How to Remove Carpet and Glue from a Pontoon Boat the Easy Way!
One of the more common projects undertaken by pontooners is removing the old carpet. Perhaps you want to replace it with a new carpet, or want to switch it out, either way, it’s tough job and can be very labor-intensive, not to mention the annoying glue residue and marks that can be left on the deck.
The reason I decided to write this guide on removing carpet from a pontoon boat, as well as the actual glue (which can cause massive issues) is because I received a few questions over the last few months, including:
“Hi Bill, what can I use to get the carpet glue to come loose from the wooden floor of my pontoon deck? Some of the carpet won’t come up and is stuck on fast.”
“Do you have any tricks or tips for getting the old carpet and glue off my pontoon? I’ve taken everything completely off the deck and am struggling to get the carpet removed”
“What is the best way to remove old glued on original carpeting from a pontoon boat? I am completely re-doing my 1996 Crest II and I am already worried about this part of the project.”
“I have 1999 party barge with an aluminum floor. How to remove boat carpet from the aluminum floor is my challenge. The carpet is pretty bad.”
With those questions in mind, I am going to address removing glue and carpet from a wooden pontoon floor, and an aluminum floor, so read on to find out how you do it, what you need, hacks and tips, and also advice from other pontooners that I trust.
I use a craft knife or Stanley knife to do this, which I assume you will already have in your tool box. Press the blade into the carpet and start to draw lines up and down the carpet to create the strips that you are going to pull up.
This will be so much easier than trying to pull up the carpet in one go and will also mean it’s easier to get the carpet off the deck, and in theory should lead to less ripping which can leave nasty glue marks on the floor.
What Tools You Will Need
Gloves to stop blisters
Stanley knife or craft knife
Vibrating multitool with oscillating blade
Random orbit sander tool
Goo Gone adhesive glue remover
Heat gun tool
How to Remove Carpet from a Pontoon
Step 1: Cut the Pontoon Carpet into Smaller Strips
To prepare for the removal, firstly cut the rug and carpet up into 6 to 8-inch strips. This will mean it will be far easier to pull up, even if stuck on fast with glue.
Step 2: Pull the Carpet Strips Up
You now need to pull the carpet up, and with my boat I used my knife to get a little leverage under each strip before pulling up slowly. I do advise you pull as slowly as you can, as this will help you to reduce the amount of ripped carpet and fibres that can remain on the deck floor – but you are going to get some remaining, it’s just a fact of life unfortunately.
Please Use a Carpet Scraper Tool
If the carpet strips are still really hard to get up and are stuck on fast, then there is a tool solution which I recommend you use. It’s a vibrating multitool with a scraper blade like this one that you can buy on Amazon.
I use the Rockwell product and swear by it. If you have cut the carpet into strips, then you can use this tool to get underneath a section and then work through the whole of the deck until you have all the carpet removed.
How to Remove Carpet Glue from Your Pontoon
Now to removing the carpet glue and left-over pieces of fiber and carpet that will invariably still be there.
It’s important here to recognise that there are two methods here. You can combine the two, but I am going to start off with my preferred method and why.
Method 1: Use a Floor Sander Tool
To get the remaining glue and torn carpet off the pontoon deck floor, you should use a tool. It will dramatically cut down the effort in time you are going to be spending when compared to a more manual approach which I will come onto in method two.
There are industrial level type tools that will do the job very quickly, but they cost 100s of dollars, although it is possible to rent them.
If instead, you want to do things for yourself cheaply, then I would recommend a floor sander tool. There is one that I recommend and used on my own project which is the Bosch Random Orbit Sander on Amazon – the Bosch brand is great, trust me.
In fact, you could use this floor sander to even remove the whole carpet rather than cutting strips into it using a knife. I imagine that if you use a 30-grit head straight onto the carpet that could work quite well, and then switch over to a 100 to 120 grit head to remove anything left over and leave a smoother finish.
