Boats are often exposed to changing temperatures and weather conditions. They are also exposed to water and other elements that can contribute to the faster deterioration of your boat floor’s integrity. Installing boat carpets can help protect your floors and make them last longer, especially since they’re specially made to withstand the harsh marine environment.
However, you can’t just slap on a boat carpet and leave it as is; you will need to glue it down. This is not just so your carpet stays in place but also to ensure that it does its job protecting your floors well. Nevertheless, you can’t just use any type of glue; you will need marine grade carpet glue.
With all the available options in the market, how do you choose the best marine carpet glue? Considering this, I have created a comprehensive product review of some of the best glue for boat carpet and a buying guide to help you choose the best one for your boat floor.
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Best Marine Carpet Glue Reviews of 2023
To help you make your way through the multitude of boat carpet adhesives, here are some of the top boat carpet adhesives available in the market today.
1. Roberts Indoor Outdoor Carpet Adhesive
This Indoor/Outdoor Carpet Adhesive from Roberts features a non-flammable and solvent-free formula making it very safe for use on your boat. As a solvent-free formula, it can be cleaned with warm water and soap while it’s still wet, allowing users to make adjustments to the carpeting if needed.
What I find interesting about this adhesive is that, aside from being solvent-free and non-flammable, its formula features zero VOC and is environmentally-safe. That said, it’s a very attractive product to pro-environmentalists. Although it’s formulated like this, this adhesive’s strength is still comparable to the other adhesives on this list, and will definitely hold your carpet for a long time.
Aside from this, I also loved that this adhesive becomes waterproof carpet glue once it cures. This provides your boat’s floors with an extra protection as it prevents water from getting trapped in-between your carpet and your floor which will cause gradual and serious damage in the long run.
It’s also compatible for adhering carpet to various types of surfaces like plywood and fiberglass, making it the ideal marine carpet glue for fiberglass.
2. Henry, W.W. Co. Marine Carpet Adhesive
This Indoor/Outdoor Carpet Adhesive from Henry W.W. Co. features a strong and sticky formula that allows you to install both indoor and outdoor carpets.
What I liked about this boat carpet adhesive is that its strong sticky nature immediately adheres to the surface after installation. This allows it to reduce curling on the edges of your carpet giving you the desired flat and even carpeting.
In addition, it has a long drying time so you don’t have to worry about it drying on you when using it for large-area installation. Furthermore, it’s easy to use and spread around. A little amount can cover a considerably large surface area easily.
Because of its sticky nature, it’s perfect for long-term or permanent carpet installations as it won’t come off without you intending to remove it.
Another thing I liked about this marine glue for boat carpets is that it becomes water-resistant five days after installation. This adds another layer of protection for your boat’s floors and ensures your carpet adheres well to the floor of your boat.
3. BoatCarpetCentral Boat Carpet Glue
This boat carpet glue from Boat Carpet Central has a formula that was specifically designed for gluing big sized boat carpets. It comes in gallon-sized pails which should be able to cover an area of 8 by 10 feet.
What I loved about this marine glue for boat carpets is that, aside from being designed for adhering boat carpets in particular, its formulation is made of non-toxic and non-flammable ingredients so you do not need to worry about it being harmful to your health and safety.
Moreover, it’s water-based as well so it adheres to carpets with rubber backing perfectly and will not cause it to weaken as time goes by, unlike with other types of glues.
As a marine grade carpet glue, it can be used on a variety of boats – from pontoons to jon boats. I loved this glue because of how versatile it can get; not only can it be used on different types of boats but it can also be used on different surfaces as well like concrete, aluminum, and even fiberglass.
It is even recommended by a number of boat manufacturers as the go-to boat carpet glue.
4. RecPro Marine-Grade Flooring Glue
This marine-grade carpet glue can be used to adhere to several types of surfaces like vinyl, coin flooring, and of course, carpeting. It comes in a gallon-sized tub which can cover a hundred square feet of the area when applied using a medium paint roller.
What I loved about this carpet glue is that its formulation is marine-grade, as well as water-based. As a marine-grade carpet glue variant, its compatibility with most types of boat surfaces is unquestionable. As a water-based carpet type of glue, it doesn’t gradually eat away at your carpet’s backing, unlike with alcohol-based or solvent-based glues.
