The deck of a boat plays an important role in how it looks, feels and performs. Pontoon boat decking is available in different materials that have varying costs and life. The weight of the decking will affect the performance of a boat. A lighter deck material will have lesser impact on its speed and fuel economy than a heavier deck. The durability and structural integrity will also depend on the decking as the body of the boat is connected to the pontoons via the deck. Multiple deck options are available with boat manufactures for choosing by customer. A few factors can be considered while choosing a decking.
Type of Material Used
Pontoon boat decking is available in a range of materials.
Wood is one of the most popular material for pontoon boat decking. It comes in different types and qualities and the cost can vary based on the same. It is easy to work with but might be a little heavier than other materials. Wood decking is available in rich and vibrant colors and is aesthetically appeasing. Some types of wood are prone to rotting while other such as teak and oak can be quite durable but also very expensive. On the flipside, a wood decking will lose its color and sheen over time due to exposure to sun and water and hence must be refinished after a few years.
Aluminum has a number of advantages over other materials used for pontoon boat decking. It is easy to install and will never rot or corrode lasting forever. Its maintenance and cleaning is a breeze. Aluminum decks are among the strongest in build and lightest in weight allowing for better speed and performance of the boats. The costs of aluminum decks are however higher and their installation takes time. They also do not dampen the sound and motor vibrations making the pontoon louder. In the long run, weighing the pros and cons of aluminum decks, it can be quite cost efficient as it does not require replacement and has no maintenance costs associated with it.
Composite pontoon boat decking is light and requires almost no maintenance. The material may be a mixture of multiple substances such as wood, vinyl and plastic. They might develop mildew and get stained to counter which cleaning and washing after a few weeks might be needed. Composite decks last longer than wooden decks and are fade resistant therefore not requiring refinishing. These decks are expensive and if damaged will require complete refurbishing.
Fiber glass pontoon boat decking is the most durable of the lot but also a little expensive. It is resistant to the adverse effects of water and is very easy to clean and maintain. It is easy to mold and fits perfectly. Being light in weight, it does not hamper the speed and fuel economy of the boat as much. However, it is prone to cracking and repairing it can be a time consuming and difficult task.
Deck Floor Covering
Irrespective of the material used, the decks are generally covered with another material. Carpets are prominently used and are available in multiple colors and grades. A 28oz grade carpet is ideal for marine vessels and is used by top manufactures. Carpets are prone to getting stained and retaining moisture. Vinyl flooring may also be used to cover the deck as it is long lasting and resistant to moisture. It is more expensive that carpeting and is generally employed in fishing pontoon boats. Some manufacturers might even use two separate floor covering materials for the front and rear of the boat.
Choosing the right decking
Choosing the right pontoon boat decking comes to an individual’s budget, the options available at hand and personal taste and style preferences. Aluminum based decks covered with wooden floor and carpets on top are available with quite a few boat manufactures and are strong and durable without compromising the look and feel of the boat. These however can be quite costly. Other factors such as waterproofing, grip and anti-slipping can also factor in while choosing the right deck depending on the purpose of the boat.
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