I decided that I wanted to remove the carpet from my boat. When shopping we really liked the look of Gator Step / Sea Deck material. The previous owner had an EVA foam material on the platform and trailer fenders. I really didn't like how dirty it got. It was easy to clean, but was dirty the entire time at the lake.
Based on that, and more hours than I care to admit, I decided to go with Spaghetti Mat. I settled on VinLoop. I didn't originally plan to post this project because there are a lot of resources out there about it. However, I wasn't able to find any details about how people filled the gaps left after removing the carpet. Only after pics really. So this post is primarily to show how I closed the gaps around compartments in the floor / prepped for the final flooring.
To be consistent with other posts... On a scale of "Any one can do this" (1) to "Pay Someone Else" (10) I would say this project is a 5-6. It isn't really difficult but required a few tools most people wouldn't reasonably have and a lot of time. Probably took me 3-4 weekends to work through everything.
I intended to start this post before I was finished, but time got away from me.
I didn't take pics while removing the carpet, because I wasn't planning to share it.
I removed everything I possibly could from the interior of the boat. Unscrewed the captains seat and any cup holders. I did break a bolt holding the captain's seat that had to be drilled out .
Then I removed the ski locker cover, and stripped the carpet. Then I removed two covers screwed down covering the bilge and fuel tank, and removed the carpet. The cover over the fuel tank was pretty difficult to remove. Ended up using a ratchet strap to hold tension and tapping it with a hammer for about 45 minutes.
After those were out, I used a utility knife to cut the perimeter of the carpet and pulled it out.
This is where our picture story begins... How to fill the gaps around the compartments?
I searched for a couple days to see if anyone showed how they cleaned this up. I looked into building new covers with HDPE, but that was going to be more expensive than I was ready to commit to. I ended up deciding to buy some aluminum and build out the size. I also wanted to learn to braze aluminum (not super easy to get right).
Here is the floor with everything removed. I spent quite a bit of time scraping the glue off / smooth. My goal wasn't to get it all off because I was going to coat it in truck bed liner. I took some time to clean everything too. That fuel tank was gross.
Look at those gaps? 3/16" around the aluminum covers. But about 1/2" to 3/4" around the ski locker door.
Here is how I tackled it....
I found that if I moved the ski locker door into one corner, it was about 1" around 2 sides. I used some 1" aluminum square tube to fill in the hole.
I didn't take enough pictures. I was failing at making a good 45 degree cut that day, so left the sides long and got the 90 degree joint together first. I used the better part of an 8' stick of this 1" square aluminum. You can see the aluminum braze on the corner. This ended up breaking later because I didn't get it completely flat.
Fun fact, the aluminum brazing turned out to be not necessary at all, but it was a fun new thing to learn. So I had that going for me.
Here is how I closed up the ends. I cut them to length and left some hanging off one end to fold up. I then brazed the end closed.
Some time with the grinder and a file cleans everything up. My grinder makes me the welder I'm not 😏.
After that I added some 1/8" aluminum plate to the bottom, because the door was deeper than 1". I riveted this on.
I did counter sink the heads of the rivets to make the bottom flat. I filed some of them flat when I didn't go deep enough.
I didn't cut the corner at two 45 degree angles like I did with the 1" square tube, specifically because I wanted to add some strength to that joint. So the long side covers the full joint on the bottom.
Ignore my work bench, it gets full when I'm working.
Quick test to see if it will do what I need it to before committing to the final product. This is when I decided that I didn't need the hinges anymore.
Ignore the fact that the one side is a little short. I sure am. Remember kids, Measure once cut 4 times. or as Uncle Bob used to say "I've cut this thing 3 times and it's still too short!"
I then tried to braze the tube to the door, but I wasn't patient enough to get everything hot enough to get the brazing rod to stick. So I ended up (Waiting for it to cool down) riveting it to the door from the inside using 3/16" rivets at about every 4".
Here it is in the hole!
