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Boat Lift Carpet: When and How to Replace

by Scott Myers
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There is no set time for replacing boat lift carpeting. The obvious time is when the carpet is looking worn. If you see tears in the carpet, you know it has lost its structural integrity. Whenever the carpet no longer looks and feels thick enough to give your boat a cushiony surface, it is time to replace. Some boat owners apply two layers of carpet, and the bottom layer doesn't always need replacing. If you see a crease or wrinkle in the carpet, the wooden bunk may be cracked.

Related Blog: Protect Your Boat Value with a Boat Lift [VIDEO]

Materials and Tools


It is always the best practice to make a list of everything you need in materials and tools before you start any do-it-yourself project. Here is a list of those items you may or may not need to remove and replace your boat lift carpet.

  • Large, sturdy garbage bags to put all the old carpeting and staples into for easy cleanup.
  • Tools for removing bunks from lift.
  • Diagonal pliers are great for removing staples that didn't come out when pulling off the carpet.
  • Measuring tape to measure exact length and width of lift bunks. Be sure to allow carpet to fold over and cover the ends.
  • Marine carpet that is made for trailer and boat lift bunks with environmentally-specific qualities.
  • Heavy-duty, all-weather carpeting will protect your boat's hull from scratches.
  • Rot and mildew resistant as well as UV and fading resistance.
  • A marker is needed if cutting is necessary.
  • Sturdy utility knife or heavy-duty scissors if the carpet needs to be cut to size. Either one should be sharp for an easy cut.
  • Cutting surface if carpet needs to be cut.
  • Waterproof adhesive is optional depending on the method you choose.
  • 1/2" stainless steel staples
  • Staple gun


Removing and Replacing the Carpet


Pending on your type lift, you may or may not need to remove the bunks. For the perfect job, it is better to remove the bunks, and you will be able to thoroughly inspect the wood. You should also check all the hardware, and make sure everything is screwed tight. If you find your bunks should be replaced, you will need additional supplies and tools.
If you have two layers of carpet on your lift bunks and you haven't changed out the bottom layer, you may want to check the condition of your wood. Since treated wood is not recommended, the wood bunks can be broken, cracked or rotted.


One Layer versus Two Layers


Whether you decide to do only one layer or two, make sure your carpet pieces are the right size for your lift bunks.

If you decide to work with only one layer of marine carpeting, it is recommended that you only use staples. An adhesive will not allow the carpet to give when you are loading and unloading your boat, and you may experience tears in the carpet. Stapled carpet will allow the carpet to give. You will want to cut the width wide enough to reach around to the bottom so that you can secure along the sides and the bottom. Remember to allow additional length to fold over and cover the edges.

For the two-layer project, the width of the bottom layer should be wide enough to fit across the top and on the sides. Some people like to use adhesive on the bottom layer, and use staples along the sides. The length of the bottom layer should be the exact length of the bunk. No folding over the edge is necessary. The top carpet layer should be wider to wrap around to the bottom. Use staples on the side and along the bottom to better secure the carpet. Your top layer will have the ability to give with boat loading and unloading. Remember to allow more length to fold over and cover the edges.


We are Here When You Need Advice, Help, and More


Whether you are a new or a well-seasoned boat lift owner, the team at Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC is here to help with anything you may need to get your boat lift carpet replaced. We have the expert knowledge and experience with boat lifts all over Southwest Florida. No job is too small or too big.

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