The Rot Doctor


Subject: More fiberglass deck repair
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999

Well, since my last question, I've become adept at 'playing' the decks of my sailboat by tapping with the end of a large screwdriver handle. Good, sound glass/core should have the feel of striking a bowling ball, or at least a golf ball, whereas the wet, mushy core feels more like a softball. I have drilled some 1/4" holes through the outer fiberglass skin, and in some areas the core comes out soaking wet. Most areas are only damp.

Problem is, now that I have drilled a couple hundred of these holes in an effort to perforate the skin and encourage the core to dry out, I am finding that there are still MORE areas with wet core. This includes much of the foredeck and parts of the cabin top. I realize that cutting out entire sections of the deck is an option, but the deck makes quite a few compound curves where the foredeck rises up to the cabin top, and the forward hatch opening is located right smack in the middle of the area that's the most saturated. I'm also nervous about trying to separate the outer skin from areas of core that are still fairly well bonded. I don't want to damage parts that are still intact.

At what point should one stop drilling holes and just rip off the whole deck? Or is it O.K. to perforate much of the deck and cabin top, dry 'em out, then inject CPES resin to stabilize the remaining core and follow with thickened epoxy to fill areas where the core has deteriorated (or disentegrated completely)?

Thanks in advance,



Lots of fun, huh?

What you do is really your call. Ripping off decks is a daunting thought, and the new wood going in will need to be CPES treated or the whole process will start again. And then the decks have to be replaced and epoxy-filled into location.

On the other hand, you can leave the decks where they are and once the drilling has identified the limits of the rot, you can let it dry and then inject first the CPES and then a couple of weeks later Layup & Laminating Resin. You would start at the low end and keep working your way up with the resin -- with the CPES you'd just inject it in at the top and allow it to run down. You can also facilitate core-drying by using a circular saw on the decks to cut slits. This way will work but you are going to use a lot of L&L Resin. We STRONGLY suggest our resin as it is slower setting (for proper settling) and more flexible (for impact resistance) than standard petro resins.

For me to tell you which option I would choose would require that I do just what you are doing: Standing there looking at the decks and thinking about which way is going to cause me the fewest problems. Either way is going to require an investment in time and epoxy products.

I'd be happy to give you all the help and suggestions possible along the way. Come on back if you want to talk more.