When it comes down to maintaining your boat flooring, nothing is as dependable as marine vinyl material. Often overlooked, the floor of your boat is actually more important than you think. It serves as the base of your entire boat and can be very difficult to replace if damaged. Just because there are a few dings and scratches on the surface doesn’t mean everything is OK. You may be negatively affecting the structural integrity of your boat floor which can lead to problems later on. The simplest solution, and by far the most dependable, is simply to protect the floor with a special flooring material. While regular carpet or vinyl won’t withstand the rigors of life out at sea, marine vinyl and carpeting are specially designed for boat flooring to be highly durable.
You need your boat flooring to have the following characteristics:
- mold and mildew resistant
- moisture resistant
- provides grip when wet
- easy to clean
Both marine vinyl and boat carpeting exemplify these qualities. The toughest choice is choosing between vinyl and carpet, as each offers great performance and protects your boat deck at the same time. Carpet looks nice, but it can be harder to clean even though it can be washed out. If you fish often, carpet is probably not a good choice. In terms of cleaning, nothing beats the low maintenance of marine vinyl flooring. It’s tough and actually quite hard to tear. It’s also resistant to mold and mildew. Since there are no carpet fibers trapping the likes of fish guts, worms, and bugs, it’s much easier to spray down with a hose.
Marine vinyl will also give you the grip that you need. When you’re out in the water, it’s easy for the floor to get wet and to lose traction. This can be a problem for bare floors and for people wearing the wrong shoes. Marine vinyl flooring stays sticky even if there’s water on it and will help if you don’t have the right footwear. While it can’t compete with boat floors specifically designed for maximum traction, it still offers great grip.
Perhaps the only real drawback to vinyl flooring is the installation. Boat decks can be an infinite number of shapes so any time you want to install vinyl flooring it will have to be a custom job. This means someone needs to make careful measurements all around your boat and cut out the right shape, then glue it down. You can choose to leave it unglued as it will preserve your boat floor but it will move around and cause you to lose grip. If even one mistake occurs during the measurement, then there is a risk that water can get underneath the vinyl.
The best solution is to get marine vinyl flooring done at a boat specialist that installs floors. These are professionals that install floors all day and don’t make any mistakes. They are also knowledgeable about different boat flooring options, so they can be a valuable resource if you want to look into alternatives.