Originally Posted by Hard A Lee
I had a survey
done on a boat we are hoping to purchase
that found moisture in the deck
around all fittings. No core
damage, but all fittings need to be re-bedded. How do I put a price
on this to ask for a credit? I'd rather do it myself so I know it's done correctly...
This is a 41 foot boat, if that helps. Not sure exactly how many fittings total.
Oh my, does this bring back memories!
I pulled every piece of hardware
off my Cruising CAL
35 TWICE during my ownership
. The first time takes quite a long time, the second can be quite quick actually.
If the moisture is only directly around the bases the it may be possible to over drill the holes and remove most, if not all of the moisture very quickly. However, this will depend on the type of core used. If it is plywood
(as my Cruising CAL
35 was) water
has a tendency to wick in all sorts of direction and cause many problems. I ended up having to remove about half of the core in the coach roof (traveler was the culprit), both of the side decks (chainplates were the culprit) and the deck in the chainlocker (windlass was the culprit).
All of these areas passed the "thump" test by the surveyor
but when I started working on them I kept finding problems which had to be addressed.
Now, you did not say if you were doing the work yourself or having it done, in either case we can approximate the hours/cost.
For each bolt. I would pull the bolt and overdrill the hole about 1/4" larger (i.e. 1/8" extra all around) and examine the core which came up. If it was clean then put a piece of gorilla tape (yes, a specific brand which has worked well for me, no association to me) over the hole from below and fill with West Systems epoxy
slightly thickened with 404 fiber filler (no association with West Systems either just like the products). Keep the hole filled until the epoxy
gels so that it keeps wicking into the deck. Redrill the hole the next day, use a countersink bit to put a slight camphor on the hole and rebed with your favorite sealant
, I happen to like polysulfide but there are multiple arguments for various choices.
If there is any indication of discoloration or especially moisture, take a 1" diameter hole saw with a piece of steel
rod replacing the center drill bit and drill through the BACK side of the deck to remove what is probably a thin skin on the back side of the deck and then remove the core. Be careful to watch for fiberglass
again from the hole saw and STOP immediately. Use a screwdriver to pry the piece of core out. If the edges of the core are clean then fill with high strength putty and put a couple of layers of glass over the bottom OR get a piece of G10 premade fiberglass
sheet which is the thickness of the core, use the same hole saw to make the replacement piece and epoxy into place with thickened epoxy. Then put a layer or two if glass over it, if the backing plate covers it all, then no need to paint
Basically this provides a compression
load capability for the component, often as the deck compressed when the bolt was tightened the moisture gets in.
The 1" hole seems like a lot, however, it is 1/2" away from the bolt center, the backing plate should be at least that big for anything which might bear load (almost everything through the deck).
With a bit of care, the fairing is not too difficult.
At any rate, what is the time factor... For a 35 footer the first time took about 6 months of weekends one winter. The second time took a couple of weekends to rebed (no new drilling, cleaning
I would estimate 15min/hole for the epoxy work for areas where the core is not damaged AFTER removing the fitting in question. Removing the fitting itself from the deck can be instant or a religious experience depending on the sealant
used and your willingness to damage the deck trying to get the component off. Installing a fitting back on the deck after everything is ready is probably 15 min/hole again.
So, for the CAL 35 I think there were probably around 1000 holes in the deck, or about 250 hours, or 50 days or 25 weekends...
Now, if you are the type who needs to redesign pieces along the way (new backing plates
and the like) that definitely adds to the effort.
Now, if paying a professional, they are going to pull it up, clean it up, and recaulk without doing the above. That is probably about 15 min per bolt through the deck. So in that case the 1000 bolts would be 250 hours at $40/hr (definitely low side labor cost) so about 10,000 dollars. Note, I am including every lifeline base mount, winches, etc. Remember getting large items like winches and windlasses off the deck can be pretty tricky due to the large surface area for the sealant to hold to the deck.
This is part of normal maintenance
on an older boat, done in bits and pieces as it needs done it is not a horrible job, but catching up the first time can be a bear.
Oh, another trick I have used for wet core is to pull the fitting, put a blob of polysulfide on the deck to seal the hole but not down into the hole much, and then put a dehumidifier in the area below and wait a couple of months. This can work if the boat is going on the hard
for the winter or you are having the decks painted.
Good luck with the new boat, hopefully the above is not too discouraging, depending on the age of the vessel and value it may be well worth it. When I purchased the Cruising CAL 35, the surveyor
offered that it would take a bout 800 hours of labor to bring the boat back to what she should be, I am sure I spent every one of those hours and then some.
You could also go to a local yard for an estimate with pictures from above deck and below deck. It is often trying to get to the bolts which can take lots of time.
BTW, the new boat has needed re-bedding all of the fittings too, however, the deck is solid (no core) in all of the high load areas or is marine
grade mahogany plywood
which seems far less likely to have moisture migration. But, I am pulling every bolt, over drilling, filling with epoxy, and then re-bedding.