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Re-carpeting 1988 Ranger 680-T...suggestions?

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I'm giving serious thought to recarpeting my 1988 Ranger 680-T. After 20 years of hard fishing, the rug's looking pretty beat up. I see that Cabela's has marine carpeting at a reasonable price and I've put vinyl flooring down in my wife's garden shed, but I was wondering if anyone's got any suggestions, advice, or dire warnings about how to recarpet a boat. And yeah, I've seen the site where the guy from Wisonsin redid his 680-T...that's kinda where I got the itch to do mine. So, any words of wisdom?

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Cthulhu: My Dad and I recarpeted his 1974 Ranger Tr 10. We used a marine grade carpet glue and a good grade marine carpet. We cut the carpet to dry fit the boat, the glue instructions say to coat the deck and the carpet and let get tacky before laying the carpet, that was a mistake. We couldn't shift the carpet properly in place,tore that off and this time only coated the deck and then layed the carpet down. We were able to move the carpet alittle and roll out any rinkles. The carpet and boat look as good as new today. Good Luck Sidewinder

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Cthulhu: The carpet has stayed just the way we layed it . We did put the glue down alittle thicker than normal and layed the carpet down before the glue got tacky. It did take two people to do the job and we used a roller used for pressing down countertop materials to get a good bond. We had to remove our locker lids so we did them on the work bench. Sidewinder

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When I was doing my Tournament V-17 I learned two main points. 1) Darker carpet doesn't show as much dirt. 2) A chalk gun with a tube of Liquid Nails is the good way to wrap carpet around corners and get a water tight seal at the edge of the carpeting.

If the deck is made of plywood, pressure treated plywood is a good replacement, but consider having a local metal shop bending some marine grade aluminum plate deck hatches with square or rectangular tube stock on the edges for a nice, neat fit.

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Thanks for the info Smalliehunter and Hawghunterbaits!

That would definitely save me a ton of time and frustration I'm sure.

I'll give a call immediately.

And Spike-a-pike, I'll be sure to check out the decks when I pull the old carpet. And I hear you about the darker carpet! I'm looking at charcoal grey, myself.

edited to add: Well, just talked to Ranger on the phone. They'll sell me the carpet, but it's by the square yard, and no patterns for the boat. So, back to the Cabela's catalogue I go...

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You may want to check out the Boat Carpet Store, The Boat Carpet Store - Marine Carpet Ships for Free - Boat Carpet Ships within 72-hrs. I got my boat seats from them the end of April; got them at a good price and they shipped fast, I believe I got them in 3 days and shipping was free. They also have pretty good installation guide to give you a pretty good idea of the task ahead of you. Good luck.

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Having Carpetted many boats dont use marine glue, use contact cement and a small air sprayer to apply it.

also only use a CARPET knife to cut the carpet nothing else and make sure you change the blade every time you hit the deck of the boat. Blades are cheap dont use a dull one.

Dont buy land and sea carpet its garbage.

I have some pics somehwere of my 7 year old daughter recarpeting a ranger.

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this may help, I posted it a while ago on my private fishing forum

Tools and Supplies

Most of the tools you need to recarpet with are standard Cheap tools that you can get anywhere for a couple of bucks, Power tools :bow: are nice and well worth the price but if your only doing one boat you can get by without them.

Tools and Supplies that are a must

  • Carpet Knife not a cheap plastic one or a utility Knife, They just wont work it so dont even try.
  • pack of 100 carpet razor blades You want to have a sharp edge everytime so you will place them after almost every cut when trimming.
  • 2" sturdy scraper
  • 10-20 cheap 2"-4" paint brushs
  • plastic quart containers
  • 1+ gallons of acetone for clean up
  • lots of rags
  • Shop vac
  • 12" and 36" metal straight edge
  • Pop Rivet gun get one that will use different size rivets
  • Electric Drill will be needed to drill out rivets for hinges and trim piece's

Tools that make it nice

  • Quality Gasket Scraper
  • Cheap spray gun used for glue Harbor frieght has a one pint alum gun for about 20 bucks.
  • Hand Held Belt Sander coarse sanding belts
  • disc sander withy some 80 grit sanding discs


I am in the process of Recarpeting the Cajun again, since the last carpet didnt last but 5 trips before it showed signs of high wear and basically looked like crap. This carpet was bought from home depot and was made by land and sea and is made for boats. I dont recomend it at all. since it was my own boat I figured I would try this carpet because one I could get it cheap and very fast. DONT GO CHEAP OR FAST because you wont be happy with the results.


