How to Replace Boat Carpet with Woven Flooring

This video is brought to you by Sailrite. Visit for all your project supplies, tools and instructions. In this video we will install Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric from Sailrite in a powerboat. Chilewich is a beautiful blend of vinyl mesh and fiberglass with a polyurethane foam backing that is perfect for marine environments. It’s easy to pattern, cut, finish edges and install for any do it yourselfer. Watch this video and transform your old soaked and worn out carpet with Chilewich a gorgeous and durable floor covering fabric from Sailrite. Let’s get started and show you how to first pattern Chilewich Floor Covering fabric from Sailrite. Then we will show two way to finish off the raw edge, one with binding the other by folding the mesh under and sewing it down. We have already installed a panel of the Chilewich Floor Covering fabric on this boat.

Next we will replace the old carpet under the table. Here’s Brian from Sailrite to explain the process. Ok, this is the orginial carpet, as you can see it realy does not fit very well. This table is actually set up with a gap here to allow for carpet, but for some reason when they made this carpet they made the hole extra-large, it just looks really poor. So, what we are going to do is we are going to make the hole to accutally match the bottom of the table leg and this will basically hide all our trim. We are still going to finish it out, because this at times can see some traffic and we do not want that rough edge to get torn up. But, we will just make it fit much nicer overall it will look far better. Here is a look ahead at the finished Floor Covering Fabric with table post installed.

Ok, one of the things about the old carpet, I can actually smell it right now. You know they put a rubber back on it which is great, helps it to grip and everything. But what happens is this carpet sits there and you spill something on it water gets in, what not, you drag water in from swimming and the carpet gets soaked. It just never dries! We actually had some of the carpet pieces out, I had them out for three days, laying out in a building, where they would not see any moisture, and they were still not dry. This carpet is nice and all, but really at the end of the day the new stuff will be far better because it isn’t going to absorb water like the old. So it will dry faster and be a better fit. When Chilewich gets dirty or if something is spilled on it just hose it off and let it dry. If the old carpet fits well, you can use that as a pattern, but if not we recommend patterning. To pattern we use 3M filament strapping tape and apply it around the perimeter of the opening to be fitted with the Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric.

Then a double sided tape called seamstick for canvas is applied on top of the 3M filament strapping tape. This strapping tape makes it very easy to remove the double sided tape from the fiberglass surface when you are done. Ok what we did for the first pieces, is we actually patterned them off the old. You know that is the easiest way to go. A lot of people like to go that route. The reason that it is not good and you can see right here, is once it was all said and done we end up with a piece that does not necessarily match the line we would like it too. So, the reason that we are going to do this on the boat is twofold. One, we want to make sure we have a good fit. We already showed how poorly it fit around the table but more importantly were going to make this piece match up, we’ll overall get a better fit it will look better, because we are going to do this one on the boat. Remove the transfer paper from the seamstick and then we will use Dura Skirm Pattern material to pattern for this piece.

Cut the Dura Skrim to size being sure it is slightly larger than the opening on all sides. If left too large it will be difficult to work with. Dura Skrim can be purchased from Sailrite. It is a great patterning material not only because you can eaily see through it, but it also has skrim threads running through it to stabilize it if it is used to patterning where it must be pulled snug. Because we used seamstick (double sided tape) it is easy to remove the patterning material and reposition it if we are not happy with its position. Brian is having some permanent marker issues. We only brought one marker so hopefully it will work. Here is goes. Simply trace on the pattern material with the marker where you want the edge of the Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric to stop. If you plan on using binding on the edges try making the corners rounded rather than a 90 degree turn, this will make it easier to sew the binding on around the corner without having to cut it off at the corner.

A little later on we will show folding the mesh under and sewing, if you pick that method the corners can be a 90 degree turn. Here Brian is marking the hole for the table’s post. It is always a good idea to label the pattern for easy and quick identification. The pattern material can easily be removed leaving the seamstick on the strapping tape everytime. One more very important factor that needs to be considered for applications where multiple panels are used is the weave of the mesh. We will lift this adjacent panel and look at the underside of it. Notice the arrows. They should always be facing the same direction for any and all panels so the weave looks consistent between all other panels. Brian will use the seamstick and place a few strips on the pattern material to hold it in place while he traces around it.

However, the seamstick for canvas is way too aggressive and does slightly damage the Polypropylene foam backing when it is removed. So, if a double sided tape is used be sure it is less aggressive prior to using it. The damage is minimal, but we would rather not have any. Brian uses the Sailrite Canvas Patterning Ruler to make a circle on some scrap pattern material, this is just to be used to find the exact center of the circle on our pattern. Then he will tape it in place being sure it is centered over the hole for the table’s leg.

