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Old 07-11-2009, 16:59   #1
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Cork Steps - or Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Hi Folks

I am replacing the stair treads on the companionway with cork.

I have tested a little of it with a polyurethane coating but its really sponged the stuff up!
I'm on coat 5 to give my test piece a good surface.

My question is:
Because it soaks up moisture should I seal every side, including the bottom, to stop sea water penetrating?

The glue on the bottom will stick ok to the polyurethane?

Thanks for your help.

Have a nice day

I would write something else here but I would just be wasting space.


Mark
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Old 07-11-2009, 17:30   #2
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Slippery when wet?

My main concern with polyurethane on cork is that it could be really slippery when wet.
Have you thought about putting some anti skid on the front of the steps?

I've no experience with cork but with pine I'm putting a thinned (15-30% depending on mood) sealer coat of epoxy, a second thinned epoxy filler coat and two top coats of mostly unthinned single pack polyurethane. If I keep on applying it wet it just keeps on soaking in.

If I were doing the cork I'd cut it to size, do one coat of sealer over everything to keep the water out, and then fill and top coat the bit that shows.
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Old 07-11-2009, 17:51   #3
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Thanks Chris

Yes the slipperiness is a main concern. I'm testing that too.

We had it in our family houses in kitchens and it was fine, but this is a definite non slip area.

Would a floor wax over the polyurethane work?
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Old 07-11-2009, 18:01   #4
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G'day Mark,
I would also like to try cork so please keep us informed!! Antiskid with 2 pac was on my deck done by raw sugar on the wet last coat then wash the sugar out when dry left a good anti skid finish. Maybe just around the edge strip? I would stay with the 2 pac varnish. I don't think any polish would be needed. (previous use of product that was not 2pac was not good where water was present)

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Old 07-11-2009, 18:05   #5
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Ex surfie?

Surfboard wax might do the trick, but I'm thinking more of one of those self adhesive anti slip tapes. That's what I'm going to use when I get round to it.

That and a couple of really good handholds in the right places.
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Old 07-11-2009, 18:54   #6
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Surfboard wax might do the trick.
Mr Zog's Sex Wax.

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Old 07-11-2009, 18:58   #7
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I would be concerned about cork in the wet environment. While it is recommended for kitchens, it is strongly discouraged for bathrooms. It does not tolerate standing water well, nor a humid environment. I would be concerned about the longevity.
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Old 07-11-2009, 19:24   #8
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It does not tolerate standing water well, nor a humid environment. I would be concerned about the longevity.
Hmmmmm. Yeah, I wondered about that.
Would sealing every edge and even the bottom help?

It would have a much shorter life than the industrial treading we have now, but it would also look much better.
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Old 07-11-2009, 19:44   #9
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I wanted to do exterior cork decks until I called around to cork flooring companies and got the thumbs down for exterior use. These guys were in sales and said no, so I guess cork is out for outside.
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Old 07-11-2009, 20:11   #10
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I would be concerned about cork in the wet environment. While it is recommended for kitchens, it is strongly discouraged for bathrooms. It does not tolerate standing water well, nor a humid environment. I would be concerned about the longevity.
All those people who've been using cork stoppers in bottles over the past several centuries really should have thought about that, eh?
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Old 07-11-2009, 20:58   #11
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All those people who've been using cork stoppers in bottles over the past several centuries really should have thought about that, eh?
Yeah, thats a point! Those European mob are a bit slow!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-11-2009, 21:25   #12
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Mark, I recommend Treadmaster for this application. Glued down with epoxy. I may have scraps in lt. grey to fit...
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Old 07-11-2009, 22:28   #13
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Mark, I recommend Treadmaster for this application.
Very good. But I paid $20 for enough for about 3 sets of steps!

Its for the internal companionway as in iinside the cabin.

It beats the bathroom floral faux fur that someone else on this boat wanted...
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:52   #14
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I think an old low tech answer is in order...contact cement. All the cock needs to do is not slide on the steps.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:13   #15
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Mark,

Besides stopping bottles back to the time of the ancient Romans, cork has been used in fishing floats for millenia. It's also been used in shoes, roofing tiles and flooring. It's comprised mostly of suberin, which is hydrophobic. It's function in the cork oak tree is to keep the water in the tree, in an otherwise hot, drying climate. Like wood, it shrinks and expands with changes in moisture levels, and it tolerates about the same amount of abuse that wood does. I would glue it down, apply 3 coats of poly and be done with it. Don't let it sit in water, but don't worry about leaving a wet footprint or two on it either. While not likely as good as non-skid, I tend to believe its sponginess would give you a decent grip - time will answer that question. My 2 centavos.

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