Are you thinking of replacing your boat floor? If yes, you must be wondering about how to replace the boat flooring. It seems a tough task to remove the old boat floor and install a new one. True; it appears challenging if you have no prior experience. But with the right guidance and instructions, you can crack this.
To get new flooring, you need to follow some simple tactics and steps. With the right set of tools and concentration, it is possible to replace boat flooring. Now if you are worried about who will guide you through this, I am right here to help you out. In each section of this article, you will get all the information you would need to replace boat flooring.
From years of experience, I have acquired a lot of knowledge on boat flooring replacement. In this article, I am going to share all my learnings with you. So get ready to learn and work on boat flooring replacement.
8 Steps To Replace A Boat Floor: A Step-by-step Guide
In this section, I will talk about installing plywood flooring. This is because in most cases, people replace the boat flooring with plywood flooring. Plywood flooring is excellent in appearance and if installed in the right method, it lasts for a long time. However, note that the following steps are more or less similar for replacing any other type of flooring.
Here go the steps to replace a boat floor:
Step 1: Get Your Tools And Materials Ready
A set of tools are required for this project of floor replacement. If you gather them beforehand, the task becomes easier and faster. You can consult an expert if you are confused about the materials needed for boat floor replacement. But generally, you would need the items listed below:
- Plywood board or plank;
- Circular saw;
- Plastic sheet and marker (if you make a template);
- Epoxy resin;
- Measuring tape;
- Drill machine;
- Fiberglass sheet;
These elements are required for this project. Added to these, you may need some other tools for repairing the flooring depending on the damage done.
Step 2: Prepare For The Replacement
Before you replace the flooring, there are some tasks you need to do. To start the project, some preparations are required. As part of the preparation, there are three tasks to do:
- Put the boat on a cradle. The cradle stabilizes the boat on its platform so that you can work on the deck without any tremble. If you don’t keep the boat on a cradle, it may move during the project and create a disturbance;
- Next, check the transom. If it is damaged or fragile, you have to fix it first. As the transom faces pressure and impact regularly, it can damage and you must fix this before the floor replacement. For checking, put pressure on it and look for a creaking sound on the wooden platform. If you hear the sound, check it and repair it;
- The last step is to empty the boat floor to start the project. Starting from the cables and machine to your belongings, remove them all and get ready for the task;
Now, we can move on to the next step of this project.
Step 3: Make A Boat Floor Template (Optional)
In case you are ordering a specific flooring from a company, you would need to make a boat floor template. The template is made by laying a sheet of plastic on the deck and marking an outline.
Take a marker and mark the outline of the deck. Along with that, make notes of the areas like console, steering, holes, hinges, etc., and write on the sheet for clarity. Click photos of the template or send the template to the company. The company will take references from the template, digitize it, and send you the flooring you have ordered.
Step 4: Remove The Existing Flooring
Now is the turn to remove the existing flooring to install the new one. For removing the existing flooring, you would need to cut through the surface to divide the flooring into sections. Then you can easily pull off each section and remove the entire flooring. However, this mechanism may vary depending on the flooring you have.
Use a circular saw to cut through the flooring. Be careful of the depth you are running the saw into so that you don’t accidentally cut the hull. Generally, ⅝ inch depth is the right measurement for cutting through the flooring.
Be very organized about removing the flooring. Don’t cut haphazardly. Cut and remove it carefully and store it too until you install the new flooring. The old flooring can be a good reference for making the new flooring. So keep it for the next steps.
Step 5: Prepare The Plywood
For installing the new flooring, you would need to prepare the plywood board or planks. As part of the preparation, first, you would need to know how many planks you would need. For that, measurements are needed. You can either refer to the boat floor template or take fresh measurements.
Measure the width and length of each section of the boat starting from the bow to the stern. The width will vary as per the shape of the boat. So be very cautious while measuring. Make notes of the measurements and cross-check the number with the old flooring. This way, take accurate measurements.
Then put this measurement on the plywood board and start cutting and shaping the planks. After cutting the plywoods, use oil-based paint to paint the planks. This makes the planks water-resistant increasing the longevity of the flooring.
If you want to change the stringers, do change it now. As you are installing the new flooring, you should make the frame strong and stable. Hence, this is the best opportunity to change the stringers.