Aside from it adhering well, it can withstand extreme temperatures which can prove beneficial during the times when you have to store your boat during dry weather or if you need to bring it out during the summer.
5. Permatex Heavy-Duty Carpet Adhesive
This adhesive from Permatex features an incredibly strong formulation that can withstand high temperatures, making it great as a boat carpet glue product or for repairing car headliners.
What’s different about this adhesive is that, unlike the others that have to be spread, this one is a spray type of glue. This allows for a more even spreading of the adhesive on your surface.
What I liked about this adhesive, aside from its amazing strength formula, is that it doesn’t dry or bond immediately, despite being a spray adhesive. This gives me more room for adjustments, should I make mistakes.
In addition, it also dries clear so you’ll have a neater and cleaner appearance once dry. It’s also impervious enough that it can withstand harsh weather conditions. Once dry, it also becomes water-resistant so it’s perfect for gluing down boat carpets.
6. 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
The 3M Super 77 Adhesive is another spray-type adhesive that features a high-tack and fast-drying nature which makes it perfect for use on boat carpets.
What I liked about this aerosol adhesive is that it contains no ozone-depleting chemicals and has a low amount of VOC but will still bond fast on your surface.
Another thing I liked about it is that it’s clear. Having no solid color, it has a neater and cleaner appearance. It has a resistance to high temperatures so you don’t have to worry about it eventually melting your glue. Moreover, one can of this adhesive can cover a range of up to 220 square feet.
7. Polymat 777 Glue Spray Adhesive
This adhesive from Polymat comes in aerosol form and is designed specifically for use on marine surfaces like boat upholstery. It adheres instantly and it’s incredibly durable so it’s perfect for use on boat carpeting.
What I liked about this adhesive is that it’s specifically meant for automotive and marine use so it has incredible resistance to oil, gas, and salt. Moreover, it also resists stains, mildew, and mold so you don’t have to worry about the water causing the build-up of these unwanted substances underneath the carpet.
It’s also heavy-duty so it’s perfect for installing on to your boat carpet permanently to your floors.
In addition to that, it’s also easy to use because it comes in a convenient spray form and it has a solution-dyed polypropylene for protection against UV rays.
8. Advanced Adhesive Technologies Carpet Adhesive
This adhesive from Advanced Adhesive Technologies was specially formulated for carpeting, particularly marine and outdoor carpets.
What I loved about this boat carpet adhesive is its extremely water-resistant nature which is why it’s perfect for use on boat carpeting. It can be used to adhere to boat carpets with various types of backing to any flat and structurally sound surfaces like cleaned and fully-cured concrete, fiberglass, and even aluminum.
In addition to this, I also liked that, until it fully dries, it can also be cleaned up with simple warm water. However, if you want to remove it once dry, you will need to use AAT’s special adhesive remover because of its incredibly durable and strong formula. While this makes it ideal for permanent installations, it can be extremely hard to remove.
I also loved its solvent-free and non-flammable formulation which ensures it doesn’t ruin your carpet’s backing as time goes on.
9. DAP Weldwood All-Weather Carpet Adhesive
The DAP Weldwood Outdoor Carpet Adhesive is a solvent-based boat carpet glue that features a weatherproof formula able to withstand any weather condition, whether it be rain, snow, or extreme sun. This ensures long-lasting protection for your boat’s floors and durability for your boat carpet.
What I loved about this outdoor carpet adhesive marine glue is its sticking power. Its adhesion strength allows your carpet to stick to your floor for a long time.
I also liked the fast bonding time of this solvent-based carpet glue. It adheres immediately to the surface on which it’s applied. Just a small amount can go a long way when installing your boat carpet.
Moreover, it resists curling so you don’t have to worry about tripping at the edges of your carpet. This prevents any tripping-related accidents from happening. It also works on most types of outdoor carpets and other artificial surfaces.
10. CMC Boat Carpet Glue
This water-based adhesive is also specifically formulated for use on carpeting, particularly boat carpeting. Each adhesive comes in one-gallon pails that should be able to cover an area of 8 by 10 feet.
What I liked about this marine glue for boat carpets is that aside from being water-based, the formulation is non-flammable and non-toxic which has little to no odor, allowing you to use it without worrying about toxic fumes causing harm to your health.
