Hardwood, ply, aluminium, or fibreglass?

Discussion in 'Horse and Rider Safety' started by Blackbat, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    Opinions on float floor materials. Like or don't like, pro and cons, expected lifespan of each when being stomped and urinated on, any experience to share?

    I've only ever had marine ply or form ply floors. Pros are cost, ease of fitting and replacing, light, reasonably strong against impact, vibration and inert to chemicals, salt or oxidation. Cons- it rots when wee'd on and needs replacing every few years. I got my current float floor replaced a few years ago after being told it was only 2 years old - it was rotten and had actual holes in it! The gods were with us that it held together so long.

    But looking at new floats, there are so many more options out there, even a space age plastic which promises it is maintainence free (sounds good!). Also mesh reinforced, plastic lined, super-strutted options too, but these get heavier and more expensive, and do they really make a big difference?

    My worst nightmare is a horse's feet going through the floor during travel. If you has the option, which flooring would you choose as the safest, most durable and comfiest ride for the horse?
  2. barragirl

    barragirl Active Member

    I have always had hardwood - jarrah slats 3cm depth with 1-2cm spacing between them which allows for ease to dry them out. the slats are great because u can just replace them individually as u need too. I have just purchased brand new one with fibreglass flooring - not sure how confident i feel, but my hubby is handy - so we will keep an eye on flooring and reinforce if we feel we have too.
  3. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    Thanks BG, I've got a choice of 20mm ply or fibreglass too. It's difficult to decide whether to stick with what you know, or try a new technology. The lure of a maintainence-free floor is strong, and I know it's a popular material for boats, but I have seen boat hulls cracked by sharp impacts and wonder how a weight bearing flat fibreglass sheet would up to vibration, do they get stress points and stress cracks? Then how do you fix or replace that?
  4. TBPA

    TBPA Well-known Member

    Considering how quickly we wrecked our fibreglass boat I would be concerned about using it for float flooring. It's not very tough at all, so easy to gouge holes in and it never repairs the same.
  5. Faxie

    Faxie Well-known Member

    Forgot to txt u, but know u will check here lol! Husband said to check what thickness the fiberglass will be he suggested 1/2 inch would be sufficient for a float floor. Yep fg certainly can crack every boat we have had has had a hull issue at some stage.. 19mm would be the minimum for marine grade ply flooring. With steel reinforcing of course. Send thru specs if u want him to look at it. :)
  6. eamon1

    eamon1 New Member

    Why go with wood and all the upkeep to prevent rot. Go for aluminium-not rotting and everlasting, with a thick rubber mat which would act as an anti-slip floor and also reduce the pressure on the horses knees while floating. Easy life.
  7. Gamby

    Gamby Well-known Member

    I have hardwood and just replaced our float floor which was over 10 years old. The old floor was hardwood too and still in excellent condition but i replaced it purely for piece of mind. I chose to replace it with hardwood as i know it works and dont see the upkeep to be hard at all, i hose out my float after use, pull back the rubber mats and let the wood dry and its done. Im not willing to test out all this new flooring that comes on the market as I dont want to be the person to find out it doesnt work.
  8. Dusty Road

    Dusty Road Well-known Member

    I know nothing about the new flooring either, but will be watching this space. I was looking at purchasing a used float this year, but everything for sale that I half liked, advertised a jarrah floor. I would NEVER have a jarrah floor in a float. It is a hardwood, which makes it heavy, but it is also a brittle wood, it cracks under too much pressure.

    For these reason I have decided to wait and get a brand new float exactly how I want it.
  9. eamon1

    eamon1 New Member

    Well done Gamby for your meticulous approach of washing and drying. This is time consuming and a lot of owners dont spend this time, in turn the water left under the mat, rots the hardwood - herein is the problem. The new floats with the aluminium flooring say (ifor Williams), have had this type of flooring for over ten years in Europe with no comebacks what so-ever. I don't hold much faith in fibre glass flooring or for that matter plywood for long term use (10 years) or over. You are reliant on the adhesives used in the product and where in was manufactured..
  10. dpjg

    dpjg Active Member

    Looking into another synthetic ply recommended from another horse forum. However quite costly.
    Was going to take my float back to manufacturer, spoke to them about three months ago on the phone to get quotes etc. just did a search and they went into voluntary insolvency in January. Don't know why on earth they were agreeing to work on my float during April! Currently the floor just is horrifying, removed the rubber to check the floor and found it was largely rotten and had splintered through. Only sign was a small change in level in one place. Please check your floors, the trauma if we had not found this in time would have been horrific.
  11. taeliesyn

    taeliesyn Well-known Member

    I just wish I had spoken to the people at work at the right time. A few years ago we replaced all our work benches with some sort of MDF. It's chemically inert and having drilled through it, it is extremely tough. The were throwing sheets away as they had excess :( If I had known I would of grabbed the sheets as from my experience I believe they would be perfect for float flooring.

    When it comes time to replace to the floor in our float, I will be looking into this material. If it is designed to handle lab grade acids it should be able to handle horse urine. The only outstanding point is if it is strong enough for the weight. And ofcourse the cost of the stuff.
  12. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    I know this is a pretty old thread that has been revived, but this sort of info is always valid I think :)

    There's a plastic honeycomb sort of material which is supposed to be extremely strong and extremely light and sounds like it would make a great floor for a float. I have yet to hear if rubber can be bonded to it, but it's certainly worth consideration.

    Unfortunately, I do think it's also quite pricey, but can't remember is what realm of expense it is, just remember a possible cost of at least a thousand for a float floor. Buggered if I can remember what it's called!
  13. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    $1000 is not expensive for a new floor?

    I've heard about the honeycomb stuff, does is have an aviation application? A horsey pilot told me about it, they were wanting to build a whole float out of it, walls and all. Apparently it's indestructable and can withstand impacts that would splinter most materials.
  14. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    That could be the stuff Blackbat. With regard to the price, I really can't remember, just know it was in the $X,000 format, possibly even $3000?

    I've seen photos of caravans built out of the stuff too, sorry my memory is not co-operating :(

    I do remember who told me about it - Leah from Coondle Engineering in Toodyay. She was going to try to find out about the rubber bonding thing too.
  15. taeliesyn

    taeliesyn Well-known Member

    Could it be Monopan?
  16. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    Indeed it could taeliesyn :) Thanks!
  17. banna198

    banna198 Active Member

    i had a quote for the honetcombe fiberglass panels from one place in perth it is $120 sqmt. i am very interested in this and have seen photos of a wholw float made from this. does anyone know the price of a hardwood floor.:)

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