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Old 28-05-2015, 23:01   #1
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Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

I want to install some cork glue down tiles into my boat. I'm attracted to the price, look, feel and insulating properties of cork.

Currently the cabin sole is fiberglass with worn gelcoat and possibly paint. It is textured in the areas that are not worn down.

A recent trip to the flooring warehouse to pick up my cork tiles confronted me with a sales lady who said the contact cement needed to glue down the tiles would only stick to wood or concrete. The tiles have a water based urethane binder that will not work with some adhesives. The lady was rude and pessimistic which cut our conversation short. She did mention a sailor using her cork tiles as insulation. He used pl premium 400 from a building supply. This was used on the hull, not the floor.

Can anyone share any experience in regards to using contact cement on fiberglass, cork flooring, or bonding to fiberglass?

I've also recently seen a deck covered in a cork mosaic made from sliced wine corks. Does anyone know about what adhesives and sealers would have been used to do this? I would love to have cork in the cockpit.
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Old 28-05-2015, 23:42   #2
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

The obvious thing would be to try a small test piece - cut a little square of cork and glue it onto your cabin sole with the contact adhesive and see if it sticks.

Personally I would be surprised if it didn't stick and stick very well. You will get better adhesion if you prep the surface prior to attempting adhesive bonding. Giving it a rough up with sandpaper, then a was with clean water will help. You could also give it a wipe with an etch primer - MEK would work I think, but that may be going to greater lengths than is necessary. A light sand and a clean will probably be all that is needed.
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Old 29-05-2015, 03:43   #3
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

all the floors on my aluminium boat are 4mm cork off the roll, glued direct to the alloy with a solvent based contact cement never had an adhesion problem.

the floors are varnished on top to seal it,very hardwearing and easy up keep.

you should have no problem glueing to gelcoat with a solvent based contact cement,but suspect a water based glue might not stick as well to gelcoat unless sanded and degreased to remove the wax.

I would recommend buying cork on the roll rather than pre treated tiles,easier to lay and fewer joins,also works out a lot cheaper.
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Old 29-05-2015, 04:26   #4
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

You might want to scuff first with some scotch bright pads.

I put the floating style cork, with the locking tongue and groove, in my boat and have had no problems with movement at all. A roll type underlayment was first installed then the cork panels. Steel boat.

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Old 29-05-2015, 07:33   #5
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Our floors were heavily painted ply and we got the same advice that the cork tiles would never stick unless I sanded off all the paint. That was never going to happen.

I sanded a key with some rough sandpaper and cleaned up thoroughly with a vac then methylated spirits. I wanted a bit darker colour so applied a stain to the cork after laying.

We used all water based (stain, contact adhesive and sealer) but if I was doing it again I would probably go solvent based. No adhesion problems so far but we have some "milkiness" in the seal layer in some spots which I suspect is due to moisture underneath.

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Old 29-05-2015, 10:07   #6
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Hey Folks!

I like cork too. Would you please post some photos of the use of cork on your boats?

When posting a photo of the use on the sole, please include something in the image to give a sense of scale too.

Thanks!
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Old 29-05-2015, 10:37   #7
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

This topic is interesting and timely. The cabin floor above the engines is fiber glass with a non skid pattern. Presently covered with rug which needs replacing. I have been looking at cork for the same qualities previously mentioned. I was thinking of using a waterproof floor adhesive other than contact cement. The cork laminate boards I looked at are of the lock together type. Having worked with contact cement before I know that it is not very forgiving to positioning error. Is there any reason for not using flooring adhesive? The type that is applied with a notched trowel.
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Old 29-05-2015, 11:02   #8
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vivian View Post
I want to install some cork glue down tiles into my boat. I'm attracted to the price, look, feel and insulating properties of cork.

Currently the cabin sole is fiberglass with worn gelcoat and possibly paint. It is textured in the areas that are not worn down.

A recent trip to the flooring warehouse to pick up my cork tiles confronted me with a sales lady who said the contact cement needed to glue down the tiles would only stick to wood or concrete. The tiles have a water based urethane binder that will not work with some adhesives. The lady was rude and pessimistic which cut our conversation short. She did mention a sailor using her cork tiles as insulation. He used pl premium 400 from a building supply. This was used on the hull, not the floor.

Can anyone share any experience in regards to using contact cement on fiberglass, cork flooring, or bonding to fiberglass?

