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Old 09-12-2018, 21:35   #1
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Cut her open?

I bought this boat last December. There was obvious water damage around the windows. I finally was able to rip out the interior plywood and headliners to uncover the inner fiberglass.

So, it looks like the boat has two layers of fiberglass with a thin layer of wood sandwiched in the middle. The portlights are screwed into through the fiberglass into the wood. They have been replaced at least once and sometime over the last few years those screws started to leak.





The wood near the back of the window is definitely rotten and separating from the fiberglass. The exterior gelcoat is OK and the interior fiberglass seems Ok. Oddly, the leaking screws on all the portlights seems to be the ones at the back.

So, now the question is, do I cut away the good fiberglass on the inside to see how far the rot goes?
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Old 09-12-2018, 21:56   #2
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Re: Cut her open?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
I bought this boat last December. There was obvious water damage around the windows. I finally was able to rip out the interior plywood and headliners to uncover the inner fiberglass.

So, it looks like the boat has two layers of fiberglass with a thin layer of wood sandwiched in the middle. The portlights are screwed into through the fiberglass into the wood. They have been replaced at least once and sometime over the last few years those screws started to leak.





The wood near the back of the window is definitely rotten and separating from the fiberglass. The exterior gelcoat is OK and the interior fiberglass seems Ok. Oddly, the leaking screws on all the portlights seems to be the ones at the back.

So, now the question is, do I cut away the good fiberglass on the inside to see how far the rot goes?
Jim, would it be possible/practical to rip out the rotten timber leaving the fibreglass layers intact, clamp or brace the glass layers so it doesn't deform and fill the resulting void with epoxy resin thickened with small chopped fibreglass pieces, trim when cured and reinstall windows with through bolts using dome nuts to tidy it up?
Just a thought, sure to be shot down by the spurts.
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Old 09-12-2018, 22:27   #3
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Re: Cut her open?

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Jim, would it be possible/practical to rip out the rotten timber leaving the fibreglass layers intact, clamp or brace the glass layers so it doesn't deform and fill the resulting void with epoxy resin thickened with small chopped fibreglass pieces, trim when cured and reinstall windows with through bolts using dome nuts to tidy it up?
Just a thought, sure to be shot down by the spurts.



Well that would get over the problem of rotting ply. (I suspect water is following the screw threads into the wood)


It surely wouldn't be too hard to test whether it is rotten further away by drilling into it? But it probably won't be rotten as it requires wetness to rot. You could cut away the rotten ply.


You could cut the rotten ply out and epoxy a new piece of marine ply in its' place.



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Old 09-12-2018, 22:28   #4
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Re: Cut her open?

Yep, I'd be doing my best to get out all the rot without cutting away the laminate. Unless the water has got too far.

A long screwdriver and a vacuum cleaner can go a long way.

If the rot has gone more than a couple of inches I'd be looking at replacing the removed core with some foam or new plywood, rather than just thickened epoxy, only because when the repair starts getting that big the risk of thermal runaway increases.
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Old 09-12-2018, 22:50   #5
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Re: Cut her open?

All of the above but make sure you do oversize holes, fill with high density filler and then do your screw hole to avoid a repeat of what you have now.
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Old 09-12-2018, 23:55   #6
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Re: Cut her open?

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=2914731

This stuff really penetrates and hardens rotted wood, Just make sure you have plenty of ventilation.
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Old 10-12-2018, 00:39   #7
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Re: Cut her open?

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https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=2914731

This stuff really penetrates and hardens rotted wood, Just make sure you have plenty of ventilation.
Its nothing more than thinned down epoxy, lots of thinner, very little epoxy making a weak and porous resin at a very high price.
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Old 10-12-2018, 00:59   #8
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Re: Cut her open?

Here's my idea of a quick and easy fix. Get as much of the rotted ply out as you can with a 1/4" chisel and then cut some replacement ply to glue in it's place, using thickened epoxy as a bedding to the original wood. Use a pattern router bit to trim the wood to the original window cutout once bonded.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:26   #9
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Re: Cut her open?

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Its nothing more than thinned down epoxy, lots of thinner, very little epoxy making a weak and porous resin at a very high price.


Agreed. I’ve used that CPES as a ‘primer’ before applying 2pt poly, and that system has worked better then the scores of techniques I’ve used in the past to keep teak looking like honey, but in that application all those thinners have ample opportunity to flash off.

If you want a low viscosity resin that will creep really, really well, progressive epoxy ‘s ‘low v’ manages that without any thinners and if I recall correctly its still like 2/3rds the strength of regular epoxy.

But none of that sounds right for this application, rotten wood needs to be removed.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:57   #10
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Re: Cut her open?

We had bad delamination & rot problems with our cored cabin top. We had to cut out the inner layers of fiberglass with a dremel tool to get at it all. After we had replaced the core and covered it with new 'glass, we had a pro spray it with gelcoat to match the existing. Still looks good 20 years later.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:18   #11
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Re: Cut her open?

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All of the above but make sure you do oversize holes, fill with high density filler and then do your screw hole to avoid a repeat of what you have now.
YES! That is something that many DIYers forget to do. They tap into the fiberglass with wood screws and forget that there may be wood behind the plastic. I'm going to drill out all those screw holes and fill them in with Epoxy. I'm going to use machine screws with washers and nuts instead of wood screws to make sure the new windows are properly seated and sealed. NO MORE LEAKS!

By switching to 'bolts' should I favor butyl tape over caulks? I been seeing several people switching away from adhesive caulks.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:27   #12
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Re: Cut her open?

By the looks of the damage, I don't think the rot got very deep into the core. I think the water went the easy way -->> into the paneling and headliners. The outer fiberglass is exposed to the sun so any leftover water probably evaporated before it had a chance to rot more of the core. On the other hand, the water behind the paneling and headliner inside the boat just sat there day after day doing it's dirty work.

I found a sales video of my boat from 2012. From what I could see during the tour the water damage had not happened yet. So, all the rot happened between 2012 and 2017.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:19   #13
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Re: Cut her open?

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Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
YES! That is something that many DIYers forget to do. They tap into the fiberglass with wood screws and forget that there may be wood behind the plastic. I'm going to drill out all those screw holes and fill them in with Epoxy. I'm going to use machine screws with washers and nuts instead of wood screws to make sure the new windows are properly seated and sealed. NO MORE LEAKS!

By switching to 'bolts' should I favor butyl tape over caulks? I been seeing several people switching away from adhesive caulks.
If you through-bolt the windows, I'd go with good quality butyl tape (Mainsail's is probably the best). It will be 100% waterproof for decades (if not forever) if you do it right. The only downside with butyl is that there will be months of cleaning up the butyl that continues to ooze out. That's a small price to pay though.
I did all my new deadlights (10 of them) a few months ago and I'll still cleaning up butyl- but no leaks!
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