Method 2: Use an Adhesive Glue Remover
If you don’t get the desired results, then you could complement the above method with an adhesive glue remover.
But, before you consider this, let me make things very clear: many of these types of products will soak into the wood, and prevent glue from sticking when you come to putting down new flooring.
You will need to make sure that everything dries out completely before you even consider putting down and gluing new carpet to the deck. If you don’t let it dry, then any new glue probably won’t stick properly – so make sure your wood floor is dry and smooth before laying new carpet on top.
So what product should you use?
It needs to be solvent-based product or you’re probably not going to get all the old remaining glue up. If you pick other solvent-based adhesives that are not meant for marine carpet you will destroy the back of any new carpet you are planning on using.
My choice here would be to buy a couple of bottles of Goo Gone Pro-Power.
You are going to need that much in order to get rid of any stubborn glue marks on your pontoon floor. There’s a YouTube video below which gives a very brief overview on how to do this part.
How to Remove Boat Carpet from Aluminum
Removing boat carpet from aluminum is infinitely easier than doing it from wood so I am not going to do a stepped approach here, as all you need to do is follow the guide above.
It’s essentially the same steps, but you might be able to pull all the carpet off in one piece so try that first before you go to the trouble of cutting strips into the carpet.
You can then use a good sharp scraper and heat gun (here’s one on Amazon). Heat up the carpet, and then start to lift off by hand and with the help of a scraper.
Once you have lifted up as much of the carpet as you can, use a sander or grinder to get rid of any patches of glue. Sand the entire deck area for a smooth surface.
As with wooden flooring, some small fiber pieces could still remain. But just take a while with your grinder or sander and you will soon be able to get it clean and smooth.
Useful FAQs & Potential Issues
Whilst the methods outlined above will work the majority of the time when removing the glue and carpet from your deck, there might be some curve balls you need to be aware of. I have tried to answer those below.
Not Happy with How the Wood Looks or New Glue Not Sticking?
Despite your best efforts, some of the advice given in this guide to removing carpet from a pontoon boat might still leave you with wooden decking that you don’t like the look of.
It also might not give you a smooth surface to work with for the new carpet and glue, or you might find the glue doesn’t stick as well as you want. You have a number of options available to you.
Other boat owners I know have unfastened the old wood and flipped the deck over to use the underside for the top. It gave them a much smoother surface to work with. This was a larger project obviously and did mean that he had to relocate some drill holes and do some re-wiring, but for him it worked well.
For the best results, I would recommend buying new wood as you can never truly completely dry wood out. If you remove the old wood, and install new wood, your carpet or vinyl will stay down longer. Older wood can retain moisture which will possibly affect how well the new glue works.
Another consideration is that if you are laying vinyl down onto existing wood where you have stripped carpet and glue off, then vinyl can show up any imperfections. Which is another good reason for replacing the wood completely.
What If You Have Flat-Headed Through Bolts?
Some pontoon boat carpet will have flat-headed through bolts which secure the carpet to the deck. These can be very hard to get out, but you can do it.
There’s a great online guide which I recommend you take a look at which will give you a stepped process on how to remove flat-headed screws and bolts. You can read that on the Craftsman Blog.
What Products Not to Use to Remove Carpet Glue
Whilst looking into this topic, I hopped onto a lot of boating forums to see what other owners are recommending for removing glue from their deck. One tip that commonly popped up was to use something called MEK (also known as methyl ethyl ketone and butanone).
It will work, but it’s an extremely hazardous cancer-causing agent. I would never use that on a pontoon boat as it will soak into the wood and you will never get it out. My kids will never sit there if it had been used.
So, if you do hear or read this advice online, please ignore it completely!
Comments from Boat Owners
To supplement this pontoon carpet removal guide, I also spoke to other boat owners to see how their experience went after taking my advice, or with previous projects that they have done. Here’s a selection of those comments.
