Sunday, March 5, 2017

Galley Floor

Purists will freak.  Cheap laminate flooring belongs NOT on a boat.  And for most boats that is probably the case.

However, Autarkia has been in the water for around six months now, and while we have not had her anywhere other than tied to the dock in Mission, she has proved to be very dry inside, despite constant rain when it hasn't snowed this winter, and much ingress and egress with the hatch open during inclement weather.

Furthermore, it is easy not to bring any water, dirt or otherwise aboard, since we have that large deck, a substantial threshold, and ample locations to put footware, to doff raingear, and otherwise treat her interior as one would treat a nice house.

There will be exceptions of course, as is with a house, that dirty boots, wet gear and so forth will be brought in, and like a house, laminate flooring handles those infrequent occurrences quite well, with a wipe up.

So, for not too much money we went with it for the galley.  And to make laminate flooring installation purists further cringe, we installed it across stringers rather than on a flat plywood floor.

This was done after some structural experimentation, to see how the 1/2 inch or so thick laminate would span a distance of 10 inches or so.  It does quite fine we found out, at least for the kind of loads we would impose on it, namely us in stocking feet, and some furniture.  Not - as one could encounter in a house - a refrigerator or a wall unit.

The structural stringers that give Autarkia's bottom her strength were spaced too far apart to accommodate the laminate, so I had to put in some additional stringers.  I simply used two by fours I had already, notched out to leapfrog over existing structure, and stuck them in place with polyurethane caulking.  I did not want to screw anything into Autarkia's structure and avoided that.

The laminate, designed for the most part to float unfastened, WAS fastened here and there as I saw fit, and only with deck screws, and only to the new interim stringers.

All in all, it looks good, and feels good.  I need to put in some sort of baseboard mouldings to finish the perimeter.  We will likely be using some rugs as well.

I will not put the laminate in the next compartment, but will rather lay some painted plywood and put a nice rug runner on it.




Speaking of furniture, we have decided not to build any in.  We have already a really cool, old gate leg table we bought many years ago at a garage sale and refinished, that will serve Autarkia well.  It folds up and can be bungeed for security underway, and either or both leaves unfolded, and the whole table oriented as required.  Furthermore, with the furniture tucked away, this large floor can be slept on with air mattresses by grandkids, kids if they behave, and friends who 'get it'.

8 comments:

  1. Your new floor looks very nice. My only question about using the laminate flooring without under flooring is just the difference between how it feels now and how it will feel after a couple of years. Hopefully the same with no noticeable sagging or bowing. Time will tell. In the interim at least, though hopefully permanently, you have a great-looking floor.

    Tom

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    1. Thanks Tom. The flooring came to just over $100 at Home Depot. If it ever starts to cause any grief it can all come up and go overboard in about 15 minutes. I would then put 1/2" plywood down and vinyl flooring over that. But it would be few hundred dollars.

      This, I think is a good little experiment to try. I don't ever expect it to be wet other than spills and such so it should be good. Sagging is something I don't expect with short spans between stringers but who knows? Whatever happens, I let you all know :-)

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  2. I think that after the purists get through saying the things that purists say about our hull shape, they won't be allowed on board to see the laminate anyways. I think it looks great. Is your laminate on a core of real wood, or is it the pressed sawdust and toxic waste with the picture of wood on top?

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    1. Thanks Dennis. Sadly the latter I think, to answer your question. I did go down today and put real wood mouldings around the edges.

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  3. Alan,

    You certainly do all your own thinking, I'll say that for you. 'Course that's our club, ain't it?

    David

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    1. Thanks David. I do, but also I owe a lot others who have tried novel things and have shared their successes and failures. And that is key - giving back in some way. I'm proud to belong to such a bunch of intrepid bloggers!

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  4. A while back I saw an RV that had cork flooring rather than the usual linoleum or carpet (tiles? I can't remember). As I recall, it was maybe 3/8 inch, light tan, smooth surfaced and dense, like a bottle cork rather than compressed particulate you sometimes see. I haven't any experience with this material, but could imagine some advantages - nonslip and comfortable to walk on, probably warmer than carpet, can be swept, relatively water resistant and non-absorbent. Most vulnerable to gouges, I suppose, but somewhat tough and impact resistant too.

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    1. Thanks Paintedjaguar. We've had the laminate down for a few weeks now and we also have a large rug over it. It's ok for now - but I can see it coming up one day being replaced with painted plywood. The rug pretty much covers up whatever is there anyway. Time will tell.

      I have seen cork flooring in houses and I really like it.

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