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TOPIC: Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge

Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 23 Sep 2022 22:31 #132077

  • Colin Stone
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Looks good. We have a good number of hatches cut into our floor boards - chest freezer, domestic battery coffin, pump space, water tanks, bilge storage in several areas - wine, beer, spirit, dry provisions etc, some paints and fluids, coal and logs etc etc.
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 23 Sep 2022 21:20 #132075

  • Herb Lazonby
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It took a long time but my floor is in! Thanks for all the advice. The floor is pine laid onto the steel beams and fastened to 2x2 bearers on every other beam. Access to the bilge is possible via certain boards which can be unscrewed and lifted!
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 26 Oct 2021 18:04 #126471

  • Richard Cooper
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II think you are wise to want proper floor boards. I laid tanalised 50 x 50mm sawn timber across the boat and laid boards on that but You might well be trying to get every half inch of headroom possible . As for floor boards mine are sort of permanently fixed along the edges although they will unscrew if I have to but a continous section right along the centre of the boat can be lifted in panels about 2` 6 x 3` long , these are braced with timber underneath and just drop into place and can be lifted by brass 'ring pull' thingys, it looks a lot more professional than it is. Thing is with floor boards is that they are normally tongued and grooved, This means that you have to cut some of the tongues and grooves off otherwise they lock together and you can't shift them . It takes a lot more time than just dropping sheets of ply down but it is a much better job. If I was buying a boat I really really would be put off if I couldn't get at the bottom.
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 25 Oct 2021 09:45 #126452

  • Balliol Fowden
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My suggestions:

You need to decide how much access to the bilge you want. You ideally need to be able to get at least sight into every frame space by means of access panels either at the sides, or perhaps at some intermediate point across the boat so long as these panels can run in a single straight line through the accommodation. The access is desirable so that you can inspect, apply wax to the plating periodically (by spray if necessary), and be able to see all areas (by endoscope if necessary) to fire watch or identify leaks.

Bilges also need to be ventilated, which to some extent negates the question of whether to insulate or not.

Working on the basis of a nice solid hardwood finish layer I would suggest laying longitudinal treated softwood bearers, say 3” x 2” nominal, rebated to take 18mm plywood, over which you lay 18mm solid wood flooring, all presuming that you are not fighting for headroom. The bearers should be run longitudinally over the transverse bottom frames to minimise cold bridges, and can be rebated or shimmed as necessary to take up any deformation in the original bottom structure. The bearers should be spaced at approx 600 mm centres, but spaced to centres to correspond exactly with the finished width of the panels of hardwood boarding selected after removal of the tongues and grooves around the perimeters.

The space between the bearers could be insulated with say 40mm urethane foam panels so long as this does not impede ventilation.

Then lay plywood panels between the bearers, sitting in your rebates with 2x1 cleats under the transverse joints to eliminate differential flexing. The plywood needs to be of good external grade quality. To an extent ignore the BS/EN numbers but ensure that the boards purchased do not come from China and have good straight veneers as viewed from the edges, no evidence of fillers etc. The Chinese reputedly stamp whatever EN numbers the wholesale customer requires on their standard boards.

Then glue your selected finish boarding to the panels in situ, but not of course to the bearers where the boards overlap. Engineered boards are not necessarily of water resistant quality. I prefer solid wood, say oak, in narrow (65mm?) planks to minimise the risk of movement stresses.

Balliol.
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 25 Oct 2021 09:00 #126451

  • Colin Stone
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We have 19mm pine floorboards screwed directly into the floor beams using Würth self tapping screws. We have a foam/silver insulation sheet underneath planks.
Rugs on top where required. Bare boards in winter haven't been noticeably cold.
Cutting access hatches is easy and I've cut half a dozen or so for a variety of reasons since build.
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 24 Oct 2021 23:44 #126450

  • Pete Milne
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My barge's floor is superb 1 1/4" T&G planks covered in pretty laminate. The drawback is that when a surveyor requires some plating in the bottom, which needs an internal firewatch, I have to cut through the laminate (at the joints with a sharp knife), then through the planks (with a jigsaw). Then, put it all back, looking worse than it did!
I don't have a good answer to the question but if starting from scratch, I'd install a floor that allowed access panels to be lifted along the length of the ship.

Pete
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 24 Oct 2021 23:35 #126449

  • Charles Mclaren
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Herb
Go for the boards but first fasten a “bearer” along the frame to which to fasten the boards. However remember the bilges are always cold so your feet will be too. Remember too that barges corrode from the inside out and therefore access is good. Why not construct insulated panels that you can lift and that maybe fit into fore and aft stringers fixed to the frames? C
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Laying floor boards onto steel beams in a dutch barge 24 Oct 2021 23:16 #126448

  • Herb Lazonby
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Hello,

I recently purchased a small 37ft Tjalk which i am currently living aboard. The flooring on the boat is large sheets of plywood with laminate on top which in my opinion isn't very nice... I'd much rather have proper floor boards. I was wandering if anyone here has had any experience laying wooden boards directly onto the steel beams of the boat??? Would i be better just removing the laminate and replacing it with engineered wood???

Many thanks

Herb
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