“I don’t know how we got so lucky, but our glue was pretty much gone. The carpet pulled right up really quick like you said it would. But I think the previous owner had used a water-based glue, so it was gone with no need to remove it. We just replaced our carpet and it looks great. The worst part for us was taking everything apart and unwiring.”
“I have a red neck solution to removing your carpet which I used last year. Get a section loose and lifted up, hook it into a tow rope, and the pull it clearly off with your truck, but make sure you go slowly! It left loads of rips, and next time I will be using your guide.”
“To remove carpet glue, I’ve used denatured alcohol which worked okay after sitting for a few minutes, then tried carb cleaner which worked a little better. I then I tried a heat gun (on a dry separate area of course) and that seemed to work the best, but certainly not as well as the guide above.”
“I genuinely recommend that people just remove the plywood and start over with new wooden flooring. If you change the decking you won’t regret it for the money, but it is a larger job admittedly”
“I’ve done it also. The floor sander is the only way to go. It will do a good job. But definitely wear gloves as you can get terrible blisters after an hour or so of working on the carpet removal.”
I use a very different approach to pulling the carpet up. All you do is fit a paddle attachment to the end of your drill, get one of the edges of the carpet up, and then try to get a piece of the carpet caught up in the drill bit before pulling up.”
I hope this guide has helped you in cleaning up and removing the glue and carpet from the floor of your pontoon boat. As with all guides on Pontoonopedia, I welcome any feedback from other boat owners who might disagree, want to contribute, or just say thanks. You can do that via the usual channels.
For all your accessories and/or vinyl flooring visit Pontoon Depot's shop site.
Pontoon Boat Storage Blocks and Stands
Protect Your Boat for Repairs and Dry Storage:
Given that we’re right in the middle of winter time, it’s time you got your pontoon boat out of the water if you haven’t already done so. Being sat in the drink for months on end will cause untold damage to your toons, so get it winterized, covered, and in dry storage if possible.
And that brings us nicely onto what I wanted to recommend today, and that’s pontoon boat storage blocks and stands.
Why do you need them?
Well, if you are going to be pulling your pride and joy out of the water for the winter, or any other time of year perhaps for some repairs, you want to protect your investment if it’s not going to be kept on a trailer. Those aluminum tubes can be very easily damaged.
What pontoon boat dry storage blocks or stands do I recommend?
You’ve probably heard of Attwood, as they sell high quality marine accessories so are a name most of us will be familiar with. And they sell very good blocks too, which you can see on this link for the latest prices and reviews.
They come in packs of 4, and I would recommend that you buy around 3 packs (giving you 12 blocks in total) so that you can spread the weight of your boat evenly.
Spread the weight on your pontoon boat storage stands
Pontoon tubes have welding lines in them, and if lots of weight it distributed un-evenly when your boat is resting on blocks out of the water it can lead to stress.
On any kind of blocking it needs to have the blocks under an area that has the internal structural baffle. The very back and where the nose cone joins the tube are good spots.
It’s a lot of weight if blocked anywhere else and can stress the hollow tube and welds if not blocked correctly.If in any doubt, buy more stands and blocks than you think you need so that you can have as many as possible distributed evenly spaced under the toons.
What about dollies?
Another item you might need if taking your pontoon out of the water and moving it onto dry storage blocks will be a dolly. I’ve also put together a guide to dollies, showing you how best to use them and which dollies are best for pontoons of all sizes. You can read that here.
You will also need a boat cover
If you don’t have a boat cover, go get one now, and preferably a specialist mooring cover. It will keep your boat in great condition and safe from the weather elements as well as pests (protect your pontoon from pests) and seagulls (how to prevent seagull damage).
I’ve put together an extensive guide to pontoon mooring covers. Go read that now so you can see what the best one for your boat will be over the winter or when in dry storage.
Questions and answers
From time to time I get onto the boating forums and chat with other pontoon owners. Below you can read some feedback I’ve read online about using pontoon boat storage blocks, including of what I believe are the best answers to the questions.
