Pontoon boat plywood

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PONTOON DECKS - Wood-Aluminum-Composite

3/4" Marine Grade Decking versus Ordinary 3/4" Plywood

7 PLY, CCA Treated, top side is sanded with any voids filled and sanded.

Usually 3 or 5 ply, ACQ treated, knots or voids visible on both sides.

                 WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CCA  AND ACQ DECKING?                            About ten years ago the EPA dictated that lumber yards could no longer sell CCA treated plywood without a special permit. CCA treating involves the use of arsenic in the treating process and the government was concerned about unused pieces of scraps. The marine industry was granted an exemption with the understanding that wood would not be cut and would be used in whole sheets. Marine grade decking is also kiln dried, it lays flat. Marine grade decking has the individual layers of plywood (usually 7) glued together with waterproof glue.  Any voids, knotholes, etc. in the top side are filled and sanded flat. 

Most modern lumberyard plywood is treated using the ACQ method.  This method uses copper sulfate to retard rot in the wood.  Although some large lumber suppliers especially in lake regions do stock CCA. There are several drawbacks with the FDA approved ACQ treated plywood.  It warps easily because the ply's are glued together with non waterproof glue.  The copper sulfite used to treat the wood leeches out and can dissolve adhesives as well as the backing of some carpets.   

CCA “marine grade” decking can be hard to find and you should be prepared to pay probably as much as $25 more per sheet.  But most boats only take 4-5 sheets and the extra $125. you’ll spend versus ordinary lumber yard 3/4” decking will save you re-decking in a few years  

Tongue & Groove Marine Decking

Some boat builders used a tongue and groove method to fit the

individual deck boards together.  The benefit was that it helped

prevent water from working up between deck seams.  The difficult

was that even in a production setting with special tools to pull the tongue and groove together, it sometimes didn’t fit tightly. Modern pontoon manufacturers generally don’t use  tongue and groove decking, but the rebuilder may see it and want to replace the old deck the same as original.  Since there is no one using it in new boat manufacturing, it is difficult to find in the aftermarket.    

8' Wide-8' 1/2"-10' Wide Marine Decking

Crest and JC Pontoons started experimenting with 8’6” wide decking in the late 1990’s.  The idea was that the extra 6” difference allowed for larger more spacious seating floor plans.  By about 2012 the industry adopted 8’6” wide as the standard.  In 2015 a couple brands experimented with 10’ wide pontoons.  Because of transportation difficulties, 10’ probably won’t become common.  Rebuilders must be careful when buying material for late model rebuilds.  It's difficult to spot the difference between an 8’ or 8’6” deck. You should always measure the width of a re-deck before ordering components.  Especially if the older boat is a Crest or JC.     

Adhesive (Glue) and Laying the Flooring

The majority of problems in rebuilding can be traced to glue.  Getting the wrong kind, not using enough or not compressing the glue into the back of the floor covering.  Get any of these wrong and the 14-20 hours you spent redecking will have to be redone.

Prepare the surface– When rebuilding you may often be able to use the old wood.  50 year warranty wood was introduced about 1985.  Many of the boats being re-carpeted may not need new decking.  But, don’t be surprised if a paid rebuilder refuses to recarpet without putting down a new deck. 

This is off an 8 year old pontoon.  The old carpet pulled up easily but pulled the top layer of plywood.  These holes need to be filled and sanded before new carpet can be laid.  

Sometimes the old carpet pulls up easily.  Clean the old deck with a steel brush or light sanding and you’re ready to put down new carpet.  Other times pieces of backing stick to the wood or chucks of wood tear up if they're stuck to the carpet.  It takes time to scrape off the chunks of backing and glue or fill pieces of wood torn from the deck.  When labor is charged by the hour it might be easier to replace the decking.  If you're doing it yourself you might spend an afternoon and rent a belt sander to save a few hundred dollars.  The floor must be clear of residue, flat and smooth to accept new glue. 

