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Old 26 March 2007, 20:32   #1
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Wood or aluminum panel floors?

Hi, Ive been debating to myself the pros and cons of wood and aluminum panel floors.
My thoughts are that wood is heavier, cheaper to fabricate could rot if not properly treated but won't heat up under the sun as much.

Now aluminum can be as rigid as wood panels but lighter with is good but the sun will heat it up so much it would burn the soles off my feet.

Anyone has had an aluminum panel floor in their inflatable and can comment on this?

thanks!
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Old 27 March 2007, 03:10   #2
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I had an aluminium floor in a Zodiac a few years ago. I'm in the UK though, so overheating was never really an issue! I'd have thought that a shiny aluminium floor would be quite good in the sun, but you've probably got a better idea.

If I was buying a new inflatable I would have an inflatable floor instead of solid floorboards. In my experience getting them in and out is a major hassle -- it may be down to poor technique, but I've still got the scars on my knuckles!

Good luck

John
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Old 27 March 2007, 03:22   #3
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Why not bond a layer of closed cell foam to the Ali floor then you won't burn your feet.
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Old 27 March 2007, 04:04   #4
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The aluminium floors may be heavier, they are with our Heavy Duty inflatables.

The wooden or composite floors do not wear so well but you are right in thinking that they heat up less in direct sun.

As for John's knuckle damage, I think that is all down to technique.
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Old 27 March 2007, 09:32   #5
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I had never thought of bonding a layer of foam...great idea for those with aluminum floor.. What about a mat of textured neoprene!

Anyways yesterday I ordered my 11ft / 3.35m inflatable with a vinyl covered wood floor! Weighs 115 lbs / 52.3 kg....

Here in PR the sun beats down real good and from my experience anything aluminum or stainless steel in a boat will heat like crazy....

My boat will always be inflated so no need to deflate, remove floors each time and pack.

So aluminum panels are not necesarily lighter than wood???
Is the weight of my boat considered to be light or heavy for its size???

thanks!
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Old 28 March 2007, 18:00   #6
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Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
If I was buying a new inflatable I would have an inflatable floor instead of solid floorboards. In my experience getting them in and out is a major hassle -- it may be down to poor technique, but I've still got the scars on my knuckles!
I'm with John on this! However, between aluminium and wood, I would choose wood... because if you need to assemble the boat at sea, drop an aluminium panel in the water and it will sink. Drop a wooden one and it will float.
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Old 28 March 2007, 18:53   #7
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I'm with John on this!
Didn't stop either of us smiling though, did it?

John
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Old 28 March 2007, 20:20   #8
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Wood vs. Aluminum

Both have advantages and disadvantages. As for air floors, they have much less utility and have that soggy wet noodle feeling while underway. The maintenance free aspect & longevity of aluminum floorboards is nice but, they are much pricier than wood. It's easier to set up custom anchor points and such in a wood floor and it's also easy to DIY a replacement set of wood floorboards. If you want more than one set of floorboards for different deck layouts, depeding on your appplication, wood allows you to do that economically.
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Old 28 March 2007, 21:53   #9
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John,,,Looking at the two layers of clothing in the picture I would be crying of the cold!!!! Man u wear that here u loose 10 pounds in ten minutes.
Obviously the sun and the aluminum heating up are not an issue where u live.

Prairie tuber,, now that u mention anchor points to the wood panels. I had thought of setting up some to hold in place the fuel tank,

But can we also set up a cleat to the forward panel to run the achor line over the bow and then thru the outer bow ring/handle to reduce stress when tying directly to the bow ring on the out side?

Will the front panel come loose or fly off the boat if pulled by the anchor rope?
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Old 29 March 2007, 00:15   #10
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Will the front panel come loose or fly off the boat if pulled by the anchor rope?
Most likely. The front boards are often less beefy than the other boards. The front handle D-ring on a good quality SIB is designed to handle the stress that an anchor line would apply.
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