Pontoon boats are excellent for recreational water activities, like waterboarding, tubing, etc. However, all these will not be possible without a deck. A pontoon deck is a major component of pontoon boats. It provides the boat with good structure and support for its components and also makes the boat attractive and classy. Pontoon decks are the sitting structure for most parts of the boat, from the railings, seats, and boot tops, all rest on the deck.
Since decks provide pontoon boats with structural support, they have to be sturdy, strong, and properly installed. In all these, choosing the one that fits the appropriate purpose, is of the right material, and has the perfect design is crucial.
This guide gives an in-depth review of pontoon decks, types, sizes, installation guidelines, and how to maintain a pontoon deck.
Pontoon Decking Materials
The deck of a pontoon boat is very important. Among other things, the deck gives the boat structure and support. A bad deck equals poor boat stability and an overall bad water experience. Typically, a boat’s deck is the foundation for all other boat parts; the seats, railings, roof, etc., are all attached. Therefore, the quality of its material needs to be strong and durable. In summary, a strong deck equals a strong boat. The following paragraphs highlight the best materials for a pontoon deck.
Many pontoon boat manufacturers majorly use aluminum. One of its outstanding properties is that it is rot resistant. This is an important quality and a major factor affecting all other materials for boat decks. Decks made from aluminum are light, and they don’t require covering as it is attractive, which saves more money on the part of the boat owner. Also, with an anodized coating, they have good resistance against fading.
- It is light
- Aluminum is easy to maintain.
- Rust proof.
- Doesn’t require covering.
- Poor strength and rigidity.
- A poor insulator of both sound and heat.
- Slippery when ice forms on it.
- It is expensive.
Plywood is simply structural sheets of wood glued together with their grains arranged side-by-side at right angles. Most plywoods do not need to be coated before installation and are often glued firmly to each other. Also, they are kiln-dried to prevent them from wrapping or rotting.
Plywood is durable and long-lasting. Decks made from it are waterproof, rot-resistant, and attractive. However, two types of plywood are used for pontoon decks; the Marine-Grade plywood and the treated plywood.
The marine-grade plywood is a good material for decking pontoon boats. It is strong and highly durable. It is also lightweight and comes with waterproof glue, which gives it a level of waterproofing quality. Furthermore, it is strong and free of defects. Gluing also provides it with a level of resistance against rot.
Pontoon decks made from marine-grade plywood are often long-lasting and durable. They have high water resistance which also means they are not prone to rot. Decks made from marine-grade plywood can withstand tough environmental conditions.
- It is strong and durable.
- Comes with waterproof glue.
- Requires sealer to be water-resistant.
These decking materials have been treated with synthetics to forestall water damage, rot, and decay. Most people pick this material because it’s promptly accessible and simple to work with. The chemicals used make the treated plywood durable and resistant to fungal, termite, and bacteria damage.
Unlike the marine-grade pontoon decks, treated plywood decks are chemically treated and water-resistant. They also have high resistance against wood-eating insects like termites, bacteria, etc. In addition, they are long-lasting and durable.
- It is water-resistant.
- It has high fungal resistance.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- It is durable.
- Very easy to use.
- It is heavy.
- Needs shielding equipment while cutting.
Vinyl board is one more great choice material for decking boats. It is becoming increasingly used among boat manufacturers. They are made essentially of plastics, and so they are water-resistant, highly attractive, comfortable, and very easy to maintain.
Decks made from vinyl boards are strong, and skid-proof while also giving the boat a classic and beautiful look. Generally, they are just perfect for pontoon decks.
- It is durable.
- Skid proof.
- Easy to install and smooth maintenance
- It is expensive
- Requires specialist installation.
Composite board is an exceptionally famous material that comprises wood and plastic. It adds a perfect finish to a boat when used for decking. Pontoon decks made from composite boards are strong and durable. However, as a decking material, composite boards have different types, and they include:
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF): This composite board is from wax and gum. Its high tension and high-heat treatment match its wax content, making it thick and strong.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB): This board is water-resistant, termite free, strong, and durable.
- Easy to maintain.
- It needs support underneath.
- Susceptible to molds.
5 Types of Pontoon Decks Flooring
Decking a boat is not enough. Flooring gives class and makes the boat attractive, adding to the overall beauty of the boat. There are, however, vast flooring designs for a pontoon deck that gives a different feel and experience. Below are the top 5 designs for pontoon deck flooring:
This boat marine deck mat is of EVA foam material; EVA has good properties, including good padding, good shock absorption, corrosion resistance, and not prone to tear. It is odorless and non-toxic and has high tensile strength, which means it can withstand heat. In addition, it serves a multi-purpose function like swimming pool flooring and garden flooring.