Moreover, the formula’s strength is perfect for long-term or permanent carpet installations. It’s also fairly easy to use and spread despite the adhesive’s thick composition.
Plus, since it’s water-based, it won’t contribute to the deterioration of your boat carpet’s backing, unlike with most solvent-based adhesives.
What To Look For When Buying a Marine Carpet Glue
Choosing what glue to use for your boat’s carpeting can be somewhat confusing, especially since there are a lot of varieties out there. Boat carpets need special marine-grade glue to stick properly to your boat floor’s surface.
This is because boat carpets often have special backing and are usually exposed to the elements and various weather conditions.
Therefore, you will need to choose the right glue because using the inadequate one might end up doing a considerable amount of damage to your floors and ruining your carpet instead.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider when choosing which is the best marine carpet adhesive to use on your boat.
Type of Surface You’re Using the Glue On
You will need to consider the type of surface you’re going to use the glue on as not all adhesives can stick to any surface.
This is especially true for boat floors as boats tend to have special coatings to make them waterproof and non-skid like the gel coats of fiberglass.
Therefore, you will need to first find out if your preferred adhesive can actually adhere to the surface of your boat’s floors.
Type of Backing Your Carpet Has
You will also need to consider the type of backing your boat carpet has. While most have a rubber backing, this is not always the case. Moreover, some boat carpet glue doesn’t adhere well to some types of carpet backing.
Therefore, it is important that you find out what type of backing your carpet has before choosing the appropriate glue as there may be a chance that it does not adhere well and you might just end up ruining your carpet and boat floors.
There are two common types of boat carpet adhesive: solvent-based and water-based. Considering the composition of your carpet glue comes hand in hand with knowing the type of backing your carpet has. This is because most marine carpets have a rubber backing and solvent-based adhesives may end up contributing to the gradual deterioration of the rubber as time goes on.
Water-based adhesives are better for rubber backing as they are generally safer and don’t contain harsh chemicals that contribute to the deterioration of your flooring.
Strength of the Adhesive
You will also need to consider the strength of the adhesive and whether or not you want your carpet to adhere permanently.
This is because some adhesives can be extremely strong that it takes special adhesive removers to successfully remove the carpeting from your floors without damaging them. On the other hand, some adhesives, like most spray-type adhesives, work only for a significantly shorter amount of time.
Area of the Surface You Will Cover
Considering the area of the surface you plan to cover will allow you to have a general idea just how much glue you need to cover the entire space. Most boat carpet adhesives come in gallon sizes to accommodate large installation projects.
These gallon-sized adhesives can usually cover 8 by 10 feet of surface area. Thus, you should measure the area of your floor’s surface accordingly to know how many gallons you will need.
Drying or Curing Time
Some boat carpet adhesives have a longer and slower curing process than others. While adhesive that instantly bonds to the surface can make your job easier, it can also be less convenient, especially if you make a mistake while installing your carpet.
Boat carpet glue with longer drying or curing time allows for adjustability in case you end up making a mistake.
You will also need to consider what kind of protection your glue has. Things like being weatherproof, waterproof, and mold- and mildew-proof are especially important because of the environment your carpet – and your boat in general—are exposed to. It’s also important to note whether or not your chosen adhesive can withstand extreme temperatures as this can greatly affect its effectivity.
While most of boat carpet adhesives come in gallon-sized tubs, there are some that come in aerosol form. Aerosol adhesives are more convenient and easier to use but will require that you use more to cover the entire surface area of your boat’s floor. This might end up costing you considerably more compared to the gallon sizes.
These factors to consider will help you be more equipped when selecting the right type of marine-grade carpet glue for your boat. Considering these will also help avoid damaging your floors and costing you more for repairs.
Other Important Factors To Consider
Aside from the aforementioned factors, there are other things you need to consider as well. The following will help you be more informed about boat carpet adhesives so you can choose the best one that fits your boat carpeting needs.
What is marine carpet glue?
Marine carpet glue is a type of adhesive that is specially formulated to adhere marine carpeting to boat floors. They often have different qualities from regular carpet glue as the environment to which boats and boat carpets are exposed requires more features and protection.
In addition to that, boat floors are different from regular floors, often because they have a protective coating to help them withstand the elements and water to which they are constantly exposed. This is why a particular type of glue is needed to stick boat carpets to marine-exposed surfaces.