Step 6: Install The New Flooring
Now is the turn to install the plywood that you have prepared. Before you lay them, apply epoxy resin on the deck and let it dry out completely. Epoxy resin leaves a waterproof layer on the deck that protects the plywood flooring from water damage.
Next, drill holes in the spaces where you would fix the plywood. The previous holes can help you out in directing where you would need to nail the planks. Also, choose the direction of the planks beforehand. The ideal direction is to go across the length of the boat. Now one by one, lay the plank and nail them. Also, attach the planks with the help of cleats to the starboard and port.
Done with installing plywood planks on the entire deck? If yes, let’s go on to the next steps.
Step 7: Lay A Fiberglass Mat
No matter how durable and water-resistant the flooring is, you would need to lay a fiberglass mat on it. Fiberglass sheets are waterproof and they protect the flooring and keep it intact. Besides protecting the flooring, it also gives a smooth and glossy boat flooring.
After you lay the fiberglass mat flat on the flooring, apply epoxy resin and seal the flooring. This settles the mat or sheet on the flooring. Let it dry out completely and now the flooring is ready.
Note that you should lay two or three layers of fiberglass matting for the best result.
Step 8: Reinstall The Items You Have Removed
Now set all the cables and materials you have removed from the deck before starting the project. Be careful while connecting the cables and machines. You may take help from an expert.
Quick tip! While disconnecting the cables before the project, you can note down which part was attached to which part and which machine. This will help you to reinstall the machines easily.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Kind Of Plywood Do You Need To Replace Boat Floor?
Choosing the right plywood is very necessary to accomplish the task of boat floor replacement. Because not all plywoods are suitable to adapt to marine conditions.
The ideal plywood for boat floor replacement is marine-grade plywood. Marine-grade plywood is crafted especially for adapting to the high-moisture conditions and rough weather. It is more durable, compact as well as water-resistant than normal plywoods. So you should always go for marine-grade plywood for boat floor replacement.
How Do You Fit A Boat Floor?
In the task of boat replacement, many may think that how would they fit the new flooring in the boat. To crack this, keep following the steps mentioned below:
- Tie a string from the center of the bow straight to the center of the stern;
- With a marker, mark after every 16 inches from the bow to the stern on the string;
- Next, from each mark on the string, measure the width from the string to the starboard. Double the measurement to get the whole width of that portion. This way, keep measuring the width from each 16-inch mark;
- Then measure the length by dividing the bow into three sections- right side, center, and left side. Mark these sections and from the center of each section, measure the length;
- Transfer the measurements to the plywood board. Then cut and shape according to the measurement;
This is how you can fit the boat flooring.
How Thick Should Plywood Be On The Boat Floor?
The thickness of the plywood on the boat floor matters. It not only decides the weight of the boat but is responsible for its durability and safety too.
To maintain the weight and safety of the boat, ½ to ⅝ inch thick plywood is sufficient. However, you should still install strong foaming beneath the plywood, paint it, and seal the flooring too. On top of that, fiberglassing the plywood flooring is mandatory for added protection and safety. Combining all these materials, the right thickness can be achieved that will last for several years without any disturbance.
How Many Layers Of Fiberglass Do You Need For Boat Floor?
Fiber-glassing the flooring is an essential step for protecting the floor. It makes the flooring water-resistant and improves the appearance of the flooring.
But to get the best result, you should install at least two layers of fiberglass sheets. After laying each sheet, seal the floor and let it dry. Paste another layer of fiberglass sheet on it and let the sealant dry out. If possible, you can add an additional layer of fiberglass to the flooring for extra protection. But make sure that you lay it finely so that it sits flat on the floor.
What Is The Best Way To Waterproof Plywood Boat Floor?
If you are replacing the boat flooring with plywood, you must think of its water resistance. To improve its water resistance, you can try out the methods mentioned below:
- Put a layer of epoxy resin on the flooring;
- Lay fiberglass mat on the plywood;
- Paint the plywood planks with oil-based paint;
- Install foaming beneath the plywood flooring;
These are some effective ways to make the plywood flooring on the boat water-resistant and durable.
I have included all the details of installing a new floor by replacing the old boat flooring. I have answered some additional questions too for your convenience. Now that the confusion and queries are cleared out, you can proceed with replacing the boat flooring.
Good luck with installing a new boat flooring!