The Rot Doctor


Subject: Never Owned a Boat Before (14' boat repair)
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999

Doctor Rot,
I recently inherited a 14' wood motor/fishing boat. It hasn't been floated for 18 years. I live in Colorado, so the boat is very dry. I think that it is made out of Mahogany, but it could be Oak. Overall its in fair shape. Fiberglass has been applied to the Hull below waterline and seems to be intact. The stern (transom?) was also glassed but didn't bond to the wood at all and was quiet easy to remove. The wood underneath is in very good shape.I now have a wood boat that has some areas glassed, some areas that are painted and some areas that are dirty and rotting bare wood. The bow plywood has lost much of it strength and delaminated in a couple of places because of puddling water.

In a perfect world I would strip and sand the whole boat inside and out replacing everything that wasn't up to par. But I was recently laid off my from my job and don't have the resources to restore it.

Do I have to strip the entire boat and then pressure wash it before I do anything? I hope not.

Can I use fiberglass on the bow deck to strengthen and bridge the bad spots? I'd rather not replace the plywood decking if at all possible.

What do I do with the stern where it meets the hull? The stern is bare wood, the hull still has fiberglass and paint on it. There is a potential leak point at the seam. I noticed that a previous owner used putty of some kind on the inside of the stern.

You're right: It's not a perfect world, is it?

Well, you have a number of problems, as you are well aware. The rotted wood can be restored by using CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer), possibly also layup and laminating resin and possibly our Epoxy Filler. What you do where will depend on what you are looking at.

Stripping the whole boat is not an issue. You only have to strip the areas you're working on (or is this the whole boat?). You should never lay fiberglass over bad wood. The wood must be repaired first. Why? Because even if you lay on glass the wood will continue to deteriorate under the glass. Happens all the time.

If you've reviewed our web site then you can see some directions on the application of CPES and the follow-up projects, if necessary. Get back to us if you have additional questions.

The stern seam can be solved with a combination of CPES and 3-M's 5200 sealant. Not a big job, assuming you don't want to re-glass.

I should warn you that even working carefully and efficiently you can expect to spend $150.00 to $300.00 on repair products. Epoxies are expensive, but they are the best.

If you decide to proceed, you might consider sending us a few pictures of the damaged areas. That way we can look and be specific about what you need to do. We've repaired a lot of boats.

Come back if you have additional questions.


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