When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How To Replace Boat Floor

The floor of your boat puts up with a lot of wear and tear and they deteriorate over time if not looked after properly. Replacing the floor of your boat is usually very expensive, especially if you want it done right and the amount of care that your boat floor needs depends on the type of floor it is.

Also, if you maintain your boat floor it will prevent mold and mildew from breeding and making it look unsightly which will raise its value when you go to sell. 

To know how to properly care for your boat floor and keep you from having to replace it altogether, this informative piece will lead you in the right direction, but if it is too late for you and your floor is needing to be replaced then the way in which to do that will also be covered so that you have the proper knowledge for whatever situation you are in. 

How To Replace Boat Floor

Different Types Of Boat Floor

To start off, we will have a look at the common materials used for flooring boats and how they differ from one another so that you can make an educated decision as to what flooring would be best for you. The two most popular boat floor types are carpet and vinyl. 

Wood is another popular flooring type but is more complex when it comes to maintaining and fitting it so requires a more specialized guide.  


You may think it’s odd to have carpeting on a boat, but it is actually quite popular and can be used for indoor spaces such as cabins. However, more durable carpets are suitable for the whole deck too. The carpeting used on boats has a textile-based floor covering that consists of nylon, polyester, wool, olefin, and polypropylene. 

There are different types of carpets you can choose from as well such as the twist which is the most common option. In a twist carpet, fibers are twisted into position and connected directly to the backing of the carpet.

It’s a popular choice because it’s aesthetically pleasant but wears out faster and is harder to clean. If you want a carpet that may not look as nice but is more durable and easier to clean, then looped carpets would be a strong contender.


Vinyl flooring is a good choice for your boat if you do not have much time for maintenance but be advised that depending on what kind of vinyl flooring you have, should be used in areas that do not come into contact with moisture.

However, a lot of vinyl flooring on the market is designed to withstand the conditions of a deck and is made to look like wood while staying completely water-resistant and durable.

Additionally, you can easily re-install vinyl flooring when you want to remodel your boat, this also makes it possible to quickly remove the flooring when there is a leak so that you can fully dry it out before putting it back down again. 

To ensure that you get a vinyl flooring that can handle whatever is thrown at it, it is advised to get a type that is UV-resistant, thick, and has a wear layer to give it a longer life span.

You can also think about the way in which you want to install your flooring as vinyl flooring can either be loose lay, glue down, or click and lock. If you want to transfer your flooring between boats easily then you are best off with a loose lay vinyl which will make this a breeze. 

Yes, practicality is important, but so is appearance – especially if you are the one who is looking at it whenever you get into your boat. Vinyl flooring can come in an assortment of colors and patterns so it is up to you to pick the one you want to share the seas with.

How To Maintain Different Types Of Boat Floor

Now that you are familiar with the three most common types of boat flooring you can get, it is time to go into the details of how to maintain them and keep them looking their best for years to come. 


To maintain carpet flooring is not too taxing as it is quite similar to how you would maintain your carpet at home. In order to pick up dirt and debris, you can use a broom or a cordless vacuum, and should be done either daily or weekly to prevent grime from getting stuck deeper down into the carpet.

Having carpet flooring also means having a higher likelihood of stains and need to be caught quickly with a brush, soap, and warm water to stop them from sticking around. 

However, if you are too late you can use a natural cleaning solution with water and vinegar. Let this mixture sit on the stain for 15 to 30 minutes and blot and repeat until the stain is gone.

If you rather use a store-bought stain remover, you are more than able to do so but make sure to check that they are not harmful to marine environments and read the directions carefully. It’s also always worth doing a test patch on the carpet in an inconspicuous spot first to check that it does not do any lasting damage to the lovely new carpet you just installed. 

It is a good idea to deep clean your carpet every month and can be done in a number of different ways. If you don’t mind spending a lot of time and energy cleaning, then you can use the old-fashioned hand scrubbing technique.

