EVA foam nonskid decks are increasingly popular on flats skiffs and bay boats, as well as on the swim platforms of wakeboard boats and runabouts. The textured, closed-cell, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam provides traction, wet or dry, and cushioning to reduce sore muscles. With a variety of shades from brands such as OceanGrip and SeaDek, the lightweight stain- and UV-resistant material can add a touch of color to match your boat’s interior. You can also have it engraved with special designs.
Skill Level: 4/5
Time to Complete: 8 Hours
Tools and Supplies
*Stencil kit for creating a pattern ($15; seadek.com)
*EVA foam nonskid deck kit (cost varies but averages about $1,800 for an 18-foot flats skiff without graphics, according to SeaDek)
*Clean rags and rubber gloves (for scrubbing with alcohol)
Quick Tip: There may be an existing pattern to fit your boat. SeaDek, for example, has more than 1,000 pre-measured patterns. Specify the boat model, colors, texture and graphics, and the nonskid deck is custom-made without need for a stencil.
1. Create a Pattern
Start by ordering a stencil kit from the company you plan to work with — in this case, SeaDek. Costing $15, the kit consists of clear Mylar plastic sheets, an indelible marker and instructions to create a pattern that you submit for a quote and (with your approval) production of your nonskid deck. SeaDek also offers an online video that takes you through the stencil making, as well as the installation process. The cost of the stencil kit is credited toward the purchase of your deck.
2. Pick the Texture and Colors
Choose from two textures — embossed dots or brushed wood grain. The latter offers the classic look that some boat owners prefer. SeaDek offers 16 colors, with decks constructed from two laminated layers in contrasting colors, giving the deck an overall thickness of about ¼-inch. Beveled edges offer a classy look. The underlying color also allows routered caulk lines or custom graphics to stand out. Ask about graphics options when ordering your deck.
3. Prepare the Deck
EVA foam nonskid can be installed on metal or fiberglass decks, even those with existing nonskid patterns, but the deck must be clean and free of grease, dust and other contaminants. Just before you install the nonskid, scrub the deck with a stiff-bristle brush and soap and water, rinse thoroughly, and then dry it with a towel to eliminate water spots. Finally, wipe down each section of the deck with denatured alcohol to ensure a clean mounting surface.
4. Install the Nonskid
Peel-and-stick, pressure-sensitive adhesive backing from 3M makes installation easy and creates a strong bond. Position each section of nonskid and tape it in place. Then lift one corner slightly, peel away a bit of the backing, and lay the corner back down. Do this again to an adjacent corner. Now remove the positioning tape, lift the opposite side, slowly peel away the backing (beginning at the two corners you just laid down), and lay down the rest of the nonskid. Press firmly to fully activate the adhesive.