Marine Grade CCA Treated Wood Decking (XL-50 PTP-50)                                                           Because marine grade decking is kiln dried and the top is sanded with imperfections filled you generally have less difficulty with the glue.  Several companies sell Slocum (sometimes labeled Tennessee) 776 Marine Carpet/Vinyl Adhesive.  It’s water based, not much odor.  It's thick so that you spread it with a trowel, designed for outdoors applications.  There are dozens of other types, again watch for Outdoor Use, Water Soluble and Thick.  Some carpet companies; Syntec, Lancer, etc. offer glue labeled for their carpet.  Some large companies also have glue labeled with their brand.  It’s generally all the same but you do get some piece of mind buying the glue that is recommended by the carpet company.

You’ll learn a lot about your supplier from the price of glue.   These range from $24  to $39 per gallon.  

Lumber Yard ACQ Decking

There are situations where people just aren't going to pay for the good decking.  When you buy the wood, try and get some guidance from the salesman.  ACQ wood is "wet", and you need a special glue to adhere it to the decking.  For information, search - Adhesive bonding of wood treated with ACQ and copper azole preservatives.

Aluminum Decks

Marine Grade carpet will usually adhere to aluminum decks with ordinary (Water soluble) adhesives.  

Vinyl Flooring will NOT adhere to aluminum decks. Something about the floor covering can not breathe for the adhesive to dry.  I can’t explain it and we’ve warrantied vinyl floors on aluminum decks with special adhesives from three different companies, we just couldn’t get it to adhere.

Putting Down the Glue & How Much                                                                                              Because we recommend “thick” glue we suggest using a 1/16” notched trowel to apply adhesive to the decking.  1/8” wouldn’t be a problem.  When glue is applied to a deck in this manner, one gallon will cover an area about 8’ x 9’.  Thus two gallons will do most 16’-20’ decks, three gallons for a 24’ deck.

While we like a trowel, we recognize that others have different methods.  Most boat builders use a spray glue, spraying the floor and then the back of the flooring as they roll it down.  Working from the front to back, or vice versa.  Most rebuilders don’t have a glue pot and heavy duty commercial sprayers.  Some rebuilders use a thin glue and apply it with a paint roller and while they seem happy with this method I question if you're actually getting enough glue on the deck and carpet.  The important point is don’t be cheap with the glue, it’s probably the least expensive component of the re-deck. 

Compress the glue into the back of the carpet.  If you just unroll the flooring on top of the lines of glue, you’ll get adhesion along the top of the ridges.  If you roll or compress the lines of glue into the back of the carpet you’ll get thorough adhesion.  Pressure will flatten the ridges of glue. This is perhaps the most important step in preparing new flooring over a deck.               

A lawn roller

Stomp the glue into the carpet

A commercial carpet roller

Sours: https://www.pontoonboat101.com/deck

Marine Plywood

This is the same marine plywood decking used by new pontoon boat builders. CCA treated and designed for the rigorous marine environment. If you are planning to redeck your pontoon boat with 3/4" (in) plywood, this is the correct type of marine plywood you should use!

Most other standard types of plywood are treated with a copper compound that will interact with the latex rubber backing of your marine carpet and destroy it over time. This marine plywood is treated using Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) which is a chemical wood preservative containing chromium, copper and arsenic. CCA is used in pressure treated wood to protect it from rotting due to insects and microbial agents.

Additional Information About Our Marine Plywood

Treated wood products are readily available and are often in used construction where high decay hazards exist. Unfortunately, much of the treated plywood found in retail lumber yards may not have been redried to the degree required for boat construction. For the best performance of plywood in boat manufacturing first make sure that the plywood comes from a mill that is a member of APA.

Stamped onto each sheet of our plywood is the APA trademark. The APA, or Engineered Wood Association is a nonprofit trade association that was founded in 1933. Today it is widely recognized as the foremost authority in the structural wood panel industry. The APA trademark appears only on products manufactured by APA member mills and is the manufacturer's assurance that the product conforms to the standards shown on the trademark and was subject to APA's rigorous quality assurance program.

