Spring Project: Time to re-do your boat floor?

There are shops out there that specialize in boat repair and re-carpeting. But for those who want to do it themselves, Bill Kosick of Bottoms Up Boat repair in Johnsburg, Illinois, gave me some insight on what goes into the process of re-carpeting a boat. If you decide the boat isn't worth it, check out our New Boats and Motors Buyers Guide.

With every repair you will begin with the removal of the hatches, panels, and carpet from the areas that you are working on. The removal of the existing carpet from wood and Aluminum surfaces can be challenging. The following will help you along the way:

1. When removing the existing carpet you may need to remove several extra components such as: rubber trim, vinyl side panels, consoles, or hatches. Prior to removing any components make sure you take before photos so you can replace all the items in their proper places.
2. When you are dealing with aluminum there is a lot of work required too not only remove the carpet, but the adhesive as well. The use of lacquer thinner is needed to break down the bond and allow the carpet to be removed. Make sure that all the excess glue is removed from the flooring before attempting to apply new glue. 
3. The use of proper tools will help in the removal of the carpet. Remove staples with a staple puller using a twisting motion. This will allow you to not damage the carpet if you plan on using the piece again. 
4. Protect all areas that are not being worked on with plastic so as not to ruin or stain them .
5. When removing components, use hand tools and not power tools, as it is easy to strip the heads out on the screws. Also during the re assemble you want to do this by hand or slow driver bit like a bit driver as you may spin the carpet or vinyl on the panels and cause damage re assembling. 
6. If you have to replace any wood it is best to use the highest number of plys you can buy from your local Indoor lumber yard. An epoxy resin, such as West Systems, is applied prior to installation to seal the wood on all sides as well as the exposed ends. You do not want to use pressure treated Deck plywood as the chemicals will leach out of it and stain the carpet. 
7. The carpet should be cut and dry fitted leaving approximately 1 to 2 inches of free carpet on all sides for trimming or tucking upon completion. A simple utility knife works well for cutting the carpet, however make sure you change your blade often, as you will tear the carpet instead of cut with a dull blade.
8. When you lay out the carpet watch how the carpet lies and look for any unusual bumps or spots that may show where excess adhesive or dirt is still present. The carpet will come in a 20-ounce or 40-ounce weight. Most fishing boats are the 20-ounce material, which is thinner. If you use the 40-ounce you may have issues with your hatches closing or any panels fitting properly.
9. Start by gluing the center 1- to 2-square foot of the carpet down and then roll the carpet out to dry fit it again. The center will be secure and will allow you to make sure the entire floor is properly covered. 
10. Apply the glue and work from the center out to the edges. You will want to work the carpeting slowly from the center making sure that it all adheres properly and without any lumps or wrinkles.
11. Tuck the carpet under the edges and when wrapping a compartment lid or panel make sure that you are able to make a good wrap around the edge. When dealing with marine carpet that has a rubber backing or a jut-back carpet that sees a lot of traffic it will have an industrial grain that, when installed, shows through. 
12. As you wrap each removable panel you will want to stay ahead of the game and drill a pilot hole where we know fasteners will be installed to help hold the panels in place. Sometimes it is better to install a new fastener next to the old one if it is hidden as it ads strength

13. When you are finished clean all the surfaces thoroughly and vacuum all the carpet with a shop vac. Make sure to get all the small pieces and any extra dirt that may have ended up on the carpet.

Remember to take your time and keep things as clean as you can. It is always rewarding when you complete a project yourself. 


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