Now the pattern is flipped so the writing on the pattern material is facing the underside of the Chilewich foam and the arrows that were struck on the pattern material are going the same direction as the arrows printed on the foam. Arrow, arrow. Brian uses the basting tape strips to hold the pattern material to the foam, but as stated earlier they turn out to be rather too aggressive for the foam and slightly damage it. He cuts the pattern material to size and then traces around the edges with a soapstone pencil. For the table’s hole an awl is pressed in the very center of the circle. This is all that is required to make its location for now. Perfect! Now the pattern material can be removed.

Basting tape is a little too aggressive. Ok, now our hole for our table is 2 inches in diameter. We have marked the center, so we are going to use our guide here and that will give us our center. Now what we are going to do is go to the one inch mark that will give us our 2 inch diameter circle that is our inner circle that is going to be cut out. But, we do want to enlarge it just slightly to give ourselves a little more flexibility, so we are going to increase that to an inch and a quarter, that will give use a 2 ½” diameter circle. So this is our entire cut out circle. Now, we need to have some material to unwrap, so we are going to cut just a one inch diameter circle.

Which is where we will cut the actual face material away. And my soapstone pencil should be a little sharper for this. But I think we will get thru. The smaller circle should be cut away. We will not be using binding here. Why? The circle is too small to effectively sew on binding neatly. So, instead we will tuck the mesh top of the fabric under and sew it in place. To accomplish this task we will remove some of the foam so it can be folded under easily.

Now that the center is cut away, Brian is next cutting a slit in the foam only, he is not cutting the mesh fabric top, only the foam. He will cut to the larger circle diameter and then carefully remove all the foam within that circle by separating it from the mesh top. Once it is separated to the large diameter circle line, he will then carefully cut way the foam with scissors, being careful to not damage the mesh top fabric. We will show completing this circle opening after the binding is installed, so stay tuned for that.

Use scissors to cut the Chilewich floor covering fabric to the appropriate size following the line you struck down. This piece will have a binding sewn all around the outer edge. We will use the Sailrite Swing Away Straight Angle binder for this task. We are also using a 1” wide Sunbrella Acylic Bias Binding in this binder to give it a finished look. The Chilewich floor covering fabric is rather thick and thus it does take some effort to be sure it is feeding well into the opening of the binder. It is also a good idea to check you tension on the thread prior to sewing all the way around, make sure your tension is correct. Earlier we talked about the fact that if sewing a binding on the edge it is best to have rounded corners this makes it possible to sew around a corner using the binding. Go slow when a corner is reached and be sure to keep the floor covering fabric fed into the binder as the assembly is gently and slowly turned. After this piece is done and the table’s hole is finished we will show an alternative to sewing a binding on the edge, so watch for that in this video a little later on.

Here is one more corner that we will show. When the original starting point is reached the binding will be cut with the Sailrite Edge hotknife to help seal the edge and keep it neat. This is done just so there is enough to cover the first starting point. Then it will be sewn over the starting point binding and some reversing will be done to lock the stitch in place. Since the center hole for the table is very small we will not use binding on that edge, instead the mesh fabric will be folded under. Seamstick is used here around the perimeter of the hole. Brian is placing it on the foam, but it could be placed on the underside of the mesh instead (which will be slit and folded under). These slits make it possible to tuck the mesh back and over the foam.

These slits are only required for curves like this to allow the mesh to take the turn or curve. Do not cut the slits all the way to the foam, but stop the slit about a ¼ inch away from the foam edge. Now fold the mesh back and stick it to the foam. The binder will need to be removed from the sewing machine, so this whole assembly can be fitted under the arm of the machine without unnecessary obstacles. Sewing in the center of large assemblies like this that are stiff and thick are rather difficult to fit nicely under the arm of the machine. So scroll it up and stuff it under the arm until you reach the hole.

Keep the stitch about a ¼ inch away from the inside edge of the circle and do some reversing at the beginning of your sewing to lock the stitch in place. Go very slowly and turn the assembly slightly as it is being sewn, with almost every single stitch. The smaller the hole the more the assembly will have to be turned with each stitch. When the first stitch is reached do some more reversing. Here is what it looks like when it is done. Back at the boat the 3M Filament Strapping Tape with Seamstick can be removed. The Chilewich is now placed in position and the table leg inserted. Next snaps will be used to securely keep the floor covering fabric in place. We will install a single snap in each corner. We will use two tools to install the snaps, the Snaprite System and the Quick Fit Pin Socket. This will ensure that the snaps are placed perfectly where we want them. The Quick Fit Pin Socket is snapped over the snap stud that is already installed in the fiberglass and then the Chilewich Floor Covering fabric is pushed down until the pin is pushed through the fabric.

