How To Replace Pontoon Boats Deck
- Check out our pontoon forum for complete pontoon restorations and learn how to replace the deck and carpet on your pontoon.
Q: How do I replace the plywood on my pontoon boat?
A: Our pontoon deck kits come with everything you need to replace the flooring on your pontoon boat. It is extremely important that you use the correct type of hardware and plywood for your rebuild. The pontoon kits we sell come with the same parts and accessories new pontoon manufacturers use when installing the decks on their pontoons. First of all you must use CCA, treated marine-grade plywood. The EPA changed the laws regulating the treatment of plywood used in residential construction and therefore the process in which most plywood is now treated. Non-CCA treated plywood has a chemical compound in it that will interact with metals causing them to deteriorate. CCA treated plywood uses chromate copper arsenate which provides superior resistance in outdoor applications against rotting and insect infestation. Our 7-ply, 3/4" marine grade plywood is made from 7 layers of Douglas Fir, uses marine adhesives and is pressed then kiln dried to prevent warping. It has a 40 year usable lifetime warranty.
Our kits come with the right type of plywood so you won't ever have to do this project again. In order to start your rebuild you are going to need to tear the pontoon boat all the way down to the aluminum frame. Everything needs to come off; the seating, railing, decking, etc. If your carpet is not easy to remove simply cut it at the seam where two sheets of plywood join, cut the heads of the bolts under the frame of the pontoon and tear the decking off. If you have screws holding the plywood down you can use a hole saw to cut around each screw then remove the plywood, go back with a grinder and remove the fasteners once the plywood is removed.
Before you lay your plywood on the aluminum stringers it is important to use our Deck Joint Tape, this all weather foam sealant seals the joints where your plywood comes together. This will seal the joints of the plywood so that water cannot penetrate from underneath the pontoon causing water lines and damaging the glue holding your carpet down. Start in the rear of the pontoon boat and lay all of the sheets of plywood across the framework. Run the plywood up the deck 8' wide by 4' so that the joints or seams are 8' across the pontoon. You will attach the decking to the aluminum cross members with either stainless self-tapping screws or deck bolts (your choice). Deck screws are easier to install and use a self tapping tip, for installation with deck bolts you will need to pre-drill the holes first. Our pontoon deck screws have teeth on the head which will hold the bolt while you fasten the nut. Once you have determined your plywood is squared up and ready to be attached to the pontoon's framework you can begin fastening down. We recommend using a fastener every 16" across the plywood. Our pontoon kits come with 100 bolts or screws so you will have enough. Remember that when you fasten the railing back down you want to try to fasten the railing bolts down through the aluminum tube of the railing, through the plywood and down through a cross-member for added strength. Once your deck is down, install your pontoon carpet, see below.
Once your carpet is installed you can install your pontoon railing. Our pontoon deck kits come with risers that you place under your fencing at every bolt that holds the railing down. These fence risers will lift your railing up off the boat carpet to allow water to escape your deck rather than pooling in corners and causing deterioration and moss build up.
If you have any questions, call us and ask. We can walk you through whatever problems you may encounter.
Q: How do I install new carpet on my pontoon boat?
A: In order to install your boat carpet you must remove all of the old carpeting and adhesive from the deck of your pontoon. Also, it is important to fill any voids or delaminated areas on your existing deck with wood putty or fiberglass filler. If you do not remove the old carpet and glue or if you do not fill the voids in an existing deck you will feel the imperfections under the carpet and most importantly any left over adhesive may interact with the new glue, preventing it from bonding with the back of the carpet.
If your deck is clean and the surface area is ready for the new carpet then read on, if you are having difficulty removing your old carpet please see below where we discuss the problems you may run into
Before applying any glue to your deck roll your new pontoon carpet out completely over the deck of your boat so that you can inspect it. Occasionally carpet will have imperfections in it which we may miss or it can get damaged in shipping, now is the time to discover any problems. Do not glue your carpet down before you inspect it. Call us immediately if you have any problems so that we can replace the carpet for you. Once you have the carpet rolled out and it looks good, fold it in half the length of the deck. For example, if you have a 20' pontoon boat, get in the front of the boat and fold the carpet over width wise and do the same in the back leaving a 4' wide by 20' long section of your deck exposed. Your carpet will be folded on top of itself on the other side of the deck so that you can apply glue to half of the decking.
By folding the carpet this way it makes installation much easier, you can apply the glue by standing on the side of the pontoon, without needing to get on your hands and knees. Each gallon of glue will cover an 8' x 12' area, so if you have a 16-24' pontoon boat use one gallon per side, if you have a 25-30' pontoon you will need a total of 3 gallons of glue and will use 1-1/2 gallons per side. Take your first gallon and dump it evenly across the exposed 4' x 20' wide section of the deck and apply the glue using a medium nap paint roller. Be sure to spread glue as far into the center when the carpet is flipped to one side so you don't end up with any areas that are not covered with the glue. Once the glue is applied lay the carpet out over the entire deck and make sure it is flat and squared up. You will not have much time to work with the carpet once you lay it on the glue, so be sure it is lined up on the deck properly before you begin applying the glue.
Next you must compress the carpet into the glue. The carpet backing is not smooth and has grooves and lines in it as well; the glue will be pressed into these areas forming a bond which will hold the carpet in place once the glue hardens. Use a heavy roller, you can rent a carpet roller or use a heavy pipe to press the carpet down onto the glue. This is the most important step, if you do not press the carpet down hard enough the glue and carpet backing will not bond together causing it to come up or creating lines and bubbles in the carpet.
Q: How do I remove the old carpet? What if it doesn't come off easily or only comes off in small chunks?
A: If your pontoon boat is a 2000 model year or newer you may experience difficulty when removing the carpet. Newer pontoon boats use a heavier carpeting and a stronger glue than was used in the 70's, 80's and early 90's. Boat builders applied special marine adhesives that provide excellent adhesion and heavier backed carpeting than you see on the older model pontoons. Also, since these boats are newer the carpet and glue have not deteriorated to the point where it is easy to remove them. On most older pontoon boats the carpet will come off fairly easily with some scraping, cutting and tearing. If you find that your pontoon carpet is only coming off in small chunks and that you cannot seem to remove the old adhesive and fibers you can try renting a floor sander or simply replace the decking.
To remove the decking without taking up the carpet, if you choose to replace the flooring, here is how you do it. First, find the seams where the plywood decking meet up, take a razor knife and cut across the floor separating the carpet on each sheet of plywood. If the plywood deck is bolted down, cut the heads off the bolts under the deck and rip the decking off. If the deck is screwed down, use a hole saw and locate the screw heads, cut around each head and tear the decking off. Then use a grinder to remove the screws and plywood plugs that are left over. You may find that the cost of the plywood is worth it compared to the time and energy you will spend trying to remove carpet that won't come off.