HDPE cabin sole/floor boards?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by km27603, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. km27603
    Joined: Aug 2020
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    Location: North Carolina

    km27603 New Member

    Hi. I've recently purchased a used Island Packet. It needs a little work. One of the things I'll be doing is installing a new cabin sole (i.e. floor). Has anyone tried using HDPE for a cabin sole and then glued/epoxied anything on top to finish it? The reason that I'm thinking of using HDPE is because I think it'll creak less than plywood. If you've tried it, how did it work? What thickness would work best? I am thinking at least 1/2", but it might require 3/4". Thoughts?
  2. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    What would you use to bond it?
  3. Saqa
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: Hervey Bay

    Saqa Senior Member

    HDPE is an awesome hull material when implemented correctly, but not that great for a sole. It will be heavy in the required thickness and still flex. If you can cut a hole in the sole and pour foam under it, then it will be totally fine. Smartwave boats from NZ are HDPE as well as their sister brand Mac. They recommend mechanical fasteners in conjunction with a product they call 'seal all' for securing to HDPE. I have four HDPE hulls 3.5 - 6m lengths. I prefer to use ply as sole material on mine. Look up 3M, they have developed a glue for HDPE
  4. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    It would be slippery too ?
  5. km27603
    Joined: Aug 2020
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    Location: North Carolina

    km27603 New Member

    I'd use glue to bond the Linoleum to the HDPE, and I thought a tight fit with just a few screws in the corners to secure the HDPE to the hull would be enough. I know 3M makes a glue that would work.

    I see Saqa replied with the 3M glue as well. Thank you. If the floor would still be too flexible, then I'll just go with plywood. I was just thinking why not try something new and see if it would work.

  6. comfisherman
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: Alaska

    comfisherman Senior Member

    I've worked with both hdpe and uhmw in thicknesses ranging from from 3/8 to 1.5 inches. It's truly amazing stuff for what it is, but it has a few quirks.

    Not much bonds to it for very long, it seems to defy science when it comes to its actual expansion and contraction ratios, and it doesn't like being unsupported for long spans. This issue became apparent in the sections of deck where pots would set, we would have double the amount of deck stringers over apitong under each hdpe board to keep flex in check. It still bowed between even 12 inch centers but in a manageable way.

    It served its purpose we wanted a slick section of deck to set heavy pots, and wet hdpe is like boogers on a doorknob. Heaven help you trying to stand on that section.
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