Flooring can be the focal point of your houseboat, both for
good or bad. Whether people walk into your boat and are amazed at the warmth
and classic style or they’re put off by a dated, dank feeling can depend a lot
on what is under their feet. To get a better idea of what new houseboat owners
are choosing to install these days, we spoke with three different designers:
Debbie Sharpe of Sharpe Houseboats, Patty York from Sunstar and independent
contractor Theresa York. Each came to the table with her own experience in this
area, and all aided in helping us understand how to better educate our readers.
For starters, all three women explained that there aren’t
really any limitations on what to install in your houseboat. Any flooring that
you see in a land home can be put into a boat, provided it is installed
“We have installed everything from vinyl sheets to marble,”
Sharpe said. “We have done many beautiful custom travertine floors with coordinating
showers as well. Just keep in mind your own lifestyle and maintenance issues.”
Roberts did caution against using real woods in a houseboat,
as any wood flooring will eventually warp if exposed to moisture over a period
After establishing that most flooring options are available,
we tried to narrow down which are best for houseboats by asking which materials
are the most popular today. All three experts mentioned laminates as being
frequently used by new houseboat owners, and York explained why.
“The cost of laminate is much less expensive and it looks
like the real thing,” she said. “Laminate wood flooring is water-resistant and
cleans in a snap!”
Sharpe outlined how most people choose a laminate flooring
or vinyl tiles for their salon, galley, hallway and bathrooms, while carpet is
the most used in staterooms. Roberts has seen a rise in the use of larger-sized
tiles, up to 16 by 16 inches per square.
For those who want a classy look without taking a big hit to
their pocketbook, each designer came back to the laminates. Sharpe explained that
in addition to wood, laminate flooring can also mimic stone such as slate or
limestone, making it a versatile option, whatever your taste. Want a glossy
marble look? Laminates can do it. Want a rustic, weathered wood look? Laminates
can give it to you.
York pointed out that the only noticeable difference between
real wood and a wood laminate flooring is the sound.
“Laminate will have a hollow sound, and real wood flooring will
absorb the sound, offering a more pleasant atmosphere,” she said.
In general, vinyl, laminate and carpet are the cheapest
options when it comes to flooring for your boat. Expect to pay more for
hardwood, ceramic or marble, as these materials are not synthetic.
“Not only are these typically more expensive to purchase,
they are also more costly to install,” Sharpe added.
For boaters with small children and pets, the unanimous
decision was again to go with laminate flooring, for the ease of cleaning and scratch-resistant
properties. Current houseboat owners enjoy the low required level of upkeep, as
you simply dust mop it and clean it. This is a no-rinse floor solution and with
no grout to worry about, it’s also a big hit.
Sharpe recommended carpet, as many of the customers in the
past who have used this material in a stateroom are still in love with it.
“The comfort of carpet is unmatched,” Sharpe said. “They
like the fact that if there is a big family gathering, the children don't mind
watching a movie or playing a board game on the floor.”
Sharpe acknowledged that while no carpet is truly 100
percent stain proof, the carpets Sharpe Houseboats installs do resist stains
and have great warranties. She also recommended frequent vacuuming and spot
cleaning as the need arises, as well as a choosing a quality carpet pad.
Overall, York stressed the importance of tailoring your
choice to your specific needs. Be sure to take all of these factors into
consideration: cost, style, convenience and whether pets and children will be
onboard. After carefully weighing your options, give one of these lovely ladies
a call and they can match you up both with the flooring you want and the
flooring you need.
For More Information
Theresa York Interiors