Subject: Cabin Sole replacement
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003
I'm about to drop in a new teak and holly veneer panel (1/2" 4' x 8') into my Pearson 424. The old flooring had some water damage quite some time ago and the holly strips have rotted out due to the varnish keeping the moisture in. I did remove the old varnish and cleaned the teak, which worked some, but the rotted holly washed away. So it's time to replace. I'm about to pull the old floor up but I wanted to prepare for the worse on the next trip down. This is a long commute (500 mile round trip) weekend project so I need to have my ducks in a row before leaving. After reading some articles it appears to be a good idea to treat the panel with epoxy before installing. Also I've been told that screwing the panel down is unnecessary (which the old one had) and that an adhesive will do the job. And what about protecting the top of the flooring? Any guidance you could give a novice would be greatly appreciated.
The are some compelling reasons to treat the new top surface with CPES™ (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer™). It will discourage the problem you had with the Holly, as well as providing a superior bonding coat for the final clear coating. The CPES™ should be used on the edges as well, so that means applying the CPES™ AFTER the panel has been cut and trimmed and is ready for installation. CPES™ will tone the wood to the same extent as any clear coating, that is, highlight the grain and enrich the colors.
For premium top finish bonding, we recommend that the first coat of uncut varnish be applied as soon as the CPES™'d surface becomes tacky (or shortly thereafter). This way you are catching the epoxy in the curing phase and it "locks-in" the first coating of varnish. I would then apply at least 5 more coats of varnish, and this can be done at your convenience. The more coats of varnish you have, the greater protection the base wood substrate has. Periodically you can lightly sand the top surface and apply another coat of the varnish to enhance the appearance. I would use any premium marine-grade varnish.
Yes, adhesives will hold down the panel, but using a super strong bonding material -- such as epoxies or 3-M's 5200 -- will make it almost impossible to remove the flooring easily if that should become necessary. That's why the manufacturer used screws...it makes flooring removal a relatively simple task.
A 500 mile commute to your Pearson makes you a pretty dedicated sailor!
Feel free to come back if you have additional questions.