Semi-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


This rub rail comes in complete 30’ kits which include end caps, screws and is predrilled. The average boat requires two kits. When cutting, use a miter box to insure the rub rail you are installing has a straight end.


To take the curve out of the coiled rub rail, hold the coil in one hand and unroll several feet. Warm it up with a heat gun and straighten it out.
  1. Place masking tape above or below where the rub rail will go and mark for the new holes. Note: When a screw is properly installed into the hole, the screw head should sit just below the surface.
  2. TIP: Once the rub rail comes in contact with the hull stop tightening the screw!
  3. Start in the middle of the transom, or if you are not going around the transom, start at the corner of the transom. Have a helper unroll about 4’ of rub rail and take the curve out of it.
  4. Starting 12” from the end, drill through the predrilled rub rail holes into the boat, or drill and countersink the rub rail. Coat the screw threads with Silicone or 3M 5200 and install the screw.
  5. Continue uncoiling, straightening and drilling or drilling and countersinking. Coat the threads and work in one direction around the boat until you have installed the first coil. Leave the last 12” unfastened. We will finish this in step 8.
  6. When you have to bend the rub rail around a corner, move the heat gun back and forth to prevent overheating the rub rail.
  7. Straighten out about 4’ of the next coil. Overlap the end of the last coil by 1/8” and attach the first screw approximately 12” from the end. Leave these two ends loose for now.
  8. Continue installing the rub rail until you come to where you started at the transom or at the corner of the transom leaving the last 12” unfastened. If you are ending the rub rail at the corner of the transom or motor well, you can now install the corner end caps.
  9. To make splices, pull the two sections towards you until they meet and push in until they snap into place. Drill through the rub rail and install a screw 1” & 6” from each end.
TIP: When making splices, make sure the ends are cut straight and smooth.


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.