Operation Restoration

Published in the May 2009 Issue May 2009

My wife Rebecca and I have a 2001 Odyssey Millennium 21-foot pontoon with a 90hp Johnson outboard and we live in Cape Coral, Fla., home of hot sun and hurricanes.

In September 2006, we bought a used pontoon from a gentleman in Kentucky. It wasn't long after we brought it home that the seats started to split, mold started to grow on the carpet, and our pride and joy started looking shabby.

Last fall we decided it was time to dive into a restoration project. After reading a lot of information online and researching many other products, we decided on a product called Durabak to restore our floor. We no longer wanted the hassle of wet carpet, mold, and the constant worries of spills. (We have a 6-year-old daughter; can you say red Kool-Aid?)


Getting Started

We ordered our new seats from Pontoonstuff.com, bought a new livewell, and bought a few other odds and ends to restore our toon besides the Durabak product. It was then time to go to work and with the help from my good friend Ray Crowl, we dove in head first. September and October proved to be challenging months to restore a pontoon, outside, with many tropical storms, and really hot and humid weather between storms. But with the help of a 20- by 30-foot tarp, we kept pushing on.

We stripped the toon of all furniture except the helm, because it didn't have any carpet underneath. We finally removed everything down to the wood floor and decided to rent a floor sander to give it a good go over. The floor was solid, but had a small oil stain, plus we also wanted a nice surface to start with. Besides, the old carpet glue wasn't coming off without a fight.

Ready For Durabak

After the floor was stripped to a smooth surface we prepped the floor with Xylene and started with the first coat of Durabak. We soon discovered that pouring half the gallon in the paint tray was a bad idea, as the Durabak product would turn thick very quickly. I really had my doubts after the first coat was done as I had a difficult time getting the product evenly applied.

I waited two days to apply the second coat and that time it went on much easier. This time around I only put small amounts in the tray and stirred the Durabak product each time I put more in the tray.

The second coat looked much better with only a couple spots needing a third coat for added texture and coverage. I was a little disappointed that some of the seams of the floor showed through and a couple screw heads did not hold onto the coating. But the coverage area was just as the product label stated as we had just enough, two cans, for our 21- by 8-foot 'toon.

Finishing Touches

With the bad weather, our son's wedding, and a full-time job (had to pay for the restore somehow), it took us a few weeks to put the toon back together. Like a champ, the Durabak finish took the beating of the sliding tools, the new seats scraping during the install and empty drink bottles rolling across the floor. Takes a lickin' and keeps on.wait, that's a different product. Anyway, we finally got Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Overall, the floor turned out even better than I had expected. The textured surface is not slippery at all. It is a little warm to the bare feet, but not hot; then again, even ice cubes in Florida are warm to the touch in the sun. Cleaning the floor is easy as well, just a garden hose and a brush to remove those stubborn fish guts. With the exception of sea grass, most everything rinses right off.

It has been about five months since we applied Durabak to our pontoon and the floor looks as good as the day it was applied. No mold, no oil stains, and most importantly, no more wet and moldy carpet!

I would recommend this product to other pontoon owners and if I ever restore another toon it will be with Durabak.

Spill Proof. One of the reasons Tim Linville was interested in the Durabak product was to prevent mold and mildew from forming on the floor of his boat. The other reason was his 6-year-old daughter Ciara who has been known to spill a little Kool-Aid on occasion.




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