How to Replace House Boat Wall Panels

Myra Smith

Houseboats are decorated and the interiors finished in a variety of styles. People fortunate enough to live aboard their floating home enjoy the same amenities found in a home on dry land. Houseboats range from luxurious to minimally equipped weekend getaways.

Interior walls install in the same manner as the walls in houses built on dry land. Houseboat walls utilize paneling, preferably manufactured with waterproof glue to withstand the moisture associated with being on the water.

  1. Remove cabinets, tables and other items bolted to the houseboat walls. Take pictures and make notes of their locations to guide you when re-installing these components. Use a pry bar to remove any strips nailed to the paneling at the seams. Pry off trim around doors and windows with a screwdriver or small pry bar. Remove the ceiling trims.

  2. Wedge the pry bar under the paneling at a seam and gently pry outward. Wear gloves; the paneling will split and have jagged edges. Scrape any remaining bits of paneling off the studs with a hammer and wood chisel.

  3. Inspect the wall studs for water damage and rot, especially around window frames, corners and other areas near the floor. Replace any studs that show signs of damage. Inspect the wiring that runs through the studs for any sign of fraying or damage, and replace if necessary. This is a good time to run any additional wiring desired and add additional or new insulation.

  4. Place marks on the floor and ceiling at each stud to locate them for installing the new paneling. Start in a corner that is straight and square to install the new paneling. Use a paneling blade in the saw when trimming paneling to avoid chipping. Measure carefully; houseboats are rarely square. Cut the paneling to the length required. Avoid having the paneling snug against the floor; leave a gap of 3/16-inch to avoid any water damage should the floor ever become wet. This gap will be covered when the floor molding is installed.

  5. Run a bead of liquid nails or paneling adhesive down the length of each stud. Place the paneling against the studs, pressing firmly to ensure good adhesion. Use stainless steel nails or screws, 12 inches apart, to secure the paneling.

  6. Tip

    Use stainless steel fasteners to avoid rust.