How to Remove Boat Carpet ( And Not Damage Your Boat!)

How to Remove Boat Carpet

Is your old boat carpet all soggy and smelly? Maybe it is time to remove it and replace it with a new one. Your boat’s carpeting is meant to be changed after a few years or should be removed even if you don’t intend to replace it. You may be asking yourself now why you even installed a boat carpet in the first place.

There are many reasons why boat carpeting is recommended apart from aesthetics. However, just like any other thing, carpet can wear out and may even emit fishy odors after years of use. If you feel like it is time to change your old boat carpet, read on and learn how to remove and replace it with a new carpet.

Why You Should Install Boat Carpet

Most boat owners have their reasons why they decide to put a boat carpet, although there are other boat owners who prefer to keep the original flooring of their boats. Those who choose to keep a bare deck probably feel that installing a carpet is difficult and an additional expense. However, marine carpet installation is easy and will save you more money in the long run. If you are still hesitant to install a boat carpet, here are some good reasons why you should.

Carpeted boats provide more friction and prevent slipping

Vinyl floors can be very slippery when wet and boat flooring is almost always wet. If you have kids with you on your boat, they can be rowdy at times and may slip while running or playing. Even adults can also slip on wet floors. You wouldn’t want your children or friends getting into an accident while riding your boat.

If your boat is carpeted, it can provide more traction even if it gets wet. You can relax and enjoy your boat ride without worrying about your kids and guests slipping.

Protects your vinyl floors from punctures and scratches

Vinyl floors are easily punctured and can get scratches over time. You’ll never know if someone will accidentally drop a sharp object on your floor and puncture it. Constant walking and pushing of luggage and moving furniture around can soon damage your boat’s deck. Carpets can help preserve your boat’s deck and protect it from scratches and punctures.

They produce less noise

Sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet while you stare at the horizon, thinking about the good times. Or you just want to take a nap while the water gently rocks you to your slumber. The last thing you need is to be disturbed by heavy and loud footsteps. Marine carpets produce less noise compared to other kinds of boat decks.

Carpeted decks are more comfortable

Compared to other kinds of boat decks, carpeted boats are softer to walk on. It feels more comfortable on the feet and can give you a more relaxing and cozy feeling while the wind blows gently on your face. Whether you walk barefoot or with your shoes on, it will always feel more comfortable. In addition to that, in case someone falls, he or she will land on a soft surface and will not be injured seriously.

Don't Remove Your Old Carpet Just Yet

Don't Remove Your Old Carpet Just Yet

Yes, we know we told you that you need to replace boat carpet, but before you go and start taking it off of your boat, you may want to stop and think about it carefully. Boat carpets need to be replaced after a few years of use. This is because it can accumulate dirt as time passes by. Even if you regularly clean it, molds, mildew, and bacteria can grow on it. Furthermore, it can develop nasty stains over the years of use and you don’t want that unsightly blotches on your carpet.

Having said that, it is still best to delay replacing your carpet until you are ready and well-prepared. Here are some things to consider before finally get rid of your old carpet.


A new boat carpet can be very expensive so consider your budget first. Ordering a replacement carpet can be pricey, plus if you don’t have the time to install your marine carpet, you may need to pay more for installation. You don’t want to order just the exact size for your boat, it is always recommended to get some extra, especially if you have a pontoon boat.

Order Carpet Samples Ahead of Time

This is particularly important when ordering online. Sometimes the color or texture on the website is different in reality. So it’s best to order carpet samples earlier to make sure you get the right color and texture for your boat. You don’t want to order a big roll of carpet for your boat only to find out that the description on the website and the color are not what you’ve expected.

If you don’t have enough budget for samples, there are companies that offer them for free. However, they have a limit and it would normally take 5 to 10 days to arrive. However, if you have money to spare and you want to see more samples to choose from, you can always purchase carpet samples.

Decide on Carpet Ounce Weight

Aside from color and pattern, you also need to decide on carpet ounce weight. This simply means the fiber count in the carpet. The weight of the carpet will depend on how many fibers it has. The heavier or more loose fibers the carpet has the softer it is and more durable. Thinner and lighter carpets may not last a long time, so invest in a heavier carpet. 18 and 20 ounces are a great option; they are heavy and durable enough to last for many years.

Step by step Guide on How to Remove Boat Carpet

Step by step Guide on How to Remove Boat Carpet

If this is your first time removing your boat carpet, it is only understandable to feel intimidated. It may look hard and a lot of work, but if done properly it is fairly easy.

Check how your carpet is connected to the deck

There are different methods used to connect the carpet to your boat. Some carpets are glued down to the boat’s deck. If this is the case, you need to take measurements first before peeling the carpet off. You also need to check how the edges are affixed.

