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Old 01-07-2015, 11:59   #1
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Spongy Deck

I'm looking at purchasing an 81 Alberg 29. The recent Survey states 7% moisture content walkways, 15% cockpit and 13% forward deck. The only place it feels spongy is on the forward deck and only slightly. Big costly future repair if needed? Should I invest in a moisture meter? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:53   #2
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Re: Spongy Deck

Assuming those readings are correct and measuring the actual moisture content (they usually are not), then they are not too high for such a boat. I would not expect a deck with 13% moisture to be spongy - so either the reading is wrong and the core is delaminated or mush, or the core is fine but the deck just needs a bit of reinforcing in that area (under engineered).

If you can get the owner to agree to drilling a core sample from a covered inside spot in the "wet" area, that can tell a lot.

If you need to repair it, the costs run from not worth it for that boat if you have to hire a professional, to not so bad at all if you do it yourself - particularly if the deck needs to be painted anyway. It is not really a beginner's job, so DIY requires you to have the skills.

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Old 03-07-2015, 15:53   #3
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Re: Spongy Deck

Had a pro boat repairmen aquaintence/friend go over the boat with me and he stated the moisture content is low and considers what I thought to be sponginess a non-issue. So I walked a few boat decks and confirmed just that! He also said this Alberg is one solid boat.
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Old 03-07-2015, 18:52   #4
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Re: Spongy Deck

I had that problem when I purchased my Hudson Force 50. The survey did not find the issue, but within a few months, I had noticed significant delamination and squishy deck in much of the deck. It was going to cost way too much money to fix, so I cam up with my own idea and it worked perfectly.

First, I cut core samples out of eight sections of the boat. I did this at the end of the rainy season. then, I let the deck dry out for a couple of months. When the cores came out, they were soaked and some were rotten. But I let it all dry out and it took months.

Then, I mixed some penetrating expoxy and poured gallons of it into the areas where the cores were cut out. I had epoxy flowing out of the other core holes and I had epoxy dripping from scores of locations on the interior of the boat. I kept doing it until all the leaks were filled and no more drips occured in the boat. In one particualry difficult area, I actualy injected full expoxy resin into an area to seal the leaks.

The end result was that I no longer have leaks in my boat when it rains and the deck is stiff again. The repair cost me a few hundred dollars and probably 15 hours of work. But I did not have to replace my deck.

By the way, when the job was done, the cores were filled in with penetrating expoxy filler, sanded and the deck painted. It all looks good and worked well.
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Old 04-07-2015, 06:54   #5
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Re: Spongy Deck

The real problem is drying out the core material and second is getting the epoxy to adhere to the deck skin. I had one section I just lifted up a 2 X 4 ft section of deck and ended up replacing the coring material with ply, re-bedding, and putting back the top. I had another section I did manage to dry out with very dry, clean air, but it took days to do this and it only partially worked as I had a small section I had to lift off the top skin and patch it. I just discovered another section that will require the same treatment. (Remove the coring, etc)
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:14   #6
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Re: Spongy Deck

Boatpoker < Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: boatpoker > says:
... Meters can give fairly accurate percentages of moisture content in wood and in fact come with tables of settings to be adjusted for hundreds of different species. Some also give a recommended setting for FRP but this is meaningless on cored structure and almost as meaningless on solid FRP since the formulations & types of resins, laminate schedules and even laminate fabric cannot be known and may affect the readings. All they can do on FRP (cored or uncored) is provide relative numbers. So whether a meter shows from 10 to 55 or between 118 and 219 is irrelevant. The point is that it shows a difference. i.e. there is more capacitance here than over there so there may be more moisture...
And much more ➥ Moisture Meter Mythology and Flir thermal imager
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Old 10-07-2015, 17:43   #7
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Re: Spongy Deck

I like what Mark said in reply #1. You can repair an Albert spongy deck for cost of materials in a weekend or less. The 29' is very similar to the Albert 30- of which 700 were built by Whidby Boat Company. whitby's boats were built with a super heavy inner and outer deck skin, with 1/2" balsa core between. If water gets in the core, it's almost impossible to dry out. But it's fairly easy to cut the top skin of the deck off, scrape out the black mushy dotted core back to good balsa, clean and dry the bottom deck skin with acetone, then bed a new foam core patch into the deck with fiberglass structural putty, and glass on a new deck layer. Use foam core than is cut into small squares and held together with a backing sheet. This will lay down to the camber of the deck really well. Use a skill saw to cut off the old deck layer, but DO NOT cut the inner, lower skin- this retains the shape of the deck and gives you a ready made mold to lay the new material back on. Foam core does not absorb water and provides excellent rigidity in the patch, particularly if you scrape out an inch or so around the edges of the patch and sand which and bed the core in amongst the original good balsa core. Then overlap the patch 6" or so with the existing glass, and use a belt sander to fair smooth after everything has cured out for a day or so. Finish with a couple coats of resin to smooth out the mat and roving, sand again lightly and paint to match. You will, never know there was a deck repair by looking at it.

Personally, I don't see the need to use epoxy. It's expensive and incompatible with future fiberglass resin repairs, so why use it. If you put Epoxy over glass, epoxy will adhere just fine, but glass over the epoxy fix latter on may fail and separate under torrisional loads- so say the epoxy manufacturers. it's a different kind of bond. Also many epoxies don't saturate mat and roving very well - which is where the real strength is in fiberglass lay ups. Any decent marine grade fiberglass resin will save you a ton of money, be easier and more compatible to install, and be perfectly strong for the job.

I replaced my cockpit with entirely new floor and sides, and recored entire rear deck on my Alberg 30. I finished the rear deck recore in one weekend. Once you get into it- it's easy.

Also- you can sign up for the Alberg 30 list serve. I think there is a link to on Alberg30.org. There are plenty of Alberg owners there who will be happy to share their upgrade and repair experiences.

Best Wishes and Good sailing!


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