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  • Gator Step / Seadek style flooring on a budget

    • Year: 2011 Brand: MB Sports Model / Trim: B-52 Wide Body Cost: $250-$499 DIY or Professional Install: I installed it

    So when we got my new to me 2011 MB Sport B52 a year and a half ago, it only had 95 hours on it and was in great shape, but the carpet was matted and had some stains on it.  The wife loved the boat but not the carpet.  


    So this project has been a long time in the planning stage.  I love the Gator Step/Sea Deck style flooring that is coming in most of the new boats.  Most of you know I am all about spending less money and getting the same results as many of the options on new much more expensive boats.  That is what I planned here.  I started out looking at Agenda Surf's two tone sheet traction and when I placed my order they were out of stock.  I found another source from much farther away and decided to take a risk.  I was so impressed when it came in.  It was at least 2mm thicker than the Agenda samples even though both were listed at 6mm.  So I ordered enough to cover the inside floor, the swim step, pads around topside of the boat and enough to do under my seats and lockers from the helm back.  All that for just over $500!  The only area I'm not doing is under the bow seats.  There isn't enough carpet to worry about up there and I didn't want to have to move my batteries and stereo system.  The only thing I store up there are fenders and CGA life vests to keep the PoPo happy.  Again I couldn't get over how nice this stuff is for the price.


    I started this project by removing all of the carpet from the inside of the tub.  I have a 2011 MB Sport B52, that means my carpet was still the glue in type so it left a ton of glue after I removed the carpet.  


    For those that have pulled up boat carpet you always find surprises that you have to deal with.  My two trouble areas were around the in floor ice chest and the transition/drop off under the helm.  These required some extra work to make a surface that the flooring could stick to properly.


    I spent a few hours scraping the glue out and using mineral spirits to help remove the glue in the corners.  I was pleasantly surprised it didn't take more time and effort to remove the glue.


    Next on the schedule was to use fiberglass filler and some resin on top of the trouble areas and then start my template process.  

    The rough areas around the in-floor ice chest and under the helm caused me the most grief.  It was a lot of work sanding and adding fiberglass filler to level these areas out.  Carpet hides alot of ugliness, but the lines in the flooring show every height change.  This work would have had to happen with a Gator Step floor also.  These years of boats they weren't worried about people looking under carpet, so there is some cosmetic work that need to happen to make them level and able to be stuck to.


    I was able to use the old carpet as a rough template for my wood templates.  Because it stretched and was frayed around the edges I had a lot of work ahead of me to get the templates right.  I will say that making the templates as perfect as possible was worth every minute in the end.


     First off I'm using a Makita variable speed trim router on this project.  I found the smoothest passes came with the speed just above 3.  I ended up going with a 1/4" x 1/2" rounding cove bit.  I played with a couple of scrap pieces to get the depth and tried both style pieces together to make sure that my plan was sound.


    I lined up a couple of sacrificial pieces of both patterns and played with different settings.  The material I have has pretty big grooved lines. Mine wasn't as wide, but I was pretty happy how these came out. 


    I decided to go for it with the grooves that I needed to add to the middle of my main floor between the lines and the diamonds.  This is one of the hardest cuts for this project. The pieces butt up together so thy need to be as strait as possible. The first pic shows before. None of these pieces were stuck down so there are some small gaps that tucked together when installed.


    So after countless trips in and out of the boat I finished my masonite templates of the interior of the cabin.  My best advice here is make your cuts wide and sand down to the measurements and take material slowly and then test.  Rinse and repeat.  You can't add material back once you cut it off.  Patience is the key.  Even though this is a tedious process, once you have the wood templates, you can make a new piece of flooring very quickly if any of it gets damaged.



    Using the template as a guide I cut out the cabin flooring and tested the fit.





    I used a router around the outside edges of the mats to give a finished look.  I used 1/8" wood masonite hardwood to make a template of each piece. Cheap hardwood sheets are a lot cheaper and easier to replace than the flooring material. I then used the template on top of the flooring as a guide to cut the sheets with a razor knife. Then I put the flooring on top of the template and used the wood as a guide for my router around the outsides. 

    Another good use for lead ballast bags is holding the flooring down while routing around the edges.


    Here is a close up look of two pieces together with the routered edge around the outside and where they are joined together.


    I decided in my OCD mind that I wanted to make sure you don't see a sliver of white under my seams and painted my floor satin black in those areas. Unfortunately it took forever to dry since it was only 65 degrees.



    With the flooring all cut out and routered and the floor seam areas painted it was pretty much go time.  The piece with the lines next to it was the first piece I made for my sub enclosure.  I later changed that out to diamonds which matched better.


     I still had some work to do on the lid for the ice chest to be the same level as the floor, but that was pretty easy. Funny how the tape marks show up in the pics, but you can barely see them in person.  They will go away quickly.IMG_7024.thumb.JPG.a529dd8cc4663f954f90a659a5078285.JPGIMG_7026.thumb.JPG.0baa1a22941f89f15ac3a51d68d9aee2.JPGIMG_7027.thumb.JPG.17ae7953c63daa8f5055a1ebd0704abb.JPGIMG_7028.thumb.JPG.ce18f175ff4b2ee61293eb8300763163.JPGIMG_7029.thumb.JPG.7ea7c2fa77d4c1fd05aa99cebe0a59fd.JPG

    Finally got the ice chest done. I could pistol whip the MB employee who put that in! I'm worn out...


