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Old 08-11-2012, 19:48   #1
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Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Here is the issue: moisture in deck core as proven by hammer and meter. How critical is the problem? Fix ASAP? Wait until convenient (realizing waiting may make the repair job bigger)? Live with it and fix it whenever I chose?
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:00   #2
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

You don't say how much of the core is saturated however a water saturated core will compromise the deck structure. It is critical to safety and can be a huge job. I would suggest you fix it ASAP.
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:01   #3
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

I'd also like to know...

My foredeck is soggy in places (after some previous genius drilled a hole in it and didn't seal it)...

The surveyor said it wasn't critical, but would need attention soon (i.e. we had bigger problems, like osmosis pox, and a dead engine, and a total re-rig to deal with).

I sealed up the hole to stop any more water getting in... so if you can find the source of the leak, I'd think it best to plug it also.
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:03   #4
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Land an View Post
Here is the issue: moisture in deck core as proven by hammer and meter. How critical is the problem? Fix ASAP? Wait until convenient (realizing waiting may make the repair job bigger)? Live with it and fix it whenever I chose?
This is a loaded question:

The issue is to know something is making the core wet. There is a leak somewhere that will make the situation progressively worse.

A wet core is like cancer. The faster you can fix it the better. The alternative is to find the source, seal it, and dry the core from the inside of the boat while waiting to fix it. Most people do this without using the boat, but I did know of one person who dried the core while using the boat. His wet core was in a position which was non-critical.

The location of the wet core can be important. If the wet core is around any critical area (chain plate, mast base, forward stay), it should be fixed immediately.

Just remember, it is your boat, and the longer you put it off, the bigger the cost will be. If you wait too long, it may decided to let you know when it wants to be fixed.

James L
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:20   #5
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

When you fall through the deck, I'd call that critical.
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:32   #6
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

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When you fall through the deck, I'd call that critical.
I think that is beyond critical.......the boat is trying to tell you something.

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Old 08-11-2012, 20:51   #7
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

In a perfect world you would simply cut it all out from the underside of the area, leaving the deck untouched. Then fill and glass it all back in. But worlds arent always that perfect.

I saw a good video on YT about how to fill the gaps with epoxy, but cant find it now sadly.
But the guy drilled a few random holes, gouged out the foam (using an inverted hex key on a drill, injected epoxy, then sanded and repainted..

These may help

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Old 08-11-2012, 21:35   #8
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Try this, but it (as is the last post) only to seal through deck penetrations. It wont cure a soggy deck.
Sealing Deck Penetrations to Prevent Core Rot Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 08-11-2012, 22:06   #9
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Typically a rotten core is a "fix it now" problem. Not only does it grow as the water migrates, but assuming the damage is significant is completely eliminates any structual strength of the area effected. You can always risk it, and I know a number of people who have written off boats and just used them until they folded in half because of core rot.

It really depends on how much you care about the long term value of your boat.
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Old 08-11-2012, 22:15   #10
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Don't fix it tomorrow. Fix it yesterday.
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Old 09-11-2012, 18:06   #11
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Did I mention that some if the meter readings were off the chart. It's a good portion of the walkways leading up from the cockpit. Doesn't feel soft to walk on. Didn't happen overnight either. It's not a job I feel comfortable with. Wondering if I can put it off and/or do it in pieces.

I think I know the answer but don't really like those answers.
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Old 09-11-2012, 18:40   #12
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Land an View Post
Did I mention that some if the meter readings were off the chart. It's a good portion of the walkways leading up from the cockpit. Doesn't feel soft to walk on. Didn't happen overnight either. It's not a job I feel comfortable with. Wondering if I can put it off and/or do it in pieces.

I think I know the answer but don't really like those answers.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but is sound like a pretty major problem. I don't trust moisture meters at all, they are notoriously unreliable, and even more so in the hands of anyone who isn't very familure with how they work, and how to read them.

Frankly at this point given where the damage sounds like it is, I would recommend taking the boat out of service at least until you identify exacally how bad the potential damage is.

My advice is from the inside of the boat drill a series of small holes into the core and see what results you get. If the core is just a black mush then there isn't much to do but cut the bottom layer of the glass out, replace the core, and glass back in the panel you cut out.

If the core is wet the same process is the same, but you may be able to get away waiting a few months. Once the core is saturated however there isn't a way to dry it out realistically, and rot becomes an inevitability.


The problem with using the boat if the core is completely rotted is that it is the core that provides all the stiffness to the structure. Without the core all the loads that would normally be spread over the entire structure are instead concentrated in just one side of the skin. Figure instead of a 1 1/2" thick structure taking x loads, you now have a 1/8" layer of glass taking the same load. As long as the weather is fine, and you don't get caught in roughy weather you might be fine, but you could also crack the glass layers which would result in a much more difficult problem to correct.
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Old 09-11-2012, 19:14   #13
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Land an View Post
Did I mention that some if the meter readings were off the chart. It's a good portion of the walkways leading up from the cockpit. Doesn't feel soft to walk on. Didn't happen overnight either. It's not a job I feel comfortable with. Wondering if I can put it off and/or do it in pieces.

I think I know the answer but don't really like those answers.
Unfortunately for you, the larger the area, the more important it is to fix the problem, and fix the soft decks. The problem is where the moisture is coming from.

Considering what is involved, it is better to fix it all at once, tenting the whole boat and drying it all at once.

You can fix one section at a time once the drying process is completed. But this would be sequentially (all in one haul out), not one at a time while using it.

I'm sorry to say, doing it later is not an option I would recommend.

Also, the time is perfect for drying a boat. Winter usually provides a better environment for drying (lower humidity). (I'm trying to find a good point in this)

Sorry, but we must be honest.......even though it hurts.

James L
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Old 09-11-2012, 19:59   #14
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

Some additional info might be useful:
What sort of boat is she?
Exactly where are the soft spots, especially with respect to structural loads?
How important to you are cosmetics?
Is this a DIY project or in the yard?

All of these factors affect one's choices of repair methodology. If cosmetics can be downplayed, doing the repair from the upper side is much easier, for there is no overhead work with glass and resin involved. If there are no big loads nearby (genoa tracks, chainplates etc) the strength of the repair is less critical. And so on...

Finally, there need be no "drying out" involved. You remove the skin from one side or the other, you dig out the rotted core, you replace it with timber or new balsa or foam and a bunch of epoxy and then you replace the skin. Oh... you find the source of the ingress and fix that, too.

I've done this a couple of times over the years with success, and I'm no pro!

You might try to get Minaret involved with the discussion... he IS a pro!

Cheers,

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Old 09-11-2012, 23:03   #15
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Re: Soft Deck: How Critical ?

In case you have not found the search function yet (top blue bar at top of page)...there are loads of in depth information on other threads for this topic. You may want to start there first. Good luck...I did the job myself once.
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