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Replacing The Wood In The Floors Of My Boat


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  • Super User

Peeled off all the old carpeting on my boat, and realized most of the wood in the back half of my boat is pretty rotted. My question is, is there a specific type of wood that I am supposed to use to make the floor of the boat. It looks like it was really thick plywood, but that wouldnt seem right. Any advice would help. Its basically wood floor structure with a sheet of fiberglass over it.

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  • Super User

When I replaced the decking on my boat I used regular plywood, but I painted it with a thinned-down fiberglass resin. I doubt that I will ever have to replace the decking again.

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Check your floatation foam to make sure it is dry. The older hulls used a type of foam that will soak up water.

I used marine plywood painted with thinned resin. Probably over kill, but I didn't want to have to deal with it again. I also used thinned resin along the edges to smooth over the seams. Once you have carpet back on it, it should look fine.

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  • Super User

First you need to make sure you know what you are getting into. Many times, the whole cap has to come off to replace the floor, that's a pretty good job in it's own. Then you have to support the hull because when you remove the floor, it can spread open like a clam shell. When you install the new floor and go to put the top back on, it won't fit. Also, a very common thing to find with rotten a rotten floor is rotten stingers and wet floation foam (the older boats used open cell foam that holds water better than a sponge), and they are totally no fun to replace.

As for the wood, in the three boats I've done, I just used five ply, 1/2" plywood. It's a hellavalot easier to find than marine and cost about 1/2 what marine cost. I put a nice thick coat of resin on the bottom side and fasten it down while still wet. That seals it and the resin helps glue it down. I then cover the top with a layer of fiberglass matt, making sure I work all the air bubbles out so no water can seep through.

Then you have to reinstall the top, making sure you get it sealed all the way around or water can come in during turns from your wake. Also be sure to get the transome (which you may find is rotten also and need to replaced) bonded completley across the back with no spaces for water to seep in.

So, I hope you know how to work with fiberglass and have the means of taking the cap off if needed.

I should mention, for an old boat that's not worth the money and work involved, to get a few more years service from it, I just put a sheet of heavy guage aluminum over it. I use a couple of tubes of silicon to seal between the floor and aluminum and some stainless wood screws to fasten it down where there's good wood the hold a screw. Then put your new carpet down and use it.

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