Yacht Flooring – Easily Repair and Refinish It Yourself

The most common material used in yacht flooring is teak and holly sole—which usually ends up taking a lot of abuse from our walking on it.  Not only does it give the boat a nice look, but also plays up the interior of it as well.  For some yacht floors, this material comes as an option while others have teak and holly sole set as the standard and default flooring.  There are many types of boat flooring available to choose from.  How to choose teak flooring may be your first and foremost issue!  The main issue that pops up however, is what to do when these yacht floorings wear out and knowing when is the best time to do something about it.

Lots of people fear the process of having to repair or replace their old and worn out yacht flooring.  What you don’t want is for the flooring to look worse than if you didn’t do anything to fix it.  There are some people who just decide to sell their yachts altogether so that they don’t have to deal with the problem of fixing their holly sole and teak flooring.  However, there is nothing to fear.  Repairing your yacht flooring is actually much easier than you think.  Not to mention, the supplies that you’ll need are also very inexpensive!

What you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper 220 grit – Use this sanding guide to determine what strength of sanding you’ll need
  • Varnish – It’s up to you whether you want a satin or glossy finish to your yacht flooring.  Read all the safety precautions on the label and all other application techniques to ensure the best results.
  • Masking tape
  • Brushes
  • Rags
  • Thinner

Before you plunge into this project, you must keep in mind a few things about different wear points on your teak and holly sole yacht flooring.  If all you have are worn down teak and holly (not bare spots) then you’re still in good shape.  If you have bare spots (meaning you’ve already reached the wood itself) then you’ll need to put in some extra work and effort.  Another thing you should do before you begin is check the hatchways or any other removable sections where the wood could have possibly splintered.  If there is too much flex as you step on it (when it is in place) then you’ll need to fix this first before or after refinishing your yacht flooring.

Refinishing yacht flooring basically means that you’re sanding it down with a sanding block by hand or using a light sanding powder.  A good way to do this is to move any detachable sections to a more spacious and comfortable place to sand down.  Be sure to clean the surface so that it is free of dirt or grit.  By the end of the sanding process, your yacht flooring should have a dull but even finish to it.

For bare spots, sand it down lightly to get rid of the grey.  Slightly feather the finish around it until it reaches the bare spots.  Take a slightly damp rag (with thinner on it) and clean off all the dust from the surface.  You should do this every time before or after you varnish.

Steps for the varnish:

  1. Thin the varnish by about 20%
  2. Paint your first coat over just the bare spots – wait until dry or for 24 hours before you add the next coat
  3. Sand down the area you just coated
  4. Thin the varnish by about 10%
  5. Coat again and allow for it to dry once again
  6. Sand down and then apply varnish full strength

Some tips about applying varnish:

  • It is best if the varnish and the yacht flooring surface are both warm in temperature – the varnish paints and settles better, which also makes it easier for you to sand in between coats.
  • If you have deep gouges in your yacht flooring, apply extra varnish in those areas.  You can apply extra coats there so that they become level and even with the rest of the surface.
  • Remember to sand in between coats and also to feather the edges.
  • As to how many coats to apply, it’s really all up to you.  You should have at least 4 to 5 coats minimum.  6 to 8 coats is good for extra durability.

Repairing and refinishing yacht flooring really isn’t that bad of a thing to do.  Although it does require quite a bit of work, you can think of it as a form of exercise!  It’s a good way to pass time taking care of something you love and pour a lot of passion into.  Varnish hides your damaged areas and helps make your teak boat flooring look luxurious and brand new every time.  You can even decide to change the overall look of your boat floors by staining it.  Following these simple steps to refinishing your yacht flooring is guaranteed to allow you to enjoy them for years on end.

Last Revision: Oct 7, 2016

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