This Carpet lasted 5 trips before it became seriously worn and looked like crap. I belive there is a total of 8 trips on it now. The Boat is always kept in my shop so sun and weather dont hit it unless I am on the lake. you can see the glue that seeped through the carpet Backing.

The few other boats I have done for people I used Quality carpet bought from a few different places. it made a world of difference. while the cost was about twice as much and the time getting it took longer it was well worth it.

The backing on land and sea carpet absorbs the glue no matter why type you use and will mat the carpet down as soon as you step on it.

Different Types of Backing

There are 2 different types of carpet I have used as far as backing. In the picture below on the left is a backing that will asorb cement wether it be Contact cement or Speadable indoor outdoor carpet cement.

The backing on the left is very brittle and peals off extreamly easy,It will also peal off very easy if used with contact cement. It will litterally leave the backing stuck to the floor and the carpet will come up. This backing also leaks through and soaks the carpet leaving it a matted mess.

The carpet backing on the right of the picture is a semi hard stretchable backing that will not separate or let cement leak through to the carpet.


Home Depot Land & Sea Carpet backing on the left and Carpet from Mesa Sales on the right

The carpet itself

I wont go into this to much except to say you want a non looped carpet so hooks will not get caught and tear your newly carpeted boat.

20oz. Carpet is mostly used for bass boats, anything more and your decklids will be extreamly tight to close if not close at all.

The 3 carpet places I have used are:

  • Mesa Sales In mesa AZ has a real good selection of carpet in different widths and colors, The sell everything you need to apply it and all the tools needed as well.They are also extreamly helpful and very nice people
  • Bass Boat Carpet (internet sales)
  • The carpet Barn was another place I used when they were here in glendale. I believe they moved to prescott az. They had a huge selection of carpet and everything you needed to apply it.

How Much do you need to order

Thats the million dollar question.

The way I have done it is if the boat is total length of 18 feet I order that +5 feet, now that being said Rangers with lots of compartments and dual consols I need about 10 extra feet, It also makes a difference as to what width you get as too how much extra you need. and if your doing inside rod lockers and some compartments make sure you get lots extra.

try to buy the carpet all at once. If you need more chances of getting the same lot number is really hard. ( each lots number will vary slightly in color).

Also if you want a PERFECT job make sure you run all your carpet the same direction of cource this will require you to buy more carpet.

Carpet Glue

basically 2 types one is a contact cement and the other is a speadable slow drying type. Both have there advantages. if you buy contact cement, buy it at a carpet store it will be alot cheaper, painting it on you will use about 3-4 gallons for a 18-19 foot boat including all compartments. spraying it on you will use about a gallon and a half to 2 gallons( probally less).

Contact Cement:

If and only if you have someone that is compatent to help you use this stuff, its fast, its easy and it drys quickly.

Its easier to be sprayed and you will use alot less, painting it on with a brush works very well also, however you use alot more. very easily cleaned with Acetone.

Indoor/outdoor carpet cement

Roberts indoor/ outdoor carpet adhesive 6700 I have use this in the past with great results. Its very easy to use and once you get the carpet down you can move it and stretch it to fit. using this cement makes it alot easier for one person to do the job.

you should let it set for 24-48 hours before you use the boat, I would recommend 4-5 days and a few of those days have it in the heat so it will completely dry.

