Floor - diamond plate floor vs a marine grade plywood? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 08-03-2017   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
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Floor - diamond plate floor vs a marine grade plywood?

Looking for pros and cons beyond what I've thought of thus far on a diamond plate floor vs a marine grade plywood.

Diamond is expensive, no maintenance, once dirt gets on it, it's not so shiny, it's hotter if in direct sun, requires a frame and extra weight.

Plywood is about $100 for a sheet of it, can cut to whatever you want and really round the edges, takes some maintenance.

I built a diamond plate floor on my old raft, but thinking on the new one.

Please help guide my decision.
Thanks,
Jon

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Old 08-03-2017   #2
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Tabernash, Colorado
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What material do you prefer working with?
My skills tend towards carpentry rather then metal fabrication, thats a big reason my floors and dry box are wooden. I really enjoy the natural beauty of wood too.
Some people are more metal fabricator. Follow your passion.

One reason I like building with wood better, is that it is a lot easier to fix or replace, if I change my mind, or fuck it up!
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Old 08-04-2017   #3
 
Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Like Mattman, I'm a carpenter and prefer wood. Save the $$ and just go with A/C plywood. The only difference is the glue used in marine grade, so all you have to do is protect the cut edges and your fine. I coat my floors with 3-4 coats of spar urethane, then touch them up in the spring every year if needed - been running the same floors for year.
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Old 08-04-2017   #4
JBL
 
Gnarnia, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwin33 View Post
Like Mattman, I'm a carpenter and prefer wood. Save the $$ and just go with A/C plywood. The only difference is the glue used in marine grade, so all you have to do is protect the cut edges and your fine. I coat my floors with 3-4 coats of spar urethane, then touch them up in the spring every year if needed - been running the same floors for year.
This.

I've had the same wood drop floor in my rowers compartment for 13 years. I belt sand and recoat with marine spar varnish every 2 or 3 years. GTG for me.
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Old 08-04-2017   #5
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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Diamond plat aluminum gets hot as heck on desert trips. A friend of mine decked his cat with diamond plate and you could have fried eggs on it when we were on the San Juan. He says it improved as the shine wore off, but hot enough to burn bare feet.

I have a garage full of wood working tools and can think of a dozen places to get a sheet of plywood. Path of least resistance = wood floors for me.

In my limited experience plywood works fine if you buy decent material and seal it up well. The voids and end grain in the plys are the problem, they act like little straws and draw water deep in side.

To fix this I first fill any big gaps or voids with auto body compound or 2 part epoxy wood filler. Then I get some 2-ton slow set epoxy and thin it to the consistency of water using acetone. I paint all surfaces using a cheap disposable bristle brush and let it soak in. I might coat the edges a second time. For a final coat I prefer enamel house paint over spar. Spar is not intended for 'below water line' applications (read the can!) I get longer lasting results from an exterior deck/patio paint. (and it hides my wood butcher mistakes!)

Spar varnished wood needs to be touched up every two or three seasons. And that is on a boat that is only outside for a few weeks a year. Think how many days your house sits outside in the rain. A good house paint might go 5 or 6 years in a normal application.
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Old 08-04-2017   #6
 
Helena, Montana
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diamond plate floor vs a marine grade plywood?

Hello all - I have built a bunch of these over the years and I think given the right use and circumstance each could be just the ticket. My current rig is a 2007 Avon expedition (15' with big tubes). Here's my experience. Diamond plate floors do get hot and are heavy. Good for crushing beer cans however. I have used regular plywood to build the floors, but found in the first few attempts, that if I did not reinforce the (regular) plywood with 1x2s or something on the bottom, the floor would warp over time and the hang points would eventually fail due to water intrusions after 2 or 3 years. at most I made a few with the 1x2 frame underneath and they were much sturdier, and tended to work for a longer period, maybe 5 or 6 years. All regular plywood floors were coated with Marine Spar varnish or the like to the tune of 6 or 7 coats. or until the can was gone. Sand everything round and be sure no screws or fasteners stick out anywhere. I tied in 1 inch webbing to the floors for the tie down points. One tip, if you are using this varnish and regular plywood, they will get slick. I fix this by throwing a bunch of unwashed pea gravel on the top of the floor after the 5th coat or so. Shake off excess and use a new brush to put on two or three more coats over pea gravel and sand to seal on the texture. This will give you a grip tape type non-slip texture. Good trick.
I eventually evolved to the setup shown in the picture. I was always very proud of my home made floors and still use them for the back gear well. My wife bought me a floor made by Tom Meckfessel and the guys at Clavey river, and it has convinced me that Marine Plywood is the way to go. I have since bought it for all decking. This one has a metal frame with marine plywood on it, and I use regular lumber with marine varnish for the block boards to keep the side boxes from rotating. That being said, my other rafter buddies were more than happy to take my old homemade floors off my hands and most are still being used 10+ years later. Make the floor wider than the narrowest spot in the tubes and then you can hang it from the frame and cinch it up underneath the tubes and it wont move around on you. Makes for a tidy rig. See pic. JC
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Old 08-04-2017   #7
 
Walterville, Oregon
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I have a wood floor and an aluminum floor. Both work fine. The wood floor is 27 years old and shows some wear but is still going strong and will probably outlast me. The aluminum floor is 10 years old. Age has dulled the glare which is good. It has bowed downward in the middle, but that was easy to remedy by drilling a couple more drain holes. Use whatever material is easy for you.
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Old 08-04-2017   #8
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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I find I do better work with metal then wood, but for raft floors I certainly prefer wood over metal. Its not completely quantifiable, but I think its just more comfortable for bare feet and such and feels like the right way to go. I've been on boats with metal floors and it just didn't feel right for me.

When I got my new to me 13' raft last year, I got a piece of Medium Density Overlay (MDO) from a friend who uses it at work and its held up awesome. It is pretty standard ACX or Marine Grade plywood with a heavy duty layer of paper laminated to both sides. This makes for a nice flat surface and for our use creates a very nice surface to stand on. It is very robust and is designed primarily for use in the outdoor sign industry which can see a lot of variable weather and abuse. Most people think "MDF" when you tell them about it, but its WAY different and the only relation it is that they both have paper laminated on.

I've used it on around 50 days of boating since last October and it has held up great. All I did was cut it to fit my boat, cut slots for straps to hang it from the frame and rounded all the edges and slots with a router and some sand paper. No varnish or water treatment at all. Compared to the floor in my other boat that is made with marine plywood and has three or four coats of Spar Varnish, it has held up better since the Varnish started checking really bad during its first outing.

MDO is about the same price as Marine grade plywood, but its a great solution for our use IMHO. Like I said earlier, it is used by sign companies fairly frequently and they often have remnant cuts or pieces they can use so its worth calling a few of them to find it cheap or free.
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