Bass Boat Carpet Replacement – How To

Bass Boat Carpet Replacement – How To

Bass Boat Carpet Replacement – How To

by June 10, 2013


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If you’ve purchased a used boat and need to replace your carpet, or are thinking of restoring your old boat, this is one article you definitely want to read!

Bass boat carpeting goes through a lot of abuse. Those of you who own boats know of the various abuses that we put our carpet through. From long exposure to UV rays, fish blood, snow, and other elements, marine carpet gets pretty worn out and ragged.

Although we can do things such as cover our boats or garage them when not in use, wear and tear will undoubtedly show itself at some point. In my case, a local raccoon made a home of my boat for a few days, and the resulting urine smell was the final straw for me.

bassboatseat-article-headerMy boat is a  2001 Stratos Boats 21SS Extreme. It has been reliable and performed well for me over the years and I really like this hull design. In addition to carpet damage, the raccoon also tore up my already duct-taped seats. This project was also a great excuse to make a few other modifications that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. More how-to articles to follow covering the seat install and modifications.


After extensive research I selected for my seats and carpet. They were helpful, courteous and responded to questions promptly. I have never undertaken a project like this, so I had a lot of questions and the staff at really took care of me.

I ordered the 20-oz. bass boat carpet in Midnight Star. I chose to go with the 30′ x 8′ roll as my boat is a 21-ft and my plan was to re-carpet everything right up to the insides of the consoles. There is a thicker 24-oz. carpet available, but I’ve read on other forums that due to its thickness, sometimes the hatches are too tight and the carpet requires some “shaving” to allow the lids to open.


First step: Get Organized!

A project like this can be done quite quickly, or take weeks, depending on your free time, complexity and allowable work space. If you’ve got a garage, then you are golden! I don’t have a garage, so I did my carpet outside. This just meant that I had to mind the weather.

In my opinion, the carpet installation on my boat was very complex. All the lids are carpeted and there are a lot of panels to remove. This project took me just over three weeks of my spare time, including my seat installation and some other related modifications. Spring weather also played a factor into that timeline since the boat was not sheltered during the installation.

When you are planning this project, take into consideration all these factors as they will impact your timeline. Also, make sure that if you aren’t handy, you have someone who is able lend a hand, or is at least a phone call away to answer questions you may have.

Step two: Gather Tools/ Materials needed

  • Permanent marker
  • Sharp utility knife
  • Straight edge ruler or square ( I used an aluminum level)
  • Utility knife or scraper
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Notched trowel
  • Drill and bits
  • Clamps
  • Acetone
  • Rags
  • Shop Vac
  • Disposable vinyl gloves, preferable a lot of them!
  • Hand tools to aid in dis-assembly/ re-assembly
  • Vinyl adhesive ( I ordered 3 tubs from
  • Marine Carpet (I ordered this from as well)

My carpet and glue arrived within a week via Fedex Ground. I immediately began the tear down process…


Step Three: Tear down

Here are some tips to help make the project run smoothly:

  • Make sure you disconnect your battery and remove all your tackle from your boat.
  • Chock your trailer and support it securely
  • Ensure you keep all hardware organized for re-assembly. I used zip lock bags and labelled them
  • If you take apart any wiring while under the dash take photographs of them before you disconnect them to aid you in re-assembly
  • Use a sharp scraper to remove carpeting from lids and other panels. Depending on the age of your old carpeting you may find this easy or time consuming. Be patient!
  • Shake dust and debris off the old pieces and stack them somewhere indoors neatly for the next step
  • Lay the old pieces flat, and flattened them if you can with heavy objects so that it’s easier to use them as a template


Step Four: Cutting New Carpeting

For this process you will have had to remove the old carpeting from the lids and floor of your boat. Use the scraper to loosen the carpet. In some instances you may be able to simply pull off the old carpet. You must clean the lids thoroughly removing any old carpet glue. Remember, the better you prep your parts, the better your new carpeting will turn out.

Cutting the new carpeting is quite simple. Just remember these key tips:

  • Make sure you orient all the pieces in the same way; drawing an arrow to remind you of the way the carpet is to get glued is a good idea
  • Plan how you will use your new carpeting; you want to minimize the waste by fitting the pieces together as close as possible
  • Weigh down the templates flat; this will ensure you have an accurate copy
  • Change blades frequently; a sharp knife will reduce pulls and ensure sharp cuts
  • Don’t pull loose fibers; they will unravel the carpeting creating jagged edges; cut them neatly with scissors or a utility knife

You will need to pay attention to the direction of the carpeting. If you look at the back you will see lines. Ensure that you keep all the carpeting aligned the same way. This is important because the carpeting will look differently if you change the direction of the fibers between sections.

Lay the new roll of carpet out, backing side up, and place your old carpeting on the new carpeting in such a way as to maximize the usage of the new material. Your goal is to have as little waste as possible.


