Pontoon Fence for Rebuilders
Replacing fence on an old pontoon can be one of the most expensive parts of the project. You can usually do a floor and carpet for under $1,000 (unless you want modern woven vinyl flooring). Furniture and a new top might add another $1,500 but new fence (complete) could add up to about $2,000.
This is the type of situation you might find on an inexpensive candidate for rebuilding. The fence package is intact but the skin is dented and faded. The front port rail has been crushed. It’s really not as bad as it looks. The front rail can be straightened or cut and spliced. The skin can be replaced. It takes a bit of labor to remove the old paneling, sometimes called skin. Use only .030 aluminum, avoid vinyl. You can find vinyl and ,020 aluminum at a home store but vinyl expands in heat and “puckers” and .020 dents easily If you use a modern black or blue color people will think you have a new boat. Fence paneling is usually sold in rolls. It’s sometimes sold in long lengths but that usually has to be shipped via truck freight or picked up.
60' x 24" tall $295.
Price at fenceforpontoons.com
For information on replacing fence skin see fenceforpontoons.com
Pontoon fence covered with vinyl siding designed for home use, ends up puckered, as shown above. The real cost in replacing fence skin is the labor. Don’t save $100 on cheap material and have to do it a second time.
Fence on boats built after about 1980 usually have an anodized finish that shouldn’t deteriorate. Although some inexpensive boats used raw aluminum and some frames might show signs of age. The simplest solution to clean up the fence frame is aluminum colored spray paint. Spray the frame; it often looks like new.
Pontoon Deck Trim gets marred from rubbing against the dock. New boats usually have deck trim in the length of the deck (16’, 20’, 24’, etc.). Unless you live near a new boat manufacturer, who’ll sell deck trim, it’s generally difficult to find. Forget about finding a piece to match your old style, because most new boat manufacturers have a distinct “proprietary” design and many change it every few years. Then there is the difficulty of transporting a 16’-24’ piece of aluminum. Discolored deck trim can be refreshed with aluminum paint. Some internet sellers offer it in 8’ lengths (easy shipping). You can piece it together and the small gaps, if done properly, often aren’t that noticeable.
8’ pieces are available at fenceforpontoons.com
Some older boats have a large deck area in front of the fence. This 1980's Harris is a good candidate for rebuilding. But the side gates are back so far you have limited space for seating. A solution is to eliminate the sundeck rails and move the fence forward. You’ll need a filler piece behind the gates. Moving the captain's stand may require longer cables but these often need to be replaced on older boats anyway.
24” to 34” fence pieces can be purchased from fenceforpontoons.com
Compare the height to old fence.
Most new pontoons have the fence lifted off the floor by Fence Risers. These inexpensive plastic parts should be used by the rebuilder. Lifting the fence off the floor helps eliminate mildew and allows you to rinse the floor off. They are available almost anywhere that pontoon parts are sold.
Stainless Fence Bolt Kit about $20
When rebuilding most people try and reuse hardware and hinges, etc. Bolts will be stainless and can be brittle. Taking them out with power tools will break a few. With a bit of planning you might choose to buy new hardware, braces or hinges in advance. Going to the hardware store for a handful of stainless bolts will cost you. Searching for parts when the job is nearly done is aggravation.
New Hinges about $10
New pontoon boats come standard with “Pinch Guards” on the entry gates. There is a law firm that specializes in pontoon finger injuries (yes, it's that wide spread). Older pontoons seldom have pinch guards. Commercial rebuilders MUST put pinch guards on rebuilds or be liable (yes we were involved in a lawsuit). Handyman rebuilders probably aren’t liable but it will be your loved ones that might get injured. A set of Pinch Guards cost about $10, fenceforpontoons.com.
Replacement fence packages should come with them although it’s been our experience that some rebuilders don’t put them on.