It is a heated debate within Pontooners as to which pontoon boat flooring is better. If you are considering buying a pontoon boat, it is important to know the pros and cons of the build of your pontoon.
Of course, certain parts of a pontoon are synonymous. However, some materials may be different. One of these is the pontoon boat flooring. You might find pontoons with vinyl flooring, carpet, and even aluminum.
There are major differences to each pontoon boat flooring. These differences include price per square foot, the look of the flooring, flooring durability, and more. With this, I am eager to bring some insight as to which type of flooring is better for you and your pontoon.
Let’s discuss the different pontoon boat flooring options available and the pros and cons of two of the most popular: carpet and vinyl!
- 1 Pontoon Boat Flooring Options
- 2 Carpeted Pontoon Flooring
- 3 Vinyl Pontoon Boat Flooring
- 4 Which is Better?
Pontoon Boat Flooring Options
It is important to note that investing in quality pontoon boat flooring is important. The reason for this is that it ensures your boat is well protected and well maintained against water exposure and potential harsh weather conditions.
Taking the cheapest routes when it comes to your pontoon’s flooring material can jeopardize the quality of your pontoon as well as the safety of you and your passengers. Therefore, I suggest taking all flooring materials into consideration and looking at which is best for your needs. Let’s look at the different pontoon boat flooring options.
Marine Carpet Flooring
Carpet for a pontoon has been used for several decades now and has been known to have the same similarities as household carpets. However, advances in technology have created new styles and forms of pontoon carpet materials.
This type of material is synthetic and is more resistant to wear and tear as well as water. Due to the evolvement of pontoon carpet materials overtime, a carpet is still a popular option and the cheapest. There are numerous styles, colors, and textures for marine carpets that create a nice aesthetic on your pontoon.
However, carpet does have a couple of drawbacks, which we will talk about in the next section of the article.
The most common pontoon boat flooring is plywood with carpet on top. This creates an evident outcome. Over time, if you do not take care of your pontoon boat flooring, the plywood will begin to rot due to water damage. This does create an evidently bad smell and mold, which can be hazardous if not taken care of.
Aluminum removes these worries because it is very easy to maintain and light in weight. With that in mind, installing aluminum is simple and the maintenance cost or relatively low as well. With aluminum, you do not have to worry about your pontoon’s floor rotting.
In fact, aluminum is also slip-resistant, which removes the worry of potential slips and falls from you and your guests. Lastly, for those that love a fast pontoon speed, and we know pontoons are not the fastest boat out there. Aluminum reduces the weight of your boat and can be used to strengthen the boat’s frame and structure. By reducing weight, you can potentially gain some speed while on the water.
Rubber flooring is known as the least attractive pontoon boat flooring option. It is without the rubber flooring for a boat is not the best looking or most comfortable. However, rubber pontoon flooring easily stands the test of time and can practically stand any abuse. Whether it is harsh effects or harsh weather elements, your pontoon is protected with rubber flooring.
Rubber flooring is simple to install. It is a solid sheet of flooring that is rolled on to your pontoon. With that said, this may be the best pontoon boat flooring option for fishermen or people that plan to use their pontoon boat for more industrial work.
For a classy dinner party, rubber flooring is not the most appealing!
Vinyl flooring is known as one of the most common pontoon boat flooring options. It not only looks nice, marine vinyl flooring materials are slip-resistant and can withstand weather elements. They perform well regardless of the foot traffic and weather conditions.
Vinyl flooring is easy to clean, maintain, and can practically be used on every area of your pontoon boat. Known as one of the least time-consuming options, vinyl flooring comes in sheets or in tiles. Now, vinyl flooring is also known as one of the more expensive options due to the many different styles, price per square foot, and the amount that you need.
With that in mind, now that we have covered the four-main pontoon boat flooring options, let’s dive into the most common.
Carpet and vinyl are known as the two most common pontoon flooring options. In this comparison, I want to bring some insight to the pros and cons of each and what you should know about them.
NOTE: The reason we are not covering aluminum and rubber is that they are more for the industrial type of pontoons and fishing pontoons. I might decide to add those options at the later date.
Carpeted Pontoon Flooring
I’ve learned through my research that carpet is considered the most affordable option. It is less costly and still looks appealing. It is important to note that the best pontoon carpet is marine carpet. Marine carpeting is created to withstand the elements, it is more durable, and more water resistant than regular carpet. Below are a couple pontoon carpet’s that I recommend from Amazon!
Pros Of Pontoon Carpet Flooring
Carpet is known as the preferred method for fisherman because it has a softer step and dampens sound. This is incredibly important when out on the boat for hours trying to catch a fish. Overall, carpet also is softer and for guests, it feels more comfortable and cozy.
