I've discussed this project with many of you, and after the Chesapeake Rendezvous the other weekend, I promised I would finish this write-up and get it posted. So here it is...
A pdf is attached, but I'll lay it all out here too in a series of posts if that's easier for anyone.
For purposes of posterity, helpful search words would include Amtico, NuTeak, cabin sole, cabin floor, hatches, interior trim, teak and holly, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile, carpeting, plywood, flooring, CFlor, NautikFloor, underlayment
Teak & Holly Installation
Amtico (Luxury Vinyl Tile)
1968 Chris Craft Commander 35’ – Cabin Sole
I’m providing this write-up to document my installation of Amtico luxury vinyl teak and holly flooring mainly because as I searched for information in preparation, I found few places where I could find everything in one spot.
The summer of 2017 marked the beginning of our fourth season with our 1968 Chris Craft Commander 35. A previous owner invested a significant amount of money in the boat, and we have always tried and maintain her as best we could. As we started the fourth season with her, it was finally time to address the snap-in carpeting in the cabin which was quite old, falling apart, and (we would learn once we got it home) the source of a very odd smell in the cabin.
The cabin sole is easily broken into essentially three areas; the v-berth, the main cabin, and underneath the dinette/settee. One of the challenges with this boat is the fact that there are four hatches in the main cabin and another up under the v-berth. Access to these hatches was a priority in whatever happened next.
Once we decided to replace the carpeting, this is pretty much the order of how we evaluated options:
- New carpeting. Using the old carpeting as a template, I got estimates in the $1500-2000 range to cut and bind new pieces. Upside: quick and easy. Downside: it makes the cabin kind of dark, it’s difficult to keep clean, the prices seemed expensive, and it did not meet the hatch access requirement.
- Real Teak and Holly. Beautiful. Don’t price it unless you have someone else is paying.
- Teak & Holly Plywood. This was in the running for a while at first. The use of real wood was appealing, but making a reliable template and cutting some of the twists, turns, and hatches in the cabin would make fitment a challenge and I wanted to avoid messing with quarter-round at the edges. I was not convinced of the durability and opportunities to refinish if the top layer got damaged. I also had a problem with my cabin being longer fore-to-aft than 8’ which would create a giant seam in the middle (unless I did the pattern port-starboard which wouldn’t have looked right).
- Laminates. After looking over several samples, the one piece roll-out laminates did not at all go with the quality of our cabin. The shiny and smooth finish didn’t come close to what we were looking for. Also, had some concerns with fitment similar to the plywood option.
- Big Box Store Options. A cabin is technically “indoors,” right? I combed through many of the countless options out there from tile, cork, carpet squares, laminate hardwoods, etc, but kept coming back to really wanting that look of teak and holly.
- Vinyl Teak & Holly. There seem to be two companies out there making some variation of a luxury vinyl tile in teak and holly. Amtico is a UK company, NuTeak is US based and has NautikFlor and CFlor. The NautikFloor snaps together in pieces about 3 teak widths wide. This created a seam across several pieces I didn’t like. The CFlor, frankly, just doesn’t have a lot of info out there on how it all goes together. Which lead us to…
- Amtico. For the price, selection, quality, durability, and look, this option won out. Both the teak and holly come in 3’ lengths as individual pieces and the teak has a couple width options. Once you get samples you can see the difference and while this option is not the cheapest, it seemed to check a lot of other boxes.
Once we decided what material we wanted to use, we started working on getting estimates. Yikes…IF I could find an outfit willing to install during the summer (they seem to prefer deck installations then), estimates ran over $6,000 and 7-10 days for install. After trying to do as much research as possible and talking to many people, the actual install was defined as “tedious, but not hard,” and I was told I could do it if I was even remotely handy and should try it myself. While this ended-up being true, the estimates and timelines made sense in the end.
First I needed to make sure I could source the Amtico myself. This was easy. Some quick work with Google lead me to several distributors in the country. Prices ranged from $5.99/sqft (+$0.25/lf for the holly) to almost $12/sqft for everything. Amtico only sells in boxes of 45sq, so since I was in the 65sqft range, I would need two boxes plus an amount of holly determined by the guy I purchased from. Flooring, one can of their two-part adhesive, and shipping were on their way for just about $800.
Other supplies included two sheets of 1/4” marine ply, almost 500 3/4” flush head stainless steel screws, and a couple tools along the way.