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Pontoon Houseboat Floatation - Use Expanding Foam or Styrofoam?

by Chad
(Hurley, MS)

Pontoon Houseboat Floatation - Use Foam or Styrofoam?

Pontoon Houseboat Floatation - Use Foam or Styrofoam?

When it comes to pontoon houseboat floatation, do I use expanding foam, or styrofoam?

Where do we find some styro-foam or expandable foam?

I have started building my boat but can't seem to find any styrofoam. I am looking for 4x4 x16 blocks to get going. Any ideas where I can find a good deal on them?

Thanks for any info, Chad.

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Reply - Answer
Well Chad, glad to hear about your decision to use some form of floatation method in your pontoons.

As to where you could find some styrofoam, I would look at the home building or at the industrial markets. You could google styrofoam, and see what it brings.

Now as to whether to use expanding foam, or to purchase lengths of styrofoam to insert, that is the question. Which is better, and which is more cost effective?

When it comes to both methods, should you use "open cell or closed cell construction foam", as I know some will retain water, and others will inhibit water retention.

Possibly someone in the community who some some technical experience in this topic will be able to confirm some of those details.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their experiences with houseboat floatation foam. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Pontoon Houseboat Floatation - Use Expanding Foam or Styrofoam?

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2 part sticks
by: Claude

Remember that the 2 part expanding foam sticks to the sides, so is very very difficult to remove, if it should get waterlogged or you have to weld the pontoons. Styrofoam blocks mean you have to have hatches to insert them. Best pontoons in my opiniom should have at least 5 sealed and pressure tested compartments

Open or closed cell foam? Which is better?
by: Mike A

Open cell spray foam will absorb water and sink your boat. Bad, bad, bad.

Closed cell is what you use and its more expensive but, it floats, not sinks like open cell.

Closed cell foam traps tiny air bubbles. Open cell lets water into and between the cells.

Spray insulation foam is usually closed cell. Not always though. Always confirm before spraying

Boat builder
by: Anonymous

Coast Guard recommends 2lb 2 part mixed polyurethane foam boxed in by fiberglass, aluminum or other Watergate structural product, otherwise any foam will eventually fall apart and your structure will take on water or sink.

I also recommend at least 2 bridge pumps, 1500 gph, other 1500 or larger for emergency, from sudden water intrusion.

My experience with styrofoam
by: Bruce

I built a houseboat with two styrofoam pontoons 25 years ago, which were partially clad in marine ply. Although I parted ways with it 10 years ago it is still floating and used as a residence, although the deck and the cabin have been replaced.

It is 7.2 x 3.6 meters, with the pontoons 600mm x 600mm x 7.2 meters. Styrofoam is great to use, but you should keep it waterproof as it does absorb water. That varies on the density of foam you use too.

Hope this helps someone
by: Anonymous

There is a foam company in Monticello AR that supplies the two manufacturers there. Sorry, but I can't remember the name!

by: Greg

Depends on where you are located, I'm in California and the work I do is build cold storage cooler boxes. Or it is called insulated metal panels. Try looking that up, hope this helps you. Because I just made a 4'x8' one man pontoon with this material.

Good luck, Greg

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