How to Carpet the Sidewalls of a Boat Hull

Updated February 21, 2017

Carpeting the sidewalls of a boat hull adds additional comfort and improves the appearance of the interior. Cutting and installing long sections of carpet to the sidewalls of a boat can be tedious for an experienced installer. Carpet tiles are sold in 24-inch squares, which limits waste and makes installation relatively uncomplicated. Commercial carpet tile is tougher than standard carpeting and resist stains more efficiently. Carpet the side walls of a boat hull using light hand tools.

Measure the length and height of the sidewalls to calculate the square footage of carpet tiles needed. Add five per cent to account for cuts. Obtain the total calculated square footage of 24-inch square carpet tiles in the colour of choice. Include the appropriate amount of aluminium carpet channel based on the overall length of the sidewalls. Include moisture resistant carpet tile adhesive, based on the total square footage.

Move the boat to a well-ventilated area. Remove any accessories or racks that attach to the sidewalls of the hull. Use nylon ties to strap wires or hoses that run along the sidewalls and hold these out of the way during the carpeting.

Wear a dust mask and prep wood sidewalls with a sanding block and medium grit sandpaper. Use a moist rag or vacuum to remove sanding residue. Wear a dust mask and latex gloves and prep fibreglass sidewalls with acetone applied to a rag. Avoid getting acetone on other fibreglass surfaces.

Start at one end of a sidewall and lay out strips of aluminium carpet channel along the floor of the boat. Butt the ends of the strips as you go and cut the last piece to length with a hacksaw. Repeat this at the other side walls that will be carpeted. Attach the channel at the base of the walls with small brad nails and a hammer. Be sure the channel is facing up to receive the carpet tiles.

Lay four pieces of carpet tile side by side in the channel, starting from one end. Mark the upper edges of the tiles with a felt marker if pre-cutting is needed for a uniform fit. Make any cuts with a utility knife and use a yardstick or straight edge as a blade guide.

Apply carpet adhesive to the area where the first four pieces of carpet tile will install. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions and spread the proper amount of adhesive with a plastic putty knife. Clean the blade of the putty knife with a rag after each application of adhesive.

Insert the lower edge of the first carpet tile in the channel and press the tile into place against the sidewall. Install the remaining pre-cut or whole pieces of carpet tile in the first section. Repeat this procedure until the sidewall is carpeted.

Carpet the remaining sidewalls in the same way. Roll the surface of the tile carpeting with a rubber roller to ensure a good bond. Remove the nylon ties and reattach any components to the side walls to complete the installation.


Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for carpet adhesive application and drying time.

Things You'll Need

  • Nylon ties
  • Dust mask
  • Sanding block
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Latex gloves
  • Acetone
  • Hacksaw
  • Brad nails
  • Hammer
  • Felt marker
  • Utility knife
  • Yardstick or straight edge
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Rubber roller
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About the Author

William Machin began work in construction at the age of 15, while still in high school. In 35 years, he's gained expertise in all phases of residential construction, retrofit and remodeling. His hobbies include horses, motorcycles, road racing and sport fishing. He studied architecture at Taft Junior College.