DIY Pontoon Carpet

Replacing Carpet on your Pontoon Boat


Photos from the gallery,

Replacing your pontoon carpet is not that hard to do and I really think many people can do it. And you will save some money by doing it yourself too. What is the hardest part? Removing the old carpet from the deck because it is glued.

Preface: When the boat is manufactured, the carpet is glued to the deck before any seats or other items are assembled on the boat. Therefore we will do the reverse, take the boat apart, replace the carpet and then re-assemble the boat. Keep in mind, This is the right way to do the job and have a professional result that you can be proud of. You may want to take some pictures as you do this to show your friends and as a reference when putting the boat back together.

This is what we are going to do, details listed below in order. The Bimini top, railings, seats and console need to be removed from the deck and stored out of the way. When that is done, remove the trim from the outside edges of the deck and remove the old carpet. Then we will install the new carpet, the trim and re-assemble the boat.

Tools and supplies. coffee can or other container to keep bolts and screws in, box knife, wrenches, rubber mallet, pliers, screw drivers, sockets, ratchet, wire cutters, masking tape, ink pen, but connectors for wire, plastic wire ties, 1 trash bag, scraper, Come-along, c-clamp or c-clamp-vise-grip, right angle grinder, staple gun and 1/4 to 3/8 staples, 2 gallons contact glue, an old used paint roller and handle or pole, marine carpet as wide as the deck and long enough to cover the boat, some wood blocks to place under the engine skeg or transom[for boats with rear transom bolts that go through the deck],a heavy roller such as a tile roller or yard roller.

If you don't have a roller, use a 4x4 block of wood and a large hammer.(this takes longer, but works) After rolling the carpet out over the glue, use the block of wood on top of the new carpet and hit it with the hammer while moving the block with each hit until the entire area has had a hit. This sets the carpet into the glue. Have a coffee and lets get it done....


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  1. Our work area is the deck of the boat and at least 2 feet all the way around the deck. If you have more space on the sides, that will just make it easier. My point is, the pontoon deck is our work bench, we just need a place to put all the crap we are about to remove from that deck. Each item can be put in its group away from the boat.. the seats and console might be kept out of the weather or under a tarp in a dry spot in the yard.. the railings, gates and aluminum stuff can be out in the weather.. Try to keep the kids from playing with your boat parts, we will take them for a boat ride next week.
  2. Remove everything from the boat. If it's not bolted down, it needs to be removed from the boat and stored out of the way. [it's like going to a garage sale, seeing all the stuff you packed and never used]
  3. Disconnect the battery and remove it. You won't have to worry about any live wires. Wires: Be careful not to damage or pull any wiring as there may be courtesy lights, stereo speakers and navigation lights that have wires. Most wires have connectors that will simply pull apart. If NOT, cut the wires and label them with masking tape and an ink pen for future reference. The cut wires will be spliced back together with crimp-type-butt-connectors during re-assembly.(don't be afraid of wires, as long as the battery is disconnected)
  4. Remove the seats from the boat. Put all the screws in a coffee can, just put them all in there. We will sort them before re-assembly. Generally the seats are just screwed to the wood deck. Remove all the screws. Some seats may be fastened to the railing as well. As you get a seat all loose, remove it from the boat and continue until all the seats are out of the boat.
  5. Remove the Bimini top, railings, railing supports and lights from the deck. Do this before removing the console to make it easy. As you take the bolts out, put them all in the coffee can. Do NOT loose the bolts, we will sort them out before re-assembly.

    Remove the Bimini top first. There will be one wiring plug for the anchor light on the console side of the boat(disconnect it). Please be careful when removing the Bimini top as not to damage the anchor light, they are expensive. Then remove the railings and set them out of the way as you get them loose.

  6. Remove the console.
    You do not need to take anything apart in the dash board, it is all removed as an assembly. We must disconnect all wires that go down through the deck. You will see the hole in the deck where they come up into the console. If there are plastic tie wraps in the way, cut them. We will put new ones on during re-assembly. First disconnect the wiring harness. There is usually plugs that can just be pulled apart. The factory does this to make assembly fast. Any wires that do not have plugs, disconnect them or cut them and label them.(label as numbers like 11, 12 and so on) You do not need to know what the wires do, as long as you label them, number 11 hooks back up to number 11, and so on. Disconnect the steering cable. Most all pontoons use a rotary style helm and the steering cable has a quick-disconnect feature. Get a light and look up inside the console where the cable goes into the steering helm. You should see a PULL CLIP. Pull it out and put it in the coffee can with the screws. After the clip is pulled, there is a push lock on the helm right where the cable goes in, push it and give the cable a tug. It should come loose. You may have to cut some plastic ties that are on the cable under the deck. You should be able to push some of the cable down through the hole in the deck.

    TIP: The steering cable will pull out of the helm and it is covered in grease !! Use a trash bag to cover the greasy part.

    Now the easy part: remove the bolts that hold the console to the deck, remove the console assembly and store the console out of the way.

