House Boat wood Flooring, what to use?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by chriscurto, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. chriscurto
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: Sandpoint, ID

    chriscurto New Member

    I am currently building a 90' house boat for a customer. It is more of a house on a barge. Very nice and high end. The customer is into the project apx $1 million so far. This next phase of the project will include wood flooring on the lower galley and main cabin.
    What is recommended? Currently the sub-floor is 3/4" plywood attached to a steel frame. The space between the flooring and the bottom of the hull ranges form 12" to 36". There will be access hatches everywhere. There are obviously major humidity issues;and this is in N. Idaho, so there are major temperature and seasonal fluctuations also. I have heard of a plywood type product used in yachts and airplane that looks like a plank floor but comes in a 4' x 8'. Sounds interesting but.....quality? I am leaning more toward an engineered wood flooring, 2 1/2" plank type look.
    I am not the first to do this, so what else is out there? What have you seen used? What have you installed? What leads can you give me?

  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Larch would be my wood of choice. Laid as a classic ships parquet. The tiimber gets denser / harder over time and stands the fluctuations quite well.

    The veneers on strip decor ply are usually only 0,6 to 1mm thick. On a houseboat they will see probably more wear than on a yacht, which destroys the veneer soon.

  3. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    I would suggest you ask the owner.

    A hardwood with an epoxy finish would be nice. Wet slip risk may or may not be a factor depending on their life-style.

    But whatever you use, be sure and leave 3/16" (5 mm) around the edge for expansion, especially if it gets wet for any reason.

    Oh, and don't go under anything permanent, go around it. I speak from experience on this one.

  4. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: Springfield, Mo.

    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Asking the owner is sure a good idea, as it can be his decission! We have laminate flooring that locks in as laid and is common for bathrooms and kitchens. If a piece is damaged, it can be replaced with a little skill. While it will shrink and expand with temperature changes, it's better than wood. There is a vapor barrier that is laid first and the floor floats over the pad, it is not nailed down and as Tom mentioned leave a good expansion joint at the parameter. Trim pieces are available to match. It is slick when wet. Lowes and Home Depot or any flooring store will have it. I would not use parquet flooring found at lumber yards, if you can find it, as the wood pieces making up each tile will seperate in time.
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Anything made for a house will work. The boat's bilges won't be more humid than a basement (at least on old houses up North). Laminate floors for bathrooms are OK. However, in the price range you are talking about, they would be a rather cheap product. You can install hardwood parquet on with waterproof, elastometer type adhesive. On a boat that size, heavier floor coverings, like tile and stone are viable. They make stone over honeycomb which is much lighter too.
  6. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: Springfield, Mo.

    Wavewacker Senior Member

    If it were mine, I would have a heated floor and granite with a rough texture. Ask your flooring dealer about commercial grade flooring products. As Gonzo points out, I would not use a laminate found in a 100K house. There are many textured higher end products.

    Recently, Wal-marts have been installing some new flooring. It's a commercial grade vinal but looks very much like hardwood, I thought it was hardwood and had to look closely to see what it was. Heavy with a good walk to it. I'm talking the carpet out of one of my boats will probably lay that stuff, just nice, but not suggesting it for the barge house.
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I wouldn't use epoxy on any of it, just too much traffic to have reasonable maintenance expectations. This leaves raw wood planks and varnished hardwoods. For raw wood the classic choice is teak. Pitch pine is also another, less costly choice.

    For the hardwoods, the sky's the limit, but typically you'd see teak with holly strips alternating, well varnished. Mahogany with similar contrasting color alternating, like oak. Then of course are the cherrys, maples, etc., take you pick given they will need periodic refinishing.

  8. WickedGood

    WickedGood Guest

    My last charter boat had Teak & holly decks in tha Cabin and they would see hundreds of boots each season as well as dripping Salt Water wet suits and the typical beer, urine and fish blood that was ever present.

    Wash them down with bleach and dish soap and a light touch up with linseed oil and they were ready to go again.

    that would be my vote!

    ( I do like that heated floor idea. Maybe flex plastic hot water tubing heated off the engine block to heel the snow and ice down)

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