Q: I need to move my pontoon to make repairs on the trailer. I don’t believe I should leave it on the ground, so what is the best thing to set the pontoon boat on while I’m working on the trailer?
I would recommend storage blocks over any DIY solution such as cinder blocks, tires, lengths of wood, or barrels. The ones you see above are designed and manufactured to do the job, and have been tested extensively.
Q: What is the best way to get your pontoon boat off a trailer onto the storage blocks?
There are a couple of methods that people commonly use.
I’ve seen some pontooners use pontoon boat storage blocks or similar in the center to help raise their boat up, using a jack on one side, then the other and rest it on those briefly whilst still in the trailer.
They then pull the trailer out slowly, so the boat is resting on the blocks.
Another method is to use a 4-wheel truck. You can back the trailer up on level ground up some ramps. Then position your pontoon storage blocks and guide your trailer back down the ramps onto the blocks and the trailer then slides out.
I’ve seen this method work very well with a scissor trailer, but you do need to take a lot of care.
And finally, a method I read on a forum about getting a pontoon off a trailer was some guy who used two engine hoists.
He picked up the back of the boat and then placed it onto the blocks. Then a hoist was used on both sides of the boat’s front. He pulled the trailer out from underneath and lowered the boat onto 2×4 running lengthwise, keeping the hoists on the front so the pressure was on them.
He said this works every time for him with two pontoons he has owned when he has needed to do trailer repairs.
Q: Can you leave your pontoon boat on cinder blocks with no trailer over the winter?
I don’t recommend cinder blocks unless you have a lot of them, placing between 8 and 10 on both sides of your boat.
You ideally want to have as much support as you can under the entire length of each pontoon tube, kind of like a bunk trailer or if it was sitting naturally in the water. This is because you should get the weight distributed evenly over the entire length of your boat.
Think about the stresses that you could be placing on your pontoons if you are resting the whole of the boat on just a few cinder blocks – and that’s another reason why I recommend you buy 8 to 12 pontoon boat storage blocks on Amazon – so you can spread the weight and risk.
With a cinder block being around 16 inches long, and an average pontoon boat weighing 2,200 pounds (check average weights here), you are placing all that boat weight on an area that is just 6 areas of 16 inches by 1 inch.
That is a lot of stress on your aluminum tubes because of the ones I have seen the tubes oval out a bit under the weight which can ultimately lead to cracks in welds and eventually leaks.
An alternative method is to use the storage blocks I recommend as they won’t crush under the weight.
I’ve have even seen boat owners using a few 55 gallon barrels where they pull the bungs and lay flat. The weight will collapse the barrels and hold it off the ground.
Q: What does dry storage for boats mean?
Dry storage is the process where you take your boat out of the water, keeping it dry from the elements, typically in winter months.
By doing so you can keep the finish and upholstery of your pontoon boat in way better shape, and reduce the money you might need to spend on repairs and cleaning (see how to clean your seats here).
Some marinas will offer dry storage services where they lift your boat out of the water using a crane and track system. This lets them move your pontoon into a dry storage slip, but you will be charged a hefty fee in most cases for the privilege.
The last word…
Standing your pontoon boat on stands or blocks can be hard and if not done correctly could damage your tubes.
Use stands and blocks that are built for purpose, spread them evenly, and take your time.
For all your accessories and/or vinyl flooring visit Pontoon Depot's shop site.
BEST TIME TO COMPLETE BOAT MAINTENANCE
Written by: Skellner
Pic by: Lowe Boats
As the weather cools and you begin donning jackets and hats, don’t forget about your boat. Winter is the perfect time to complete annual maintenance on your boat. Here are four reasons why:
You’re already not using it
In North Idaho, it can be downright miserable to be out on the water in the winter. With winds, snow and a lack of sun, it’s much more fun to indoors! So since you’re not planning on using your boat anyway, winter is a great time to have routine marine maintenance done!
