Siding and Roofing options for a Houseboat

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by mariobrothers88, Apr 12, 2022.

  1. mariobrothers88
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    mariobrothers88 Senior Member

    Hi guys, I am exploring the concept of making houseboats using 55 gallon barrels as the floating platform. I was thinking of just using 2x4 framing for the walls, durock/cement board for the siding, and marine plywood for the flooring and the roof. Would durock/cement board work for the siding given that it would need some degree of flex as a houseboat? What other options would you guys suggest or recommend for the siding and roofing? Thanks for any advice/input!
     
  2. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

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  3. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    You can save some weight by using 2x3 studs and 1/4 or 3/8” siding.
    A lightweight aluminum garage type building might make a good basis for the “house”.
    I wouldn’t opt for marine ply at all, it’s ridiculously expensive, and serious overkill for a static boating application.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Arrow-1...rt-Car-Canopy-and-Shelter-CPH122007/300955287

    Prefab Metal Garage vs. Wood: Pros and Cons of Metal Garages https://sojag.shelterlogic.com/knowledge/prefab-metal-garage-or-a-traditional-wood-garage-which-should-you-choose
     
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  4. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

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  5. mariobrothers88
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    mariobrothers88 Senior Member

    Thanks for all the advice guys and yes rolling barge was one of the inspirations for this idea! For framing the wall studs, how important is it to use stainless steel screws? It's difficult to get ss screws in my area, how quickly would normal screws rust if there is no water penetration into the walls? Would coating the screws in epoxy help the durability? Or can I also glue the joints with wood glue so they even if the screw rusts, the wall should still be fine. Thanks in advance guys!
     
  6. mariobrothers88
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    mariobrothers88 Senior Member

    Also for the exterior walls, would you guys recommend a cement backer board like durock vs a fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing like densglass? Thanks guys!!!
     
  7. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Cement board big no.

    heavy, cracks, hard to drill for any holes

    3/8-1/2" fiber board would be okay

    most houseboats I've been on have 2x2 walls with pink insulation and paneling inside; the paneling varies for area, like in the kitchen and bath is washable plastic like stuff and other areas wood
     
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  8. mariobrothers88
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    mariobrothers88 Senior Member

    Thank you so much Dan you are the best! So are you staying for the wall studs I can get away with cutting 2*4s in half and just using 2x2s? Seems like it might be a bit weak but it would save a lot of weight and money so I'm all for it if it's strong enough! What would you recommend for the roofing? Would the fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing like densglass be ok for the roof and exterior wall? Also I was thinking of using just drywall for the wall interiors but do you think it should be an interior grade wood like Birch? Thanks again Dan for all your help you are so amazing!!!
     
  9. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    If you use 2x2 or 2x3, use 2x4s on corners. Use plywood outside to keep the 2x2s from twisting and fab it with glue and screws. A little extra work will go a long way to keep things straight.

    A 2x2 is not really gonna hold up the roof well, so you probably need to use something bigger under the roof beams, like 2x3,4
     
  10. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    So what exactly are you planning to build?
    None of your questions can be accurately addressed without solid knowledge of what it is you’re planning.
    Do you have any drawings with dimensions you could share? SOR?
    Are you building a mobile structure that has the ability to travel, or is it a dockside condo?
    Located in lakes/rivers, or salt?
    So many questions need to be answered!
     
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  11. mariobrothers88
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    mariobrothers88 Senior Member

    Thanks for the response kapnd it would be for protected bay and it won't need to be moved. The floating house would be about 20'x10'
     
  12. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    No need for SS. Coated deck screws are fine.

    For roof beams, make yourself some arched I beams, like I did for my boat. Very light, strong enough. Very cheap
     
  13. mariobrothers88
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    mariobrothers88 Senior Member

    Hey do you guys know if I can use a fiberglass gypsum mat sheathing like densglass for the roof? I've read that you could but someone told me that you couldn't use it for the roof. I'm thinking of a simple sloping roof spanning 10'. Thanks for all the advice guys I really appreciate it!
     
  14. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Awful heavy Ron.

    Roof needs to be light and strong.

    What I did spans 8'. I rated it for 100 pound point loading thru testing. This means strong enough to walk lightly, light enough to break if jumped on. Before it was glassed, my knee cracked the plywood.


    Here it is, bottom to top.

    1. three 1/2" thick redwood boards 2.5" wide laminated together with epoxy on 11" centers, yeah, that is close (these would allow for insulation which u need in Mexico)

    there is a 4 mm headliner screwed to them underneath

    2. 4mm okume plywood

    3. 12mm corecell foam widths to allow for curvature in roof, scrim on edges, puttied edges

    4. 17 oz hexcel woven on top

    5. Faired

    Now, I know you can't get plywood in 10' panels.

    But you can get plascore 10'x5' and it is cheap(er) than marine ply. I paid about $120 a sheet for them. Plascore would require a lot of work because you can't hole it easily for any penetrations though. It is too weak. And the edges can't be left raw. And you'd have to laminate the side you lay down first...and it is really easy to lay it too dry cuz the veil layer is thirsty and easy to fill the combs...

    Anyhow, plywood is best, if you ask me..
     

  15. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Densglass is 1.7 pounds per square foot. For a 32 sqft panel, this is 54.4#. For a 10x20 roof, 340 pounds sheathing.

    okume is 13# for same panel
    corecell is like 7# for 12mm panel

    so okume and corecell are about 20#, or 125# sheathing for 10x20 roof

    Figure the fiberglass or waterproofing layer is the same.

    Then the beams need to be strong enough for the static load.

    My beams were designed for a heavy snowfall and solar panels...btw
     
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