To say that I was excited about finally getting some flooring down in our boat is a HUGE understatement. In the four years that we have spent refitting our boat we have not really touched the floors, because there were none. Before we bought her, the boat had been holed and beached, all of the wood flooring rotted due to water damage, and had been ripped out by the previous owner. So for four years we have been walking on bare fiberglass flooring. We had given it a quick coat of paint just to make it look “ok” until something more permanent came along. All these long years later, we still had no flooring. Until 10 months ago when we stepped on to s/v Salty and saw their flooring, woven vinyl, and knew this was exactly what we had been wanting.
I started researching all the companies that make such flooring, and contacted Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl because theirs is beautiful and impressive. They have dabbled in flooring many types of areas (Heavy Contract, Hospitality, Healthcare, Restaurants, Fitness centres, Country Clubs, Retail Stores, Aviation, and Recreation Vehicles) but wanted to branch out more and add sailboats to their repertoire. It was a great opportunity for us to collaborate together and give Necesse the facelift (floor-lift?) she needed.
First for some painful BEFORE pictures of our floor.
|Salon + Vberth|
Why Infinity? As I mentioned their floor is not only beautiful but it is impressive, they checked off a lot of our “boxes”:
- Mold and Mildew Resistant: important in the marine field, no matter how hard you don’t want it to happen, mildew is real.
- Stain Resistant: very important with kids onboard!
- Durability: a flooring that is made for high traffic is exactly what we need since our girls run laps inside the boat.
- UV Stable and Fade Resistant: our boat sees a lot of sun, we needed to make sure it could handle that.
- Lightweight: covering our boat’s floors and deck with this means we’re adding extra weight, so the lighter the better.
- Foam Backing: not only can you choose how cushy you want your floor, but the way the backing is attached to the flooring acts as a moisture barrier as well.
- Reduces Noise: Ellia stomps like an elephant when she walks, so anything that can reduce that extra noise is helpful.
- Certified Green and Recyclable: this is a nice bonus, knowing that our flooring isn’t a nuisance to our planet.
- the DIY (Do It Yourself) factor: We wanted to be able to install it all on our own and not have to hire out.
Choosing Our Flooring
We couldn’t make it in to the store to see all the samples and flooring types so Infinity sent us a box with samples. And they didn’t skimp out. The box was huge and gave us so many options. It took us a solid three days of staring at the samples up against different parts of the boat and in different lighting to figure out what would fit our boat’s style, and what would match with our existing color story. We went through a process of elimination, choosing our favorites and whittling down from there. Each giving our opinions, debating, doing lots of back and forth, until we finally agreed on one. We had to do this process twice, once for the indoor flooring, and once for the decking. For inside we chose: Grass Cloth Color #4; and for outside: Wicker Weave Color #1.
|This is how many samples they sent us!|
|Testing out the “cushiness”.|
|The little kid stickers are the ones that we were leaning towards.|
As for the backing we went with the cushiest of the three thicknesses for our indoor flooring, and with the thinnest backing for our decking.
Once our flooring was selected we had to order the binding. (This flooring is very versatile; there are several ways that it can be installed but we chose to have it buttoned down. We chose to do it this way so it would be easily removable, and so wanted binding to sew around all of the edges to give it a clean finish.) This was tricky because we didn’t have the actual binding samples in hand to be able to match with our flooring, so we did our best using the color swatches on the sailrite website. It was a real gamble and we would have to wait to see if the swatches online were close to the actual material color, and to our benefit they were.
Once everything had been measured out we ended up with two sizeable rolls of flooring that needed to make it from Georgia, USA to our boat in St Thomas, USVI. Tropical shipping made it a breeze. With a couple of phone calls and a form or two they arranged to have it picked up by shipping truck, brought to Florida, and then on to a freight boat to us. In the matter of a couple of weeks we had our flooring. It only took that long because there was a holiday in the middle of it.
Here is the fun part, getting the flooring in the boat.
- Eben made templates of the entire boat using non-stretch patterning material. This step took a while, because not only do you want to make sure the fit is perfect, but also because we had to make sure we cut out the pieces of the flooring in the right order, like a puzzle.
- Eben found a room large enough to roll out the flooring and have a flat surface to make the cuts. He laid the templates out on top, weighed the templates down with diving weights, and made the cuts. He did this with his “work” scissors. They are just regular household scissors, but seem slightly stronger, which made cutting through the flooring with the thick backing easier.
- Eben brought the pieces into the boat one by one, as they were being cut. Even without having them attached to the floor, and without their binding, it still looked amazing. This flooring can be installed with glue without binding, butting up directly against the wall, if that is the look you are going for. It is also flexible enough to be used on walls, around edges, and to cover existing shapes (steps, boxes, etc). We chose binding and snaps because we wanted to be able to remove it for cleaning purposes and for access to the hatches/bilges.
- With our Sailrite LSZ1 and the help of a Sailrite video we had watched ahead of time, Eben sewed the binding around all the edges of the flooring. He set up shop on our salon table and did all the sewing inside the boat. *We had a slight scare at first, when he sewed the first piece. Because of its thickness of the flooring, it was not butting up to the binding bracket enough causing the stitches to not run straight. We thought we may have to hire a “professional” for all the sewing. A hard hit. But then Eben made an “adjustment” to his binding bracket, bending (forcing) it open a bit more so that it could handle the flooring and thick backing + the binding. After that it worked perfectly!*
- To keep the flooring where it belongs we chose to put a snap in every corner. This meant Eben first had to make it aesthetically pleasing to the eye, then drilled through the vinyl flooring and our fiberglass floor. Then he drilled the bottom part of the snap into the floor and attached the clasping “female” piece to the vinyl flooring with our Pres-N-Snap tool.