The 4 Best Lightweight Casting Deck Materials – Reviews 2020

lightweight casting deck, lightweight decking for boats

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Lightweight casting deck materials are crucial to the construction, strength, and ongoing recreational value of any boat. Using a casting deck made of lightweight material enables you to add minimal load to your boat, ensuring you can haul yourself, your friends, your family, and your materials without risk of capsizing or sinking.

So what materials can you use to make a lightweight casting deck? Which pre-made casting decks are going to be lighter than others? On this page, we’ll take a look at some materials that are used to make lightweight decks. If you’re the DIY type, you can also use these materials to create a custom casting deck of your own. So, without further ado . . .

Here are our recommendations for the 4 best lightweight casting decks on the market:

Aluminum: M-D Building Product 57794 24” x 36” x 3/16” Aluminum Sheet

Aluminum is one of the most versatile, lightweight, and durable metals in the world. It strikes a sweet spot in terms of being workable while staying strong after years (or decades) of use. This is why it’s used in the creation of everything from piping to aircraft bodies.

As a result, aluminum is among the best lightweight casting deck materials. It’s workable enough that you can make it into any shape you want, it’s strong enough to support the weight of a single person, and it won’t add too much weight to your boat.

However, aluminum isn’t perfect. Unless it’s been factory-treated, you’ll need to add weatherproofing coatings to your aluminum so that it can stand up to the damp environments of a lake. You may also need to use additional proofing techniques if you plan to fish in saltwater since brine can also corrode aluminum (although slowly).

In general, the key to long-term success with aluminum is to clean it regularly, especially if you went saltwater fishing. That’ll prevent the metal from being excessively damaged, meaning you can get a good long life out of your casting deck.

Woodcore Epoxy: Amazing GOOP 5400040 Coat-It Waterproof Epoxy Sealer & Protector

Woodcore epoxy is a combination material that has wood in its middle (or “core”) and a resin-like epoxy coating it. This couples the natural strength of wood, like pine or oak, with the resilient and water-resistant properties of epoxy. Generally speaking, this is an excellent choice for a casting deck because it’s waterproof out of the box with no additional treatments needed.

As a bonus, woodcore epoxy is also easy to color, clean, maintain, and repair in the event that it gets damaged. You can even choose to seal it (instead of painting it) so that your casting platform has a visible wood grain.

Altogether, woodcore epoxy may be a bit heavier than aluminum pound-for-pound, but it’s also a waterproof and customizable option that could speak to your fishing preferences.

YurthWorks Boat Project Part 3 - Coat-It.mp4

Fiberglass: Epoxy Fiberglass Composite Sheet Panel

Fiberglass (also called glass-reinforced plastic or GRP) is our final lightweight casting deck material. Fiberglass makes our list because it’s probably the lightest single material to create a casting deck.

We say that because when you have a fiberglass slab, you can cut it into your needed shape and mount it onto your casting deck’s supports with very little trouble. Even if you’ve never used power tools before, you can probably figure out how to cut and work a fiberglass slab.

Then, once it’s mounted, a sufficiently-thick slab of fiberglass is often sturdy enough to support most people’s body weights. This is especially true on casting decks that have supports close together, giving the platform more strength. Fiberglass is also waterproof by design, which is an obvious bonus when you’re creating your own casting deck.

However, fiberglass is prone to splintering, and it’s the only material on our list that could create “microsplinters.” If you’ve ever worked with fiberglass insulation wearing short sleeves, you’ve probably felt fiberglass microsplinters when they start to make you suddenly itch for no apparent reason. The reason, as it turns out, is any number of incredibly small fiberglass shards that embed themselves in your skin. This is especially important when you drill, cut, or file your fiberglass platform.

But if you take proper care when you’re working with fiberglass (like wearing gloves and long sleeves), you’ll be fine. Most importantly, you’ll have a workable, sturdy, reliable, and waterproof material for your casting deck. With these limitations in mind, it still remains one of the best lightweight casting deck materials around.

Plywood: Premium Baltic Birch Plywood (12” x 24” x 1/4”)

Despite how heavy it may feel when picking it up, plywood is often lightweight and sturdy enough to create a custom casting deck without significantly altering a boat’s weight distribution. Plywood comes in handy because it is much more affordable than the other options on our list (depending on your area).

In other words, plywood is the right choice to make if you want a budget option for your casting deck. It’s also available in different thicknesses — allowing you to reduce the weight of your platform by purchasing a thinner cut — and it’s dense enough to withstand repeated use.

On the downside, plywood is not water resistant. In fact, because plywood is made of wood pulp, it quickly soaks up any water that comes in contact with it. This isn’t a problem if you spill a water bottle, but it means that a casting deck would rot in no time.

This is crucial to remember because you will have to treat your plywood, even if it comes weather-treated, to resist water. That could include paint, sealer, and a special water-resistant coat to ensure your platform can withstand repeated fishing trips. You can improve the plywood’s durability by encasing it in a sheet of flexible aluminum or several additional coats of sealer.

Regardless, you will most likely have to replace a plywood casting platform at some point in your life because of how prone it is to rotting and absorbing water. However, it won’t break the bank when you buy it, and it’s incredibly easy to find, cut, and mount.

BALTIC BIRCH Plywood - PRO TIPS for WOODWORKERS

What Is the Best Lightweight Casting Deck for You?

So which material should you get for your custom casting deck?

If you want something that’s metal, lightweight, and durable, go with aluminum. It’s the metal of choice for any situation where you need a combination of strength and light weight.

If you’re looking for something that you’d like to customize more, go with woodcore epoxy. Woodcore epoxy is affordable, depending on the wood you choose, and it gives you a huge array of options when it comes to finishes, colors, and more.

If you’re looking for affordability above all else, go with plywood. It’s easy to find, easy to work, and easy to replace. It probably won’t last long if you don’t take care of it, but it’ll get the job done.

Finally, if you want the lightest weight possible, go with fiberglass. Be careful when you’re working with it — fiberglass is well-known for being itchy and irritating to the eyes — but enjoy it when you have it mounted.

Are you ready to pick the best lightweight casting deck material? Pick from our list now! Good luck!

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