The minimum grade recommended by APA for boat building applications:

  • APA C-C Plugged, PS-1, Group 1, EXTERIOR plywood or plywood conforming to Industrial Category Index, (ICI) Number of 7-3-3-3.

The four-digit ICI number consists of the following:

  • Face Veneer Quality Ranking. A numerical scale indicating the solidness and smoothness quality of the face veneer.
  • Back Veneer Quality Ranking. Similar to the face veneer, the ranking addresses the back veneer quality required for the specific application.
  • Inner ply veneer under the face. These veneers are often important for applications with heightened fastener holding demands, and where panels are going to be cut into smaller parts.
  • Other inner pies. Similar to the veneer under the face, these are assessed for solidness.

The Marine Plywood we offer meets (ICI) Number 9-3-4-4.

Which is higher than the APA recommended minimum grade. For the best durability of plywood in boat manufacturing, APA recommends the use of treated plywood with 0.40 pcf retention, kiln dried after treating (KDAT) to 18% or less.

Sours: https://www.boatcarpetcentral.com/marine-boat-plywood
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Topic ClosedCDX Plywood for boat flooring

AuthorBo and Susan View Drop Down
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Points: 302 Direct Link To This PostTopic: CDX Plywood for boat flooring
    Posted: 06/08/2011 at 8:31pm
[In response to Topic: jstatham 1987 Party Barge Rebuild]
Welcome  to the forum! I remember reading in a thread, that CDX is exactly the same as marine plywood other than CDX may have a few voids in it. Lowes is carrying 23/32 CDX right now for $17 per sheet. Hope this helps. Have fun with your rebuild.


Edited by Wildcat Dude - 06/09/2011 at 9:36am
Bo and Susan
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Points: 437 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/08/2011 at 9:51pm
  Cdx is a basic cheap common plywood. The only thing in common with marine is the fact they are both wood. It is only rated for a little bit of moisture and for a short amount of time. It can start to delaminate in a short amount of time if it get wet repeatedly. As with most cheaper plywoods there are alot of voids in it and with fewer plys it usually doesn't lay very flat on it's own.
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Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/08/2011 at 9:58pm
and CDX will eat your aluminum after its wet
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CDX is a grade of plywood not a treatment process. It stands for grade C veneer on one side and grade D on the other. The "x" means exterior glue is used. CDX can be obtained in various forms of pressure treatment or without any treatment. CDX is commonly used for roof decking. Marine grade plywood also is not necessarily treated but it is a superior grade of plywood with fewer knots and better veneer. There are also other grades of plywood such as AB, AC, BB and so on with the letters relating to veneer grades. The treatment process is not necessarily related to the grade veneer. Yes you can get CDX pressure treated wood that will eat your aluminum but you can also get CDX pine plywood with no treatment which will rot but not eat your wood. You can also get marine plywood and have it treated with the wrong chemicals which will eat the aluminum.  You can also get non- pressure treated marine plywood which will rot in the wrong environment. Generally available pressure treated marine plywood will be treated with CCA (copper chromium arsenate) and not a corrosive treatment but it is possible to have marine plywood treated with say, ACQ process. If I haven't confused it too much a better explanation is here In short don't assume just because you have marine plywood it is treated with a non corrosive pressure treatment that will not rot and also dont assume CDX is treated with a chemical to eat your aluminum up.
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Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/08/2011 at 11:08pm
I always get a headache reading about all the different types and manufacturing processes of plywood. It's a good thing the pontoon folks know what to use, cause it can get really confusing. All I know is you need a wood (treated with whatever) that can withstand being wet and dried, over and over again for many years without failing and won't harm the aluminum on your boat.
I also found these interesting comments while looking around:
  • Marine plywood played a part in the 1944 D-Day Invasion during World War II. Many soldiers arrived on the beaches of Normandy in "Higgins Boats," the brainchild of Frank Higgins, who convinced his father, Andrew Jackson Higgins, president of the Higgins Boat Company, that marine plywood was the best material available from which to build the Landing Craft Personnel.

    • Marine plywood is not waterproof; only the adhesive that binds the plies together is waterproof. If you plan to use marine plywood in a wet environment, it should be painted and any joints caulked just as you would with any other material.

