BUNK BOARD REPLACEMENT - TIPS WELCOME!

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Hommy

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Hello. We are new to boat ownership (Nitro 700 LX with terrible boards and ripped fabric) and have a possibly silly question...
How do you work on rotted bunk boards? Do you take the boat to the lake and have someone in it 1/2 day while someone else drives trailer home to work on boards? Where do you buy the fabric for the boards? (I have seen listings at different sites, but am hoping someone has a source of great fabric at a good price.) Is this something that is ridiculous to ask a boat repair shop to do? Do you crawl under the trailer and removed one board at a time? I am handy with a staple gun and fabric, but not so handy on levitating the boat.
 

nativejim

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depends on a lot of things. if you are the "handy" type, these can be changed at home; one at a time. boats are heavy, even a tin boat like mine. bought bunk material on Amazon.

I rebuilt new boards, took boat the lake, parked boat on shore, changed on the parking lot. measure, measure, measure to ensure correct length on trailer.

it can be done, did so by myself.
 

PETE SZULC

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I agree with Nativejim.. except I bought a heaver outdoor carpet from home depot . I did mine right in the marina and left my boat in water for a few hours. Its best to have 1 person with you to help hold the rugs and help screw in the boards. it will go faster... I also brought my compressor so i could staple the rug to the boards with my nail gun, makes life a lot easier. I also used calk on the lag screws to help hold them in this way they do not unscrew while driving . I have had some unscrew before I tried calk .... good luck and send pictures when done ...
 

South Texas Joe

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I replaced mine on my 2015 Z9 one after another as they went bad and the original ones didnt last 2 years , I replaced the ones that primarily were on the side of the hull as they went bad until it was time to replace the main ones the bottom of the hull sits on …couple of points to consider …I would use treated wood then coat it with boiled linseed oil, 2 or more coats , it’s extra work but your boards will probably last 10 years or more , I know a guy that just used the treated wood and his lasted 8 years. Be mindful of the hull where it sits on the bunk boards …most everyone takes their boat to the dock , pulls it off and ties it up then works on the trailer , you might be surprised if you knew what the hull looked like where it sits on the boards. I jacked the nose of my boat up gently in my shop and removed the bunk board to find that my hull had water blisters where it sat on the bunk boards - boat was only 2 years old…very disappointing…my boat was in the fiberglass shop for 6 weeks to repair…I hear that this is a common problem but few know it - because they put the boat in the water then work on the trailer in the parking lot..I’ve attached a couple pictures…
 

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OldDude

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This project is coming up soon for me as well. I have a good 20 Oz carpet. Buying boards today. I plan to make the boards ahead of time in my shop.

I will try to remember to take pics and share but some days I can't seem to remember what I had for breakfast.

Any thoughts on gluing the carpet, then stapling the bottom with stainless steel staples vs just using the ss staples alone?

@PETE SZULC ... good tip on the caulk. I will try that.

I plan to take it to the lake with my generator and too
ls amd make a day of it.
 

Gunther

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I suggest a 2 day process.

Buy Marine Grade carpet and glue. I used West Marine or Cabela's. Buy marine grade treated lumber, SS bolts/nuts, SS staples and staple gun.
Day 1, take boat off trailer and measure length of board AND mounting hole locations. Inspect the existing hardware. If it's rusted, make sure you have the correct tools to bust them loose. You may need a saw to cut the board away then a metal saw to cut the bolt. Then catch some fish. Then at home, cut boards, drill mounting holes (I countersunk the hole for the bolt head with wide enough clearance to still fit socket around the bolt head. I don't like carriage bolts. I used glue and staples on the bottom side and just Glue on top. The staples help hold the carpet as you stretch it around the board. Make sure to wrap around the ends of the boards too. And it holds it in place when you finish wrapping it. You can use a rolling pin or something to smooth out the carpet on the board. Let it dry for a several days. Use a knife to cut open the area for the bolts.
Day 2
Remove the old and install the new. Catch more fish

This is a lot more work and MESSY but less than 25% the cost of boards ready made. This also lets you use the exact same size boards. Have fun
 

Major Mark

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I realize everyone is giving opinions regarding a fiberglass hull, but some people may read these and assume it works for ALL hulls. Aluminum hulls can NOT have treated lumber used! The chemicals used in the treatment process will eat away at the aluminum. If not using treated lumber, leave the bottom side of the boards carpet free for the wood to breath/dry. Just my .02 advice...
 

Kirby Wilson

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If using treated lumber take a plastic jug and cut out washers to cover the metal between the treated wood. Measuring and prefabbing the bunks before taking the boat down to unload. If you have a battery powered saw and drill all will be a big help in removing the existing bunks and installing the new bunks.
 

