I just bought an 18' '89 Procraft 1780. The fishing deck floors are solid, but the bottom (main) floor is soft. I am thinking of taking the Memorial Day weekend to replace. I've never done this, so I'd really appreciate any help I can get! Here is my game plan, then some questions below that.
Strip carpet, measure so I know how much wood I'll need, get supplies.
Remove the old floor and use it as a pattern to trace the shape onto the new ply if possible. Once cut, double coat the ply with marine epoxy paint. Let dry, install, and seal the edges (see question below).
Install carpet and new seats. :-)
HOPEFULLY get on the water for a test...
-The consoles (driver and passenger) walls appear to run right to the wood but aren't bolted to it. Would the wood just slide underneath, or is the floor likely groved around the consoles? How will it come out/go back in?
-Is my time estimate too short? Too long?
-Is it stupid to replace the floor and not the carpet? The carpet is in decent shape, but it wouldn't hurt to replace it since it will need removed anyways.
-What is the best material to use to seal the edges where the ply meets the walls of the boat? I was planning on some kind of epoxy caulk...
-Are there any complications I should expect? Any basic tips?
I would do some searches and reading on www.shareaproject.com and see about the consoles. If you can finish this in two days you are superman.
If all you use is epoxy paint to coat the floor, you'll be back to replace it again in a few years. Also I can only assume, based on seeing and reading about many other rebuilds, that you are going to find wet water logged foam under that floor and rotten stringers as well.
There is the debate as to whether you should use carpet in a boat at all. It holds water and helps rot things out faster.
The floor is a integral structural part of the boat and the floor needs to be fiberglassed back into the boat like it is now.
Read the process used in my project blog in my signature..
I ripped up the carpet and my biggest fears came true. The consoles, side walls, everything are part of the molded top, which was installed on top of the floor. I am now regretting ever buying the boat and have no clue how to tackle this project. I don't have the tools (or the knowledge) to split the boat, and the whole floor needs replaced, as does the primary stringer case. Any advice?
Wow! Lots of good links in there. Thanks! However, there is still one MAJOR problem. All the tutorials show people spliting the boat and having a bare hull to refloor. I do not have the tools to accomplish this task. I absolutely must replace the floor with the consoles, etc still in place. This ads a whole new level of difficulty, and one in which I am completely unable to find help with.
If you can build a temporary truss above the consoles you can support them from above. Angle 'em up a few inches and you can slide new floor elements underneath if you're clever. You'll still need to attach the floor to the sides though.
This ads a whole new level of difficulty, and one in which I am completely unable to find help with.
We'll help as you can already see, you just have to be the hands :-) and eyes.
If you absolutely don't want to split the boat and as already has been suggested you can bend fiberglass to a certain degree, so you can flex the consoles up and out of the way to some degree.
You can put the floor back in as small pieces and you don't want to do this unless you have to. but you could replace the part under the console as one piece and then lay a larger piece in the center. you would need blocks attached under the floor at each joint so you can screw into them.
also, some folks have gone the way of 'cut it out of the way' and then glass it back in after you're done. Several people have done splash wells and transoms that way. You could cut the 'legs' off of the consoles and reattach them after you replaced the floor. Or replace them with something different.
My boat has a molded in bench seat for the driver / passenger. And there used to be a leg under it that was on top of the floor. To get the floor out, the leg had to go, it was partially rotted as well.. To replace the structure I now have builders foam wedged in between the seat bottom and the floor. It gives me lots more safety flotation, and it holds the seat up and floor down..
2/3 days?? Won't happen. 100 solid hours minimum, IMHO. Do lotsa reading on this subject!!
Before you start!! Get camera ready, pics also help putting it back together.
Support hull if not on bunk trailer. Remove the windshield. Remove the rubrail rubber. Drill out the rivits (or un-screw) Remove all fasteners from sole to stingers. Disconnect and mark wiring harness from both consoles, bow and stern lights. Get some friends, case-of-beer and split/lift the topcap from the hull.
Bag up harness and wire ends and store away. Puchase tyvec suit, gloves masks, duct tape.
Start Digging out the rotten foam, stringers and transom. Elec. chainsaw works well! Everything here and future question have been posted numerous times. Search stringer or floor replacement.
We all understand your dismay very well. Good Luck.
Assuming I get out of work at a decent hour, I plan to start ripping up the old floor today. I'll be sure to take a couple pictures and place them on here as I work through.
Last night I noticed one "good" thing while I was out jumping on the floor - all the softness is found between the main stringer box, to the front, rear, and imediate sides of the ski storage door. The rest is behind the consoles, right in front of the rear seats. Though this isn't the correct answer, I'm thinking I can make a T-shaped patch that will replace the problem areas relatively easily. If I glass it in REALLY well it should last until I have a means to split the boat and replace the floor the correct way.
One other question. I've used marine varnish on other projects. If I varnish the wood, then glass over that, will it be more effective? Will the resin even set over the varnish? If not, can it be done the other way around?
I have a bowrider and replaced the floor last year. For your job, I'd consider either cutting the consoles out with a ginding disk and suspending them as previously suggested OR build new consoles using marine plywood. You could salvage the existing windshield or get something new.
Just use a good water proof coating on the plywood and caulk well. I'd also forget about the carpet - this seems to be more trouble than it's worth.
