How to Replace a Boat Carpet – Easy Steps to Replace Boat Carpet

how to replace boat carpet

Everything withers eventually, and your boat carpet is no different. With time it’ll thin out and lose its color.

This guide was designed to help you confront that eventuality. It’ll equip you with everything you need to know to face the boat carpet replacement challenge head-on.

There are a lot of reasons why boat owners decide to replace their carpet.

The first and most obvious reason is to add value to their investment. The second is to improve the boat’s appearance by dealing with the old carpeting.

Sometimes it is not possible to clean your boat carpet, and replacing it is the only solution.

Whatever reason motivates this desire to change, you need to know that it could be disastrous if you get things wrong the first time around.

How to Prep for Boat Carpet Replacement

Replacing your boat carpet starts with shopping. And you can’t just walk into the store with no background knowledge. You need to know and understand certain things before you make your purchase.

All your furniture on your boat must be marine graded or resistant to water and stain. The seats and carpet must be able to resist stains, water, and UV rays, or they aren’t worth the money you are about to spend on them.

Chose Heavier Carpet

When choosing a boat carpet, the general rule of thumb is heavy is always better. The quality of a particular carpet can be summed up to the number of fibers it has.

The heavier carpet has denser and more durable fibers than the lighter ones. They will last longer and will remain presentable long after the lighter ones lose their color and texture.

I will recommend going with carpets that are 16oz or heavier. Anything lesser might be just a colossal waste of money.

Choosing the Right Color

This isn’t too important if you aren’t too hung up on aesthetics. But if you are all about appearances, then take your time with this process. Try choosing something that goes well with the seats or decals on your boat.

Choosing the Right Glue

The glue you decide to use is just as important as the carpet itself, and you always want to go with water-based glues. Alcohol-based glues work fine too, but they tend not to last as long as the water-based stuff.

How to Replace a Boat Carpet

Remove the Old Boat Carpet

  • Remove all the furniture and removable objects off the deck of the boat.
  • Then inspect the edges of the carpet to make sure everything is in order.
  • Get a knife and start to pry the carpet from the deck at one edge and work your way to the other edge.
  • If the process proves too difficult, cut the used carpets into smaller squares to ease the removal process.
  • When you are done, try to inspect the entire deck for a stray patch and remove it.
  • Clean the entire deck with acetone to get rid of the remnant of the old adhesive or glue.
  • If any patch proves too difficult, then use the glue scraper.
  • Try not to be too harsh as the glue remover can damage the deck floor.

Your carpet will age out and fade eventually. It doesn’t matter how well you take care of your boat. The only way to slow down the process is by making sure you get the best materials the next time you change your carpeting.

Map out The Deck

This might be one of the most complicated parts of the process. It involves mapping out the deck so that you can cut and apply the carpet hitch-free.

When you are changing your boat carpet, you don’t want to cut it after applying the adhesive. It will prove difficult to reinstall the furniture or other objects you might have ignored earlier on.

This is how to correctly and safely map out the deck to prepare for the carpeting process:

  • Get lots of tapes, paper, a pen, and a small knife.
  • Start the mapping process by inspecting the deck and observing all the visible edges.
  • Apply the tape all these edges face up so that the adhesive side is what you can see.
  • Make sure you jot down all the measurements even though you are making a cutting map.
  • Bend and curve the tape to accommodate all the furniture and features that might need to be installed much later.
  • After mapping the entire deck correctly, lay the paper on the adhesive side of the tape and then lay another layer to hold it in place.
  • When you have safely secured the boat’s entire shape from the tapes, then transport the paper carpet to a flat surface.

Cut the Carpet

Cutting the carpet is admittedly a sensitive part of the entire process. Contrary to popular belief, there is much room for error here, provided you bought enough carpeting.

  • First, you spread the carpet on a flat surface, then lay the paper map on it.
  • Proceed to cut the carpet according to the map laid out by the paper.
  • Make sure you add a little extra here and there when you are cutting the carpet. If the measurements say 3 feet, try to add a quarter of a foot just if something goes wrong.
  • When you have cut the entire carpet using the paper guidelines and the measurements, proceed to go over the entire carpet measurements again.

Apply the Adhesive

When shopping for adhesive, it’s always better to buy too much than too little. Two tubs should be enough for a fairly large boat, but a little extra is always advised. The only thing you need during this process is a good brush.

  • Before you start, clean the deck with a little acetone again.
  • Start by getting a brush and then applying the glue evenly across the entire deck.
  • You must make sure that the glue is even across the entire surface. When it is not even, some of the carpets might not stick to the deck.
  • After applying the glue to the entire deck, you get the carpet and prepare for the entire carpet changing process’s easiest part.

Install New Boat Carpet

  • This is by far the easiest part of the entire process. All you need to do is lay the carpet on the adhesive after letting it dry out for a bit.
  • After laying the carpet, quickly trim the excess carpeting before the glue sets in.
  • When everything is to your liking, take a walk on the carpet and make sure you add a little weight to your steps. This ensures that the adhesive sticks properly to the carpet.
  • After thirty minutes, the glue should have dried completely. You can start moving all the furniture back to where they belong without any worries.


Replacing the boat carpet might seem scary. You will have to rip the entire deck apart and strip the carpet from the floors with your own hands. That can be quite nerve-wracking.

Halfway through the entire process, any average person might be tempted to call in some professionals but won’t need to. This article has equipped you with all you need to know, and we are certain things will turn out just fine.

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