trowel-on cabin sole

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by robwilk37, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. robwilk37
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    robwilk37 Senior Member

    saw some guys installing this troweled mix of epoxy and pebbles in a neighbors sauna and had the thought it would make an excellent material for the cabin sole. non-skid, durable, quick and easy to put down. a bit heavy sure but down low. cant say ive ever seen it on a boat though so wondering what im missing? maybe if the boat flexes enough it ends up cracking? seems a wee bit of fibers in the mix would help that. guy said they do a lot of it around swimming pools so must be a UV version.
    not really looking forward to tedious teak and holly so thought this might be an option... what say you?
     

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  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    A novel idea, but probably not the best one. I wouldn't say you'd have to rocks in your head, but you will have them in your boat !
     
  3. The Q
    Joined: Feb 2014
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    The Q Senior Member

    It is a quite expensive but common way of covering an ugly concrete path. I've used it myself. But the extra weight of lifting the floorboards could be a problem. It would also be uncomfortable on bare feet...
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Boats, unlike cement slabs in homes, are very weight sensitive. The density of it is going to be three to four times higher. Also, the thickness will be more, so the weight may end up being ten or more times higher.
     
  5. robwilk37
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    robwilk37 Senior Member

    cost would be less when you consider the hours and hours installing solid teak and holly, that im sure of. weight im not too worried about - i removed about 1000lbs of the concrete ballast cap when i did the repair to the keel planning to replace that weight with batteries. so a couple hundred pounds in stone/epoxy isnt going to hurt too much, its down low and in the middle 1/3 of the boat, also i can control the depth of the layer(total weight). bilge access is through 10" x 12" boards in strategic places and id probably have them in different materials anyway. and we live barefoot most of the time so not worried about that. mostly sold on the idea at this point but man itll suck if i ever have to remove it...
     
  6. PAR
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This approuch doesn't work well, not that flexing isn't an issue, but mostly because you have tens of thousands of places, for moisture to accumulate. These coatings are typically applied over epoxy, which is good, but they also tend to crack with movement and aggregate knock out. This lets the moisture in.

    Yeah, teak and other sole board approaches are a pain in the butt and it would be nice to have a pour on solution. If looking for easy and self leveling, maybe a truck bed liner is a way to go.
     
  7. robwilk37
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    robwilk37 Senior Member

    thought about bed liner at one time, but its a little bit too industrial for my floating home.

    the sole is 3/4 marine ply with a layer of 22oz roving/epoxy both sides and the edges have 4 coats of epoxy. then the ply is tabbed to the hull with 6 layers of biax/epoxy. "entombed" is a good word for it. the individual pebbles/stones popping out could be a problem, but im thinking not a lot of water reaching the core.
    long keel, massive laminated floors, from the turn to the waterline 3/4" solid glass. not sure how much flexing ill have in the first place...
     
  8. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    If your aim is to develop a non skid surface then some plain builders sand will do the trick . Paint the surface, use a kitchen sifter or similar tool to distribute sand into the wet paint. When the paint is dry, vacuum off the excess sand. Repaint over the imbedded sand. If the sand is too coarse for your tastes, elbows, or knees, then use some pumice in place of the sand.
     
  9. robwilk37
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    robwilk37 Senior Member

    or maybe these pre-made cut stone mosaics from the box store but with epoxy grout?
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I don't recommend sand, as the particulate, simply because it's a bear to remove if you have to and it tends to get knocked out with traffic. All the major paint suppliers have a texture additive, most are polyurethane pellets, which seem to stay stuck better. It can also be removed fairly easily come this need.

    One of the best cheap approaches to this problem I saw was a guy that had lots of teak cut offs, but he didn't want to spend the time or money fitting it together, so he ripped all his pieces into 1" wide strips. These were then set in epoxy, with 1/8" tile spacers. The spacers were pulled when the goo cured and the gaps filled with more epoxy and a graphite filler. No miters, no real fitting, just a perimeter strip and straight laid inside. Sanded flat it looked pretty good and had good underfoot traction.
     
  11. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have used this epoxy/sand mix on concrete floors. it is very heavy and very brittle (okay on concrete), I would think it would tend to crack and flake off in chunks over wood or anything that flexes or changes size/shape with temperature changes. It is fairly costly too.

    tiny plastic pellets embedded in paint is a much better option. I have even seen ground walnut shells used in a flexible neopreme paint which is light and watertight, but it is not that durable. the walnut shells seem an interesting and light aggregate, though it seems plastic would not be prone to rotting or trapping moisture.

    epoxy paint with tiny short chopped fibers, and either plastic pellets or sand seems it would be durable and light. though it should still get painted over (any color you want) to protect it from UV degredation.

    It always strikes me as funny how no one would put varnished wood on the roof of their house, or even fiberglass panels, and expect them to last. but this is commonly done on the cabin roofs of boats and decks (and of course the owner always complain about the amount of maintenance it takes to keep it nice looking). Use the materials commonly used on house roofs and decks and it will not only be cheaper, but also last much longer too.

    There is a rubbery weather tight latex mixture called "snow roof" to seal metal roofs, and a similar more durable gray mixture for decks. I always thought that would make a good boat deck coating. It is cheap and easy to reapply regularly. I also like the paint with fine sand in it, looks good, easy maintenance, though paint is not quite as durable something made for deck coatings.
     
  12. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    In the Coast Guard we used sand blasting grit in paint to make non skid. Lasts a long time. works great. Hell on you hands or knees if you fall on it.
     
  13. tane
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    tane Junior Member

    alternatives:
    nutshells or cork ground up in the kichenblender
     

  14. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I'd lay some fake timber vinyl !
     
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