    So like I said earlier the big advantage of making the Masonite templates is it would be easy to make new sections later. I learned this today. One piece that I made, that I was iffy about once installed, was the sub cover.IMG_7133.thumb.JPG.018f86731db3c5003c1c34827da18a87.JPG

    IMG_7026.thumb.JPG.40b283e94a0a48f6ddc9d83476ca68f3.JPGI thought a little contrast would be good and I was low on diamonds so I covered it in lines. After I looked at the complete install I was lukewarm on that piece. A fellow MB owner PMd me and asked why I didn't do that in diamonds. The fact that someone else noticed was enough to push me over the fence. I pieced together enough diamonds to recover it. Since I already had the template it only took about 30 minutes.


    The next step was the swim step area.  I got the swim step pad off in one piece with some help from a neighbor who had a windshield removal tool. Having the pad in one piece saved a ton of time when making the wood template. It did however leave all of the glue behind. The deck glue was way harder to remove than the carpet glue. Using paint thinner and a scraper I finally got it all off.  



    Next up was the smaller pieces.


    Phase one of this project is essentially complete. Phase two will be under the seats and lockers but that will be in the fall of 2017 as it is tIme to go to the lake. This was a time consuming project, but very much worth every minute spent. A person could easily simplify this install no still have a nice floor. My goal was to have as finished out interior as I could get without paying the big boys a grip of cash. The biggest challenges would have still been there with the high dollar floors. My ice chest area was uneven and I had a large gap under the helm.  Boats with glue down carpet are always going to have mysteries when you pull the carpet.  

    Ok so a couple reasons I didn't want to post the supplier at the beginning of the post is I didn't want anybody getting biased for or against the product. I also wanted to see how it installed and form an opinion during the install. I can say that at this point I am very impressed with the quality of the product. It is a full 1/4" thick all the way around. It is super comfortable on the feet and the 3m adhesive backing is no joke. I love the diamonds but I do believe the lines will hold up a lot longer. The only reason being that with all the points on the diamonds there are a lot more chances to pull them up or tear them. Same quality just more small points to fail. That being said I am very happy with the install. It doesn't have to be as hard as I made it, but I wanted the routered edges and two textures. That's on me. I have a friend who has snap in carpet who used it as a template and had it done in a weekend. My biggest hold up was around the ice chest and under the helm. That is my boat and I would have had to deal with those areas if I had gone with the big guys too. 

    That being said, Gator Step and Seadek make awesome product if you want a peel and stick option albeit with a much higher price tag.

    I cannot say how my flooring will hold up over time, but I would be surprised if it doesn't do well. The supplier is  http://www.marinedeckfactory.com.
    They are in China. They were great to work with. Answered every question I had and the product was at my door 2 weeks after I ordered it via UPS. My friend also got his product in 2 weeks. They have many color options. Hope this helps some of you guys. I'm only half way finished. I still have under my seats and lockers next fall. 

    I used 2 rolls of lines and 3 rolls of diamonds for phase 1. The rolls for diamonds are smaller and there is more waste during installation with the diamonds. To match another piece you could be off 3" one direction or five inches the other direction. That adds up quick with multiple pieces. The lines should hold up longer with fewer points to get damaged. With 5 rolls the materials cost for phase 1 is $350 for flooring and another $75 in template supplies. 

    My disclaimer is this, I have been installing stereos in boats and upgrading boats for years. I have a lot of tools at my disposal along with a lot of boat interior experience. The rolls don't put themselves in. However with some patience and a good plan going in, it isn't that difficult to do. I definitely think in increased the value of my boat at least 3-5 times what the project cost. I hope this helps some of you guys take the risk and go for it!


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    Nice work man! I've been contemplating doing the same thing in my 07 TIGE' 22VE. I'm also thinking about dekadence for interior flooring but I definitely like this stuff for my swim step and walkway. Please post again this fall about the durability of the product. Thanks! 

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    I am not sure if you will see this but your work has inspired me to do this to my boat. I bought all the materials and was interested in your router job. I saw through this post that you made wood templates and used those as the guide for the router using the wood underneath as the guide the bearing rolled on, my question is did you have some sort of a sandwich or was the material acceptable to lay the base of the router on and had no issue with plunge depth. I'll figure it all out if you don't answer this, I was just curious. My boat has a huge removable floor center section, I want to keep it removable and to make everything look good I think a router finished edge would look best. Really nice work...inspiring.    

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    I used a trim router right on top of the flooring with the wood template underneath, no problems.  Just go slow and try to be consistent all the way around.  A full size router would be a challenge.  I also only ran the router at 3.5 to 4 on the speed.

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    Ok so I figured I would give an update on the flooring after some pretty good use this summer. I still love this flooring and I will never go back to carpet. I will say though that I do not recommend the diamonds to anyone. The lined sheets are holding up great but the diamonds ar lifting at multiple locations. Anywhere that I cut the diamonds to small triangles to fit the boat wants to lift. I'm talking about the brown from the black. There are just too many edges to catch. This winter when I'm installing under the seats I will probably replace the diamonds with more lines. I love the look but need more durability than they offer. 

    Just wanted to give an honest review. Still a great value, just avoid the diamonds!


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    Looks great, you inspired me to replace that old carpet in the spring before the season starts.  I was curious to know witch color of faux teak did you choose.  I have a black boat with a light grey interior and I lean toward the #2teak but it is difficult to choose from a picture.  Your boat looks awsome.  I am pretty sure that the color you chose would work perfectly on mine.

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    how hard was it to make this piece (see attached picture)? What was your process? free hand? did you make a wood template for these upper deck pieces too.  Trying to gauge how hard it would be to make some of the top side gator step type pieces.  And if 5 rolls is the minimum...that would be enough to do 3 boats, if you're not doing the floor.  


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    I did the same thing and had the same problem. All that work and most of the pads delaminated within six months. Thought I was being smart and saving some money and now I have to rip it all out and get it done properly. 

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    I did the same thing and had the same problem. All that work and most of the pads delaminated within six months. Thought I was being smart and saving some money and now I have to rip it all out and get it done properly. 

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