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Old 29-01-2013, 18:22   #1
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Wet Deck

I have just been handed a mixed bag of news by a very experienced surveyor. I have a 30 year old Taiwanese cutter with a 3/4" plywood cored deck that tests out quite wet, but no soft spots or rot evident. There is no water intrusion into the cabin from the wet deck, which used to be teak covered, but that was stripped off by the previous owner. According to the surveyor, the upper layer of fiberglass is of insufficient thickness and wound up cracking to permit the water intrusion into the wood itself. I have been given some suggestions on repairs, but they are very expensive and time consuming and probably the correct way to proceed. I just thought that I would throw this open to this august body for additional suggestions. The boat is on the hard in NC. Thanks.
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Old 29-01-2013, 18:31   #2
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Re: WET DECK

Do you know how many layers of fiberglass the PO installed?
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Old 29-01-2013, 18:54   #3
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Re: WET DECK

Bash, I don't know other than it is insufficient. The boat is in NC and I am in WY, planning to head that direction in several weeks to see what I can do to salvage the situation. I am 69 so doing a lot of the work myself is just not practical. George
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Old 29-01-2013, 19:30   #4
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Re: WET DECK

If its not soft and there is no water intrusion what is the problem other than a high reading...?
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Old 29-01-2013, 19:47   #5
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I would drill several small holes part way thru the suspect area. Check the shaving to see I'd they are truly wet. If so proceed , If not fill with some west systems. Many times a moister meters are wrong for several reasons.
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Old 29-01-2013, 19:53   #6
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Re: WET DECK

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Many times a moister meters are wrong for several reasons.


What reasons?
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Old 29-01-2013, 19:58   #7
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Re: WET DECK

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According to the surveyor, the upper layer of fiberglass is of insufficient thickness and wound up cracking to permit the water intrusion into the wood itself. I have been given some suggestions on repairs, but they are very expensive and time consuming and probably the correct way to proceed.


Very likely these suggestions are correct. Once ply core reads saturated, rot is inevitable. Even with a Hotvac, drying ply core is so time consuming that it's usually cheapest and best to replace it. Preferably with something non organic that won't rot.
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Old 29-01-2013, 20:22   #8
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Minaret mostly operator error, but also dew can show a high reading even if wiped off. Also ( not in this case) bottom paint can give a false reading as well. I spent 10 years in both SC and Florida working in boatyards even shaved a few bottoms. ( never again&#128512 on reading some of your threads I bow to your knowledge as well.
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Old 29-01-2013, 20:29   #9
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Re: WET DECK

My only suggestion is to verify that what you were told is actually correct before I started any work
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Old 29-01-2013, 20:40   #10
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Re: WET DECK

Usually, the guys who removed the teak failed to make sound waterproof repairs of the hundreds of screw holes. In my opinion, you must strip, fill, fair and then cover over with glass cloth to bridge all of the holes. Gobbing filler in the holes alone is not enough.

I have also found the meters can read wet where the non-slip and other fillers on the top of the deck are wet. To confirm wet deck drop the headliner and check from the inside. If you properly seal the deck you might successfully dry the core out by drilling out large holes in the inner glass layer with a hole saw. It will take a really long time. I used abut a 2" diameter. Ultimately, I had to dig out the balsa and re-glass over the holes. I then pumped in US Composites epoxy & microballoon slurry as filler.
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Old 29-01-2013, 21:17   #11
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Re: WET DECK

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Minaret mostly operator error, but also dew can show a high reading even if wiped off. Also ( not in this case) bottom paint can give a false reading as well. I spent 10 years in both SC and Florida working in boatyards even shaved a few bottoms. ( never again&#128512 on reading some of your threads I bow to your knowledge as well.

Dew would be operator error, most people know better than to take readings anytime but in the afternoon. Reading on bottom paint is impossible, anyone who gets a high reading on bottom paint and claims its moisture is a crook or just doesn't know anything about what they're doing. Meters read moisture based on relative conductivity of the substrate, so any metal content will read as moisture. Obviously the copper in bottom paint will always read wet. Other false high readings are often from tanks touching the inside of the hull, or metal structural members or even fasteners. These are obvious to any operator with any degree of experience, as most false readings of this nature will give a clearly delineated line of maximum reading with no gradual increase in moisture. Another common source of false highs is accelerated resin, which is often accelerated with Cobalt or other metallic accelerants. These are obvious as well, as the whole bottom will generally read a very even false high. This looks totally different to an experienced operator than an actual wet bottom does. Believe me, an experienced operator can map out a cored hull very accurately with a very small degree of error. I am almost never wrong, usually the rotten core looks exactly like my map out when I peel a skin. I've learned to trust the meter, it doesn't lie. Many owners have questioned my meter over the years, and I always enjoy proving them wrong.
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Old 29-01-2013, 21:24   #12
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Re: WET DECK

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Usually, the guys who removed the teak failed to make sound waterproof repairs of the hundreds of screw holes. In my opinion, you must strip, fill, fair and then cover over with glass cloth to bridge all of the holes. Gobbing filler in the holes alone is not enough.

I have also found the meters can read wet where the non-slip and other fillers on the top of the deck are wet. To confirm wet deck drop the headliner and check from the inside. If you properly seal the deck you might successfully dry the core out by drilling out large holes in the inner glass layer with a hole saw. It will take a really long time. I used abut a 2" diameter. Ultimately, I had to dig out the balsa and re-glass over the holes. I then pumped in US Composites epoxy & microballoon slurry as filler.

If your end-grain balsa wouldn't dry out, do you really think saturated ply will ever dry out? I've tried, more than once, with a Hotvac. It's money wasted. Much better to just get in their and get it done right from the start. Otherwise you end up glassing it back up with core that's still wet after wasting a bunch of time. No easy way out of this one IMHO. Checking from underneath is always wise, followed by some exploratory hole saw work to make certain. You can also use a meter with a probe. Always good to be certain before you get out the saws.
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Old 29-01-2013, 21:43   #13
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A meter give a clue. For a serious investigation into core quality use a hole saw. Like 3cm and make a real determination as to quality. Drill where the meter gives a typical high reading. It's fiberglass so a tidy hole is trivial to repair.

Storing the boat in a place like the upper Sea of Cortez will dry anything.
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Old 29-01-2013, 23:44   #14
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Re: WET DECK

Gentle"persons", To say that this news was dishartening is an understatement! It is beginning to sound like a deck replacement or a patch job to get me by since drying out the deck doesn't seem to be a viable option. Could we focus on those two options going forward to enlighten me? What are the non-rotting replacement materials that are available? Any suggestions on the best way to get some life out of a "patch" job? Any and all suggestions welcomed. Thanks, George.
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Old 30-01-2013, 02:31   #15
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Plenty boats have wet core in the deck. Whether it is a problem for you depends on many things: your intended use, value preservation, pride, safety concerns related to fitting failure, etc. Some cross oceans with worse issues. Others spend great amounts of money replacing the deck. Depends.
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