On to the other panels. For these I decided to start with 3/4" by 1/8" aluminum angle. I measured the gaps to figure out how much space needed to be filled leaving about 1/16" to 1/8" space around the edges.
I cut the angle down to size using a bandsaw (Finally found a reason to convince the wife I needed a bandsaw). Most of them ended up being 1/2" or 3/16".
I then riveted the angle to the panels from the outside about every 4" to 6".
Test fitting before assembly. That piece of aluminum laying on top was what I used to measure the gaps. I used many chunks of scrap 1/8" to figure out how much space I needed to center the panel and have some room left.
It seems I didn't take pictures of the riveting process for these. I turned the panels upside down to make sure the tops were flat with each other. Then it goes like.... drill, rivet, drill, rivet, drill, rivet, drill, rivet... You get the point.
I used a file to match the corners and other parts of the finish. Want it to look like it was supposed to be that way.
Here it is fit into place.
Then I used a drill bit the size of the screw heads to counter sink the screws some. That way they wouldn't stick up very much.
At this point I didn't like the gaps around the new aluminum and the original panels. I bought some metal filler and used it to fill in the seams. It took several coats because the filler shrinks. After that I smoothed everything out with sand paper
Be patient with me... We aren't done with this yet.
Next up some self etching primer and truck bed coating to make everything a consistent color.
On to the rest of the floor. Spend some time masking things off and making sure everything is clean. Don't want to get this stuff on anything it isn't supposed to be on. I have some on my skin still 2 weeks later.
I decided to use the truck bed liner to seal the edges of the carpet from fraying instead of doing it the right way. But all of the edges will be hidden from view in the end.
Hindsight being what it is... Should have spent more time getting the glue off the floor. About 4 days after this picture was taken I remembered that I have a power scraper. That would have been handy...
Also, look at how much cleaner that fuel tank is!
Rolled it on with a high texture 4" roller.
Here it is panted and put together.
I used some neoprene foam insulation material to build up the bottom of the covers to get them more level with the floor. I also used it to fill the gap under the rear seats between the floor.
I also did the two rear compartments at the same time. This is where I got the truck bed liner on my toes
Next up... wait.
I mean everything really should dry for a couple days to let the truck bed liner cure.
Here is the template made. I used paper painting cover.
Here is the Vin loop mat going in.
Here it is all cut out and fit. I decided to go with 3 separate sections. 1 down the center. 1 over the rear area of the boat, and 1 under the captain's seat area. This way I can access the plug in the center of the boat easy.
I cut the mat with a sharp utility knife and the template. It was pretty easy to cut. I trimmed some of the rounded corners to look better with a pair of standard scissors. While I was cutting I angled the blade inwards so that the top was a little bit wider than the bottom, this was recommendations from elsewhere, but I think it helps the edges press in and fill the space without gaps.
I still need to clean up the edges to make them sit better but it's pretty close. I also need to put the boat back together, but I have all winter for that.
Here is how I finished the rear compartments. I used Vin tile and cut it to fit. I used this because it was cheaper than the other matting and would create a raised surface off the bottom for water to drain out.
I've seen a lot of post where people are worried about the flooring blowing out of the boat on the highway. I tow with a full cover over the boat, so I'm not worried about that. Each piece also weighs about 10-20 pounds, so I don't think it will be a problem on the lake. If it is, I'll just throw some kids on top of it or something.
That's the whole project. I didn't track how many hours I had into this. Probably about 40-60. I was working on multiple things at the same time. Most of the time was scraping the floor, and drilling out that &%^$*# bolt. Drilling stainless is less than fun, only went through $40 in drill bits that day.
Here are some links to products I used, if you want to follow what I've shown.
VinTek Grate Tile (I used 18 of these but 20 would have been better)
VinTek Spaghetti Mat ( I purchased two 4x8 sheets, but probably should have gotten one 4x10 sheet and one 4x8 sheet)
Metal Filler (I used 2 of these)
Truck Bed Coating (I used 2 of these)
Everything else I just happened to have in my shop already, so I don't have ready links for you.