  • Back to TopCajunDiver View Drop Down
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    Points: 1786 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/08/2011 at 11:32pm
    Rick I guess its not confusing to me just as a wiring harness or diagram for an outboard is not for you although it drives me crazy. Basically you have a piece of plywood. It can be any of a number of grades with no treatment including marine and CDX. The glue is what binds the veneers together making it plywood. You can have a waterproof glue or exterior glue but that still won't prevent the wood from rotting. The treatment process is what does that. Basically untreated plywood has two components, wood and glue. Treated plywood has three; wood, glue and a treatment chemical which can be any number of treatments. You can buy plywood treated with a fire retardant chemical or decay resistant chemical, etc. This wood can be of any grade that is sent to the wood treater including CDX, marine, AC, BC, etc. As for aviation this would be a good example of marine plywood, untreated, being used for its tight/smooth finish and still needing painting/caulking to resist water. Had the marine wood been treated with CCA, ACQ or other processes it would not rot or decay if introduced to water thus the painting would not be a requirement. It boils down to two seperate manufacturing processes. The plywood making process and the treatment process. Once the sheets are made they can be sold as is, untreated, or sent to a treatment plant for the many available treatments. As you said stick to the Pontoon Stuff products and you will be safe for pontoon applications.
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    Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/09/2011 at 12:29am
    Good info Brian. Maybe you can help with these thoughts. How long do you think the Pontoon industry has been using treated plywood? It seems like we see alot of rebuilds here that are around 15-20 years old (Some more, some less) and the decks are rotted, while others (Such as Charles' boat) are in great shape. If the wood was properly treated, then what is it that's breaking down and causing the deterioration of the wood in the ones that fail more rapidly? I know it depends alot on the environment that the boat is kept in and probably the quality of the original materials used (both wood and glue), but at some point the manufacturers must have decided, hey, we have to start using something that is somewhat standardized so we can compete on a level playing field. Does my cheaper boat use a cheaper wood/process than say a Benninton or Premier might? Seems like everyone offers a lifetime warranty now, so it's hard to tell. Like I say, it's all greek to me..Confused
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    Points: 1786 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/09/2011 at 8:55am
    I am not sure Rick but I think the old ones used marine plywood with no treatment process. Thats my opinion and not fact. Us Southerners have been using pressure treated for years for termite protection but a properly stored boat that only got the deck wet ocassionally would probably be sound over many years with no treatment. Its the wet/dry cycle that causes the rot. Any wood constantly submerged will not rot. If the wood was pressure treated to the proper levels it should not rot on a pontoon even if stored in wet conditions such as uncovered. To further complicate things too there are various levels of pressure treatment so it is possible for some PT wood to rot if used in the wrong application. I also do know early on there were issues with certain products not being properly treated. The pontoon industry could have gotten some bad batches of plywood and thought they had a properly treated product.
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    Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/09/2011 at 9:30am
    Originally posted by briankinley2004briankinley2004 wrote:

    CDX is a grade of plywood not a treatment process.  and also dont assume CDX is treated with a chemical to eat your aluminum up.
       
    Every CDX grade plywood I've ever ran across HAS been treated with chemicals that will cause deterioration of aluminum.
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    Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/09/2011 at 9:49am
    Moved posts from rebuild thread as we have kinda gotten away from the actual rebuild so to speak and it morphed into a discussion on plywood - our aplogies to jstathamfor cluttering his thread. We're just trying to make sure that you know what you're doing is the best for you.  The whole point of this discussion though is the marine industry has determined through years of experience what is the best wood for flooring and that has been CCA treated 7 ply layer plywood. Its why PontoonStuff sells it. Lets not talk about aluminum flooring, this is wood we're talking about.
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    Points: 1786 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/13/2011 at 5:51pm
    Originally posted by Wildcat DudeWildcat Dude wrote:

    Originally posted by briankinley2004briankinley2004 wrote:

    CDX is a grade of plywood not a treatment process.  and also dont assume CDX is treated with a chemical to eat your aluminum up.
       