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Go to a local floor covering supply store tell them what you intend to do they will supply you with a good outdoor carpet glue, get a pint of D-815 carpet seam adhesive and, if you can pick up some hybond #80 contact cement. Hybond 80 is chemical based you do not want water based contact (for the obvious reasons) hybond #80 is the meanest contact on earth thats why the stuff sticks FOREVER! GET A RESPIRATOR. Any other contact will work just be sure it is chemical based. Make sure whatever you are gluing to is free of oils etc. clean it with alcohol or similar products. If there is residue from the existing glue the carpet glue should adhere but the conact may react and eat the existing off. Measure each lid including the wrap around and leave yourself a little extra, cut out the carpet for the lid. apply the outdoor carpet adhesive on the top (flat side of the lid up to 2" of the edges. Turn the carpet upside down and place the lid upside down on the carpet. Flip it and roll the heck out of it. Now the fun part...With a paint brush give the hard surface (the 2" that did not receive carpet glue) and only the face of the hard surface (not the inside lip yet) and the carpet a liberal coating of contact (one side at a time) Let these dry for about 15-20 min once both surfaces are dry to the touch you are ready 2 go. Now pull the carpet tight in the middle and wrap it down working your way to each side (*note-once the contact touches each other IT IS STUCK. Progressivley work your way around gluing and sticking. The overlaps will need to be cut. Use a drywall knife and buy a whole pack of blades. Don't cut a seam on the outside corner. After all sides are stuck you will have folds on all four corners. Cut the fold on the outside (top) of the fold from the corner of the lid all the way riding the top ridge. Next,,, on the less descrete side of the lid (the sides you will not see when you open the lid) cut the carpet tight along the vertical corner all the way down, wrap the existing carpet around the side,, this is your gauge for your seam, hold it tight and cut the stuck carpet.. This cut should be from the top corner of the lid down @ a 45deg angle. Pull the stuck cut piece off (make sure you made a clean cut or when you tear it off it will frey. Put a fresh coat of contact on the area let it dry. Put a small amount of carpet seam adhesive along the stuck carpet wrap the rest into the seam. The carpet seam adhesive will dry fast as well, and will stop the seam from freying over time. Continue gluing and wraping the inner lip of the lids. The more you do the more you will become comfortable with it. I make my living installing carpet, tile etc. I have done several boats, don't get discouraged it is a daunting task, but the rewards are something to be proud of...Good luck

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I bought all my supplies from Cabela's and came out with excellent results. Only thing I did different was on my aluminum lids I used a spray glue I purchased from a body shop they use for gluing cloth tops on cars. Sprayed it using a paint sprayer and compressor. For you guys that don't have padding under your carpet, you can buy pads to lay on top to stand on. They sell them to use on floors behind counters, just remember to take it out after fishing to let the carpet air out.

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I checked lowes before i did my boat and they only had 13 oz which isn't heavy enough. I used it on my river boat and it didn't last very long. I used 20 oz from the the boat carpet store on the enternet and was very pleased. I used indoor outdoor glue on the deck and floor and tops of lids, iused contact cement for everything that needed folded and it turned out great.

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I have a Skeeter bass boat that I have had for the last 22 years and have re-carpeted the boat 3 times. I am almost ready to do it again and each time I have done it the same as Mikel17( the post above). The carpet adhesive is water base and easy to use. Contact cement for the small tack down stuff. I have been very happy with the results and that old boat always looked really good still does to this day.

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When I was doing my Tournament V-17 I learned two main points. 1) Darker carpet doesn't show as much dirt. 2) A chalk gun with a tube of Liquid Nails is the good way to wrap carpet around corners and get a water tight seal at the edge of the carpeting.

If the deck is made of plywood, pressure treated plywood is a good replacement, but consider having a local metal shop bending some marine grade aluminum plate deck hatches with square or rectangular tube stock on the edges for a nice, neat fit.

Do not use pressure treated plywood in an aluminum boat, the copper base treatment is a problem, copper and aluminum combined are instant corrosion. Use exterior grade plywood and coat with fiberglass resin.


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I'm no expert, but I replaced the carpet in my 520, and it turned out pretty well.

Buy quality carpet. This is a project you want to last. I got my carpet and trim from Ranger, as I knew it would be a quality product.

I used Henry outdoor adhesive on all flat surfaces, as it sets slower, giving you time to adjust the carpet. On the lid edges, I used Weldwood contact adhesive, as it bonds quick. When you put your carpet down with this, you better have it where you want it. You really need a second person to help lay it.

I removed my old carpet with Goo Gone, removing the carpet in intact sections to use as a template to get you close, and then trim to fit. Be careful applying it, as it may discolor any surface it touches.

Mark each lid as to where it went, and the same with the hinges if reusing them.

MAKE sure you lay it with the grain of the carpet running the same for the entire boat. I marked the back of the carpet with arrows showing the direction as a precaution.

Go to Bass Boat Central for instructions on cutting the corners. Works well.

Take your time, and let it cure well before use.

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I’m the original poster on this thread. Lost my login and haven’t been able to retrieve my password for some reason. It took me 14 damned years, but I FINALLY got around to recarpeting my boat. 
I’d love to post a photo but my phone isn’t giving me the option. 
mods, if you can help me retrieve or reset my password, I’d appreciate it! Otherwise, just wanted to check in and give an update!

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