There once was a time when vinyl flooring for a pontoon boat was considering a horrible option. It was because vinyl back then did not have a non-slip coating. Therefore, the carpet was the best choice because it offered plenty of traction. Now, that is not that case, which we will cover in the vinyl section.
Carpet does offer traction though. This means that with really wet feet or shoes, you will not slip! Safety wise, this is a big plus!
- More Relaxing
Carpet makes guests feel more at home! With a soft flooring, guests never worry about their feet hurting. And, if your pet’s on your pontoon, they can lie on the carpet and relax and you can feel good about your pet’s safety.
Cons Of Pontoon Carpet Flooring
- Hot Metal Rivets
In older boat models there are metal snaps and rivers that can get incredibly hot. On a barefoot, even with carpet, if you step on it on a really hot day, you might feel it.
We covered this earlier, which is an incredibly harmful and costly outcome of carpet. If a carpet is not properly taken care of or dried when it is really wet, it can rot. Under the carpet is plywood. Now, if your carpet is wet often and you begin to notice creaky flooring and a less-than-sturdy floorboard, it might be time to re-deck. If it is not properly taken care of, since carpet absorbs water, it can lead to mold that rots the plywood underneath. Overall, this can be a really costly procedure.
- Bad Smells and Stains
Can you imagine bringing your guests onto your bad smelling pontoon? One of the worst things about carpet is that it absorbs every liquid and scent that it encounters.
If you are a fisherman, imagine all the nasty smells and fishy liquid that can get on your carpet. If you plan on docking by a sandy beach, imagine ever sand particle seep into the fibers of your carpet. With this, you must keep in mind that maintenance on a carpet is the highest than any other flooring material.
I have written a guide about cleaning pontoon carpet, make sure you check it out.
Vinyl Pontoon Boat Flooring
There is a common misconception that pontoon vinyl flooring is the same as household vinyl flooring. Vinyl has come a long way since the old days! Vinyl flooring now offers more easy maintenance than ever before, non-slip flooring options and is more durable.
With that in mind, vinyl flooring is known as the preferred option if you want an appealing pontoon boat and can spend the money to enhance the flooring. Let’s take a look at the many benefits of vinyl flooring.
Pros of Pontoon Vinyl Flooring
- Easy Maintenance
Vinyl is really easy to maintain. To clean your vinyl flooring give it a good hose down and you can even use a pressure washer. However, It is important to only do this before winterization and to let the water dry completely. Otherwise, you risk the floor warping or becoming moldy.
When cleaning my pontoon, I sometimes add a bit of solution for a more enhanced clean. I recommend Star Brite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner.
- Easy To Keep Clean
Vinyl is easier to keep clean than carpet. My kid at times tends to have accidents, as do many children. With vinyl though, all I have to do is get a wet rag and wipe the mess off. Vinyl is also really helpful if you bring pets on board. In the case your pet has an accident, all you need to do is wipe it off and disinfect the area. With carpet, you risk there is a stain.
Unlike carpet, many people over-look vinyl because they think it will be hard and loud. This is a myth that is starting to come to light. Now you can add padding under the vinyl to create a sound barrier and added support. Now, the hard steps are cushioned with padding between the frame of the pontoon and the vinyl.
- Better Warranty Than Carpet
Vinyl companies are becoming more secure with the longevity of their products. Unlike carpet, which can become damaged after long periods of moisture, vinyl is known to last longer. In fact, since vinyl is flued heavily to the boat’s frame, it is known to create a waterproof seal.
- UV Resistance
Most vinyl floors are now UV stabilized, unlike carpet. If you have carpet, take notice of the different color areas, which some will appear more saturated. After a while, the carpet areas that are more exposed begin to fade. With vinyl flooring, you do not have to worry about this effect.
Cons of Vinyl Flooring
- Possible Slips
This used to be a con of vinyl flooring that has recently been debunked. Parents used to worry heavily about possible accidents if their child climbs on board really wet. However, now there is textured woven vinyl and vinyl with a non-slip surface. This, of course, brings us to the next con when it comes to vinyl.
- More Expensive
Depending on how you look at it, this can be either a con or a pro. Of course, this is a more beneficial investment compared to carpet. However, the price depends on the square footage of your pontoon and the style you are looking into.
Which is Better?
Overall, the better option depends on you and your needs. If you can cash out a bit more for vinyl flooring, it is the recommended option. Especially considering the maintenance cost of carpet, you might be saving more money in the long run.
However, if you see yourself taking care of your pontoon as fanatically as I do, carpet is a great option too. Depending on the type of carpet, style, and color, it can be as equally pricey as vinyl.
Let me know what you think: do you think vinyl is better than carpet and which one do you have on your pontoon?