How to lay boat flooring
Anglers will often argue about what is the best floor on a fishing boat. Some fishermen just like the simplicity of spotted flowcoat, but I have ended up head over heels on more than one occasion from wet flowcoat decks made even more dangerous by fish blood and other slimy offal which inevitably finds its way to the floor of the boat.
So what floor is best for a project boat, especially one like our classic Haines V19R, since dubbed the Nautek N19R?
What’s the best premium boat floor?
One option to consider are some of the good rubber matting alternatives that are available to anglers. Many can be lifted at the end of the day for easy cleaning, but unfortunately they can go mouldy underside when left in a wet boat over time.
Others, including me, like carpet. Properly secured marine carpet gives a warm texture in the cold and is cool in the heat. Sure, it tends to trap scales and other grime, but good quality marine carpet cleans fairly easily with a good high-pressure washdown. It’s reasonably cheap to buy and easy to lay, even if you need to rip it out to replace it every few years. Some brands last many years in our sun and don’t seem to fade away. Admittedly it does get pretty smelly in a well-used fishing boat or if the carpet is not permitted to dry out in cold conditions.
There are also some excellent rubberised paint systems and cork alternatives that were in strong contention for the purpose, as was sprinkling some fine sand into a flowcoat mix to give it some non-skid texture.
However, for our Haines V19R project boat, it was unanimously agreed that teak flooring appealed most of all. Visually, teak flooring looks and feels sensational; yet traditional timber is reasonably heavy, expensive and difficult to lay. It also stains quite easily, grows mould in wet environments and needs regular maintenance to keep its looks.
What could we do?
Flexiteek 2G Flooring
Enter Flexiteek, a flexible synthetic material. Flexiteek’s latest product is called 2G. The manufacturer says it is lighter and cooler than its original formulation, yet it still has excellent non-slip features. It is colour stable, even in Australia’s harsh extremes. Flexiteek 2G has a soft and comfortable texture and is reasonably easy to install.
What is it made of, I hear you ask? One of our resident smart alecs suggested that it’s probably recycled iPhones — and he’s probably not that far wrong! In actual fact, here’s an quote: “The panels are made from a UV-stabilised, specially formulated PVC, including plasticizers, that do not contain any poison, along with fillers and colour pigments in a new patented process and mixture.”
Nautek Marine, who managed the Haines V19R project, supplied a template of our floor cutout in strong paper and a couple of short weeks later our parcel arrived with the complete fitting kit. We were impressed from first sight and quickly and excitedly set to the task of installing the Flexiteek deck.
The only special tool we required was a knife to cut the multiple foil sausages of special adhesive supplied by Fixtech, and a couple of plaster scrapers to spread the adhesive evenly at one sausage per square metre. We quickly learnt to get this right otherwise you won’t have much product leftover. A hand-roller is ideal to help to get the deck flat onto the boat floor.
Flexiteek is available in a number of colours; ours has a beautiful light teak external layer. It is ribbed on the underside which helps get an even surface as it is pressed onto the adhesive. Flexiteek is quite solid in construction thanks to its PVC-style material, but it can still be rolled allowing you to start at the front of the floor and work your way back.
From go to whoa the laying process took around 90 minutes. We set weights all over the floor and allowed it to cure in a warm, dry environment for a few days. To say we are pleased with the visual results is an understatement and the texture is wonderful. It really gives the boat extra function, warmth and zing.
The new Flexiteek 2G is said to be 30 per cent cooler than competitive mediums and it can be washed with light detergent or high-pressure hose. We did manage to get a few drops of adhesive on the face and these were simply sanded off once allowed to dry. I’m sure it will get the squid ink test in due course!
The manufacturer claims a 35 per cent weight saving over conventional teak and synthetic competitors, and the fully welded bonding system is said to give a prolonged lifespan with a fully waterproof finish. The dense material will obviously reduce hull noise – with a manufacturer’s claim of a massive 11dBa reduction.
There is no doubt that the non-skid texture dramatically increases safety in the boat. It is colourfast, UV-protected and you do not need to drill any holes or fix any fastenings.
“All Flexiteek products are 100 per cent recyclable and made using REACH-compliant phthalate-free plasticizer…” Whatever that means?
We love our Flexiteek floor and are looking forward to testing its many features and wear-factor over the life of the Haines V19R project boat, aka Nautek N19R.
See the full version of this story in Trade-A-Boat #469, on sale September 3, 2015. Why not subscribe today?