Check the stability of your boat trailer

Be sure that your boat is stable and well connected to the trailer. You wouldn’t want to fall off the boat while removing the carpet or when you get out of it. Once you have secured the boat trailer, you need to disconnect your boat’s battery.

Take pictures

Before removing the carpet, take pictures of everything that you need to remove. This will help you put things back together in place and this will help you remember how things looked like before. You will find this helpful when trying to remember how wires are connected.

Prepare necessary tools needed

You may need a staple remover, drill, scraper, screwdriver, and any other tools that you think you may need. It would also be handy if you have a small plastic bag where you can keep your tools or the things that you may need to remove from the boat. This will ensure that everything is in place in case you need to put them back.

Remove staples and panels

If the hatches and panels are riveted, you may need to drill them out. If there are staples, you need to remove them with care in a gentle twisting motion.

Pick an edge where you want to start

Choosing a corner to start in can be tricky as not all parts of the carpet pulls up smoothly. Slowly lift up the carpet and put a label on the back. You should keep the old carpet templates as this will help you install your new one. You can also use your old carpet to cut your carpet replacement precisely.

In case it gets difficult to remove the old carpet, you may need a utility knife or a tool that has a scraper blade to help you pull it up without damaging or breaking it apart.

Inspect the deck

Once you have removed your boat’s carpeting, inspect it carefully and make sure that there is no mold or mildew growing on your boat’s deck. You should also remove the residues of the adhesive before installing your new carpet.

Removing adhesive residue can be challenging but you can always use a heat gun or chemical glue solvent. However, be warned that some solvents can be difficult to clear out and some may even immerse on wood decks. If this happens, best to check with your boat’s manufacturer and ask for advice.

Step by step Guide on How to Replace Boat Carpet

Step by step Guide on How to Replace Boat Carpet

Once you have removed every piece of your old carpet, you are now ready to replace boat carpet with your new carpet. Marine-grade carpeting your boat is the way to go and here’s how you can do it.

Prepare necessary tools and materials

Before you start installing your new carpet, make sure you have all the tools you need. Here’s a list of everything that you will need.

  • Carpet knife
  • Marine carpet
  • Marine-grade adhesive
  • Rags
  • Scraper
  • Clamps
  • Weights
  • Acetone
  • Broom
  • Staple gun
  • Screwdriver

Prepare your boat’s deck

Make sure that your boat’s deck has a clean surface and there are no unwanted residues from your old carpet. You can use a soft cloth and soapy water to clean the deck. Get a dry mop with an absorbent cloth after cleaning it.

You can use the acetone and scraper to remove any old adhesive from your previous carpet. The acetone can also provide a better grip on your boat’s flooring for your new marine carpet installation.

Measuring and cutting the carpet

Now that your boat’s floor is ready, you can measure and cut your new carpet using a measuring tape and a carpet knife. It is best to cut the carpet a little bigger than cutting it exactly or too little. You can always use your carpet knife to cut off the excess.

Apply marine grade adhesive

Once you’re done measuring and cutting the pieces, you can start applying the new glue. It is best to apply the adhesive on the deck than on the marine carpet. But always check the instructions on your chosen adhesive as it can still vary. Apply glue evenly on your boat’s deck using a soft brush.

Time for marine carpet installation

Once your adhesive is ready, you can now install your new carpet. Best to do it in sections to ensure they are properly glued and in place. Once you have installed your new carpet you need some weights or a heavy object to press down the carpet on the floor. You can use a floor roller to do this.

To prevent seepage, let the glue set for at least an hour. You may need to repeat the process again. Once you’re done, best to leave your boat overnight to let the glue set it completely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions How To Remove Boat Carpet

Can you remove boat carpet?

Yes, it can be done with proper tools and knowledge.

How do you remove carpet from a boat?

It can be removed by peeling off the carpet. Be sure to work slowly to avoid breaking it and prevent tears.

What is the easiest way to remove glued carpet?

You can use a scraper blade to remove the stubborn glued carpet.

How do I remove carpet adhesive from a boat?

You can use water-soluble solvents or a scraper to remove old adhesive or glue from the boat.

Can you put regular carpet in a boat?

Yes, you can but it is not recommended as regular carpets will not be able to withstand the harsh marine environment. But if you still prefer to use regular carpets, go for an indoor-outdoor carpet.


Do you think you can now remove the carpet from your boat and replace it with a new one? Carpet replacement is not an easy process and you may need some help to make it faster and easier. When choosing a replacement carpet, go for a marine-grade heavy carpet as it is a good investment and can last longer.

The most labor-intensive part is removing the carpet; replacing it is the easier part. After you have removed the carpet, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area when you are ready for your carpet replacement. If you are a boat owner that has never installed a carpet on your boat, maybe it is time to get one.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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