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Old 11-16-2017, 01:24 PM   #1
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Wood Flooring Options

I was all set to take our Nordic 26 in to have the carpet replaced with Amtico - but the sticker shock from a reportedly very reasonable location has me looking at alternatives.

I've a local wood guy that does phenomenal work...a true artisan, but until recently had never worked on a boat. His first experience is just now being completed - I had him do some new overhead cabinets and helm shelf for my electronics retrofit, and they're going to be gorgeous. Now...I'm chatting with him about doing the floors. He's sure he can do them for less than the Amtico quote I received, but he won't touch anything synthetic.

I'm aware of the maintenance benefits of Amtico/Lonseal, but given how little floor space there is in a Nordic 26 - I think a sanding/refinishing every few years wouldn't bother me much. Especially if the result is something more aesthetically pleasing.

Teak/holly planks are priced sky high, and my wood guy has suggested Sapele/maple as one alternative. Beyond aesthetics - what might I keep in mind when choosing a wood species for the floor? What's higher on the durability scale, handles humidity changes best, etc.? What should be avoided?
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:51 PM   #2
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Boy! It's hard to imagine anything cheaper than vinyl tile flooring! OK, OK, so there are 'premium' vinyl tiles and even real wood veneer laid up within vinyl tiles. Amtico is just a brand of vinyl tile: American Tile Company; seems as though they're now owned by Mannington. You must be paying a premium for installation in a small space.

I put solid 3/8" x 1 3/4" Teak strips bedded on a 'glass sole with epoxy then coated in epoxy and top coated with urethane floor finish in our long-sold '72 Morgan 27. That was plantation-grown Teak from Belize (without the white wood, often Holly or Maple strips). Not terribly expensive but a great deal of work to bend the strips to the sole.

We had solid Teak and Maple on our '70 Dutch-built LeComte. Original finish.

We have solid Teak and maybe Maple on our '84 Fu Hwa. It's glued down to a plywood subfloor and been refinished once and needs it again.

We have 3/8" x 1 3/4" White Oak strip flooring, face nailed, dating from the late '20s in most of the house. It's been refinished at least once, 25 years ago. The wood resists the dogs but the finish does not. The strips warp a bit with spilled water. We also have areas of 1"+ thick random width heart Pine flooring, typical 19th c house flooring. It's soft enough to be scratched by dogs. I had both heart Pine and modern yellow Pine flooring in another house. The heart Pine did reasonably well but the yellow pine did poorly. We have a new sunroom with random width 'character grade' White Oak and water-borne urethane finish. The Oak and finish have stood up well for three years but the Oak tends to cup.

SO! Harder is better than softer. Wider tends to warp/cup more than narrow strips. Wider boards will appear to come and go in width more than narrow strips. Glued down keeps things down. Quarter sawn, rather than plain sawn, is more stable (quartered, the tree rings are perpendicular to the face; plain, the rings are more parallel to the face). The wood in the tree's rings vary greatly in hardness; the darker 'late' wood is harder; the lighter 'early' wood is softer. Quartered means that there are more rings to resist damage while the softer spring wood is more exposed to damage

Teak and Ipe have the advantage of being oily so they do not tend to warp as badly as other woods. Sapele and Khaya are African Mahogany look-alikes but both are softer than lots of hardwoods. Brazilian Cherry is pretty, sold for flooring: I don't know how hard it is. Many ordinary American hardwoods are quite hard, some are milled as flooring, any of the hard ones would be lovely. White Oaks are harder than Red Oaks, and denser. Maples vary widely in hardness; Maple flooring is favored for gym floors. Cherry is softer than Maple but can be pretty hard (variable within the tree!(!). Hickory, Ash, Locust, Osage Orange, all good. Remember, 'hardwood' just means deciduous; Tulip Poplar is a hardwood but quite soft.

