The flooring of your boat is the place that gets used most of the time. That’s also the reason why you may notice signs of softening and heavy use after some time.
It’s essential to keep your boat’s floor in good working order as soft flooring could turn into a safety hazard.
But what’s the best way to replace boat flooring? If you want to save some money and do a DIY flooring job, then here is our step-by-step guide on how to replace boat floors.
Tools You’ll Need To Replace A Boat Floor
In order to replace the floor in a boat, you will need a few basic tools, including
- Circular saw
- Tap measure
- Epoxy resin
- Cordless (or corded) drill
- Mini tiller (to remove any damaged foam)
- Fiberglass mat and resin
These are the most essential tools and materials you require to replace your boat’s plywood floor.
Depending on the size of your boat floor and any other jobs you plan to do around the boat, you may also need to order additional materials.
How To Replace Boat Flooring
You can replace the plywood floor in your boat yourself with some basic materials and tools.
While the below guide is only for plywood flooring, many of the steps in this tutorial can also be applied to other boat flooring types, such as PVC.
Step 1: Buy All Boat Floor Materials And Tools
Before you can start, you’ll need all the tools and materials for your DIY project. Make sure that you measure exactly what size plywood you need for your boat’s type and deck size.
It’s a good idea to make a note of all the materials you use and their size. Also document every step you do, so you know exactly what you have done already.
Step 2: Check Transom
Before you start building, it’s important to check the transom of your boat first. Typically, the transom also needs replacing, together with the boat’s floor.
Just check for any visible signs of rot. Step on top of the transom and check for stability. If it gives too much way, then this clearly indicates that there is decay.
Step 3: Build The Cradle
Next, you will need to either build a dedicated cradle for your boat or put it in a trailer. We recommend building the cradle to avoid any damage to your boat or the trailer.
Step 4: Remove Everything From The Boat
You will need to take everything out of your boat, including everything that’s attached to the floor, such as seats and consoles.
Make sure that you do this carefully as there is likely wiring attached to some of the parts you need to remove.
It’s also a good idea to remove the motor, so you can access everything easily without needing to work around it.
Step 5: Dismantle The Old Boat Floor
In order to remove the old floor, you’ll need to cut into the old plywood with your circular saw.
However, before you start cutting, make sure you measure the right depth to avoid damaging the hull.
Ideally, you should also keep your former floor’s dimensions. Make sure to leave a minimum of three inches of the old floor up to the edge of the boat.
This helps you prevent any damage to the hull. Plus, it even allows you to use the former floor as a support for the new flooring plywood.
Step 6: Check For Any Rot
Now that the old floor is out, you can take a closer look at the foam, stringers and bulkheads. If you find that the bulkheads and stringers are black, then they are rotted.
If you find that the foam is looking good, you only need to replace your plywood floor. However, if the foam is cracked, then you need to take it out with a mini driller.
Step 7: Measure And Cut The Floor Plywood
Once you checked everything and removed any parts that are decayed or damaged, you can start working on your new floor.
First, you’ll need to measure your plywood with a tape measure. Alternatively, you can use the same measurements as your old floor.
With all the measurements in hand, you can start cutting the wood to the right size.
Step 8: Lay The Cut Plywood
You will need to apply epoxy on the new plywood to ensure it’s waterproof. Allow the resin to dry fully.
Next, mark out the areas where you need to drill down your plywood with screws. Again, your old plywood floor is very useful here.
Then, just lay down the plywood flooring and screw the floor on.
Step 9: Cover The Plywood With A Fiberglass Mat And Resin
The last step for installing your new boat floor is placing a fiberglass mat on top of your new plywood and then sealing it with resin.
Let the resin dry fully according to instructions and then sand down the edges to make them smooth. Once done, simply screw the mat in place.
Step 10: Reinstall All Removed Components
Now that you replaced your boat flooring, you are ready to reinstall any of the components you previously removed.
Just make sure that all the screw holes and wiring are in the right place, especially when you plan to lay down carpet.
Top Tips For Replacing A Boat Floor
If you want to make it easier to replace an entire floor area, then you should consider removing the boat’s cap.
When replacing boat flooring, you need to think of factors like moisture and durability. Flooring, such as carpet, retains moisture and can cause rot.
How Long Does It Take To Replace Boat Flooring?
It can take up to 400 hours to replace the floor of a boat, depending on the deck size and type of boat you have.
While replacing boat flooring takes some time, a new floor provides greater stability and safety at sea. Plus, you can also check the condition of your boat while completing this job.