    Every CDX grade plywood I've ever ran across HAS been treated with chemicals that will cause deterioration of aluminum.
    At least 50% of the houses in my area are decked with CDX plywood and it has zero chemical treatment of a corrosive nature. CDX is your standard C-D veneer with exterior glue and is commonly used for roof decking, sheathing, etc.
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    Points: 690 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 9:40am
    Charles, Bryan doesn't argue computer stuff with you (for good reason!), you would be wise not to argue builder stuff with him.  Big smile
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    Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 11:40am
    all I'm saying is, why hasn't the pontoon boat industry used CDX for flooring - because there is good reason NOT to.
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    Points: 365 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 3:29pm
    Which is why I sealed my new deck in epoxy resin.  It will outlive me.
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    Points: 153 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 4:58pm
    I want to play too . I really think everybody is almost right. Charles is correct, there has to be a reason why the industry doesn't use CDX. Brian is correct in his comments also. There are several reasons, and they revolve around the structure of the plywood itself. Plywood plys are graded A (best), B (good), C (bad), and D(worst). CDX could stand for bad & worst, but marine grade appears to be either BB or BC which would be good & good or good & bad. However, the marine bad is better than the CDX bad- if that makes any sense! The quality of ALL the plys in CDX is lower - guess which one has more voids. Also, marine plywood will have 7 plys while CDX will only have 5.

    So why don't they use CDX? (1)Quality of exterior plys, (2)Qualiuity of interior plys, and (3)Number of plys. Better wood, and more layers of it, equals a stronger,more stable product.

    Then there is the treatment issue! Since the marine ply is a superior product, why even go there. The vast majority of CDX, at least in my part of the country, is untreared and used as either decking or sheating in the construction industry. The only treatment I've ever seen is the green stuff, and we know what it does to aluminum. I'm betting that if you could find CCA treated CDX it would work okay, but it wouldn't be much cheaper than PS's marine grade - and it would not be as strong and stable.

    Just my dimes worth!
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    Points: 690 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 5:07pm
    Charles, I was just teasing you about arguing with Bryan who is a builder by trade. I agree, CDX is not marine quality, although pressure treatment chemicals are not the reason.  Terry does a great job of explaining the reasons above, and I totally concur.
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    Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 5:31pm
    Oh I know, I was like TeeHee, having some fun. When it comes to construction, I'm coming to Brian for his knowledge (and great house boat wall construction I saw) and maybe he won't throw me off the boat LOL. Its funny thought how we get this big discussion going though about every year or two but its good for the new folks to know. Hug  Thumbs Up   I did find a new thing that was interesting that I hadn't know before was that CDX (all of it) is layered at 90 degree angles whereas marine plywood (like PontoonStuff and Overtons sells) is layered at 45 degree angles for better strength, sanded, polished and voids filled. I think though it'll be worthwhile to find a couple of the guys who have the knowledge in the pontoon boat industry to get their input on why they use CCA wood for their boats. It may have to wait until I get back on my feet in 2-3 weeks but its one of them - you just gotta know why (from the horses mouth)
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    Points: 153 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/15/2011 at 1:10pm

    Well I'll be darn, didn't know about the 45* lamination. That would make much stiffer. Thanks for that tidbit of info, WCD.