- It has high density, so not easy to damage.
- Its surface is smooth and colorful.
- It has self-adhesion properties and is easy to install.
- Good shock and cushioning performance
- Forms bubbles after installation
This EVA foam decking sheet has a Teak-like pattern and surface. It has a beautiful bevel edge design and is entirely suitable for boat decks or yacht floors, Inflatable boats, and kayaks. It has a durable surface that can withstand both dry and wet conditions. Additionally, it is self-adhesive, heat resistant, and easy to install.
- Self-adhesive pad.
- 6mm thickness EVA foam teak sheets.
- It is UV resistant
- It has good shock absorption
- Easy to maintain and install.
- Has high density
- Not durable
The happy yacht is yet another extraordinary deck floor. This boat flooring is suitable for decorations, swimming pool flooring, car flooring, etc. Also, note that it has EVA foam materials which provide it with amazing qualities. It is a great heat insulator, has high tensile strength, and is not susceptible to tear and damage. Furthermore, it is a self-adhesive decking pad with anti-skid properties. Yet, it is easy to maintain.
- Adhesive upgrade version 2.0
- EVA foam
- Easy installation
- Heat insulation
- It is salt waterproof
- Weak adhesive
- Poor durability
This decking sheet has shock-absorbing qualities and delivers maximum comfort on the water. It is also good for fishing as it has sound dampening properties. Furthermore, it is easy to maintain, durable and comfortable.
- 6MM thick EVA boat flooring sheet.
- EVA Foam Faux Teak Decking.
- Self-adhesive decline sheet
- Comfortable and durable
- Stain resistance
- Exceptional traction in wet conditions
- Poor EVA foam adhesive
- Different shades
Made from high-quality EVA foam, it is not absorbent, doesn’t skid, and has high UV resistance. In like manner, just like the churershining flooring, it has a high sound and shock absorption.
However, one standout point of this pontoon deck flooring is that it is perfect for kayak decking, motorboat decking, fit for surfboard traction pad, RV flooring, swimming pool, stairs, boat trailer, etc. Meaning it gives good value for money.
- Premium EVA foam
- High tensile elongation
- Diamond stitches
- Safe walking pad; it has good anti-skid properties
- It is very comfortable
- Self-adhesive pad
- Easy to install
- Different color shades
- Weak adhesive
Length of Pontoon Decks
Deciding a deck size for a pontoon boat can be a hard choice. It’s important to know how many individuals the boat will be moving and the size of the water body the boat will be on. Furthermore, the purpose of a pontoon boat is a big determinant of the deck size. There are certain sizes of pontoon decks available in the market. They all have different applications and suitability. They include:
- Seventeen feet to 19 feet: This is the perfect deck size for small gatherings of friends and family between six to eight persons. It’s perfect for water bodies that are calm and small.
- Twenty feet to 22 feet: This deck size can accommodate around twelve occupants. It is appropriate for small water bodies like lakes and streams that don’t have huge waves.
- Over 22 feet: The bigger 23 to 28-foot decks are fit for cruising through difficult water terrain and high waves and provide sufficient room for up to 15 persons.
Maintaining Pontoon Deck Flooring
Boat floors deteriorate quickly if care and attention are not adequate. The flooring of a pontoon deck is expensive and receives the most traffic on the boat. Therefore, if proper maintenance is not in place, it starts looking unappealing, attracts dirt, and harbors mold and mildew.
The amount of time spent cleaning, and the maintenance method employed in taking care of boat surfaces will rely on the kind of deck flooring in use.
Maintaining Pontoon Decks
Improper maintenance leads to deterioration of all boat parts and components, and the pontoon deck is not left out. The deck is an important part of pontoon boats, therefore, requires holistic maintenance. This is crucial and non-negotiable. Some basic routine maintenance for pontoon decks include:
- Periodic cleaning with a brush across the grain eliminates most dirt effortlessly. Also, simple soap and water are a decent choice for a superior clean. In addition, fresh water should not be standing on teak floors as they are the top reason for mold and mildew growth.
- Avoid using acid to clean wood floors as it destroys the pulp and weakens the boat floor’s water and UV-resistant properties.
- Pontoon deck covering gets stained easily. Therefore, the quicker the stains are detected, the easier it is to clear them off, from hand scrubbing to using a power wash are all effective means of stain removal in pontoon deck covering.
Aside from supporting pontoon boat’s structure and components, pontoon decks add beauty and class to pontoon boats. In addition, pontoon decks also determine the stability and strength of boats on the water. However, there are many types in the market; choosing the one that fits the specific purpose, size of the boat, and water body is very important.