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jmcpeak 03-16-2007 11:55 AM

Plastic Lumber Cabin Sole
I've had this idea since ripping up my rotten, smelly, original cabin sole.

My thought: Use plastic lumber for the cabin sole.

Problem - wood rots and readily accepts and holds smells.

Solution - Plastic has neither of these two problems, however the aesthetics are not as appealing and it can be slippery.

PlasTeak and other vendors make tongue and grove plastic flooring in sizes that are comparable to real hardwood floors like in a kitchen, for example 1" thick by 2-1/8" wide.

What if I install plastic trim lumber like planks butted up tight to one another? I think it would look ok. (I'm having samples sent to me). The plastic surface can be installed with the knurled side up creating a non-slip surface.

I would not need to screw down every board, only a few as the T&G should hold the flooring in place. Plastic lumber can be worked with regular wood tools. So I can install all the inspection plates, router in the flush lift rings, etc.

Cost is comparable to or most likely, less expensive than plywood with a good sealer. Plus I never have to worry about re-sealing it - it really is maintenance free. I'd rather be sailing my boat, than working on it :)

Anybody else out there done a project like this?

Idiens 03-16-2007 12:58 PM

I have used similar material for inner hull lining. It seems to hold up well. But I doubt its longevity, my wood deck panels are as old as the boat, but it was the plastic hull liner that needed replacing after 25 years. Plastic slowly gasses and looses flexibility until brittle, then breaks. Trees have had longer to evolve than plastics ;)

hellosailor 03-16-2007 01:50 PM

The only drawback I've seen to "plastic lumber" is that it is softer than wood. it bends, flexes, and conventional fasteners may pull out since it is often more like pressboard than lumber.

An inch thick also means twice the original thickness, a little headroom lost, and maybe some extra weight in the boat. You might wind up with a better result by using wood, and epoxy sealing it before installing it.

Then there's the question of holding smells: Sealed wood won't. But if you can keep ahead of leaks and keep the boat ventilated properly (solar vents have no equal) there's no reason you should have stinks on the boat.

sailingdog 03-16-2007 04:18 PM

If you're thinking of the laminate flooring, like Pergo.. don't do it. The stuff tends to warp when exposed to water or moisture for long periods of time, since it isn't really fully encased in resin. If you're talking about the plastic deck material, that stuff would work as a cabin sole but is pretty ugly. I would recommend that you go with epoxy sealed wood instead.

Sailormann 03-16-2007 06:55 PM

Here ya go - problem solved .... next !

sailingdog 03-16-2007 07:29 PM


You still need to have something under that stuff to support it.. it is essentially vinyl flooring that looks like a traditional holly/teak cabin sole.

jmcpeak 03-16-2007 07:42 PM

Was thinking of this:
"These are the boards we use for swim platforms and trim. The boards are solid and manufactured using a foaming agent that makes the center less dense than the outside "skin". This allows the boards to be screwed without pre-drilling. They have the smoothest texture and most eye-appealing color. By its' nature it is less slippery wet than dry. Standard colors are White Black, Gray, Teak, and Weathered Wood. A knurled surface can be applied for an additional 10 cents per foot. The knurled surface is a pattern of 1/16" squares pressed into the surface of the board."

Sailormann 03-16-2007 07:45 PM



You still need to have something under that stuff to support it.. it is essentially vinyl flooring that looks like a traditional holly/teak cabin sole.

This is true...plywood - marine grade, well-sealed, .... not Starboard - stuff is impossible to glue anything to .... well the other option is

That fake wood decking is not very strong and I think it gets pretty slippery when it's wet...

Sailormann 03-16-2007 07:50 PM

sailingdog 03-16-2007 08:03 PM

My only question is how strong the stuff is. I know how strong marine plywood is and about how strong solid teak would be... how does this stuff compare.. It doesn't say anything about that on the website.

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