    Edited by Wildcat Dude - 06/15/2011 at 1:27pm
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    Points: 1786 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2011 at 12:30am
    OK wood I know but I am not the spokesman for the APA (American Plywood Association). The confusion lies within the treatment process being mixed up with the plywood grading process. Any grade plywood, or wood for that matter, can be treated with any number of available processes. So we must keep the two separate. A #2 2x4 can have the same treatment results as a #1 1x6, a sheet of CDX plywood and a sheet of marine grade plywood. Wood is typically graded then either sold or shipped to a treatment facility. In my opinion I would rather have treated CDX on my boat than untreated Marine grade as I live in LA where lumber rots faster than it corrodes aluminum. Leave an untreated sheet of marine plywood on the ground next to a .40pcf treated CDX plywood sheet for 3 months and see what the termites do. The marine will be toast much sooner. With that being said though the best available product, next to COOSA board, is CCA treated marine plywood. The marine grade is superior for stability and lack of extra surface prep required. The CCA treatment will not hurt aluminum like some other process will. In my area though it is possible to buy CCA treated CDX which will be the same but have large knot holes and lesser plys. It is also possible to buy untreated CDX and Marine grade plywood which neither I would recommend as both would rot if left stored outside for any long period. In any instance PS has you covered as they offer the best grade plywood treated with the best (government restricted) treatment process for contact with aluminum. Its the best of both worlds and at the best prices you will find, less shipping. If all of the above really concerns you go with the Coosa board, you won't regret it.
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    Points: 153 Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2011 at 11:47am
    Very well put!
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    Guest Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2011 at 1:47pm
    I like it too Thumbs Up
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    I like epoxy.  If I could laminate myself, I would.Wink
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    Wooden Boat Deck specifics - Alumacraft T-14SF - DIY bass boat.

    An Overview of Pontoon Boat Decking

    It all happens on the deck.

    Pontoon boats are the best places for playing, partying and spending time with friends and family.

    But you can’t do anything without a good, solid deck underneath your feet.

    Most pontoons are made from an aluminum frame, and sitting on top of the frame is the base we call the deck. That deck is the flat support used to hold all components of the boat, not to mention the passengers. It’s also where all the fun happens! So, let’s dig a little deeper and look at all aspects of your toon’s deck.

    So, whether you’re looking for a little general pontoon knowledge or you want to know the ins and outs of pontoon boat decking for a future purchase, we can help you out here.

    Here’s what we’ll review:

    • The pontoon deck’s purpose
    • How the deck’s attached
    • Deck materials, with the pros and cons of each

    What Pontoon Boat Decking Is (and Its Purpose)

    The purpose of a boat deck is to provide structure and support. It also acts as the attaching surface for the boat’s components, like furniture and equipment.

    In case you’re a newbie pontoon aficionado or just plain curious, the basic definition of a ship’s deck is this: “A fixed structure that covers a lower compartment or hull.” That said, the deck of a pontoon is a bit different right off the bat because it doesn’t just cover the hull—it covers the pontoon logs (which form its unique support system).

    Since the decking provides structural reinforcement, it needs to be sturdy enough to protect your ‘toon from storms, waves and instability at high speeds. If your deck is strong, you ‘toon is strong. That’s why I recommend that every pontoon owner learn about the deck of their boat, as well as how to protect, maintain, repair and replace it—even those of us who are less savvy about mechanical things.

    Above board, many of your precious equipment will be attached directly to the pontoon boat decking. Some likely components you’ll have attached are:

    • Railing, with braces and gate
    • Permanent seats/storage containers

    Again, a sturdy pontoon deck will help you keep all of the above items in order.

    Last but not least, especially for those of us who love fun and flair, the pontoon deck provides the base that houses our supplies for daily outings and even pontoon boat camping. Yep, now we’re talking extra storage, food, beverages, chairs, umbrellas and stereo equipment! Everything aboard your ‘toon depends on the decking.

    How the Decking Is Attached: The Pontoon Logs

    So, I realize you might have been intrigued when I noted that the deck is supported by, and attached to, pontoon logs. This is integral to the design of any pontoon—this is what truly defines the ‘toon. The logs not only support the deck, but allow the boat to be buoyant. They allow the boat to travel on, and through, the water.

    Pontoon logs are made of aluminum because it’s soft, durable, lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

    And with better pontoon logs being designed each year, pontoon boats are stronger, more resilient and have more horsepower capability than ever before. Stronger logs = stronger decking = stronger ‘toons.

    For commercial boaters, pontoon logs are typically available in sizes from 18 feet to 26 feet in length, and they come in a variety of placement options, including center, single, tri-toon and transom-mount (the last one’s often custom-made).

    How Does the Deck Attach to Pontoon Logs?

