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Narrowboat Building

Narrowboat Interior Designs



The Interior

The interior of your boat is obviously an important factor in the enjoyment of your time onboard, as it's where your going to be spending a lot of your time when not piloting the barge.In this section of the site, we cover the wall and floor linings, and what your options are.

The Floor

When installing a floor above the ballast in the base of your boat, you should ensure that you provide an adequately strong base which will be able to bear the weight of the all the fittings, appliances and general wear and tear from people moving about in the boat. Several flooring materials are available, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages. These are outlined below;

The cheapest option at around £16 per 8 foot by 4 foot sheet, but will absorb water and start to crumble easily. Chipboard is also hard to cut to shape, which may make installation tough.

Shuttering Ply
This is the type of wood which is used to temporarily board up windows and for rough building work. Costs around £30 per sheet, but provides an uneven surface, and may have weak points which will bend under your weight if they are positioned in a high load area, such as those below main hatchways.

Exterior Ply
A tougher quality plywood which uses a higher quality glue to hold each of the laminates in the wood together. This type of plywood is known as "Weather and Boil Proof" so is suitable for most out door uses, and is better able to withstand the water that it may come in touch with onboard. The surface of this type of ply is much smoother, and of a higher standard, but costs around £40 per sheet.

Marine Ply
Designed for use on off shore craft where the durability of the wood is of great importance, this may be overkill for a narrow boat, but is still a consideration for a long lasting flooring. Costs around £60 per sheet.

Timber Floor Boards
A very expensive option, but provides a high quality finish if installed correctly. You will not need carpet when you've laid these! It may however be worth using them only in areas where you will notice the difference, such as the lounge and galley, due to the high cost of such a material.

The Hull and Cabin Sides

Once the floor is finished, the next job is to line the hull and cabin walls. This will be achieves by fixing battens to the steal stiffeners along the side of the hull (or gluing them directly to the hull surface), and then fixing wooden panels to them. The battens you fit to the stiffeners can be screwed or Hilti Gunned on, or if your hull does not have stiffeners, you may be able to glue using a very strong adhesive, directly to the hull. Around portholes, it is preferable to use a sheet of plywood cut to shape, as this will give you the uniform surface required to fit window frames.

Choosing the correct wood:
Not only will you need to decide on the most appropriate type of wood for lining the interior of your boat, but also whether you need it in flat panels or tongue and grooved boards.

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