Repeated exposure to the elements, especially water, tends to wreak havoc on boat floors. When boat floors show signs of having a soft or spongy texture then it is an indication of possible rot. Luckily, replacing them can be done relatively easily and quickly, allowing you to be back on the water in no time.
Items needed – circular saw, epoxy, fiberglass mat, floor covering or carpet, power drill, plywood
Step 1. Clear the Area
Start by removing any fixed items from your old floor, such as seats, consoles and so forth. Don’t forget to disconnect any wiring or electrical connections before detaching anything from the boat.
Step 2. Remove the Rot
It’s time to remove the old, damaged flooring. To make life easier, try to keep as much of the old sections that are in good condition as this will serve as a guide for your new wood pieces and will help align screw holes when reassembling the deck. As a guide, leave a three-inch trim of old flooring around the edge of your boat as this is molded into the framework of the boat and will also act as a great guideline for your new floor. More importantly, it will prevent you from perforating the side your boat while removing the old decking.
Step 3. Fixing a Jigsaw Puzzle
Remember your old floor pieces? Well they will now come in handy. Use the original parts as a template when measuring the new pieces of plywood. When you have the correct measurements, the new flooring panels need to be soaked in epoxy to help seal water out. Once the epoxy has dried then the next step is to assemble everything. Take note of the exact location of the screw holes and clearly mark them on the new plywood panels. Don’t forget to drill the new screw holes in the plywood pieces before reassembling the floor – think of it as piecing a jigsaw puzzle back together.
Step 4. Top Coat
With the new plywood flooring in place, it now needs to be covered with a fiberglass mat and sealed with fiberglass resin. Upon drying, use a soft sander to remove any rough edges to create a smooth finish. Drill screw holes in the dried fiberglass mat.
To complete the refurb, lay floor covering or carpet on the boat’s floor. Then reinstall all items that were originally removed; seats, consoles and fixed items.