Skid houses have come a long way since the days of plywood ice fishing shanties. Over the years, they’ve continued to improve in terms of materials and their versatility.
Here at Ambush, we go the extra mile in making world-class, premium, hard-sided skid houses. They are the ultimate experience in fishing comfort and safety! Combining mobility with functionality, we provide anglers with a comfortable, secure environment whether you’re spearfishing pike or jigging for walleye.
Why worry about skid house maintenance?
Maintaining a skid house is more than just a routine chore; it’s an important aspect of ensuring a clean, inviting, and organized ice fishing environment. Our skid houses are built to last a lifetime, but even sophisticated Ambush fish houses need a little preventative maintenance to keep them odor, leak, and mildew-free.
Regular care will help prevent issues such as premature breakdown of the gel coat (UV exposure), the skis from wearing down too far, and annoying algae or grime build-up on the outside of your skid house. As with any investment, proper maintenance of your ice house is essential for longevity and optimal performance. Take care of your skid house and it will take care of you! Here are our tips and suggestions for keeping your Ambush fish house in tip-top shape.
Maintaining the exterior of your skid house is essential for protecting it from the elements and ensuring a long-lasting life. Here’s how to keep the outside of your skid house in great shape.
The exterior of your Ambush Skid House is made of gelcoat; the same tough exterior used on many boat hulls and recreational vehicles. Like anything, it needs a little TLC to keep it looking and performing at a high level.
As gelcoat ages, it becomes porous and more prone to staining. This makes it harder to clean. The best way to minimize gelcoat staining is to seal and protect it with a good quality marine wax or polish, then follow up with regular wash-downs, using a gentle boat soap that will leave this protection intact.
Step 1. Wash your Skid House with boat soap such as Star Bright. Only use dish soap if the gelcoat is oxidized or has not been maintained. If gone too long, and dish soap does not remove the oxidation, you may need to use a gelcoat compound. If this is the case, you should refer to a professional.
Step 2. After your gelcoat is clean, wax the surface with a Marine/RV Cleaner Wax.
(Do not use automotive wax) Follow the instructions on the wax. The benefits of waxing your gelcoat are:
• Easy to keep clean with just water and no soap
• Protects against UV damage, wear and oxidation
• Removes fine scratches
• Enriches the color and shine
If you damage your gelcoat, you can take it to a shop that does boat repair. They are equipped to repair damaged gelcoat. Have them reach out to Ambush and we will provide them with the matching gelcoat color required.
Aluminum Ski Maintenance
Your skid house includes UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) Polyethylene wear strips on the bottom of your aluminum skis. We recommend you check the bottom of the wear strips before each season. The wear strips are ⅜” thick when new. If you have less than ¼” left, you should consider replacing the strips before you start wearing off the rivet heads, or more importantly the aluminum ski. These can be purchased here: ambushoutdoorproducts.com
- Check the overall structure for signs of damage, loose screws, and fasteners.
- Tighten screws, bolts, and other hardware as needed to maintain the structural integrity of the skid house.
- Regularly clear debris, leaves, and snow from the roof to prevent water pooling or unnecessary weight.
- Inspect roof seams and edges for leaks, and cracking or voids in the sealant. Ambush seals around the top trim on the roof with Manus-Bond High Performance Elastomeric Adhesive/Sealant. Like silicone, it is designed to last many years. If you find bad spots, just remove the section with the crack or void and replace it with a high quality self leveling sealant.
We seal all around the trim seams, the door trim and around the windows using 100% silicone. 100% Silicone can last 20 years, but you may check around your windows and along the trim sooner than that.
If you have voids, simply remove the caulk around the void and fill it in with 100% silicone ensuring there are no gaps to allow water penetration.
Maintaining the interior of your skid house is vital for ensuring a comfortable and safe environment. Here’s how to keep the inside of your skid house in top condition:
Cleaning and Organization
- Wipe down surfaces to prevent mold growth and maintain a fresh atmosphere.
- Keep the interior organized by designating storage areas for gear and supplies.
- Grip Flooring. Trouble free cleaning possibilities for cleaning the surface of Anti Slip Clean Grip, depending on the type and degree of dust, dirt etc. on the material:
▪ Standard road broom with plastic bristles (no wire brush)
▪ Use water and hand brush with plastic bristles, (no wire brush)
High Pressure Cleaner
▪ Cleaning with high pressure cleaner should be done very carefully to avoid partially removing the finish surface
◦ Recommended minimum distance 12-20 inch
◦ Recommended maximum temperature 120°F
◦ Recommended maximum pressure 1800 psi
Ventilation, Cabinetry and Accessories
- Inspect and clean ports (propane, electrical) and windows to ensure proper airflow and prevent condensation buildup.
- Inspect shelter components, including doors, pedestals, cup holders, television mount, heater, and cabinets for signs of wear, loose screws or attachment points. Also, periodically check the fishing port covers and that they still fit snug.
Seasonal Maintenance Routine
Maintaining a skid house throughout the year involves different tasks that align with the changing seasons. Each season presents unique challenges and considerations that require specific actions to ensure the longevity of your skid house. Here’s an example method of going about it.
Spring: Post-Winter Cleanup
As the snow melts and temperatures rise, spring is the perfect time to give your skid house a thorough cleaning and inspection:
- Exterior Cleaning: Wash and wax the outside of your Ambush skid house (use Gelcoat instructions above), visually inspect all four sides, seals around windows, and roof.
- Interior Cleaning: Sweep out any debris, dirt, or leaves that might have accumulated during the winter. Clean surfaces and remove any moisture to prevent mold growth.
Fall: Preparing for Winter
In the fall, it’s crucial to prepare your skid house for the upcoming cold season:
- Winterizing: Inspect seals around doors and windows to prevent drafts. Apply sealant/adhesive where needed.
- Heating Systems: Test and maintain heating systems such as stoves or heaters. Ensure that they are functioning efficiently and safely. Inspect propane connection points and hoses.
Winter: Ongoing Care
During the winter, ongoing maintenance helps keep your skid house in optimal condition:
- Snow Removal: Regularly clear snow from the roof to prevent excessive weight.
- Heating Maintenance: Continuously monitor and maintain heating systems to ensure a warm and comfortable interior.
- Interior Upkeep: Keep the interior organized and free from debris.
Summerizing Your Skid House
Summerizing your ice fishing house is all about setting up for summer storage. Keeping pests out and making sure things like your batteries are disconnected from solar panels. Here’s a great rundown on prepping your skid house for summer.
We hope you found these tips and suggestions useful! Keep up on a routine maintenance schedule and your Ambush skid house will last a lifetime. Happy fishing!