  7. Remove the outer trim from the deck. Remove the corner pieces from the front and back of the boat, 4 in all. LOOK under the edge of the trim and you will find some small screws along the underside that hold the trim to the deck, remove them. After those are removed, start at one end of the trim with a screw driver. Wedge the screw driver between the deck-wood and the trim, to pry it away from the deck. CAREFULLY work the trim loose working your way down the side of the boat. Please do not get too aggressive with it, we don't want to bend it or put a kink in it.

    note about engine weight: add info about possibly having to use wood blocks under the engine skeg for holding the weight of larger engines. Which will allow for removal of the 2 bolts that go through the rear wood deck, that also hold the transom[which is holding the engine]. If your boat has these bolts and the engine is a heavy one[2-stroke 4-6 cly,4-stroke over 40-hp], wood blocking should be placed under the engine skeg(or transom) to hold the transom up-tight to the boat frame when the bolts are removed from the deck to allow for trim removal or to do new carpet.

    The transom on a pontoon boat is an aluminum trough with a back mounting plate welded on it. That mounting plate is where the 4 engine bolts hold the engine to the transom. The transom is bolted to the bottom side of the pontoon frame or cross members with up to 6 bolts[older boats only used 4 bolts]. Some of those bolts are short and do not go up through the wood deck... HOWEVER... many pontoons have 2 bolts in back end of transom that DO go up through the wood deck, -and- the carpet may be under the bolts, or the rear deck trim may be held by those 2 bolts or [trapped by the bolts]. The bottom line is, when you take the bolts out, there is a piece of old wood under the engine so the aluminum transom won't drop away from the cross-member more than 1/4 inch when the bolts are removed. Loosen the bolts a few turns at time till they come loose, take em out --- get on with it--

    Now we should have a clean deck with nothing on it but carpet.

  8. Remove the carpet. Use a razor knife or box knife and cut the the carpet 6" in from the edge all the way around the whole deck. This will prevent the edge of the deck wood from being damaged or de-laminating during carpet removal. Most boat manufacturers staple the edge of the carpet to the deck right at the edge in order to hold it while the trim is assembled to the deck. After making the cut, start with removing the outer 6" of carpet while being careful not to damage the edge of the deck-wood. Use a wide blade scraper to help. After you get some loose from the deck, try pulling it towards the outside or even-with the side of the boat.

    OK, now that's done,

    lets do the middle part of the deck. Start by pulling the carpet by hand, if it won't come loose. Scrape about a foot loose across the back. Usually the back carpet is in better condition. After that is done, get a c-clamp or vise-grip and clamp it onto the carpet. It helps to roll or fold the carpet before clamping to give the clamp a better hold. Go find that old come-along and hook one end to the clamp or vise-grip and the other end to the front of the boat. Then just winch the carpet back till you run out of cable or the carpet tears. Do that again and again till the carpet is off.

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  9. Preparation. . . . This can take some time and effort The surface must be smooth and free of dirt. Use a scraper to clean off any small areas of carpet that still remain. A right angle grinder can help the get old glue and carpet off. If there are any low spots due to de-lamination of the plywood, use any waterproof caulking or wood filler to fill those spots. What ever you use, it should set up hard. When your all done removing, scraping and grinding.. Sweep the deck off thoroughly

    Half way done and we have a clean wood deck with nothing on it.

  10. Install the new carpet. Unroll the carpet on the deck and position it so it hangs over the edge all the way around.

    The control cables and steering cable may still be sticking up through the deck.. if so...position the carpet and cut an X with the box knife in the new carpet,, push the cables through the cut and leave them sticking up through the new carpet. That cut will be under the console, so it won't show.

    Leave the carpet in place and roll half of it back to expose the wood deck. I generally do the back half of the deck first and then glue the front half of the deck. It is easier to do the front or back half each time because the carpet will roll back easier than doing it from side to side.

    Pour a gallon of the glue onto the deck and use the long-handle paint roller to spread it around evenly. Roll the carpet back out on top of the glue, and use a heavy roller on top of the carpet to set it into the glue.

    When that half is done, roll the non-glued half back and brush some glue around the console area where the cables are sticking up.

    Then repeat the step for the other half of the carpet... pour the other gallon out on the deck, spread it around with the paint roller and roll the carpet back out on top of the glue, use a heavy roller on top of the carpet to set it into the glue.

    If you don't have a roller, use a 4x4 block of wood and a large hammer.(this takes longer, but works) After rolling the carpet out over the glue, use the block of wood on top of the new carpet and hit it with the hammer while moving the block with each hit until the entire area has had a hit. This sets the carpet into the glue.

    Go around the edge of the deck with a box knife and carefully trim the excess carpet even with the edge of the wood. Grab the stapler and staple the edge of the carpet to the wood deck. The staples need to be no more than 1/4" from the edge, all the way around, about 1-2" apart.

  11. Re-assemble the boat. In the reverse order that you took it apart, just put all the pieces back together. Start with the trim around the deck. Use the rubber mallet to pound it back on the edge of the wood... TIP: when you have the edge mostly in place, bolt the corners to it. The trim can be pounded on the end to move it forward or backward to line up the corners. Finish pounding the trim on, put the screws back in the bottom side of the trim to hold it to the deck.

    TIP: Use the scraper to push any carpet under the trim that got pushed back when pounding the trim back on.

  12. Finish putting all the pieces back on the boat. The trick with the screws an bolts is to dump out the can on a surface close by and sort them all by size and length. This makes it easy to find the ones you need. Start by counting the number of places that need the same type of bolt, then back to the sorted bolts for the stack with that number.(many times that'd's all you need to figure it out).

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