It’s in storage
If you’re storing your boat in Hagadone Marine’s indoor storage facility (LINK:https://www.hagadonemarine.com/storage/ ), it’s easy for our staff to complete routine maintenance, all while ensuring the safety of your craft. And if you’re storing your boat with us, we’ll even pick it up in the fall and drop it off in the spring.
Be ready when the sun comes out
Don’t wait in lines or take extra time to change fluids, run a fuel check or look over pumps and gauges. Instead, get this kind of annual maintenance during the winter. You won’t be vying for limited spots at your service provider — you can bet at the first sign of sun, people will flock to service providers like Hagadone Marine to get their boat services. Instead, be ready on your own schedule. You never know when the first nice day will be!
Don’t neglect your investment
Don’t forget that your boat is a big investment. You probably spent a lot of time and energy to find the right boat — don’t let that all go to waste by not maintaining it! Winter is an easy time to get this done in North Idaho, and it’s a simple way tin ensure your boat stays in ship shape for as long as possible. This helps maintain the resale value as well!
For all your accessories and/or vinyl flooring visit Pontoon Depot's shop site.
Tritoon vs Pontoon: The Buyer’s Complete Comparison Guide
I was wandering around the lake one morning and there it was in all its glory.
The vessel looked different at a glance and then it hit me—this baby has three air tubes instead of two!
I watched it glide over the water as it passed me with great speed, and I thought, is this something I should upgrade to? Are three ‘toons really better than two?
I began doing some research of my own. There’s a lot to consider.
But first, let’s look at the specifics of both tritoons and pontoons, so we know what we’re comparing.
Tritoon vs Pontoon: The Buyer’s Complete Comparison Guide
What’s the Difference?
A pontoon (as you may or may not know) is a vessel that’s supported by two tubes of air that allow it to float on the surface of the water.
They vary in size range, from about 16 to 27 feet long on average (though there are even “mini toons,” which can be much smaller).
An average pontoon requires a motor of 25 horsepower minimum and carries 8 to 20 people. Both the speed and motor depend on the size of the boat, the typical load it will carry and the types of activities you will be doing.
A pontoon boat motor arguably does more work than a monohull boat because a pontoon has more to steer and it requires more power to be moved due to its shape.
It’s definitely true that the more people you will carry on a pontoon, the more power you’ll need. You’d rarely want an engine with as little horsepower as 25 because it would be veryslow going.
To give you an example, my pontoon is 18 feet long and we have a 60 horsepower motor. I’d say that’s pretty average for the type of activities we do—just cruising and fishing on a rather calm lake. We often cruise with lots of people and getting across the lake would take a lot more time if our motor was less powerful.
Most people underestimate the amount of power they will need for their pontoon boat. Take our friends, for example: They also have an 18-foot pontoon and decided on the 40 horsepower motor. But after three years, they upgraded to 50 horsepower because they too carry lots of people when they cruise and the 40 was just too slow.
An average pontoon costs around $20,000. They can cost less or a lot more, but that would be an average price point for a pontoon of average length.
A tritoon is a vessel that—you guessed it—is supported by three tubes of air instead of two. On average, they’re 22 feet to 30 feet in length and are able to carry 14 to 25 people.
In other words, tritoons are much bigger and, if you’re considering a tritoon, you may need to ask yourself if you plan on cruising with that many people. Do you really need the larger size? Is it worth it?
Water conditions are also a factor when deciding whether or not you need a tritoon—but more on this later.
The minimum requirements for a motor are 250 horsepower and can go up to 350. This is because, with a bigger boat and more people being carried, you need a stronger motor to power the boat efficiently.
The average cost of a tritoon is $35,000 but they can go much higher for luxury models. That’s a price difference of $15,000 when compared to the average pontoon. That, to me, is a lot of money.
So, is the extra money worth it? Looking at weather/water conditions, watersports, trailering/boat storage and fishing, I’ll compare the tritoon and the pontoon, weighing the pros and cons to help you determine which vessel will best suit your needs.
