmed off the duct tape that spanned the vinyl seat and the repaired area. We left a section of the duct tape, where it had adhered to the new foam.
Repairing The Vinyl Seat Cover
The brush-on version of Plasti Dip is perfect for covering the repairs and making the surface waterproof. If you repaired foam, the vinyl cover should already be adhered to the new foam. But if you have small tears or rips that are curled upward, you’ll need to first apply an adhesive so that they’ll stick to the underlying foam. 3M 8090 trim adhesive is a great adhesive for this purpose because ithas a high heat tolerance. But any foam/vinyl adhesive should do. You may need to weigh down the vinyl until the adhesive cures.
Once you’ve prepped the vinyl, first apply Plasti Dip inside and between any of the gaps to fill them until they are level with the vinyl. Wipe off any excess from the vinyl. Let it dry and apply more if needed. Once the gaps are level with the vinyl, brush on a heavy application of the Plasti Dip, making sure to feather it out so that it blends into the existing vinyl. You may need to apply one or two coats.
If the Plasti Dip stands out and you want the seat to look uniform, you can buy the spray version of Plasti Dip and give the whole seat a quick spray.
Let the finished seat cure for at least 24 hours (if not longer) before using.
Updated Method For Lawn Mower Seat Repair
After using the above method to repair our Craftsman mower seat, we wanted to try out another way to repair out Toro mower seat. It had completely lifted out of the hard plastic seat shell and had two splits that needed repair. Unfortunately, we didn’t get photos of the “before” but do have images during and after the repair.
We figured we’d need a heavy duty adhesive to glue the foam seat back into the plastic seat shell frame, so we tried Gorilla Glue Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive. It’s available almost anywhere, but you can also get it from Amazon by clicking the image below.
To secure the seat to the frame, we put a heavy bead of caulk around the entire foam seat and seated it inside the shell frame. We used a little bit of water to smooth out the caulk. We let this cure for 24 hours before working on the splits in the seat.
Next, wefilled the gaps within the seat splits with the caulk adhesive and allowed that to cure overnight.
The next morning, we used a putty knife to put a final coat of adhesive over the splits and use water to feather out the edges.
Once everything was completely cured, we applied a coat of black appliance epoxy paint to the entire seat. You can get the paint pretty much anywhere. We used Krylon and you can find it at Amazon if needed.
The one thing we really like about the adhesive caulk is that it’s flexible. Not only did it glue the cushion back into the frame and fill the seat splits, it created a flexible membrane over the split.