How does it work?
It works like regular glue in the sense that it bonds your boat carpet to your marine surface. They usually have increased adhering strength and water-resistance to ensure your carpet bonds well to your marine surface and it can withstand changing temperatures and exposure to the elements and different weather conditions.
What are the different types of marine carpet glues?
There are two common types of marine carpet glue: solvent-based and water-based glues. The difference between them is that water-based adhesives need to evaporate first to bond the carpet properly to your surface whereas solvent-based adhesives do not.
However, many recommend water-based adhesives because most boat carpets have a rubber backing and this type of glue is better for that for it does not contribute to the gradual deterioration of the backing. Additionally, solvent-based adhesives tend to lose their bonding strength over time as opposed to water-based glues.
Water-based adhesives also allow for a larger margin of error because it can usually be adjusted or washed off with warm water and some soap until they fully dry. They’re also more nature-friendly as they don’t use harsh chemicals that cause harm to the environment.
Why do you need glue for the boat carpet?
Installing a boat carpet has many advantages such as increased protection for and durability of your boat’s floors. No matter what type of boat carpet you have, you need to install it only with marine-grade carpet glue because of the coated and non-skid nature of the boat’s floor. Also, this glue is the best to be used with the special backing of boat carpets.
Just to give you an idea, the special backing can be damaged by the chemicals in harsh adhesives. Therefore, to ensure that your boat carpet does its job, you need the proper boat carpet glue.
Aside from ensuring that your boat carpet’s backing doesn’t become damaged, there are other benefits to using marine glue for boat carpets. They are as follows:
Keeps your carpet in place – First and foremost, using glue to adhere your boat carpet to your floor will help keep in place.
Increases the protection and preserves the integrity of your floor – Gluing your boat carpet down will ensure that no dirt, water, or anything else that might damage your floor can get trapped in-between the carpet and your floor. This will also ensure that your floor’s integrity is preserved and doesn’t rot.
Keeps the integrity of your carpet’s backing – Using boat carpet adhesive for your boat carpet will help keep its integrity as other types of adhesives may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the backing of your carpet.
Prevents tripping from uneven surfaces – Gluing down your carpet will make it more even and this will prevent adverse accidents like tripping on the edges of your carpet.
Makes your carpet look smoother and neater – Using carpet glue also enhances the appearance of your floor as it will remain even and in place, even in areas of heavy foot traffic. This gives it a neater, more organized, and desirable appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most asked questions about boat carpet glues.
Q: What are the most trusted boat carpet glue brands?
A: Some of the most trusted boat carpet glue brands include Henry W.W. Co, Permatex, and CMC; all of which were included in our product review. They have been proven and tested to work well when gluing down boat carpets.
Q: Can boat carpet glues stick to treated wood/plywood?
A: It depends mainly on the type of glue you use but yes, carpet glues can stick to treated wood. Solvent-based adhesives work well on treated wood/plywood. Water-based carpet glues can have a hard time adhering to the surface of treated wood/plywood though. It also sticks to boat trailer bunks.
Q: How to use boat carpet glue?
A: The best way to glue down a boat carpet is by using a trowel to spread the glue onto the surface. This is so that the glue is spread properly and evenly across the surface to prevent any bumps from forming after you stick your carpet onto it. Additionally, working during an adequate/ ideal weather/room temperature would also help (65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher).
Q: Where to buy?
A: You can buy most marine-grade carpet glues in hardware stores or boating shops but for your convenience, you can also opt to buy them from online stores like Amazon. However, there are risks when choosing to conveniently buy online, like, the glue’s packaging being damaged during transit or spilling.
Q: What is the difference between solvent-based carpet glue and water-based carpet glue?
A: Solvent-based boat carpet adhesives are more compatible with surfaces that have a protective coating while water-based adhesives are better for untreated surfaces. However, solvent-based adhesives can be too harsh on the rubber backing of carpets and can, therefore, cause it to deteriorate over time.
Moreover, water-based adhesives are considered less toxic and more environmentally friendly than solvent-based ones. They also tend to last longer but the adhesive needs to evaporate before it bonds properly to the surface which is why it’s not recommended for treated surfaces.
Q: How long until my boat carpet glue cures/dries?