Fro

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Does anyone have any experience with using a manufactured bunk board like these?


I‘ve been thinking about going this route when it’s time but I’m not sure what it’ll do to the bottom of the boat without any carpet.
 

OldDude

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I'm going to begin my replacement in a couple of months. I can post pics of the progress of there is any interest
 

Hommy

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depends on a lot of things. if you are the "handy" type, these can be changed at home; one at a time. boats are heavy, even a tin boat like mine. bought bunk material on Amazon.

I rebuilt new boards, took boat the lake, parked boat on shore, changed on the parking lot. measure, measure, measure to ensure correct length on trailer.

it can be done, did so by myself.
depends on a lot of things. if you are the "handy" type, these can be changed at home; one at a time. boats are heavy, even a tin boat like mine. bought bunk material on Amazon.

I rebuilt new boards, took boat the lake, parked boat on shore, changed on the parking lot. measure, measure, measure to ensure correct length on trailer.

it can be done, did so by myself.
Thank you so much for the tips! I appreciate it.
 

Hommy

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I replaced mine on my 2015 Z9 one after another as they went bad and the original ones didnt last 2 years , I replaced the ones that primarily were on the side of the hull as they went bad until it was time to replace the main ones the bottom of the hull sits on …couple of points to consider …I would use treated wood then coat it with boiled linseed oil, 2 or more coats , it’s extra work but your boards will probably last 10 years or more , I know a guy that just used the treated wood and his lasted 8 years. Be mindful of the hull where it sits on the bunk boards …most everyone takes their boat to the dock , pulls it off and ties it up then works on the trailer , you might be surprised if you knew what the hull looked like where it sits on the boards. I jacked the nose of my boat up gently in my shop and removed the bunk board to find that my hull had water blisters where it sat on the bunk boards - boat was only 2 years old…very disappointing…my boat was in the fiberglass shop for 6 weeks to repair…I hear that this is a common problem but few know it - because they put the boat in the water then work on the trailer in the parking lot..I’ve attached a couple pictures…
Thank you for providing all the information and the pictures. I have to ask...what caused the water blisters? Did this happen because the trailer board fabric was old or not the right kind (to drain water)? Thanks.
 

Hommy

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I agree with Nativejim.. except I bought a heaver outdoor carpet from home depot . I did mine right in the marina and left my boat in water for a few hours. Its best to have 1 person with you to help hold the rugs and help screw in the boards. it will go faster... I also brought my compressor so i could staple the rug to the boards with my nail gun, makes life a lot easier. I also used calk on the lag screws to help hold them in this way they do not unscrew while driving . I have had some unscrew before I tried calk .... good luck and send pictures when done ...
Thank you for the tips! I hope to have this done (and pictures posted:) by autumn.
 

Hommy

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I suggest a 2 day process.

Buy Marine Grade carpet and glue. I used West Marine or Cabela's. Buy marine grade treated lumber, SS bolts/nuts, SS staples and staple gun.
Day 1, take boat off trailer and measure length of board AND mounting hole locations. Inspect the existing hardware. If it's rusted, make sure you have the correct tools to bust them loose. You may need a saw to cut the board away then a metal saw to cut the bolt. Then catch some fish. Then at home, cut boards, drill mounting holes (I countersunk the hole for the bolt head with wide enough clearance to still fit socket around the bolt head. I don't like carriage bolts. I used glue and staples on the bottom side and just Glue on top. The staples help hold the carpet as you stretch it around the board. Make sure to wrap around the ends of the boards too. And it holds it in place when you finish wrapping it. You can use a rolling pin or something to smooth out the carpet on the board. Let it dry for a several days. Use a knife to cut open the area for the bolts.
Day 2
Remove the old and install the new. Catch more fish

This is a lot more work and MESSY but less than 25% the cost of boards ready made. This also lets you use the exact same size boards. Have fun
Thank you for ALL the tips!
 

South Texas Joe

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Thank you for providing all the information and the pictures. I have to ask...what caused the water blisters? Did this happen because the trailer board fabric was old or not the right kind (to drain water)? Thanks.
The carpet was the original new carpet that came with the trailer. I’ve heard that water blisters are more of a problem with boats that are garage kept in a humid climate. I’ve also read that if Gel Coat is wet long enough it will blister so I’ve been putting a fan on the underside of my boat after every fishing trip to dry the carpet. I just can’t help but wonder if it was caused by just a bad batch or low quality Gel Coat….
 

Hommy

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Hi South Texas Joe. I wish I knew more about the blistering. I thought it only happened to boats that were docked in the water. I wonder if a dehumidifier in the garage might help...?
 

South Texas Joe

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I’m sure it would , putting a fan blowing on the hull after each trip has worked it looks like , no more water blisters so far
 

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