Pick something you like, glue it down, urethane it.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:10 PM   #3
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Have you considered Pergo ( or similar products ) ?? You can install it yourself and its pretty low maintenaince

Costco's stuff is about $1.50/square foot.....Home Depot has Pergo for $2.79/square foot.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHeckrotte View Post
Boy! It's hard to imagine anything cheaper than vinyl tile flooring! OK, OK, so there are 'premium' vinyl tiles and even real wood veneer laid up within vinyl tiles. Amtico is just a brand of vinyl tile: American Tile Company; seems as though they're now owned by Mannington. You must be paying a premium for installation in a small space.

I put solid 3/8" x 1 3/4" Teak strips bedded on a 'glass sole with epoxy then coated in epoxy and top coated with urethane floor finish in our long-sold '72 Morgan 27. That was plantation-grown Teak from Belize (without the white wood, often Holly or Maple strips). Not terribly expensive but a great deal of work to bend the strips to the sole.

We had solid Teak and Maple on our '70 Dutch-built LeComte. Original finish.

We have solid Teak and maybe Maple on our '84 Fu Hwa. It's glued down to a plywood subfloor and been refinished once and needs it again.

We have 3/8" x 1 3/4" White Oak strip flooring, face nailed, dating from the late '20s in most of the house. It's been refinished at least once, 25 years ago. The wood resists the dogs but the finish does not. The strips warp a bit with spilled water. We also have areas of 1"+ thick random width heart Pine flooring, typical 19th c house flooring. It's soft enough to be scratched by dogs. I had both heart Pine and modern yellow Pine flooring in another house. The heart Pine did reasonably well but the yellow pine did poorly. We have a new sunroom with random width 'character grade' White Oak and water-borne urethane finish. The Oak and finish have stood up well for three years but the Oak tends to cup.

SO! Harder is better than softer. Wider tends to warp/cup more than narrow strips. Wider boards will appear to come and go in width more than narrow strips. Glued down keeps things down. Quarter sawn, rather than plain sawn, is more stable (quartered, the tree rings are perpendicular to the face; plain, the rings are more parallel to the face). The wood in the tree's rings vary greatly in hardness; the darker 'late' wood is harder; the lighter 'early' wood is softer. Quartered means that there are more rings to resist damage while the softer spring wood is more exposed to damage

Teak and Ipe have the advantage of being oily so they do not tend to warp as badly as other woods. Sapele and Khaya are African Mahogany look-alikes but both are softer than lots of hardwoods. Brazilian Cherry is pretty, sold for flooring: I don't know how hard it is. Many ordinary American hardwoods are quite hard, some are milled as flooring, any of the hard ones would be lovely. White Oaks are harder than Red Oaks, and denser. Maples vary widely in hardness; Maple flooring is favored for gym floors. Cherry is softer than Maple but can be pretty hard (variable within the tree!(!). Hickory, Ash, Locust, Osage Orange, all good. Remember, 'hardwood' just means deciduous; Tulip Poplar is a hardwood but quite soft.

Pick something you like, glue it down, urethane it.


If I could add my 2 cents, don’t forget that a boat is not a house. You may spill water in a house you will certainly spill water on your floor in your boat so choose your wood wisely. About Ipe, if you are not used to work with and geared for, I would avoid as it is hard like cast iron and needs special blades to be properly cut.
You may find a lot of different wood that would be of good use in a boat but there is also the budget to consider. Using Padouk or Ipe will provide you with a long lasting floor but at a high price. Then there is the colour you want to get, dark or clear and with some wood it would be a pity to teint them considering their natural beauty.
Also consider that wood is a “living” element and some are more stable than other regarding heat and humidity.
I did a full master suite using Larch wood (not sure about the name in english) that was custom cut to the width of the room to avoid any joint, this wood is water resistant and quite stable to humidity variation so was perfect fit for that room where there is a bath directly on the wood floor.
In summary lot of choice in lot of look and lot of prices.

L
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:03 PM   #5
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I used maple and love it
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:04 PM   #6
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:17 PM   #7
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Personally I would never put Maple in a boat, unless its just 1/2" strips between solid teak or Mahogany. You can also use Cherry, a nice alternative if you can find quality planking stock and saw your 2 1/2" solid planks. You can even create solid 5/16" thick veneers and glue to a substrate saving you tons of money in the raw materials of any species.