Everyone says to lose the carpet. Does anyone have a paint-like product that they have used that looks good and works well?
I cannot build new consoles and have them look halfway decent. The boat has a metalic flake paint job that would be virtually impossible to recreate, and very expensive to even try. Haha. I'll grind them off and hoist them up just enough if I even need to replace the floors underneath them.
Thanks to everyone. Work starts tonight, so I'll keep everyone posted.
Patching the floor for the short term in doable.. But paint or varnish is not good enough as a water proofing. As an alternative to carpeting, people have used truck bed liners, rhino liner, Grizzly grip https://www.grizzlygrip.com/boats.asp
But I would not put an expensive finish on top of a temporary floor.
IMHO I would:
1. Cut out the rotten floor section. attach blocking to underside of the edges of the patch area, to secure the patch to.
8. Put the old carpeting back in until you get the time this fall - winter to rip out the entire floor and the foam and the stringers, etc and rebuild it correctly. Then you can coat the floor with Truck bed Liner..
Awesome! That actually sounds pretty close to what I was thinking of trying. Thanks again all. I'll keep the pics coming as the weekend of wonder progresses. Speaking of Memorial Day, I'm sure this will be one to remember. Haha!
Truck bed liner? Do any of the paint methods look decent?
Well, this project turned out to be much harder then I thought. I have the section of floor I'm going to replace cut out. Underneath was all the nasty water-logged foam, partially rotted stringers, etc. Woohoo. The hull has 6 stringers - the main box, and two to each side. The main box stringers and the two to the outside of the hull are strong, so I'm going to mount 2x4s on the sides of the rotted ones in the middle for strength. It should work for what I hope to accomplish. I have all kinds of wood glassed in and coated with an epoxy stain curing in the garage right now. If nothing else, the replacement floor pieces are rock solid now! Everything is curing today and will be placed today and tomorrow after work. Hopefully I'll be able to put in the carpet Friday or Saturday and get her on the water shortly after that.
This would have been WAY easier if I had the tools to split the boat and replace the whole thing! Guess I'll pay the man's price in the off season this year or next - depending on how long my patch lasts! :-) If anyone lives near central or SW Ohio and wants something to do this winter let me know!! Haha.
I have some pics - I'll post them when I get at my camera again.
COMPLETE! Here are the steps I took and tools I used followed by a slideshow to show the progress.
*ALL WOOD is pressure-treated, which I left in the sun to dry out.
-Cut out old floor (large piece behind consoles, small to front of ski well) using a jig saw and circular saw (set to height to avoid cutting stringers)
-Clear foam using a drill with a wire brush, vacuum out. Used a chisel for the “hard to reach” places. Vacuumed regularly because that foam is itchy and messy!
-Cut 2x4s and 1x6s to length to reinforce stringers and built support bridges under new floor in ski well where mfg should have placed something in the first place!
-Coat wood with fiberglass resin (no cloth) (2 coats)
-Screw in wood using pressure-treated screws, then resin over screw holes
-Use cardboard to cut patterns for the front and rear floor pieces
-Cut 1/2 ply to fit, then sand smooth at edges
-Coat all sides of ply with resin, and fiberglass over knots and cracks for extra security
-Screw in floor using pressure-treated screws, resin over screw holes
-Use fiberglass putty/cloth to seal & strengthen seams
-Sand smooth, and add another layer of fiberglass jelly
-Sand one last time and clean thoroughly to prep for carpet
-Place carpet, glued down using marine carpet adhesive
-Placed ski well door
-Took on water and finally enjoyed!
This was done using very limited resources. Since I wasn’t able to split the boat to remove the consoles, I was limited on what I could do. My hope is that it will last 4+ years until I hopefully have the resources to replace the whole floor or the cash to pay to have it done. It looks and feels great. I consider the project a success.
Looks like your boat is a ProCraft?? Mine is a 1987 ProCraft with exactly the same flooring problems you describe. What do you do about the foam you removed? I did not see any mention of replacing it or where to obtain the foam if you did. I too intend to try to do a patch instead of splitting the boat. Thanks.
Sorry I left this sit so long, but I'll answer the most common question:
What did I do to remove the foam?
I started with a crow bar and a claw hammer (carefully) to break away the worst, then followed up with a drill with a wire brush to, and then a putty knife and hammer to chisel away the remains so I could cleanly get to the stringers to make the needed repairs to them. You'll want several trash bags and a shop-vac to remove all that foam - there was a notable mess to clean up!
Also, I did nothing to fill the holes left by the foam, especially since I made such a small repair.
It is now several years later and the floor is still holding as strong as the day I did it. I hope this post has helped many of you to enjoy your boat longer!
If you fish with the Lord and catch nothing, you have still gained precious time with Him.
If you look closely, you will see that I was lucky enough to not have to go under the consoles. One of the is just a bit uneven, but not really noticeable until I close the center window which virtually never happens. The floor under and around them is still solid, so I'm not 100% sure that is even the issue, but it would make sense.
I was worried about that though, so if I had to rebuild under them, I probably would have made an effort to shim them up enough to slide the old wood out, then the new wood back in. I've heard of people having success doing that since you really don't need much play out of the fiberglass to get under it.
Keep us posted!
If you fish with the Lord and catch nothing, you have still gained precious time with Him.