pontoon boat flooring

Carpet or Vinyl for Boat Flooring – Which is better?

When it comes to pontoon boat flooring, you have an important decision to make.

That decision is whether you decide to go for carpet or vinyl for your pontoons flooring.

What it really comes down to is whether you prefer the practicality which vinyl offers or the luxurious comfort which a nice soft carpet provides.

It’s not an easy decision to make and each material has its advantages and disadvantages.

This choice really does come down to your own preference. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, so what is perfect for someone else may not be perfect for you.

In this article, I’ll be explaining the advantages and disadvantages of using vinyl pontoon flooring and carpet pontoon flooring. I’ll also be comparing the two, to give you an idea of how they fair against each other, and I’ll end with a clear-cut conclusion.

Vinyl Pontoon Flooring

Vinyl pontoon flooring has become increasingly more popular over the years as it’s evolved, and people have come to identify it’s many benefits. Vinyl flooring has never looked better, no longer will it cause your boat to look like a kitchen. In this section I’ll explain the pros and cons of vinyl.

Advantages of Vinyl Flooring

Ease of Maintenance

One of the biggest advantages of vinyl is that’s it’s extremely easy to maintain. Unlike carpet which requires a thorough scrub, vinyl just needs a decent hose down. I can’t exaggerate how easy it is to maintain this material.

If you wanted to wash your flooring more thoroughly, to leave it spotless; you could use a deck cleaner and brush. I’d recommend StarBrite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner. This will leave a non-slippery protective layer on your flooring and clean any dirt and stains. I’d also recommend their brush and compact handle combo. Flooring maintenance has never been easier.


This brings me to the next advantage of vinyl. Vinyl can be kept clean with little to no effort. Carpet is known to absorb and grip onto stains and dirt, whereas vinyl does the complete opposite. If you manage to spill a drink on the flooring, a hose down is all that’s required. With a carpet flooring, you would have to thoroughly scrub to get any stains out.

I’d also like to mention that vinyl doesn’t suffer in humid conditions. Whereas if you leave carpet in humid conditions, you’re likely to find that it has grown mold. This is another reason vinyl flooring works very well.

Easy Installation

The installation of vinyl flooring is very easy, especially when compared to the installation of carpet. There’s a few different types of vinyl flooring though they’re all relatively simple. Many types of vinyl tiles will already have an adhesive backing which you’ll just have to peel and place down. Anyone could do this; no professional expertise is needed. Another type would be vinyl planks which can be glued together.


Carpets were by far better acoustically in the past due to the little noise they’re produce, whilst vinyl was very loud. However, in recent years vinyl has advanced and now also has noise-softening capabilities. Nowadays vinyl can produce little to no noise when padding is installed.

This really comes down to preference however may people prefer the sound of vinyl as opposed to that of carpet. This is because they don’t want pure silence, but they also don’t want to hear a ruckus. This makes vinyl great for those who want an in-between.


It’s widely known that you are more likely to get a longer warranty when purchasing vinyl flooring compared to carpet. This is because carpets don’t last very long on boats as moisture can lead to the growth of mold and carpet damage. This makes the material not ideal for manufacturers to offer a good warranty on carpet flooring for boats.

Whereas on the other hand, manufacturers are likely to offer great warranty deals on vinyl flooring as they’re confident in the materials strength and durability. Manufacturers are aware that vinyl is likely to last their customers a long time and it’s unlikely for them to have to use their warranty.

UV resistance

A big advantage of vinyl is that it’s UV resistant. This means that the pigmentation of vinyl is unlikely to fade when exposed to the suns UV rays. This keeps your pontoon boat flooring looking fresh and in good condition.

When carpets are exposed to the sun for too long, they’re likely to lose colour. Though this may not affect the quality of the flooring, it won’t look as nice in areas where it gets direct sunlight. Areas where carpet is shaded from the sun will look brighter, whereas where it gets direct sunlight the colours will look washed.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Flooring


The most well-known disadvantage of vinyl flooring is the fact that it can become more slippery than carpet. Even when wet it’s unlikely that you’ll lose your grip and fall on carpet due to the traction it provides. However, when vinyl is wet it becomes slippery and it’s likely that you could lose your grip and fall. This is a safety hazard and something which could be very dangerous, there’s been many cases in which people have fallen over-board or hit their head on equipment after falling.