I've also recently seen a deck covered in a cork mosaic made from sliced wine corks. Does anyone know about what adhesives and sealers would have been used to do this? I would love to have cork in the cockpit.
If painted I would believe it needs removal. I'm not sure if I agree with the cork, but that's your call. Liquid nails will bond anything to a good surface. Just don't plan on removal.
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Old 29-05-2015, 11:06   #9
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Will, having been in the flooring business for many years, I can say that a water based contact cement is often used for cork flooring no matter what the subsurface. Home depot sells a cork underlayment adhesive that will also work fine. Let me add a word of advise about using any adhesive over a painted surface. Keep in mind that should the paint peel from the subsurface, everything above it will come off. Even though the paint has never peeled in over 100 years, when it is covered and sealed with any product and moisture is trapped below the adhesive and the flooring material, it will begin to peel. So be sure that will be acceptable to you should that happen, before you simple cover the paint. Even sanding will not guarantee the paint will stay down. Good luck. Chuck
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Old 29-05-2015, 11:52   #10
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vivian View Post
I want to install some cork glue down tiles into my boat...I would love to have cork in the cockpit.
How could you possibly clean it?
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Old 29-05-2015, 15:21   #11
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Great and timely topic. The cockpit / pilot house sole on my Albin 25 is currently aged painted plywood. For such a relatively small area I would think it makes sense to buy some 3/4 in ply and copy each piece as replacement. The various segments are meant to lift to provide access to various valves and such. This being a 40-yr old Volvo diesel I am looking for noise damping mainly. The engine cover has noise foam but with a diesel there is always room for more quietude! I would like to hear any comments.
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Old 29-05-2015, 18:00   #12
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Liquid nails will bond anything to a good surface. Just don't plan on removal.
My experience with liquid nails is disappointing. It continues to harden and eventually becomes brittle and fails. Definitely avoid in the Tropics.
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Old 29-05-2015, 18:09   #13
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
all the floors on my aluminium boat are 4mm cork off the roll, glued direct to the alloy with a solvent based contact cement never had an adhesion problem.

the floors are varnished on top to seal it,very hardwearing and easy up keep.

you should have no problem glueing to gelcoat with a solvent based contact cement,but suspect a water based glue might not stick as well to gelcoat unless sanded and degreased to remove the wax.

I would recommend buying cork on the roll rather than pre treated tiles,easier to lay and fewer joins,also works out a lot cheaper.
Thanks everyone for your replies.
I was curious about cork rolls. I figured they had different qualities than cork tiles meant for flooring. Do you have a supplier for the cork you used on your floor?
Also, what kind of varnish did you use?

I plan to key the existing floor with a heavy grit sanding and will dewax before applying.
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Old 29-05-2015, 21:27   #14
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Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabella Jane View Post
My experience with liquid nails is disappointing. It continues to harden and eventually becomes brittle and fails. Definitely avoid in the Tropics.

Yes, that's been my experience with liquid nails here in their Pacific Northwest as well.

I used contact cement however on fiberglass, both painted and raw while installing armaflex insulation to the hull. I'm pleased with it so far (3 years). Adhesion was great, and it continues to hold up very well.

I too would like to see some cork sole pictures. I have a lot of it and some painted plywood soles that could use something. I was planning on using it on a bulkhead in the head.

What kind of varnish did you use Atoll?
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Old 30-05-2015, 02:46   #15
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Re: Cork cabin sole. contact cement to fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vivian View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies.
I was curious about cork rolls. I figured they had different qualities than cork tiles meant for flooring. Do you have a supplier for the cork you used on your floor?
Also, what kind of varnish did you use?

I plan to key the existing floor with a heavy grit sanding and will dewax before applying.
lots of sources for cork,just google "cork roll",i think I paid about £17 for a roll of 10m x 60cm x 4mm,glue was "evostick" was £19 for 5 litre tin.

https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=cork+roll

the only difference is the size of the cork granuals and some floor tiles are pre coated with glue on the back.

the problem with paint and using a solvent contact adhesive is that the solvent will cause the paint underneath to orange peel when applied,much like paint stripper.
(this will not happen if you use a waterbased contact adhesive)

I have used a 2 pack isocyanate polyurethane varnish for the first 2 coats,purely because it cures fast,about 2 hours,but normal single pack marine varnish thinned by 30-40% for the first few coats is just as good but needs overnight to cure properly.
you can add stain to the first few coats if you want a darker finish.

gelcoat once roughend up and de-waxed should be impervious to orange peel

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