Cabin sole (floor) upgrade plans

We already know we need to make significant changes to the floors of all parts of Vida. Some of the drivers for this are:

  • The aft cabin has been remodelled so that the original floors don’t match the new shape of the aft heads or the storage under the new bed.
  • The corridor to the aft cabin is now wider. We have been able to move a little space from the engine compartment as the electric motor is so much smaller than the diesel engine.
  • The aft part of the main saloon floor needs to include a watertight lid to the new battery box with reconfigured support beams.
  • Forward of the battery box we are planning a new built in water tank (although we are updating this at the moment) which needs access and changed floor supports
  • The forward heads is becoming full width and needs a new, larger shower grating and changed shower drain.
  • The new forecabin layout won’t have a full height area and so the existing floor will disappear into a second built-in water tank.
  • We no longer need some of original loose access panels (for old water tanks, seacocks and speed sensor).
  • We want to have all our floors secured to avoid the danger of things flying around if the boat gets knocked down or rolled, yet we also want to have access to the whole bilge for storage and for inspection/repair.
  • I hate creaky floors! Some of our boards are terrible for this and it is very limiting if you can’t move around quietly when others are asleep. This requires a careful mix of rigidity and flexibility to cope with the movement of a boat in waves, however, I am sure we can improve on the current situation.
  • Wear and warmth. In high traffic areas such as the bottom of the companionway the teak veneer on the floor is very worn away. The teak is also cold due to the lack of insulation underneath it. So we are looking to refresh both the look and warmth of the floors. We quite like the rubber style tiles with round bubbles on the surface.

One of the challenges that we have been struggling with is how to secure the floorboards. Currently screws have been used but they have been taken out and put back in so many times that the grip is much diminished. When we look at commercial offerings for securing floorboards they are way outside our budget so we have been looking alternatives.

What we are looking at now is to fit Blind Self-Tapping Inserts into the floor supports and then fit the boards with countersunk M6 bolts (using Torx heads as it is easier to get a good connection to loosen or tighten even when the boat is being thrown about). Bolts will provide a repeatable and reliable fixing that can be left off when loading stores or doing jobs. So access can be free and easy when it is safe while being secure when at sea.

By using rubber tiles such as these light grey ones we think we can have a warmer floor that is hard wearing and fresh (also fitting our plans for a light, modern interior or this example that we like). It also means we can use cheaper plywood, without a beautiful veneer as a base. In many cases we are going to need to update many of the floor supports due to the various changes and in the process open up storage and remove creaks. Part of that work will be to create a slightly wider fixed perimeter around the edges so that the opening sections are easier to lift.

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