V-Berth Renovation part 2

You’ll remember from part 1 that the v-berth was claustrophobic and poorly insulated and our plan was to insulate with some PE foam and paint to an aesthetically pleasing colour.

Well I took a few days off work to try and make some progress on the v-berth. Much slower than I imagined it would be! Working on a boat takes so much longer than even normal DIY.


imageSomeone sometime working out some complex finances? I like to think it was scrawling from when the boat was originally built but it could have been anytime in the last 40 years I suppose:

imageI managed to forget that I needed the wires for the LED to go behind the foam:


imageEventually it was all foamed up! Time for some paint:

imageThe first coat was disheartening – I was beginning to think that it looked better grey! At least Free would be in good company!

But a few more coats and Free now looks like this:



Still plenty more to do to complete the v-berth though.

A trim around the arch companionway to tidy and protect the foam edge. A trim around the square hatch above for the same reasons.
Some switches for the new lights.
Complete the anchor chain locker access flap. This was attached to a bit of flimsy ply when we took it apart.

I do wonder about the longevity and suitability of PE foam for this project already…

Twice I managed to slip with a screwdriver putting the shelf boards up and twice stabbed straight through the foam.

Time will tell.

Costs so far:

Probably about 10sqm of foam @ £3.60/sqm = £36
3 tins of paint @ £13 a tin                                = £39
3 tins of spray adhesive @ £6                          = £18
2 LEDs @ £5 each                                             = £10

TOTAL                                                                = £103


My main concern now is that in a nicely insulated cocoon we have two massive chunks of metal portlights straight through the hull acting as Condensation Magnets right above our heads!

10 Replies to “V-Berth Renovation part 2”

    1. Hi Owen, welcome to my little corner of the internet!

      Yes – I should try and add them all up I suppose, but I’m reluctant to as it will probably just make scary reading. I do try and do things in a pragmatic manner, sometimes taking a more Automotive/Campervan approach than a Strictly Marine approach. I hope that it won’t bite me on the arse later down the road whatever the boat equivalent of road is…

      By the way – thanks for putting up your wiring diagram It makes much more sense. I think it’s made simpler by having a dual battery solar controller. I had visions of the VSR (if it was dual sensing) flip-flopping between the two batteries as the alternator and solar panel each hit the required voltage. Seems your VSR is one-way anyway.

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for the comment. Regarding the foam: it’s 10mm thick. If I was doing it again I’d get white or “Natural” in colour if you can find it for two reasons.
      1: it saves on the number of coats of paint.
      2: it means any marks left from scuffs or scratches won’t be so prominent

      1. Yes sir, I’ve already been looking into it. I have to order in the U.S., so 10mm is just over the 1/4 inch, but not quite 1/2 inch, so I’ll probably go with the 1/2 inch foam. Did you have much difficulty forming it or shaping it onto the hull walls?



        1. Hi Mike,
          The most difficult parts were acute bends where the ceiling meets the deck-hull join and around the shelves.
          On the Centaur there’s a convenient 1″ gully at the hull-deck join that accepts the hull side piece and the ceiling piece so hides a potentially untidy edge.
          Where the foam is bent around an angle, such as into this gully, or around the shelf, the tendency is for the foam to bow out away from the glued surface. I found either gluing in two stages (in the case of the gully bend), or cutting the foam and joining (in the case of the wooden shelf edges).

          The glue I used was high temperature spray glue, and contact glue for the high stress areas such as around the hatches, portlights and companionway.

          A metre long straight metal rule came in handy, for cutting straight edges.

          A Stanley knife and very sharp blades is essential.

          And a 50p wooden spatula from Walmart proved essential for pushing the foam into the nooks and crannies!

          1. The spatula is a great idea. I wonder if a wallpaper roller would be useful on the larger portions or was it easy enough just using hands?


          2. Wallpaper roller might be a good idea for extra pressure but to be honest it went on fine with hands.
            One other thing to mention is glue fumes: it’s nasty stuff in a confined space whilst spraying so get as much ventilation going through and plenty of breather breaks. Looking forward to seeing how you get on!

  1. Oh and its important in my view to get a Closed Cell Foam, like PE. Closed Cell will not soak up any water. Some foams, like they use for carpet underlay, are Open Cell, and hence nothing more than giant sponges! Not great on a boat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *