Soft Decks

purplerobbie

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I was looking at a boat advertised for sale and the owner said the decks are soft.

I think they are wood cored with fibreglass above and below??
The broker said that the boat had teak decks and they used to leak so he removed them but didn’t let the boat dry out and then glassed over the top

I was wondering how you would go about fixing something like this.

The broker said you would have to cut the top layer of fibreglass off and replace all the wood then glass it all back up?

I thought this seems a bit extreme

Any thoughts?

Rob
 

oldsaltoz

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G'day Robert,

What the Broker advised you could well be the correct answer, My advice would be to get a quote and deduct this from the asking price, it will mean a longish delay to getting her wet again.

Sounds like she has a Balsa or perhaps a ply deck, water has rotted the timber and it has to be removed, the area then dried and cleaned, followed by replacement of the original material, or a more modern replacement material.

This can be from below deck to preserve the deck finish, but in this case it sounds like the deck has been re glassed.

Good excuse to walk away and search again another day. It took me 3 years to find my last boat.

Avagoodweekend......
 

weaver_fish

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Guess it depends if the core is wet or not... depending on the age of the boat, if the core is wet then it might not be an economic prospect. However, my neighbour's soft decks were just the top skin delaminating from the foam core.... we drilled a series of holes in the soft area, popped an allen key in a drill and inserted it so the key roughed out some of the core between the skins. We then used a little funnel to pour in some very slow curing polyester resin, sanded to tidy up and over painted with deck paint

Four years on - all is well and the deck is solid to jump on!
 

Birdseye

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A nastier problem than osmosis. I would definitely walk away - there are more boats for sale out there than customers for them.

Just think about it. All the complex shapes of a deck, and all the strong points. and the rigidity depends on a bond top and bottom between the sandwich material (usually balsa) and the grp skins. so you have to remove one skin and all the filler, repalce the latter and then bond back the surface. to do this properly for large areas could be seriously expensive and really quite complex.
 

cliff

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Depends on the size of the boat and the extent of, and reason for the softness. Be guided by the surveyor - I was when bought a boat with a soft deck and was well pleased with the result. I bought the boat knocking off the cost of repair which envolved epoxy injecting the full deck. Not such a horrendous job as one would think but not really a DIY job either to do it correctly. I had an independent surveyor (not the one that did the original survey) supervise and witness the work to be sure.
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Salty John

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Oldsaltoz sums it up pretty well. The damage was caused by the leaking of thousands of screw holes used to hold down the teak deck so it will not be a localised problem. I've done this job and it is quite a major task to get it right. You need to cut off the top layer of the deck in large panels, scrape out the old core and replace with modern plastic core material, then epoxy the panels back in place. You then need to address the cosmetics - best is probably to cover with Treadmaster or a fake teak deck.
Soft decks don't necessarily condemn the boat, but don't underestimate the cost of correcting them.
 

oldsaltoz

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G'day John, (js48),

The last one did included the foredeck, saloon top and side decks back to the start of the cockpit on a 30 footer.

We marked a line 2 inches wide from the bow to the cockpit then more lines across the foredeck saloon top and sides all 2 inches wide and around 2 to 3 feet apart.

Then removed the upper panels leaving the 2 inch wide strips, packing up any unsupported parts of the strips with closed cell microballoons and resin to retain the original curves.

After cleaning then sanding, a layer of resin and closed balloons was laid and closed cell foam added with regular 15 mm holes though it about 100 mm in a grid pattern. All through holes were marked with large drinking straws and the foam drilled out to 40 mm and packed with a mix of resin and Micro Fibres for added strength.

The side decks had delaminated from the ply and the damage to the ply was minimal and after removing only a few layers in places it was OK, this was coated - filled with Micro Fibres, then final fill with closed cell Micro balloons.

The areas under the strips of original deck were refurbished below but left in place till all deck material had been placed, then they were ground back to good layup and filled with micro balloons.

We now had a reasonable area shaped and ready to glass, we applied 3 layers of 250 gram cloth and one layer of roving, then a layer of balloons to fair it and 2 coats of resin with just a few balloons in the mix to thicken it.

Some tape and very careful masking to include rounded corners was then added to break up the areas for fittings, drainage and in areas that would be hard to keep clean (or coat). Then a roller with more resin and pigment - filler was used to produce a near non slip finish; fresh resin applied to deck and resin that has been standing and getting stiffer applied with a an 80 mm roller.

This was finished off with a primer and Polyurethane, looked a million dollars and almost cost it too.

Avagoodweekend.
 

boatmike

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Agree........ Rapid strides in direction of gate....... If you have really fallen in love with the soggy thing get a PROFESSIONAL quote, double it, deduct from price and suck your teeth.
 

purplerobbie

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I wasn't actually thinking of buying the boat I was just wondering how you would do it.

That said its a nice boat a Tayana 37

The boat is 37ft and the decks are soft from front to back. I don't know if the core is rotten or just delaminated.

Is there any sort of support under the decks or is the core the strength?

Is this quite a common problem? You hear about osmosis all the time but i have never heard of this before.

Cheers Rob
 

Salty John

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Lovely boat, the Tayana 37. The decks will be plywood cored, I suspect, and they will need the treatment described earlier to regain their integrity. It is a common problem with boats that have teak decks screwed down onto a cored deck. It is for this reason that Hinckley Yachts, the American builder, never supplied teak decks - they say: "Why would we ruin a perfectly sound deck by drilling thousands of holes in it?" Makes sense to me!
 
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