Rigid Vinyl Rub Rail Installation Instructions

Caution: Depending on the complexity of the installation, professional help and/or tools may be required.


You can replace your rub rail with a factory replacement style or a completely different look. Regardless of the material originally installed by the builder of your boat, feel free to choose the material and style you desire.

  • Rub rail is easier to install if you remember to choose a rub rail that is at least the same height as the original
  • Flexible vinyl rub rail is the easiest to bend and provides a cushioning effect against normal bumps from pilings and docks
  • Rigid vinyl and aluminum rub rail with flexible vinyl insert perform well, last longer and are easy to install straight
  • Rigid vinyl rub rail with stainless steel overlap provides the best protection and the longest useful life


  • Ensure the length of the rub rail is sufficient for your boat. It is always better to buy more than you need
  • Make sure to purchase all the materials needed (rub rail, insert, fasteners, end caps, splice caps, etc…) to complete the job
  • Carefully read all the instructions before beginning and/or watch the TACO Rub Rail Installation Video/DVD


  1. Measure the length and width of your boat
  2. Add them together and multiply by two
  3. The total will give you the minimum length of rub rail required for your boat in feet


  • TACO rub rail and insert
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety goggles
  • Two cordless drills (one for a screwdriver bit and one for a drill bit)
  • Putty knife or scraper
  • Caulking gun with silicone sealant or a tube of 3M 5200
  • Metal file
  • Heat gun (for rigid vinyl rub rail and flexible inserts)
  • Garden shears (for cutting flexible vinyl rub rail and inserts) or hacksaw/power saw & cutoff wheel (for cutting stainless steel overlaps)
  • Miter box (for metal and rigid vinyl rub rail)
  • Rubber mallet
  • TACO Rub Rail Installation Video/DVD
  • Fasteners


  1. Remove the end caps
  2. Remove the insert and the stiffening strip if there is one
  3. Remove the screws or rivets that attach the rub rail to the hull. If the rub rail is fastened with pop rivets, drill out the rivet head and push the shaft in, to prevent rattling
  4. Remove the rub rail
  5. Use a putty knife to scrape off any old sealant, being careful not to scratch the gelcoat (it is unnecessary to remove all the old sealant, just the excess)
  6. Fill all holes with sealant/3M 5200 (you will be drilling new holes for the new rub rail)
  7. Let the sealant cure according to the manufacturers suggestions



CAUTION: If your rub rail comes coiled; stand in the center of the coil when cutting the straps so it unwinds away from you without inflicting injury.

  1. Place masking tape above or below where the rub rail will go and mark where the new holes should go.
  2. Place the center of the first length at the bow. If there is a screw hole at the center, offset it 4” to one side. Check to see if any of the holes line up with a filled hole, slide the rub rail a couple of inches until all rub rail holes are clear of previous gunwale holes.
  3. Press the rub rail against the hull and go back to one end. Leave the first two holes undrilled. Drill through the third pre-drilled hole. Coat the screw threads with Silicone or 3M 5200 and install the screw. Repeat this process until you reach the bow.
  4. Bend the rub rail around the bow using a heat gun, moving it back and forth to prevent overheating or burning the rub rail.
  5. Continue installing screws until you get to the other end of the rub rail. Leave the last two holes undrilled.
  6. Start the next length by overlapping the previously installed length by 1/8” and begin attaching it leaving the first two holes undrilled. See Step 6 on page 9
  7. Complete installing this length leaving the last two holes undrilled.
  8. Continue installing all the lengths until you reach the unfastened end of the first piece you installed at the bow, cutting it so it overlaps that piece by 1/8”. Leave the last two holes undrilled.
  9. Splices are made by pulling out on the two ends until they touch and pushing in so they snap into place, then install the screws. When installing heavier rub rail (like the V21-1025 or V21-1039) the ends are simply butted together without overlapping.
  10. Install flexible vinyl inserts
TIP: Have one person heat the rail and the other slowly bend it around and avoid forcing the material due to inadequate heat. Before installing the rest of the rub rail, put it up in position and check to see if any pre-drilled holes line up with filled holes. You will be able to adjust the hole location by cutting off several inches from the end that butts up to the previously installed piece.


There are three types of inserts. As indicated below, the first two must be heated in order to be installed. Install inserts beginning either at an end cap or at the transom.

TIP: To avoid insert shrinkage, always screw down each end of flexible insert. The screws will be hidden from view once you install the end caps.


V12-0810, V12-0003, V12-0005
  1. Using a heat gun, heat approx. 3’ of insert until it compresses with a pinch.
  2. Flatten the insert between your fingers and insert it into the rub rail until the heated section has been installed.
  3. Repeat in maximum 3’ increments until the entire insert has been installed.

V12-0303 INSERT

  1. Using a heat gun, heat approx. 2’ of insert until it is hot to the touch.
  2. Insert a few inches of the top leg into the rub rail.
  3. Using a stiff putty knife, poke the bottom leg into the channel.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until the heated section has been installed.
  5. Heat the next 2’ and repeat steps 2 through 4 until the entire insert has been installed.


V12-0317, V12-0334, V12-0338, V12-0342, V12-0347, V12-0426, V12-1069, V12-2207, V12-4018, V12-4144 & V12-5818
  1. These inserts can be installed at room temperature.
  2. Squeeze the insert between your fingers and insert it into the channel of the rub rail until the entire insert has been installed.
  3. Tapping it with a rubber mallet will help set the insert. Inserts V12-0317 & V12-0334 need to be set by tapping it with a rubber mallet.


There are two types of end caps:
  1. In line end caps are installed on the same surface as the rub rail.
  2. Corner end caps are used when a rub rail ends at the transom. Corner end caps are installed on the transom with the cap extending out the side to cap the rub rail.