Step Five: Glue Application

Before you start this process make sure that you have all the lids and the boat cleaned up. Use the vacuum to remove dust and debris and ensure you have used acetone to wipe down everything. I found that acetone works great. It dissolves carpeting glue and dries without leaving any residue. The attached video shows how the lids were carpeted. It’s very simple, just take your time and ensure you work carefully. Here are some tips regarding this process:

  • Stay organized and keep your work area clean
  • Double check the orientation of the carpet and keep it all the same
  • Make sure you wear vinyl gloves and keep the glue off your hands (it’s hard to clean off)
  • Keep the glue off the carpeting. If you get some on the carpeting use soapy water to clean it off.
  • Clean any glue immediately. it dries white
  • Use clamps and spare pieces of wood to ensure a solid bond around lid lips


  • For curved areas of your bass boat or the flooring, you can use a can of soup as a roller to press the carpeting down
  • Wait for one hour until the glue has begun to set and press the carpeting down once again
  • Do not step or kneel excessively on the carpet when the glue is wet; it will seep through
  • The vinyl adhesive begins to set in 5-10 minutes; apply glue to small areas at a time you and work in sections if the area is large
  • Work in a well ventilated area; the glue gives off fumes
  • If you are working in the sun remember that the glue will set even faster

Step Six: Touch ups

This is where everything starts to come together. You can now install the hinges, latches, support struts, panels and seating. Also be sure to go over your work with a sharp pair of scissors and remove any stray fibers. You can also install all your electronics and trolling motor foot pedal.


I really enjoyed doing this project and I gotta say that my boat looks killer! I am really looking forward to every day on the water now! a huge thanks goes out to the team at for all their help with this project! I would definitely recommend that if you were thinking about doing this project that you take a look at their website.

If you have any questions, or simply want to show off your handy work, shoot us an email or visit us on Facebook!

Tight Lines!

6 Comments so far

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  1. David McLaughlin
    #1 David McLaughlin 27 July, 2013, 08:53

    Great tips on carpet replacement. Your boat looks fantastic! Hope mine turns out like yours did. I would like to mention a few tips I have just learned while replacing carpet in my 1988 Lund Pro-V 1700 aluminum boat rebuild project. I used 20 ounce carpet also based on your recommendation in regards to the door hatch issue. Great tip! In regards to carpet direction, yes the lines need to go the same direction but there is also a grain direction you want to follow in the same way also. If you rub your hand across the face of the fibers forward or backwards you will see this grain pattern. Just like you stated make sure it all flows in the same direction if possible. Perhaps this is what you were really trying to say and I being a novice also at this, it wasn’t clear to me.

    I normally have always used a vinyl paste glue that requires a trowel. This time the boat carpet supplier told me a water based glue is a better choice because it doesn’t bleed through the carpet fibers or break the fibers down. I was very skeptical at first about trying something different. I tried it and he was right, it works great! You can use a brush or roller to apply it. It goes on like paint. Either glue will do a great job just thought I would share this with you.

    Another tip a new friend of mine I met on IBOATS forum (Same Boat Lund Pro-V) told me about is to burn the new cut fiber carpet edges with a lighter. It melts the fibers down and minimizes the fibers from un-raveling. It worked great!

    Next comment is about hardware, this has to do with using stainless steel hardware on aluminum. The two dissimilar metals will cause corrosion to start taking place and eventually destroying the aluminum. That’s why you don’t marry the two metals together. If you want to use stainless hardware on aluminum the solution is to create a barrier between the two metals. Best product on the market to use is called TEF GEL. I looked it up on the web and ordered the gel online. You can buy at any West Marine store, however the closes one to me was to far away. It comes in a paste or a liquid base. The paste is recommended for under water applications. I ordered a 2 ounce tub of the paste. It was more than plenty to do the job. Should have bought a smaller quantity.
    I am always surfing web for new ideas for DYI on boat repairs, this is how I found you (You Tube). Thanks for sharing your tips on boat carpet installation!

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  2. Sommer Nienow
    #2 Sommer Nienow 29 October, 2013, 22:40

    Good post. I definitely love this site. Continue the good work!

    Reply this comment
  3. Zachary T
    #3 Zachary T 16 November, 2015, 15:15

    2 things:
    I have just installed 20 oz carpet on my bass boat and the compartment lids are incredibly tight. Not sure if this will go away after some use or if I need to attempt to “shave” the carpet. I have read somewhere that singeing the carpet with a heat gun works also but was leery of doing that without some input from someone with experience.

    Reply this comment
    • Grant Pentiricci
      Grant Pentiricci Author 31 January, 2016, 22:55

      Sorry, I just saw your comment now.

      I had the same problem. I used electric hair clippers to shave the sides of my lids. It looks great and my lids are super-easy to open now. One tip, when you do this, shave it bit, and then test, shave again if needed. Be careful not to shave too much. I don’t recommend singeing as you may have burn marks, but I’ve never tried that. The clipper approach worked really well.

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