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Old 07-03-2019, 13:51   #1
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Cabin sole replacement

Hey CF Family!

I have been dreading this one repair. Our cabin sole is in dire need of replacement especially in the v-birth and section leading to head. It is teak & holly over plywood and some of the holly strips are rotted out and the entire floor is soft(plywood rotted very badly). It is so rotted out that every time I step on it, I place my foot closest to the stringers to minimize the potential of a foot going through.

While the wife is out of town for a few weeks, I am wanting to pull the badly rotted section and install new marine plywood at the very least, and if I have time, do a new finish of something(maybe ipe & maple or the synthetic teak/holly).

I question the method of which I should take for installing the new sole. I could cut the cabin sole where the walls/cabinets/doorframes are and replace ONLY the area where we walk, or I remove the faces of the cabinets, lower sections of door frames and remove the ENTIRE area of existing plywood flooring and then replace with all new.

I believe I should just replace the areas of plywood that we only walk on(IE the area infront of head and v-birth), and remove all other plywood sources from under the fiberglass shower sump and such.

I am thinking no matter what, I will have to remove the lower section of the doorway as it sits above the cabin sole, however for new replacement I will have it resting on top of the plywood subfloor instead of the “pretty” flooring.
The main cabin area has minimal rot and the teak/holly sole is separating(the strips are), but for now I wanted to get the real bad area repaired before the wife gets home(LOTS of projects on going currently).

What is everyones thoughts on replacing only the walking area of the subfloor vs replacing the entire thing?

PS - I am pretty sure they laid down the floor stringers, then the subfloor plywood then the 1/4” teak/holly floor THEN the bulkheads and what not. Giant PITA
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Old 07-03-2019, 14:07   #2
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

Yeah, tough job. In many of the boats I have had the floor only goes under the cabinet facing and not much further. Like under the V berth, galley cabs etc there may be no ply. The bulkheads should be tabbed to the hull and not on top of floor.? Cutting close to the cabinets is difficult to do, not sure how you will do that. You can get maybe within 1.25-1.5 with a jig saw I suppose. If the perimeter is not rotten I guess I would not remove a bunch of cabinetry. It's just hard to say without actually looking at it. Glass boat? Often the cabinets, or portions, are glassed to the hull.

Is it possible you could remove the teak and holly, cut out the soft ply areas, patch in new ply and put the new floor covering on? Not replace all the ply just the bad squares? Even if it's a lot of patches, it may be a lot easier than doing the whole floor with cabinetry above it! It's just getting covered with new overlay anyway right?
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Old 07-03-2019, 14:36   #3
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, tough job. In many of the boats I have had the floor only goes under the cabinet facing and not much further. Like under the V berth, galley cabs etc there may be no ply. The bulkheads should be tabbed to the hull and not on top of floor.? Cutting close to the cabinets is difficult to do, not sure how you will do that. You can get maybe within 1.25-1.5 with a jig saw I suppose. If the perimeter is not rotten I guess I would not remove a bunch of cabinetry. It's just hard to say without actually looking at it. Glass boat? Often the cabinets, or portions, are glassed to the hull.

Is it possible you could remove the teak and holly, cut out the soft ply areas, patch in new ply and put the new floor covering on? Not replace all the ply just the bad squares? Even if it's a lot of patches, it may be a lot easier than doing the whole floor with cabinetry above it! It's just getting covered with new overlay anyway right?
I'll have photos for you tonight to show. Definitely not an easy job I am looking forward to, but looking forward to having it being sound. Likely will be my project for the weekend(and likely extend through the next week thank god for being a liveaboard). I will take a look and see how far back it goes under cabinets. I know the area under the shower sump extends damn near the entire width(from just starboard of centerline to atleast head cabinets).

As for the bulkhead - it is tabbed to the hull, however, they have the cutout for one of the doorways. The base of that bulkhead rather extending in an oval shape, it doesn't have a base and the base is made of a "trim" piece. Think of a giant upside down "U" shape in the bulkhead which is where the door is and a 2" or so trim piece mounted on the bottom to create the "step over" section.

I have a oscillating tool(dremel version) that I was thinking of using to zip out the sections against any cabinetry face and since the cabinets don't use the plywood for the base(pull out drawers) it shouldn't matter if the plywood underneath is rotted out right?

Thank you Cheechako for the response Really helps spewing my ideas out and someone guiding them
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Old 07-03-2019, 14:44   #4
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
What is everyones thoughts on replacing only the walking area of the subfloor vs replacing the entire thing?

PS - I am pretty sure they laid down the floor stringers, then the subfloor plywood then the 1/4” teak/holly floor THEN the bulkheads and what not. Giant PITA
The only thing I have to offer is to be prepared for mission creep once you get any of the subfloor plywood off. If the soft plywood happens to be covering a bit of wet foam filler (see attached photo) you might end up looking at a minimum of more time and mess.

I don't know what's under your plywood, but it'd be awfully hard to do a limited plywood repair if you find out that you've got some trapped moisture extending under your cabinets.
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Old 07-03-2019, 14:45   #5
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

Sounds like a month job to me! :>) What part of WA are you in?
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Old 07-03-2019, 14:56   #6
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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Cutting close to the cabinets is difficult to do, not sure how you will do that. You can get maybe within 1.25-1.5 with a jig saw I suppose. I?