    Good question. The answer: It’s either bolted or screwed. Let’s look at the differences between these attachment methods:

    • Bolting —While bolting sounds like the choice of champions, it might not be the best idea. Before the bolt is inserted, a hole has to be pre-drilled for the bolt. That hole must be ever-so-slightly bigger than the bolt. And you guessed it, over time, the bolt may gradually loosen and cause water penetration. It might even break, and that wouldn’t be good.
    • Self-tapping screws —Screws create strong attachments and are inserted through self-supported holes (that don’t require pre-drilling). That can eliminate the issues you can get with bolts. Plus, an adhesive strip is often used with the screws. When the screw goes through that strip, it adds a self-sealing protection to prevent future movement and/or leaks.

    Let’s remember that a pontoon boat is subjected to a lot of stress when it hits waves and rough waters. That’s why a strong, reinforced structure is so important. Over time, wear and tear can wreak havoc on your pontoon, so ensuring the quality of the hardware that holds the boat together should be your top priority.

    The takeaway? If your pontoon deck is bolted, have the bolts checked regularly or learn how to do that inspection yourself. If they’re loose, replace them.

    What Size Pontoon Boat Deck Do You Need?

    Which of these do you use your pontoon for?

    • Quaint gatherings and sun bathing
    • Swimming and water sports
    • Moving fast to tow water skiiers
    • Cruising in larger bodies of water

    Deciding the purpose of your pontoon can help you choose the best deck size. Have you decided? Okay.

    First, just know that, for stability and balance, the deck is always longer than the pontoon logs. The length of decking will depend on the length of the logs underneath it, no matter what else you’re considering.

    With that in mind, we can take a look at the different lengths of pontoon decking and why people tend to choose them.

    Pontoon Decking Lengths

    • 19 feet or under — This deck size is best for six to eight people and operates best in small, calm bodies of water.
    • 20 to 22 feet — This deck size can accommodate about a dozen passengers. It operates best in calmer waters, too. It may be best for small to mid-size lakes and/or rivers.
    • Over 22 feet — Since this size deck is supported by longer logs, it can accommodate more people (probably up to about 15). But always make sure you check your boat manual for ideal passenger numbers and weight accommodation recommendations. It’s never a good idea to operate any boat that exceeds the manufacturer’s weight recommendations.

    Pontoon Boat Decking Material Choices

    The decking is typically made from one of these types of materials:

    Let’s look at each material type, along with the pros and cons.

    1. Marine-Grade Plywood

    Marine grade plywood comes in different types. And it’s not exactly what you might think.

    Yes, it’s high-quality plywood that’s most often used for boat flooring. But it isn’t waterproof—it’s just held together with waterproof glue.

    Pros: Lightweight, strong and usually defect-free, this wood is constructed with waterproof glue so that water and high humidity won’t cause it to deteriorate.

    Cons: It’s actually not waterproof or water-resistant wood, but requires sealer to be water-resistant.

    You can find three-quarter-inch-thick sheets in 4′ x 8′ dimensions at most home improvement stores, and the average price seems to be around $60+ per sheet.

    2. Treated Plywood

    CCA-treated plywood has been treated with chemicals to prevent water damage, decay and rot. Many people choose this material because it’s readily available and easy to work with.

    Pros: Has been used for years for boats, resists insects, water damage, rot, algae and fungi, it’s a good base for floor covering and it’s durable overall.

    Cons: Heavy, shouldn’t contact food or water meant for human consumption, requires protective equipment when cutting or installing and it can’t be burned—it must be disposed of per state and federal regulations.

    On average, it can be found at most lumber stores and home improvement warehouses for about two bucks per foot.

    If you’re interested in one of the above two options, the Engineered Wood Association (APA) offers guidelines on wood and what works best.

    3. Aluminum

    This is a popular pontoon deck choice because of its many pros.

    Pros: Lightweight, easy to install, strong, easy to clean and maintain, lighter than wood, rust-resistant, stain-resistant and doesn’t need covering.

    Cons: May have to be custom-made, costly and, due to variations in sizes and needs, the prices vary.

