Replacing Pontoon Carpet: A Comprehensive Guide

Replacing the carpet on your pontoon boat can be a rewarding project that not only enhances the aesthetics of your vessel but also improves comfort and safety. Over time, the original carpet can become worn, stained, or damaged, necessitating replacement. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of replacing pontoon carpet, from selecting the right materials to installation and maintenance tips.

Why Replace Your Pontoon Carpet?

Benefits of New Carpet

  1. Improved Appearance: Fresh carpet gives your pontoon a clean, updated look.
  2. Increased Comfort: New carpet is softer underfoot, making your time on the boat more enjoyable.
  3. Enhanced Safety: New carpet provides better traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  4. Increased Resale Value: A well-maintained boat with new carpet can be more appealing to potential buyers.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Carpet

  • Visible Wear and Tear: Frayed edges, bald spots, or holes.
  • Persistent Odors: Unpleasant smells that don’t go away with cleaning.
  • Stains: Permanent stains that detract from the boat’s appearance.
  • Mold and Mildew: Growth that cannot be adequately removed.

Choosing the Right Carpet

Types of Pontoon Carpets

  1. Marine-Grade Carpet: Specifically designed for marine environments, it is resistant to water, UV rays, and mildew.
  2. Cut Pile Carpet: Soft and comfortable, but can hold water longer.
  3. Loop Pile Carpet: Durable and water-resistant, better for high-traffic areas.
  4. Textured Carpet: Offers good traction and durability.

Carpet Material

  • Polypropylene: Commonly used for marine carpets due to its durability and water resistance.
  • Polyester: Offers a softer feel but may not be as durable as polypropylene.

Carpet Weight

  • 16-20 oz: Lightweight, easier to handle and install, suitable for light use.
  • 20-28 oz: Mid-range weight, balances comfort and durability.
  • 28 oz and above: Heavyweight, offers maximum comfort and durability, ideal for high-traffic areas.

Color and Style

  • Choose a color and style that complements your boat’s interior and exterior.
  • Consider darker colors for high-traffic areas to hide dirt and stains.

Tools and Materials Needed


  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge or T-square
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Carpet adhesive
  • Carpet roller or heavy-duty roller
  • Screwdriver and screws
  • Pry bar
  • Needle-nose pliers


  • Marine-grade carpet
  • Marine-grade plywood (if replacing the deck)
  • Carpet padding (optional)
  • Marine-grade carpet adhesive
  • Stainless steel staples
  • Marine sealant


Removing Old Carpet

  1. Clear the Deck: Remove all furniture, fixtures, and accessories.
  2. Remove Old Carpet: Use a utility knife to cut the carpet into manageable strips. Pull up the carpet, using a pry bar if necessary.
  3. Remove Adhesive Residue: Scrape off old adhesive using a putty knife or adhesive remover.
  4. Inspect the Deck: Check the condition of the plywood deck. Replace any damaged or rotten sections.

Preparing the Deck

  1. Clean the Deck: Sweep and clean the deck thoroughly.
  2. Seal the Deck: Apply a marine sealant to protect the plywood from moisture.

Carpet Installation

Measuring and Cutting the Carpet

  1. Measure the Deck: Use a measuring tape to measure the length and width of the deck. Add a few inches to each measurement to allow for trimming.
  2. Cut the Carpet: Lay the carpet out on a flat surface. Use a straight edge and utility knife to cut the carpet to size.

Applying Adhesive and Laying Carpet

  1. Apply Adhesive: Spread a thin, even layer of marine-grade carpet adhesive on a small section of the deck using a notched trowel.
  2. Lay the Carpet: Starting at one end, carefully lay the carpet onto the adhesive. Smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles as you go.
  3. Roll the Carpet: Use a carpet roller or heavy-duty roller to press the carpet firmly into the adhesive.

Securing the Carpet

  1. Staple the Edges: Use a staple gun to secure the edges of the carpet to the deck. Place staples every few inches for a secure hold.
  2. Trim Excess Carpet: Use a utility knife to trim any excess carpet along the edges.
  3. Reinstall Furniture and Fixtures: Once the adhesive has dried and the carpet is secure, reinstall any furniture and fixtures.

Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning

  • Vacuum Regularly: Keep the carpet free from dirt and debris by vacuuming regularly.
  • Spot Clean: Address spills and stains promptly using a mild detergent and water.


  • Use Mats: Place mats in high-traffic areas to protect the carpet.
  • Avoid Sharp Objects: Be cautious with sharp objects that could damage the carpet.

Seasonal Care

  • Winter Storage: If storing your boat for the winter, ensure the carpet is dry to prevent mold and mildew.
  • UV Protection: Consider using a UV protectant spray to prolong the life of the carpet.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Loose Carpet

  • Check Adhesive: Ensure the adhesive was applied correctly and is fully dry.
  • Reapply Adhesive: If sections come loose, reapply adhesive and press the carpet firmly into place.

Wrinkles and Bubbles

  • Roll Out: Use a carpet roller to smooth out wrinkles and bubbles.
  • Relift and Re-lay: If persistent, carefully lift the affected area and reapply adhesive before laying the carpet back down.

Stains and Odors

  • Deep Clean: Use a carpet cleaner designed for marine environments.
  • Replace Sections: For severe stains or odors, consider replacing the affected section of carpet.


Replacing the carpet on your pontoon boat is a worthwhile investment that can enhance the look, feel, and safety of your vessel. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be equipped to tackle the project with confidence, ensuring a successful installation that will last for years to come. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a first-time boat owner, new carpet can make your pontoon boat feel like new again, ready for many more enjoyable outings on the water.

Happy Boating!

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