creaking deck on older boat - SailNet Community

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Old 08-01-2006
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creaking deck on older boat

what could it mean?
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Old 08-01-2006
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Could mean that you have delamination between the core (plywood generally in an older boat) and the fiberglass. This is generally due to moisture incursion and destruction of the core. Sometimes this is limited to a small area and can be fixed by drilling small holes in the affected area and filling with epoxy before resealing. Other times...the damage is more widespread and requires the deck to be opened from the top or bottom and the core dug out and then replaced. A big...ugly job.
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Old 08-01-2006
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The creaking could be caused by separation of the deck core material and not necessarily rot or delamination. For example, if it's cored with blocks of balsa, they could be slightly rubbing against one another (producing the creaking sound) yet still be laminated to the upper and lower glass. Moist, rotten wood tends to be mushy rather than making creaking noises. But, the only way to tell for sure is to drill a hole and inspect it. In any event, injecting epoxy is the way to fix it.
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Old 08-01-2006
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Sounds like the deck support is starting to go or the deck is delaminating. Creaking is generally caused by the deck flexing...if it just started, then the deck is flexing more than it was before.

It is either because the deck is getting more flexible... i.e. delaminating, or that the supports under the deck are starting to give way, i.e. bulkheads breaking away from the deck, etc.

First thing to do is to check the deck for water intrusion, with a moisture meter.

You don't say whether this boat has a teak deck or not. Many older boats with a teak deck have moisture intrusion and delamination caused by water getting into the deck core through the screws that hold the teak deck to the underlying fiberglass deck. If this is the case, the creaking is probably caused by the teak deck moving, rather than the core of the fiberglass deck.
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Thanks for the input. Would a surveyor drill to find the cause or would he know from experience?
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Old 08-01-2006
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Need more information. Could be nothing wrong. Does it creak when you walk on it? Where does it creak? Are the bulkheads sitting in channels in an inner liner? Any speculation without knowing more is just silly.
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Old 08-01-2006
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I think that we can be more helpful if we knew the make and year of production. For example very few North American built boats had plywood cores, so you are probably talking about a balsa core. A good surveryor should be able to tell you with reasonable certainty what the problem is and how to cure it. In most cases, by the time that you get to the creaky deck stage of things, injecting with epoxy is a pretty half a** solution that makes it much harder to make the real repair when the injection inevitably fails.

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Jeff is probably right...by the time you've gotten to the creaky deck stage... the core has probably deteriorated to the point where re-coring is the best option... but expensive to do.
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Old 08-01-2006
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Thanks again. Boat is a 1982 Tartan 3000. Area that creaks is about a 2-3 foot long section in shroud area. Creaks when you step on it.
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Is the deck soft? If so then you have some core rot. You could have a leak around the chain-plate, which could cause deck core to rot. Or, the deck might just be moving up and down creaking on the chain-plate or the bulkhead below. If you go below deck while someone walks on the deck you may be able to feel/hear where it is creaking. Could be as simple as securing the bulkhead to the deck better. Don't always assume the worst.
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