How to Replace Boat Carpet (Step-By-Step Guide)

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How to Replace Boat Carpet

Replacing your boat carpet is often seen as a pain in the butt, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, it’s a necessary part of owning a boat with carpet, but that doesn’t mean you should look at it as just another thing to do to maintain your boat. Rather, it can be a great opportunity to give your boat the love and attention it deserves.

If you’re wondering how to replace boat carpet, you’ll simply need to remove the old boat carpet and then install the fresh carpet. It’s a bit more complex than that, but not by much!

Let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways:

Remove all of your old deck pieces, then tear the carpet off of the deck. Once the surface is ready, apply new adhesive to the appropriate areas of the deck, then lay out your cut carpet. Look for any bubbles or wrinkles and lift the carpet to remove them before placing it back down properly. 

Once the carpet is flat, you can staple it down to secure it. Finally, bolt the deck pieces back on, and your deck will be ready.

Things to Consider When Replacing Boat Carpet

Before you dive into the actual process of removing your old boat carpet and installing the new, there are some things you should consider.

The Type of Carpet

The world of carpets is vast and after a bit of research, you’ll quickly realize there are dozens of different options. You’ll find a plethora of websites telling you one thing or the other.

What you need to keep in mind is that all carpet that goes on boats needs to be marine-grade quality. Boats, as you know, spend a large majority of their lives within the water. When they’re not in the water, they’re in storage. While they’re in storage, they’re absorbing all the moisture that’s left within them after your most recent outing.

This means that mildew, mold, and moisture will all be constant problems that your boat and carpet will need to endure. Marine-grade carpet is the only carpet that will be able to stand the trials and tribulations that you need it to.There are a few different kinds, so be sure to do your research.

If you want more information on which type of marine-grade carpet is right for you, check out this article from

The Tools You’ll Need

The Tools You’ll Need

Before you dive into the process of removing and installing boat carpet, you want to ensure you’re well prepared. This means acquiring the proper tools and equipment you need to get the job done from start to finish.

Nobody likes to start a project and then have it sit in the garage for several months as you get around to finding all the right tools. On the plus side, the tools you need to replace boat carpet aren’t hard to find.

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • A tape measure
  • A quality carpet/utility knife
  • A scraper and acetone
  • A staple gun
  • Possibly a screwdriver
  • Weights and clamps to hold the carpet in place
  • A rag or two

All of these tools will be used in the process of cutting the correct sizes of carpet and then applying them onto your deck pieces.

It should also be noted that marine-grade adhesive, much like marine-grade carpet, is a must-have. The marine-grade adhesive was created and designed to withstand constant exposure to a lot of water as well as moisture over a long period. If you choose to use anything but marine-grade adhesive, you’ll be in for the unpleasant surprise of loose carpet that will pull off your deck in a matter of days.

Be on the safe side, use marine-grade adhesive for a longer-lasting, reliable, quality carpeting job.

How to Remove Boat Carpet

boat carpet

Once you have all the tools, equipment, and materials necessary to begin replacing your boat carpet, it’s time to begin to get rid of the old and bring in the new.

Here are the steps to remove the carpet, if any, that’s already on your boat:

Prepare the Surface

To start, you’ll need to remove all the deck pieces of your boat to work with them easier. If your deck pieces aren’t able to come off your boat, you’ll need to begin the lengthy process of removing everything from the surface of your boat.

This includes fence railing, hardware, various parts and accessories, and even pontoon boat seats. Keep in mind that you’ll need to jot down the exact locations of important items such as the fence railing so you can put it back together later when you’re finished.

If you’re able to simply lift the deck pieces off your boat, you won’t have to worry about this bit.

Begin Removing the Carpet

After your surface is prepped, you’ll be able to start the process of tearing the carpet off your deck. In most cases, this will be relatively easy but maybe a bit harder than you think depending on the adhesive that was used or the way the carpet was attached to your deck.

Look or any screws or staples that are holding the carpet in place. Use a screwdriver or other tool to pop these metal bits out. From there, use your scraper and begin to try to tear the carpet off the deck. If the adhesive is too strong, take a rage with some acetone and begin rubbing it along the underside of the carpet. This should make the adhesive much easier to remove.

It should also be noted that if your boat is relatively old, the plywood underneath the carpet may have become rotted. If this is the case, consider also replacing the plywood to increase the lifespan of your boat.

Once you’ve peeled off all the old carpet, you can start installing the new carpet.

How to Install Boat Carpet

Once the surface is prepped and the old carpet is removed, it is time to install a new boat carpet.

Here are the basic instructions:

(for a more detailed article, check out our guide on how to install boat carpet)

You can begin to apply adhesive to the appropriate areas of your deck. Most marine-grade adhesives are applied directly to the deck, rather than onto the carpet. However, it’s always best to follow the instructions for your specific product.

After you’ve laid the marine-grade adhesive down, it’s time to lay down your appropriately-cut carpet pieces. It’s best to work in sections to get everything as perfect as possible.

Once the carpet has been laid down, look for any bubbles or wrinkles. If you find any, simply lift the carpet and readjust it before the adhesive binds it down.

When the carpet is finally laid out well, go ahead and staple down the edges to help the structure remain intact.

Finally, take the now finished deck pieces and bolt them back into place on your boat. If you’ve simply cleared out your boat and didn’t remove any deck pieces, this is when you’ll begin to bring all the pieces of your boat that you removed back on board.

You have now replaced your boat carpet.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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