    4. Composite Board

    This material is usually a blend of wood and plastic. You can even find blends made of polyurethane foam, glass strands and woven fiberglass.

    Pros: Lightweight, maintenance-free, easy to work with, won’t warp and easy to clean.

    Cons: Can peel if pressure-washed or sanded, needs more support from underneath, prone to mildew and mold and comes at a high cost, around $6-10 per foot.

    Here’s one nice example of composite decking material we found, if you’d like to take a look.

    5. Vinyl Boards

    Vinyl plank flooring is gaining in popularity. The pros will tell you why.

    Pros: Strong, waterproof, skid-resistant, easy to install and looks like wood.

    Cons: Can be more expensive.

    It can be found at most home improvement stores or lumber yards; it averages three to four bucks per foot.

    I spotted this nice sample on Amazon, which comes in packs of ten.

    Covering Your Pontoon Boat Decking

    Now that I’ve gone over the most common pontoon decking materials, let’s talk about coverings to protect and improve upon those materials. I’ve got all the most popular choices of pontoon flooring lined up for you here.

    1. Indoor/Outdoor Carpet

    House, Home and More Indoor Outdoor Carpet with Rubber Marine Backing - Blue - 6 Feet x 10 Feet
    House, Home and More Indoor Outdoor Carpet with Rubber Marine Backing - Blue - 6 Feet x 10 Feet
    • Indoor Outdoor Carpet - great for your patio, deck, boat, sunroom and more
    • Made of olefin fibers - resistant to stains, moisture and mildew – easy to clean
    • UV-protected outdoor carpet with rubber marine backing - weather and fade resistant
    • Carpet edges are not bound – use ‘as is’ or trim to size using utility knife or scissors
    • Features low pile height with ribbed texture for traction

    Indoor/outdoor carpet (check price on Amazon) is a common pontoon deck covering. Often made of polyester, it offers practicality and easy maintenance, and it comes in many sizes and colors.

    Pros: Easy to find and install, UV protection built in, comes with marine-grade backing to resist mildew, weather-resistant, fade-resistant, low pile height.

    Cons: Can retain moisture and still get mildew despite resistance, requires washing.

    The price of the carpeting varies depending on style and size, but I’m sure you can find something affordable. Just make sure to regularly clean your pontoon boat carpet to prevent mildew.

    2. Artificial Grass Turf

    Some people love artificial grass turf because it offers low maintenance and is practical for pets and children. Here’s why:

    Pros: Easy to wash and maintain, pet-friendly, stain-resistant, UV-resistant and water-resistant.

    Cons: Not attractive to some, uncomfortable to some for walking and sitting.

    Price really depends on size, but we found this artificial grass option (check price on  Amazon) 12 x 8 for $79. Not too bad.

    3. Interlocking Vinyl Floor Deck Covering

    Check out these nifty BlockTile Interlocking Tiles (check price on Amazon). Most often used on garage floors, their features also offer a great alternative to pontoon boat carpeting. They have lots of advantages, too. Let’s look:

    Pros: Easy installation and upkeep, rigid but can conform to your dimensions, drains, water-resistant, UV protection, air flow, strong, non-slip.

    We found these at just under three bucks per foot.

    4. No Deck Covering

    Since aluminum deck flooring doesn’t require covering, you might save some money with aluminum.

    Vinyl, and composite, boards may not need covering either. It’s personal preference and depends on your flooring choice. But, if you have a wood pontoon deck, it may need covering.

    The good news? There are many choices available at many different price points.

     

    Who knew there was so much to consider with your pontoon boat decking?

    The takeaway? When choosing decking, consider your family, your recreational activities and your needs. Then shoot for safety and low maintenance.

    There’s no right or wrong choice. It just depends on your needs. And maybe a little on your wallet, too.


    Kelli Clevenger is a North Carolina freelance writer, blogger, and horse boarder. Since she was practically raised on the water, she enjoys writing about boats and water sports, and specializes in weight-loss and food writing. If you’d like, you can learn more about her on her blog.

    Sours: https://betterboat.com/pontoon/pontoon-boat-decking/

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