Marine-Grade Boat Carpet versus Indoor/Outdoor Carpeting

One of the questions we are often asked concerns the replacement of carpeting on boats and on trailers, among other outdoor uses. Hopefully we can save you some headaches later and extra work by addressing the circumstances and the best solution here.

If you are like most boating, fishing, outdoor enthusiasts, you want some durable carpet on the boat trailer, boat, and other surfaces that are in contact with the elements that don’t fall apart in a couple years and require replacement at a low cost, not to mention any damage to the boat decking and surfaces that may occur as a result of using inferior material.

The truth is marine grade carpet, as well as the backing and adhesives, are made for exactly this purpose. The price difference in this higher-grade quality is minimal with respect to the damage you will prevent from occurring to your boat or trailer, or other possibilities such as docks, decks, patios, pool house, cars, RVs, basements, garages; virtually any place where water can collect on a surface.

Every sportsman and mechanic knows that the craftsman chooses and uses the one, best tool to do the job, be it large or small, to ensure the best results. (You wouldn’t fillet a fish with a butter knife, would you?)

Often we see problems when people substitute the marine-grade carpet material with a non-marine grade material, such as indoor/outdoor carpet, plastic strips, and other creative “cost-cutting” matter. The results vary, but common problems include:

  • The sun bleaches-out, dries-out the carpet and the rubber backing
  • The carpet only lasts about one to two years and has to be replaced
  • The rubber backing wears out quickly
  • The boat drags on the carpet-covered trailer bunks, scratching the surface of the boat
  • Mold collects within the fibers of the inferior carpet and backing
  • The adhesives ruin the surface after the carpet and backing are removed
  • The carpets stain or discolor easily
  • The carpet has an odor (mildew)

Using outdoor carpet on a boat will retain water underneath the carpet, causing the deck of the boat to rot and ultimately creating a more costly project.

Most outdoor carpet is constructed the same as indoor carpet; the only difference is the rubber backing on it which technically allows it to be classified for outdoor use.  This technique is notorious for permitting the organic materials to remain intact, which will rot and mold when exposed to water.

Marine carpet is made from superior polypropylene olefin that has been chemically treated to prevent sun damage, where others will lose color and deteriorate from sun exposure.  Marine carpet is made solely of the polypropylene olefin fibers which are then threaded into the 100% rubber backing (not attached afterward as in indoor/outdoor carpet), making mold, mildew, or rot impossible when exposed to harsh marine environments.

The superior qualities of marine carpet are many. Marine carpet is lightweight, flexible enough to conform to varying shapes such as boat hulls, and is manufactured to desired widths for the boating industry for easier application. Marine carpet also drains fluids more easily because it is specially made for marine use, unlike indoor/outdoor carpeting, and is also stain and fire resistant. A simple cleaning with household cleaners and an occasional vacuuming is all the care needed for marine carpet, and it will last many years.

Quality marine carpet is engineered to endure constant wetness and humidity while delivering long-lasting comfort, and a nice-looking appearance, something to think about when considering trading up or selling a boat and trailer, not to mention the fewer times you will need to replace inferior carpet, saving you time, effort, and money.

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