This is something you’ll want to keep in mind especially if you intend on having children on-board. We should always stress the wellbeing of children as it’s very easy for them to get hurt. If you’re playing around in the water and track water into the boat, you’ve just created a hazard. On wet vinyl flooring it’s very likely that they’ll slip as they’re clumsier than us adults.

There is a solution to this drawback though. Textured woven vinyl. This will provide enough friction to prevent slipping. This is a great in-between for those unsure between getting vinyl or carpet pontoon boat flooring. I really like this alternative as it’s very practical as well as appealing. I’d recommend this luxury marine vinyl flooring.


Though vinyl flooring is very durable, it’s still susceptible to being punctured by sharp items. If you were to drop a knife on the floor it could damage the vinyl and create a mark. On a carpet floor, dropping a knife would be a problem. You should also be cautious when dragging equipment along the floor as it could cause visible scratches.

Carpeted Pontoon Flooring

The main alternative to vinyl flooring is carpet flooring. This is another great affordable option for your pontoons flooring.

Bare in mind that you shouldn’t use normal carpet which you’d purchase for a house. Because the carpet is likely to be subject to water, it’s important to purchase marine carpeting. This type of carpet is designed for boating conditions. It is more durable and resistant to water and the weather.

This is a marine grade carpet designed by boats, I’d highly recommend this product.

Carpet has its benefits and its drawbacks, I’ll explain them now, starting with the advantages.

Advantages of Carpeted Flooring


In my opinion, I find that carpeted flooring is a lot more comfortable than vinyl flooring. This is because the material a lot softer and feels a lot better on bare feet than vinyl does. Carpet makes a boat feel homelier and therefore you get more relaxation from it.

This is not a very practical advantage however for many people comfort is a large part of boating. Boating is often used to escape the stress of everyday life and therefore comfort and relaxation is very important.


As I had mentioned earlier, the biggest drawback of vinyl flooring is the lack of traction it offers. On the other hand, carpet is quite the opposite. Carpeted flooring provides great traction which will keep you grounded always even if the floor is wet.

This will keep you and your family/friends safe whilst walking around on-board. The risk of someone falling over and injuring themselves is greatly reduced. This traction is very important in ensuring that kids don’t slip and hurt themselves. Do I need to further explain the benefits of not slipping?


Many people prefer the sound of steps on carpet versus the acoustics of vinyl flooring. This comes down completely to preference as some people prefer the sound of vinyl flooring. Without a doubt, carpet makes less noise due to it’s sound dampening properties. This makes steps less audible and is something that a lot of people like. Personally, this is something that I’m not too fussed about to be honest. Though, I know a lot of people who say loud foot-steps drive them crazy when they’re trying to relax.

Disadvantages of Carpeted Flooring

Stains & Odor

The main problem with carpeted flooring on a boat is its cleanliness. Unlike vinyl flooring, carpet absorbs moisture which mean if you spill a drink on the floor, it will be absorbed into the carpet. To get the stain and smell of the drink out of the carpet, you’ll have to scrub it thoroughly. If you don’t scrub your mess, the carpet will stain.

If you’re using your boat for fishing and a fish lands on your carpet, it’s odor will also be absorbed by the carpet. This will cause your boat to reek of fish. This is extremely unpleasant and could ruin your boating experience.


Another major problem with carpet flooring is the chance of rotting.

Rotting can occur when the carpet is exposed to water for too long. This is a common occurrence due to carpet absorbing water. If you notice that the dick of the boat feels slightly creaky then rotting could have caused it. Rotting will cause wood to deteriorate which could cause a creak as the wooden weakens.

You can view my guide on how to fix rotted boat floor by clicking here.

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