A: This really depends on the adhesive you’re using as some may dry instantly while others take days. There are also other things to take into account like the temperature, humidity, and the type of glue you’re using.
Q: Can I adjust my boat carpet if I make a mistake?
A: This mainly depends on the adhesive you’re using. The faster the glue dries/cures, the less likely you can adjust your carpet as most carpet glues bond strongly. Water-based glue is generally more forgiving than solvent-based adhesives because they allow you to adjust and/or wash wet glue with soap and water. This allows you to start over should you make a mistake.
Q: How much glue do I need to install my boat carpet?
A: This depends on how large the area you’re working on is. A gallon of boat carpet adhesive can usually cover an area measuring around 8 by 10 feet.
Q: Can’t I just use regular extra-strong adhesives or contact cement?
A: While it’s possible to use these substances for your boat carpeting, they’re not recommended for use because they aren’t optimized for the type of backing your boat carpet has. Moreover, boat carpet glues are specially formulated to withstand the marine environment which helps protect the sometimes delicate surface of your boat floor.
Another reason why marine carpet glues are recommended for use on boat carpets is that regular adhesives may contain harsh chemicals that can damage both the backing of your carpet and the floor of your boat.
Q: How long before I can use my newly installed boat carpet?
A: It’s a good idea to let the adhesive dry/cure properly and completely before using the newly carpeted area. This is so the carpeting job wouldn’t be disturbed and can be allowed to fully bond with the surface. This will also prevent the carpet from curling or having uneven parts, which, depending on the severity, may prompt a redo of the whole floor carpet installation.
Q: How to glue boat carpet?
A: Here is a short tutorial on how to install your boat carpet:
- First, make sure that you’re doing this at an adequate temperature as the right temperature is crucial to the success of your carpet installation. This is because using boat carpet glue in cold temperatures or weather will not allow the adhesive to properly bond with your surface.
- Prepare all the tools you need to install your carpet and of course, this includes your carpet and carpet glue as well.
- Divide your work area into sections as this will make the job easier. Moreover, this will also lessen the chances of mistakes unlike when you apply the entire carpet all at once.
- Clean the surface and ensure that it’s dry before applying your glue.
- Apply the glue either on your surface or directly to your carpet. It’s best if you check the glue manufacturer’s instructions for this.
- Allow some time for the adhesive to become tacky (again, best if you check the instructions). Some adhesives will allow you to apply the carpet immediately.
- Once it’s tacky enough, carefully attach the boat carpet to your surface.
- After installation, apply pressure over your carpet or run something over it like a carpet roller to ensure that each part is even.
- Allow the adhesive to dry/cure (overnight or a couple of days—refer to the instructions) before enjoying your newly installed carpet.
Q: What temperature does it have to be when gluing your boat carpet?
A: It’s crucial to have warm and dry weather when gluing down your boat carpet. The ideal temperature during installation would be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This temperature will allow the glue to bond properly with the surface as cold and wet weather will not allow the glue to evaporate properly.
Q: Which is better; solvent-based adhesives or water-based adhesives?
A: It depends on what surface you’re adhering your carpet and whether or not your carpet has a rubber backing. For treated surfaces like fiberglass or aluminum, solvent-based adhesives are better because they bond better with the surface. However, if your carpet has a rubber backing, generally, it’s better to use water-based adhesive as it lasts longer and doesn’t contribute to its deterioration.
If you’re adhering your carpet to treated surfaces with rubber backing, it is best if you sand and clean the surface first before installing your carpet by using boat carpet cleaners. This will allow the water-based glue to bond more properly to the surface.
Using carpeting on your boat floors can go a long way in helping it last longer and save you some cash on repairs. However, to make sure that your boat carpet is properly installed so it can do its job, you will need a marine-grade adhesive to bond it well to your boat floor’s surface.
It’s vital that you use marine glue for boat carpets as they are specifically made to handle the different environments and conditions to which boats are often exposed. In fact, high-quality marine glue for boats can go a long way if you’re the type of person who often brings his or her boat out from the dock in stormy weather.
Our comprehensive review and buying guide for the best marine carpet glue should help you with your selection of marine carpet glue.
The right boat carpet adhesive will not only bond your carpet to your floor but will also help increase the protection provided by it. This will allow you to enjoy your boat for many more years to come.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.