Tritoon vs Pontoon: Weather and Water Conditions
Like I mentioned above, a pontoon may be just right for me, since I love to fish and cruise around an average-sized lake.
A tritoon may be a good option for the ocean, or anywhere the waters are less calm. This is because the combination of the three air tubes and the faster engine allows you to cut through the choppy water more efficiently, with less bouncing around and a much smoother and more pleasant ride.
If you boat on a calmer lake, like I do, you may not require a tritoon and it may not be worth the money, unless you plan on doing water sports which require the extra power (see below).
That being said, there have been times on our lake where boat traffic is heavy and the water turns pretty choppy. This makes our pontoon bob up and down, and water often washes up on the deck, making it uncomfortable for us on board. I wonder if this would be different in a tritoon or a larger, sturdier pontoon.
Stability aside, a word of caution: The tritoon is known to have more difficulty with handling and steering, so it may be difficult when navigating smaller spaces, making tighter corners or docking. This could require some getting used to and some patience on the part of a new tritoon owner—especially if you’re used to a pontoon.
Tritoon vs Pontoon: Watersports
With the increased speed and the fast motor, a tritoon may be a better option for those who do a lot of water sports such as wakeboarding and waterskiing.
Like I mentioned before, the size of the tritoon and the handling may be a challenge when pulling a skier or wakeboarder in tighter areas. If new to the “tritooning world,” I would definitely advise taking your boat out for a test run without the skier first, to make sure you can handle the steering.
Although tritoons tend to have more powerful motors, watersports aren’t unheard of on a classic, two-tube pontoon either. They’d probably just require a motor of 70 horsepoweror greater, to give you the lift you need. You’d need an even higher horsepower motor when carrying a lot of people on board.
And yes!—With the right horsepower requirements, you can go waterskiing behind a pontoon boat (and get a good baseline for other watersports).
Tritoon vs Pontoon: Storage and Trailering
When we think about boating, sometimes we forget about trailering. Maybe it isn’t necessary for everyone, but I definitely love the option of taking my pontoon out of the water if I need to or taking the boat with me if I’m visiting another lake.
A larger trailer may be required for a tritoon, and a special braking system may be required of the trailer because of its size. This is definitely a must and something I wouldn’t recommend skipping for your safety and the safety of everyone on the road.
It’s also worth mentioning that, the bigger the boat, the bigger the boat launch needs to be. Sometimes this isn’t an issue at all but other times it may be more difficult to find a launch big enough to accommodate boats of larger sizes.
A larger boat also needs a larger storage space for the winter months if you live in a region with seasons. If you’re like me and you have many harsh winters ahead to protect your boat from, you’re going to need to think about the costs of storing your tritoon and consider the fact that it will require more space than the average pontoon.
Tritoon vs Pontoon: Fishing
If you’re an avid angler and you love fishing on a calm lake—and this is something you do fairly often—you’re probably going to stick with a pontoon.
As mentioned before, it’s more difficult for tritoons to get into tight spots. A trolling motor made for lakes may not have the power to pull a tritoon because they’re generally designed to move slowly and in shallow waters.
On the other hand, tritoons may be great for fishing in oceans and large lakes that have deep waters. The three ‘toons make them more stable for deep sea fishing, when the boat is at anchor, when other boats are driving by or when the wind is creating some turbulent waves.
That faster motor is also awesome for getting from one fishing spot to the next in bigger waters, which avoids wasting time traveling and allows for more time fishing!
And there are plenty of accessories for 'tooning' and fishing, like trolling motors.
Tritoon vs Pontoon: Final Notes
So there you have it! A pretty detailed comparison of tritoons vs. pontoons.
To recap: In choppier, deeper and bigger waters, a tritoon would be beneficial, especially if doing water sports or deep sea fishing in large bodies of water.
Although tritoons can offer benefits in these areas, there are powerful and bigger pontoons that may do the trick, so always compare prices and weigh the pros and cons before buying.