Make sure the brush you use is stiff so that it penetrates deep down into the carpet and the only other things you will need is a bucker of water and detergent. Once you have finished, let it dry in naturally and fluff the carpet with a dry brush afterward for best results.

If you prefer an approach that requires less elbow grease then you can also use a steamer or carpet cleaner that you can rent but you will need access to electricity to do this. A power washer is also good for dislodging stubborn debris that may have found itself deep in your carpet.

If you have money to spend then you can leave this monthly deep clean to the marina who will carry out the service. 


Vinyl flooring is low maintenance, but it still requires a weekly clean. Since muck and grime are only able to sit on the surface of vinyl flooring, it is really easy to clean and all you will need is a damp cloth, or mop and bucket but if you do not want to get the floor wet you can use a vacuum or broom instead. 

Even though vinyl flooring can withstand many different marks, it is not totally stain-resistant and any stains that come into contact with the vinyl should be cleaned instantly with water, soap, and brush. If the stain is proving too stubborn, then you can use a tougher cleaning solution that is safe for marine use. 

To give the vinyl flooring a good clean, all you need is a hose or pressure washer to send all of the dirt flying off of the surface. Afterward, you can go about your business as the vinyl dries naturally in the sun

How To Replace Boat Floor

So, now you have a good idea of the different types of boat flooring you can get and how to maintain them, you can now move on to exchanging the old, unsightly floor with a sparkly new one that will stay on your boat for much longer. 


To remove carpet flooring from your boat, you must first disconnect the boat battery and unload the tackle. Then remove the carpeted panels and hatches and remove the staples with a gentle twisting motion. It is important to keep things gentle as you pull up the carpet and work slowly starting in the corner.

If the carpet is not coming up, you can use a utility knife to carefully scrape the carpet up, remove all the adhesive residue. Once all the carpet is up, this is a perfect time to check the bare deck for any signs of damage, mold, mildew, and rot so that they can be sorted before you put down any new flooring.

If you are applying carpet to your boat, it is a good idea to measure the space beforehand and send these measurements to a manufacturer who will send you a precut carpet directly. Keep in mind though that it is expensive, and you will save a fair bit of money if you do it yourself. 

Before you install the carpet, wear vinyl gloves and keep the area well ventilated as you work. Then, roll out the new carpet facing downwards and smooth out any lumpy bits, you can use this as an opportunity to mark the back of the carpet with arrows to help you orientate it correctly. 

If your carpet is not already cut, use a utility knife with a sharp blade for clean cuts, if you have any loose fibers it’s best to cut them with scissors rather than pull them out with your hand to prevent any unraveling or damage. 

Use one or more heavy objects to place in the center before gently rolling the carpet out toward the center. Spray some glue over small areas each time at this area and once it is secure, you can begin working outwards, a floor roller will work well with weighing down the carpet as you apply it and if you get any glue on the carpet, it must be cleaned off immediately with soapy, warm water.

Once you have done this, leave the carpet be for about an hour while the glue dries, and do not step on it once an hour has passed as it can cause wet glue to seep out from the edges. Once it has set, go over it again with a roller to make sure it is flat and secure. 


It is easy to remove vinyl as it usually just needs to be cut with a sharp knife around the circumference before moving onto cutting strips which makes it a lot easier to manage when you pull it up and dispose of it.

You can use a lever tool to help separate the vinyl flooring from the bare deck and a scraping tool to rid of the adhesive. If you feel that the vinyl is coming away too easily then it may be because you are removing the vinyl from its backing layer instead of the whole piece of vinyl. 

When you are placing vinyl flooring, it is important to gather accurate measurements of the space you will be laying it down on. Once you have the measurements, cut plywood to size and roll the vinyl fabric over the top once you have filled any holes with spackle that the plywood may have, and then secure the plywood in place with screws. 

The next step is to apply marine adhesive to the plywood with a putty knife and lay the vinyl down carefully in place. This adhesive will take about 24 hours to set completely and should be heavy-duty enough for most but if you prefer, you can use a staple gun with stainless steel staples to secure it around the edges.

Lucas Jones