Sailing floor

Boat Flooring Options

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When you look at your boat’s floor, do you think “hmmm, not such a good look?” If so, it’s time to switch out your floor. But what to get? There are many types of boat flooring, each with advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we’ll look at several of the most popular Boat Flooring Options and give you some context to help choose the right material for your needs, your vessel, and your budget.

Why Choosing the Right Boat Flooring is Important

It might not seem like it, but boat flooring is critical for a variety of reasons. It not only allows you to decorate your boat according to your preferences but it also protects some portions of the boat from damage. And in certain cases, the right boat flooring also helps to prevent those on the boat from slipping and damaging themselves!

A steady grip can life and death.


What to Consider Before Installing Boat Flooring

Sailboat Under Sail

Before investing in boat flooring there are a handful of things you should keep in mind.

Its Durability

Checking the durability of the boat flooring material is extremely important to do. This will help to ensure that the material will work well for your boat and last you for a long time. Otherwise, you might end up having to invest in new boat flooring within just a few years.

Boat flooring should last you at least 10 years. Otherwise, why are you going through the trouble of installing it? Anything less than this is usually not made of high-quality materials and it will end up being expensive to repair.

The Price

Another thing to consider is the price of the boat flooring. While a material might look nice and is pricey, that doesn’t always mean it’s the right option for your boat. In fact, some expensive boat flooring options are priced not for their durability, but aesthetics.

On the other hand, cheap boat flooring might not last you very long and could cause damage to your boat. Because of this, it’s important to create a budget that ensures you invest in high-quality boat flooring but without breaking the bank.

The Required Maintenance Work

You should also consider the maintenance work you’ll need to do with the boat flooring. Do you need to clean it daily? Does it need to be covered up in cases where it gets soaked? By considering this, you’ll be able to invest in the right boat flooring option that works well for your schedule.

See here for more information on boat cleaning.

If it’s UV-Protected

Boats often bake in the sun, and are covered by salt, sunscreen, and other chemicals. While it might be relaxing to take the vessel out on a sunny day, you might not realize that the warm sun rays could be quickly damaging your boat flooring.

The sun can cause the flooring to fade which can ruin the looks of it. To help prevent this, it’s ideal to make sure that the boat flooring you’re interested in is coated with a UV-protective material.


Boat Flooring Options

There are numerous flooring types one can use for their boat. Below are some of the most popular options.

Vinyl Foam Marine Mats

Marine Vinyl Foam Mat Teak Flooring

Vinyl Foam mats are incredibly common, and are often an excellent solution for boaters looking to change up their flooring. The above Teak-style flooring by Melors is a great example of the EVA foam solution.

Vinyl flooring is good for most areas of the boat, but it can be slippery, Be careful if you use it on the deck. Unlike many other boat flooring options, vinyl is reusable and can be removed and placed on other areas of the boat.

Most of this flooring is quite  UV-resistant. It should not fade quickly due to excessive sun exposure. No need to worry about “doing the teak” when it’s actually vinyl! And you can clean the vinyl floor with the same materials as your boat’s vinyl seats.

Marine Grade Carpet

Indoor Outdoor Carpet RV Boat Flooring

Boat carpet is more akin to an outdoor carpet than that beautiful oriental rug you’re thinking about.

Marine carpets can be appropriate for indoor areas where there won’t be a ton of water coming in, but they’re probably not great on the main deck. The above carpet by RecPro is a thermoplastic polyolefin and is suitable for a marine environment.

Boat carpeting is a bit more durable compared to regular carpeting, as it’s made with twisted fibers. However, this makes it a little difficult to clean the carpeting sometimes due to its unique design.

Wood

Teak wood click lock tiles

Wood is one of the most commonly used boat flooring types. This is because it tends to be very durable and is cost-effective. However, wood flooring needs to be coated often. This is especially true of Teak, which is what the click-lock tiles shown above are. Teak is a very common boat material, and unless you like the look of weathered teak, you’ll have to be prepared to continually seal the teak.

While there are a few different types of wood flooring you can use, one of the best is marine plywood. While it’s not treated, it will withstand the elements and can be cut to shape as needed.

If your boat is stored outside, eventually you may run into problems with wooden flooring, even if your boat is covered when not in use.

Canvas

Canvas is one of the most popular boat flooring options. It can be used on all areas of the boat and is designed with heavy-duty fibers so it can withstand tough conditions. In addition to this, canvas works to prevent moisture from seeping into it which keeps the material from molding or warping.

Canvas also come in various designs so you can find the right option for your needs.

Rubber PVC Floor Tiles

Rubber boat floor tiles

Rubber floor tiles is one of the newest boat flooring options but it’s quickly gaining popularity thanks to its strong traction. These rubber tiles by Foghorn are a great example.

It’s also soft to walk on which prevents strain to one’s feet. Rubber tiles are UV protected and fade resistant. Despite these benefits, can get very hot on a sunny day.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a unique flooring option that is easy to install and is somewhat affordable. It also fits on most boat types making it extremely versatile. However, fiberglass can be delicate and cracks easily.

Aluminum

Aluminum diamond tread plate boat floor

This flooring type is yet another option ideal for boat owners on a budget. Because it’s lightweight, aluminum is easy to install and won’t add extra weight to the boat. Most boat owners can also install aluminum flooring themselves which can save money. The one downside of aluminum is that it can be very slippery when wet.

The aluminum diamond tread plate shown above provides some extra grip, but you would still be wary in wet conditions.


Conclusion

Finding the right flooring in the sea of boat flooring options isn’t an easy task. While there are numerous options for boat owners to choose from, they each come with their own pros and cons which are important to take into consideration.

It’s generally best to stick to low maintenance, high quality, time-tested materials. Wood, vinyl foam mats, and carpet are excellent options for many boaters, and are where you should probably start your exploration..