Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

Feel free to skip my drivel and go down to questions 1-4.

I have a nice Mercury Marine "Air Deck" inflatable. It's mostly Hypalon. I say mostly because the inflatable floor, or deck, is made of PVC.

Now the tubes, floor, etc are good quality and it motors nicely. I rather like it. However, I'm on my second inflatable floor. The first one first turned gooey, then start to sort of feel like thin cardboard before it stopped holding air.

My second floor (that I had to purchase) is going the same route.

Mercury Marine was shocked to find that my dink sits in a marina, with an outboard and a gas tank on it. Being exposed to possible drips from the tank and all that sunshine takes it's toll. They seem to think I should have kept it in the box, only taken it out at night and then massaged with cocobutter and put away before the sun came up.

I should have sprung for a RIB but I'm frugal. I don't care much about the weight. Oh well.

Sooooooo... Now I'm thinking of making a solid floor. It's important that the new floor be the same size and shape as the inflatable floor.

Things that enter my feeble mind:

1. Get some foam and try to carve out a floor in the same shape as the inflatable, then coat it with epoxy. Ala surfboard.

2. Get some two part foam and fill up the old floor with the slow leak and hope it takes the shape and I can simply use that. Possibly even then cut off the PVC and coat the hardened foam with resin.

3. Fill the old floor with some thickened resin and let it set up in an ice water bath so it won't melt the PVC whilst it cures.

4. One of you come up with a better idea.

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post #2 of 10 Old 08-06-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

Make a new floor out of marine ply, light coat of epoxy and glass. 2 piece so you can take it apart...use some alloy extrusion from a window shop to attach the two boards together.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

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Originally Posted by aeventyr60 View Post
Make a new floor out of marine ply, light coat of epoxy and glass. 2 piece so you can take it apart...use some alloy extrusion from a window shop to attach the two boards together.
I thought about wood. The problem is that the floor has to be nearly the same shape and thickness. It must sit in the same groove as it helps the structural strength/stiffness of the boat.

The wood would have to be a couple of inches thick with rounded edges.

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post #4 of 10 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

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I thought about wood. The problem is that the floor has to be nearly the same shape and thickness. It must sit in the same groove as it helps the structural strength/stiffness of the boat.

The wood would have to be a couple of inches thick with rounded edges.
Not really.
Just double up the edge for about 2 inches and use a 3/4 round-over bit.

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

I was leaning toward the styrafoam with a coating, until i saw you drop something heavy in the bottom of the dingy.

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post #6 of 10 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

I like the idea of using 2 pieces of plywood coated in epoxy for this application.
Probably last longer than the OEM flooring.

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post #7 of 10 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobGallagher View Post
Feel free to skip my drivel and go down to questions 1-4.

I have a nice Mercury Marine "Air Deck" inflatable. It's mostly Hypalon. I say mostly because the inflatable floor, or deck, is made of PVC.

Now the tubes, floor, etc are good quality and it motors nicely. I rather like it. However, I'm on my second inflatable floor. The first one first turned gooey, then start to sort of feel like thin cardboard before it stopped holding air.

My second floor (that I had to purchase) is going the same route.

Mercury Marine was shocked to find that my dink sits in a marina, with an outboard and a gas tank on it. Being exposed to possible drips from the tank and all that sunshine takes it's toll. They seem to think I should have kept it in the box, only taken it out at night and then massaged with cocobutter and put away before the sun came up.

I should have sprung for a RIB but I'm frugal. I don't care much about the weight. Oh well.

Sooooooo... Now I'm thinking of making a solid floor. It's important that the new floor be the same size and shape as the inflatable floor.

Things that enter my feeble mind:

1. Get some foam and try to carve out a floor in the same shape as the inflatable, then coat it with epoxy. Ala surfboard.

2. Get some two part foam and fill up the old floor with the slow leak and hope it takes the shape and I can simply use that. Possibly even then cut off the PVC and coat the hardened foam with resin.

3. Fill the old floor with some thickened resin and let it set up in an ice water bath so it won't melt the PVC whilst it cures.

4. One of you come up with a better idea.
It would be wise to take a look at the West Marine SB-310 floor, made of interlocking floor boards. The boards interlock with H-shaped channels that run crosswise at the intersection of the edges of the boards with somewhat V shaped edge channels that run length wise along the edges of the boards and fit into the "slot" between the tubes and the boat's floor fabric. One can easily fabricate the H-Shaped channels with aluminum channel stock and could likely use the same material to fabricate the necessary edge channels. Alternately, I suspect you could purchase the edge channels as replacement parts from West Marine or another of the vendors of similar inflatables and simply fabricate the boards from 5/8" AA marine plywood coated with epoxy and painted yourself. Another alternative is to buy a replacement inflatable floor but make up a cover of Sunbrella in a darker color that will protect the enclosed floor. Simply insert the floor into the Sunbrella cover, close it up with a velcro flap along the edge at the stern, leave a round opening at the locations of the valves (and the valve to the keel tube and you'd be good to go. If the sun can't get to the floor at all, it should last quite awhile.

FWIW...
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

I second the plywood with a coating of epoxy. Just build-up the edge to whatever thickness and shape is required. I took a cheap inflatable on our recent trip. I cut out a piece of 1/4 ply and rounded the edges. Took about 10 minutes. Worked well, but, I couldn't store it anywhere, so I tossed it.

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post #9 of 10 Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

Are you familiar with foam surfboards, SUP's or sometimes called "foamies" ? Anyway they are fairly inexpensive and the rigid but soft foam strikes me as a good material to replace an air floor. You'd need the right size and shape but it might be just a hot knife project.
I'm thinking of the ones that don't have a hard shell, like a boogie board or the old BIC surfboards.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Inflatable floor rebuild, call me crazy.

Cut a two or even three-piece cardboard template of the bottom of the dink when it is fully inflated.

Cut a marine ply floor (thickness of your choice - mine is 16mm) that is 10mm smaller all round than the template.

Varnish the floor (or coat with epoxy, polyester resin whatever your choice is)

Split a piece of nylon hose of suitable diameter (mine is 20mm) all the way down the edge and glue it over the edge on the ply. Maybe fit the assembly into the dink before glueing just to be sure it will fit - getting the actual floor size exactly right can be troublesome.
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