Not hard at all with a "multi function tool"
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Old 07-03-2019, 15:00   #7
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

Yeah, but it needs a nice straight clean line right? Well, maybe not, i you are overlaying it I suppose.
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Old 07-03-2019, 15:02   #8
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

I'd cut out the rotted floor very carefully using a Multi Function tool and use that as a pattern for a new plywood floor.


And I'd use carpet but each to his own


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Old 07-03-2019, 15:09   #9
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
I don't know what's under your plywood, but it'd be awfully hard to do a limited plywood repair if you find out that you've got some trapped moisture extending under your cabinets.
Dear lord digging out a ton of wet random foam filler would piss me off! Fortunately, from what I have seen, I do not have any of that - fingers crossed that there isn't a hidden party surprise!

Also one thing I have noticed is that all of this wood that is rotted is completely bone dry which makes me a bit happy.

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, but it needs a nice straight clean line right? Well, maybe not, i you are overlaying it I suppose.
Straight cuts wont be too hard to do because it all will be hidden. I also suspect once i get the teak/holly layer out, I will be able to use a screw driver to dig some of it out from under the face of the board if needed.

Also I'm over on Bainbridge Island
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Old 07-03-2019, 15:11   #10
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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I'd cut out the rotted floor very carefully using a Multi Function tool and use that as a pattern for a new plywood floor.


And I'd use carpet but each to his own
Glad that my thought of using the multi tool is the right path. I am a fan of carpet but not on a long term scale. Possibly due to being raised in the South Pacific and seeing what happens to carpets in moist environments. Though that soft and fuzzy feeling of brand new carpet
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Old 07-03-2019, 16:34   #11
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

Rugs, sure
Carpet? Not in anything that leaves the marina with climate control running 24/7
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Old 07-03-2019, 16:54   #12
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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Rugs, sure
Carpet? Not in anything that leaves the marina with climate control running 24/7
Growing up in the south pacific on an outer island, we often had cruisers come into our bay. I remember one cruiser had carpet onboard and was in the process of removing the entire thing because of how nasty it got. He parked in our bay for about a week and did the work between dives throughout the course of the week. If I recall correctly he just painted the subflooring and went on his way.

It was not uncommon to go into a local home that had carpet in bedrooms that 9ften wreaked of mold. Leaving a bowl of salt on a dinner table overnight would become a bowl of saltwater in the morning.
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Old 07-03-2019, 17:06   #13
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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Growing up in the south pacific on an outer island, we often had cruisers come into our bay. I remember one cruiser had carpet onboard and was in the process of removing the entire thing because of how nasty it got. He parked in our bay for about a week and did the work between dives throughout the course of the week. If I recall correctly he just painted the subflooring and went on his way.

It was not uncommon to go into a local home that had carpet in bedrooms that 9ften wreaked of mold. Leaving a bowl of salt on a dinner table overnight would become a bowl of saltwater in the morning.

I've lived in the South Pacific (Nauru) and we never had a problem with mold as we kept the unit ventilated.

How many yachts do you see that do not have dorade boxes or other sorts of ventilation (incl dehumidifier)?

Before laying the ply floor again I'd give the ply a good coating of thinned down polyester resin (or equivalent) to stop the wood absorbing water.
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Old 07-03-2019, 17:15   #14
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

Interesting! I'll have to take a look at that a bit more in detail.

The houses that I saw issues often had windows closed off and AC on only at night or day when someone was in there. Maybe issue was due to AC unit leaking and getting some areas in the carpet wet or something.

I have a fair amount of epoxy(MAS and West Systems) so I could definitely do that. Encapsulate the entire thing, or just bottom/sides?
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Old 07-03-2019, 17:38   #15
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Re: Cabin sole replacement

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I have a fair amount of epoxy(MAS and West Systems) so I could definitely do that. Encapsulate the entire thing, or just bottom/sides?

I used International Everdure(?) but it was expensive and probably no better than the epoxy you already have. I'd thin it down with some epoxy thinner so that it soaks into the ply (follow West Systems advice). I'd encapsulate the whole thing.

Getting rid of mildew permanently takes more than soap and water. The only practical way to prevent mildew is to keep lots of fresh air circulating through the boat. Moving air helps evaporate the water, dry out fabrics and prevent fungus growth. As a side benefit, good ventilation prevents that closed boat smell.
As they come from the factory, most boats do not have enough ventilation. Surprisingly, powerboats are often worse than sailboats in this regard. Deck ventilators, common 20 years ago, have disappeared from the typical express cruiser because they look "clunky" or "old-fashioned."
Fresh air must come from outside. Traditional cowl ventilators with built-in water traps (sometimes called "Dorades") function well and do not require any outside power source to operate. You need at least two cowl vents, one for incoming air and the other to exhaust the old air from the boat.
Cowl vents should be placed as much as possible at opposite ends of the cabin so air will flow completely through the boat's interior. The cowls themselves should be located on deck were the natural outside airflow is not obstructed

https://www.boats.com/preventing-mildew/
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