How to Replace Boat Trailer Bunk Carpet

How to Replace Boat Trailer Bunk Carpet; If you’ve owned a boat for long enough, you will eventually encounter a time when you need to replace your trailer bunk carpet, and possibly even the trailer bunk wood. Bunk carpet usually does not last for more than a few years or several dozen boat load and unload cycles. At which point you should be replacing the carpet. Recovering trailer bunks early can help prevent damage to your boat, jet ski, or other personal watercraft.

I recently completely rebuilt a 1997 Yacht Club PWC trailer used to haul my 1996 SeaDoo XP, which I have also fully restored and made upgrades to. During the restoration process, I documented some steps and in particular took pictures of the bunk carpet replacement. The following section covers the process used to remove the old carpet and recover my bunks with new carpet. Fortunately the wood was still in good shape, so there was no need to replace the entire bunk. Which leads to some pretty commonly asked questions. 

Q) What kind of wood do you use for trailer bunks?

A) Trailer bunks are generally made from 2×4 or 2×6 pressure treated pine, cut to the proper length. Making them easy to replace them when necessary.

Q) How long should boat trailer bunks be?

A) Trailer bunks should be at least half as long as the boat, and run from the bow to the stern or just beyond the stern.

Q) What kind of carpet do you use for trailer bunks?

A) Outdoor or marine grade carpet. Outdoor carpet readily available at box stores like Home Depot, Menards, and Lowes cost much less than name brand marine carpet, and due to their construction actually work out very well for bunk carpet replacement. Most outdoor carpet also tends to be more durable than felt style bunk carpet. I find this to be the best trailer bunk carpet.

Q) What kind of staples to use for bunk carpet?

A) I recommend using T50 1/4″ Stainless Steel Staples for bunks. You do not want to use regular staples, as they will rust.

Q) What is Best stapler for recovering bunk carpet?

A) Regardless of what some say,  you can easily get by with using a heavy duty mechanical staple gun, and simply tap in staples that do not fully seat after the process of stapling is done with a hammer. It might take a little longer to finish than using an electric or pneumatic stapler, but is totally feasible.

Q) When should you replace bunks?

A) You should replace bunks that are sagging, and before the wood rots out. You should replace boat trailer bunk carpet if it has begun to wear through, exposing the wood underneath.

Replacing Boat Trailer Bunk Carpet

Here are the steps I used as a guideline for replacing boat trailer bunk carpet on my Yacht Club PWC trailer. The same process should work just as well for almost any other Jet Ski or Boat trailer. This assumes that your boat has been removed from the trailer, as I’ve never experienced replacing trailer bunks with boat on trailer. As a trailer bunk carpet alternative, I prefer to get my trailer bunk carpet lowe’s or trailer bunk carpet home depot.

  1. Start by removing the bunks from the trailer, and then remove the bunk brackets.
  2. Then remove a few staples using a blade screwdriver.
  3. Now begin peeling back the old carpet. In most cases, unless heavily worn, the carpet will pull most of the staples as you peel it back.
    removing old boat trailer bunk carpet
    Peel back and remove old boat trailer bunk carpet
  4. Roll out the new carpet, and using your old carpet as a template, and then mark out an outline on the new carpet.
  5. Cut the template outline using heavy duty sharp scissors.
    Cutting boat trailer bunk carpet
    Cutting boat trailer bunk carpet

  6. Layout the new carpet on the wood bunk, paying close attention to ensure that the carpet is centered. Next, measure equal distances from the side and ends of the carpet to the bunk board. Then mark the underside of the carpet using the board as your guide.
    centering boat trailer bunk carpet
    centering and marking boat trailer bunk carpet
  7. Layout the new carpet on the wood bunk, paying close attention to ensure that the carpet is centered. Next, measure equal distances from the side and ends of the carpet to the bunk board. Then mark the underside of the carpet using the board as your guide.
  8. Starting from a bunk end, begin stapling the carpet to the bunk. Insert three staples, then stretch, and repeat with three more staples on the opposite side, until you reach the other end of the bunk.
  9. Once you’ve finished wrapping the length of the bunk, cut the ends of the carpet and wrap the ends like a present (as shown below).
    wrapping boat trailer bunk carpet ends
    wrapping boat trailer bunk carpet ends

    cutting boat trailer bunk carpet ends
    cutting boat trailer bunk carpet ends

    cut and fold bunk carpet ends - boat trailer bunk carpet replacement
    cut and fold boat trailer bunk carpet ends

    trim and wrap boat trailer bunk carpet
    trim and wrap boat trailer bunk carpet

    finish wrapping boat trailer bunk carpet ends
    finish wrapping boat trailer bunk carpet ends
  10. Now you can reinstall your boat trailer bunk brackets, and bolt the bunks back onto the trailer.

Finished Recovering Boat Trailer Bunk Carpet

That is all it takes to replace your bunk carpet. Shown below is my completed 1997 Yacht Club restoration project with freshly carpeted bunks installed.

new bunk carpet installed
New bunk carpet with bunks installed