I really hate writing articles like the one you are now about to read. Articles of setbacks and failure. It is quite natural that we want to convey good news and tell nice stories of mastering challenges and being on the winning side. Well, sometimes that is not the case. Besides: I know that many of you, dearest readers, are taking my magazine serious as inspirations for your own boat projects. In this, I do have bad news indeed.
You may have followed my upgrade-series for GEKKOs interior and read my articles on EVA-foam and how to utilize it. EVA is a synthetic, soft foamy self-adhesive material that can be applied to both internal and external surfaces to act as cover, insulator and deck-surface. In GEKKO I utilized EVA massively: Inside as floorboards and side-insulation in the fore-cabin, on deck as flooring in the cockpit. Until two or three weeks ago I was really satisfied and absolutely staunched of the quality and use-case of EVA-foam. Well. That has changed.
A good start in the first place
At first let me get this straight: I still love EVA-foam and I think, when applied by pros and ordered at a reasonable supplier you will indeed get what you wanted: A reliable, rugged, good-looking and comfortable facing for surfaces of your boat. In GEKKO, the EVA-foam I used still looks pretty awesome and really does what it was supposed to do: Down in the saloon as flooring – still a great use case.
XXXXXBILD 02 alles gut?
Also, in the fore cabin, attaching the material to the bare topcoated sides of the hull improved living qualities by a magnitude. It not just looks cozy, it is much warmer and feels much more comfortable to one´s back if sleeping in the front. So, where´s the problem then? Well, it´s up and out in the cockpit: Apparently, going for the cheap China-made 90-Euro self-adhesive EVA-foam sold by amazon wasn´t a good idea at last …
When I had the boat finished with the new decking I exerted maximum care and craftsmanship to have the raw material cut and applied in the best possible matter. But imagine my shock when I boarded GEKKO for the first time after she had been in water for one or two weeks: Apparently, due to heavy sunshine and high temperatures I suppose, the EVA-foam-patches seemed to have shrunk in size. Bearing an all-black surface to the sun, they could act as collectors and heat up pretty much.
But the effect of shrinking was shocking: All parts of the flooring of the new cockpit had been decreased. A nasty, brown outline was visible. More so, when I boarded the boat and inspected the damage, I could easily take off the flooring. Underneath, the EVA-surface backside had completely lost grip to the internal glue. This glue came off in small white crumbs, my fingers were full of it.
To my biggest shock, all of the EVA-floorboards came off. They just lay on their place by pure gravitation, there is no adhesive force by the glue anymore. Even the Sika-/Pantera agent I used for sealing off the outlines from water entering is gone. It seemed as if the downmost layer of the EVA-foam had completely been dissolved. Now, when walking on the deck, the patches get deranged, folded and come off completely. What an annoying occasion!
But I guess the mistake has been on my side from the start: “Buy cheap – buy twice!”, this is a maxim I tell my clients all the time. It applies to almost everything in live. Cars, furniture, clothing and … even EVA-foam. The idea of covering a whole cockpit with a budget of just 180 Euros (that´s two rolls of 90 Euro-amazon-foam) my seem tempting and seemed to work just fine in the first place. But I guess there is a reason why companies like SeaDek charge a multitude of the said sum to professionally paste up a boat´s cockpit. Oh well, so what to do now?
Before the first real hard downpours and storms of the coming fall season will start to simply blow away my China deck I will scrap it off completely (of which taking off the Pantera-leftover will be the most fun part I look forward to (not)) and substitute this by a professionally made and applied deck flooring by SeaDek. This time, for sure, I won´t hit the trap of being lured into cheap DIY amazon products anymore … learning through pain.
You might as well like to read these related articles:
Interior upgrades with EVA-foam
Faux teak, a solution?
Quitting real teak in 2022: Myanmar is out