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  #1  
Old 06-20-2007
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Surveying Question

So there's this one boat we have our eyes on. One thing concerns me, tho: The PO has painted the port and starboard bulkheads at the fore end of the main cabin. As with many boats this size: These bulkheads have the chainplates for the top sidestays (and one set of mid-stays, IIRC) through-bolted to them. The concern is said paint job may hide evidence of a (past?) water leak problem--which is not uncommon for a 30 year old boat of this construction. So here's my question: Say there has been a leak there, on either or both sides, will an experienced, competent surveyor unquestionably detect the situation?

There's two reasons this concerns me: 1. Of course, the structural integrity issue. 2. If we buy that boat, I'd want to return those bulkheads to their former finished wood glory. Can't see painting perfectly good, finished hardwood. But if the wood is badly stained from water leaks, it may not be salvageable. And I'm certainly not up to the expense and hassle of replacing it. (They painted the damn hardware, too. Grrrrr. I hate it when people do that. )

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 06-20-2007
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Jim, point this out and all of your other concerns to your surveyor, he should be able to tell you one way or another
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Old 06-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEMIJim
Say there has been a leak there, on either or both sides, will an experienced, competent surveyor unquestionably detect the situation?

No! A leak may not have caused rotting or delamination of the wood but it may have discolored it. A surveyor may be able to determine if the wood is soft, but not if it is just discolored without removing the paint or chainplate.

Personally I would guess that is why it was painted. Also, paint is very difficult to remove unless it was applied over varnish. Most older boats had oiled teak interiors so it is unlikely it was varnished. If the wood wasn't sealed with varnish first the paint will be deep in grain and could only be removed by deep sanding, not likely possible on the thin vernier.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
No! A leak may not have caused rotting or delamination of the wood but it may have discolored it. A surveyor may be able to determine if the wood is soft, but not if it is just discolored without removing the paint or chainplate.
Rotting and/or delamination is the more important consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Personally I would guess that is why it was painted.
That is (obviously) my suspicion, as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Also, paint is very difficult to remove unless it was applied over varnish. Most older boats had oiled teak interiors so it is unlikely it was varnished. If the wood wasn't sealed with varnish first the paint will be deep in grain and could only be removed by deep sanding, not likely possible on the thin vernier.
Oh yeah, what was I thinking? That's just veneer over something, not Real Wood.

I can live with the painted bulkheads. I don't like it. I'll never like it. It will probably always irk me to some degree. But what I'm not prepared to live with is anything requiring repair right out of the gate.

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 06-20-2007
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If the boat turns out to be structurally sound and passes muster in all other respects, it would be simple enough to laminate some veneer over the area in question, and far cheaper than replacing it with new hardwood.
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an ice pick and sharp fingernails can tell me quite a bit.
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Old 06-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardiacpaul
an ice pick and sharp fingernails can tell me quite a bit.
CP-

Are you talking about the cuban again??
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Old 06-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardiacpaul
an ice pick and sharp fingernails can tell me quite a bit.
I imagine they could , but I can hardly go about poking holes in the bits of somebody else's boat. I'll leave that stuff to the surveyor.

If the paint job was done to cover staining, it couldn't have been too awfully bad. As you know: Wood that's been thoroughly or often exposed to excess moisture exhibits pretty significant changes to its grain. No amount of paint can cover it. Not even with a coat of stain kill. I didn't observe indications of this. Also: I purposefully stepped pretty hard in the vicinity of the chainplates, and didn't sense any softness. I suspect everything's okay.

I'm going to take the advice of PDP, Gene T and SD: If we decide to make an offer on the boat, I'll hire a good surveyor and let him/her go their job. (I plan to be there during the survey.) I'll make sure the surveyor is aware of this particular concern.

And if we buy it: I guess those bulkheads are staying white. Ah well, there are worse things in life .

Thanks for the input, everybody!

Jim
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And the answer is: There'll be no answer. We decided to take a pass on this boat.

Thanks again for the feedback, everybody.

Jim
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