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Boat Carpet Replacement - Alternatives Guide

This article was last updated on May 3rd 2022.

Whether you love fishing or cruising the open water, boats are an excellent way to spend time exploring the marine environment. To keep your boat in good condition, many manufacturers install boat carpet, which prevents slipping when walking across the deck.

However, repeated exposure to water, sunlight, and salt residue can quickly wear down the pile and cause the backing to detach or deteriorate. Boat carpets are also a breeding ground for mold and bacteria if they are not cleaned after every boating trip.

When the flooring on your boat needs replacing, there are several boat carpet alternatives that provide long-lasting slip-resistance and protection for comfortable boating and to extend the life of your boat.

Clean Boat Flooring

Boat Carpet Alternatives

When your original boat carpet wears out, there are several boat carpet alternatives that you can install to protect your boat floor and prolong the life of your craft.

#1 Truck Bed Liner (Best Option)
Truck bed liners are an inexpensive boat carpet alternative. Often coming with either smooth or textured options for better grip. They are also easily cleaned with a high-powered hose to remove fish scales and guts, and they don’t have a high-pile texture to trap hooks and lines.

Fully waterproof and extremely durable makes bedliner a very attractive and affordable  boat carpet replacement option. You can read more about our Durabak paint options further down in this article .

#2 New Carpet
Many boat owners’ first choice is simply to replace the worn flooring with new marine boat carpet. While this customized choice may enhance your boat’s appearance, carpet doesn’t offer the durability and water resistance of many other boat flooring types. Installing a new carpet is also time-consuming and expensive because it requires professional expertise.

#3 Snap-In Carpet
Snap-in carpet is a fast and more affordable boat carpet alternative to improve your boat’s comfort and look. The snap-in boat carpet kits come with custom cut panels to fit the contours of your watercraft contours, and they are easy to install, which reduces their overall cost. Snap-in boat carpet is a good choice as a pontoon boat carpet replacement since there are various styles to choose from. It can stand up to repeated wear from recreational use, it’s soft and comfortable, and it is easy to replace if damaged.

Look for a snap-in boat carpet replacement that features a soft urethane foam backing to enhance your comfort, as it won’t crumble or melt to the boat floor like many other types of cheap boat carpet backing.

Pontoon Boat Floor

#4 Woven Vinyl Flooring
Plush boat carpets and astroturf-style flooring are comfortable to walk on and come in a range of colors and textures to suit your boat’s aesthetic. However, the high pile of the carpet traps moisture and marine debris and bacteria that can quickly cause the carpets to smell and create an unhygienic environment.

Woven vinyl flooring panels bypass this issue by using a high-density weave and UV and moisture-resistant materials. Woven vinyl flooring is easy to clean and can be sanitized with heavy-duty chlorine-based cleaners, making them perfect as a bass boat carpet replacement.

Using Durabak Paint as your carpet replacement

Durabak marine paint is one of the best boat carpet alternatives available—Durabak bonds to almost any boat surface, including fiberglass, plywood, high-density plastic, and aluminum. The lightweight, polyurethane formula won’t add unwanted weight to your boat, and it comes in smooth and textured varieties  and a wide range of vibrant colors.

Durabak is UV-resistant, waterproof, and non-corrosive, so the paint finish will look as good as the day you applied it, regardless of heavy-duty use.

You can browse our boat paint options. Textured, Smooth and 16+ Color options!

How to Apply Durabak for Boat Flooring

Durabak marine paint is easy to apply using a spray gun or roller and requires no professional installation. The flexible formula is self-leveling and fills in any chips or cracks in your boat floor surface.

It is recommended that you apply a coat of smooth Durabak, followed by 1-2 coats of textured Durabak for a boat carpet replacement, as this will create a comfortable walking surface and provide outstanding grip even in choppy water.

  1. Begin by preparing the boat floor. Remove old boat carpet, and clean the surface with a non-chlorinated household cleaner, and allow it to dry completely.

  2. Use 60 grit sandpaper to lightly rough up the surface.

  3. For aluminum or metal boat floors, apply a coat of self-etching primer such as Metcote or zinc phosphate. Durabak must be applied before the primer’s curing window is complete. Check the primer manufacturer’s instructions for the curing time, and apply the first coat of Durabak in the first 3rd of the primer’s overcoat window.

  4. For fiberglass and wooden boat floors, wipe the roughened surface with a solvent such as Xylene or Solvide and allow it to dry.

  5. Open one can of smooth Durabak and stir. Only open the can when your boat floor is completely prepared, as the paint begins to cure when exposed to air.

  6. Pour a small amount of Durabak into a roller tray and close the can.

  7. Using a stipple roller sleeve, apply a coat of smooth Durabak to the boat surface. Use a paintbrush to access tight corners and paint around the edges of your boat seats.

  8. When the first coat is dry to the touch, usually 1-2 hours after application, open a can of textured Durabak, stir and pour into another roller tray.

  9. Use a separate roller to apply the coat of textured Durabak over the first smooth coat. For wooden boats, you may need to apply a third coat of Durabak, as wood is more absorbent than other materials.

  10. Allow the boat floor to cure for 24 hours before walking on it and 5-6 days before heavy-duty use.

The Takeaway

Due to the high-pile texture and fibrous material, boat carpeting is not ideally suited for boat flooring. You can improve your boat’s look and safety by using high-quality boat carpet alternatives such as Durabak to line the deck.

Durabak marine paint has been used by boat owners for over 25 years to create long-lasting, comfortable, non-slip flooring. With an extensive selection of colors to choose from, you’re sure to find a shade to suit your style. Contact us at (303) 690-7190 to find out more about the Durabak range and how you can use Durabak for various marine applications.

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