Do this at all corners, or anywhere you want a snap installed. Then we will install a snap, one at a time, using the SnapRite System. We will use the SnapRite Button die and the SnapRite Socket die with mandrel (all included with the system). The Button die screws onto a standard rivet tool. Then a mandrel is pushed up through the socket die as shown and a snap socket is snapped onto the die. A SnapRite Snap Button is pressed into the button die and the tool is ready to install the first snap. Lift the floor covering fabric and remove the Quick Fit Pin Socket, this leaves a hole that is clearly visible in the foam backing material. Push the mandrel through the hole and from the underside. Now push the SnapRite Button over the mandrel and depress the lever of the rivet tool several times until the snap is securely set in position.

The mandrel is expendable and does not need to break and may be used up to three times, until it breaks or bends too much. Follow this procedure for each snap. Coming up next we will make a small welcome mat but instead of binding along the edge we will fold the mesh under and sew it down. Brian is taking a few measurements for a small welcome mat that will be made from the Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric. He uses a cutting mat to make a square edge with the soapstone pencil. Then strikes marks on the underside (foam side) that are two inch larger than the desired finished size. This two extra inches will make it possible to create a 1 inch hem around all sides, so the mesh can be folded under along all sides. An inside line will be placed 1 inch away from the outside line. This is best done by using the acrylic ruler, available at Sailrite. Cut out the Chilewich Floor Cover Fabric with scissors or a rotary cutter along the outside line only. If using the rotary cutter a cutting mat is required on the underside to protect the work surface and the cutting blade.

Peel back the foam and fiberglass backing from the mesh fabric as shown in the video. Peel it back only slightly past the inside line. When that is done, insert the cutting mat between the foam and the mesh fabric to protect the mesh fabric from being cut with the rotary cutter, coming up. Use the acrylic ruler and place it against the inside line then use the rotary cutter to cut away the foam being sure the cutting mat is directly under the cutting surface. Follow that same procedure for each side. Seamstick for Canvas is applied directly on the edge of the foam that was just cut. This double sided tape will hold the mesh fabric hem that will be created next. It is also wise to create the first two hems along both opposing ends so the corners can be completed on both ends when creating the hems on the other edges.

These two opposing edges will be sewn in place before working on the two remaining edge hems. A magnetic guide is placed on the bed of the sewing machine to help guide the work. The magnetic guide acts like a fence does on a table saw. The stitch should be a straight stitch that is about 5 to 6mm in length. It should be placed anywhere from an 1/8th inch to a ¼ inch from the raw edge of the mesh fabric. If creating a corner which is gradually curved, like this small sample shown here, rather than a 90 degree turn, the mesh fabric that is being tucked under at the corner will need to have relief cuts made so it can be turned under and sit flat at the corner, as Brian is doing here. This small sample has not been sewn down, but turn it over and you can see it will look great when finally sewn down. Back to our project. We did not show it but both opposing side hems have been sewn down. To create the hem on the other two edges, first it is best to cut away some of the excess fabric at the 90 degree corner, as shown in the video.

This will allow us to fold the mesh fabric over at this 90 degree turn so the edges of the fabric will not stick out. Then it is taken to the sewing machine and that edge is sewn down. Here is a close up shot of that corner. Back on the boat we have Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric that we finished off with a binding along the edge and also a welcome mat where a hemmed edge was created. The choice is yours! Coming up next is the materials and tools list that we used to finish off the edges of our Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric.

You will find a great selection of Chilewich Floor Covering Fabric at the Sailrite website. This floor covering fabric is 72 inches wide and is sold by the running yard. For this Maxum 2900 power boat we used 2 yards (equaling 36sq feet) which made the 5 carpet mats you see now. Chilewich not only makes great boat carpeting but it is also great for outdoor rugs, wall to wall carpets (indoor and outdoor), placemats, coasters and much much more. For more free videos like this be sure to check out the Sailrite website or subscribe to the Sailrite YouTube channel. It’s your loyal patronage to Sailrite that makes these free videos available, thanks for your loyal support! I’m Eric Grant and from all of us here at Sailrite, thanks for watching!

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