Do not use Pergo as the backing is not really water proof. Natural dampness is always generated and those funky seam joints are not really that stable long term. Being penny wise does not always end up being cheap when you have to redo the mess when it buckles or opens up.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:35 PM   #8
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I put some VERY expensive Nautik Flor in my salon last year. It is 100% plastic/vinyl and has really great nonskid properties. Completely waterPROOF. It turned out really nice. It was constructed just like Pergo with the snap-n-click assembly of 5" planks. I really liked it. Really easy install.

I see now that many of the home-improvement Pergo-type flooring is now available in 100% plastic wood grains for kitchens/baths. MUCH cheaper than the likes of the Nautik Flor. I wonder if this is just the rest of the industry catching up to the cost curve and it really is the same stuff?
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:36 PM   #9
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I have a 3m wide roll of thick cushioned vinyl sitting at home that cost bugger all.
Looks very much like cedar planking but soft on the feet.
If I ever had to replace the floors inside the boat I'd use it in a heartbeat.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:43 PM   #10
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I think the engineered or laminate floors ( ie: Pergo types ) are better in environments where there is a large fluxuation in moisture levels, than traditional wood floors.

Don't forget: The OP was concerned with the cost of vinyl tiles.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:50 PM   #11
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Well teak and holly has been used for decades in boats. So if you want the quality of solid wood and the look, then the veneers glued to a marine plywood substrate reproduces this, and its surely reasonable. I do an average cabin sole of about 6 x6 for about 100 bucks of teak shorts these days. And cheery runs about ten percent per bd foot these days. And your own labor is free, you know.:<}


And by the way Sapele is not that favorable to work with if you resaw it. The grain is course and the wood splinters as a rule in thinner thickness.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:17 PM   #12
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Don't forget: The OP was concerned with the cost of vinyl tiles.
Which is probably the cheapest thing known to man apart from old newspapers
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:52 PM   #13
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Which is probably the cheapest thing known to man apart from old newspapers
If you got to ask how much, you probably can't afford it. Then again you can always own a sailboat, where I have heard that everything is free, including toilet paper.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:24 PM   #14
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We have basically a minimalist flooring.
Just green floor paint on our plywood deck.
The green goes well w the wood I think.
Easy to clean. The water based floor paint wears very well being designed for floors.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:34 PM   #15
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The cheapest water proof flooring I have ever done is “trafficMaster’s Allure” it’s a floating floor that snaps together, it’s all vinyl and comes wood or stone finishes. We did a slate tile in the wet locker on a high end yacht, looks great.

I’ve have done every kind of engineered floating floors and they have all come out looking good. Even maple

Neu-teak, not cheap, looks great.

I have a real teak floor on my boat, it looks great, needs lots of maintenance.

There is no single answer when it comes to floors.

My only warning, the softer the wood, the faster it wears.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:35 PM   #16
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My only warning, the softer the wood, the faster it wears.
So bamboo would be good then.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:55 PM   #17
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I hope your cabinet maker screwed and waterproof glued your cabinets together.
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:53 AM   #18
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Why not price out the Amtico and do it yourself?
I've installed quite a bit of Amtico over the years, and frankly, it's super easy.
I've a thread regarding Amtico installation in my dental office on here.
You should have a baltic birch underlayment (1/4" thick) installed ( unless the subfloor is absolutely perfect) and then the Amtico on top of that (which is 1/8" thick).
You'll need to use the 2 part water proof epoxy to glue it down.
It also requires a special cutter, as Amtico is very difficult to cut.
Amtico has been around for a long time and really is the leading commercial PVC flooring.
The stuff really is bullet proof!
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:39 AM   #19
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So bamboo would be good then.

Bamboo flooring is shocking it soaks moisture swells and falls apart
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:48 AM   #20
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The use of Teak and Holly flooring was to get a no skid easy to clean floor.

The Holly strips stood proud of the teak.

On an operating cruiser the NO SKID function would seem important .
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