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  #1  
Old 05-11-2007
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Question Deck Delamination

Two areas of my deck make a very slight crackling sound when very heavy people (not my wife) steps on them. I am assuming that the fiberglass has separated from the plywood underneath. I doubt that it is rotted because I can see the underside in the cabin. Can I solve this by drilling a few holes through the fiberglass and pouring/injecting resin into them?
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I prefer the injection method as the holes are smaller. I drilled two holes at each side of the delam and injected. I injected in one hole and stopped when the epoxy came out the other. I would use epoxy with a high density filler. Tape the area off thoroughly as it is very difficult to get the hard epoxy off afterward. I would check the core to make sure it is not wet.
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Old 05-11-2007
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Patrick-

It may not be delaminated...but just not strong enough a layup of laminate. Define very heavy (btw, using very heavy and wife in the same sentence is very risky at best )

How do you know it is delaminated? While drilling holes and injecting epoxy can't really hurt... and do take care to keep it as clean as possible, since Ollie's right...the stuff's a bear to remove afterward. Does that area of the deck have any fittings in it that might have let water in?? Water intrusion is the most common cause of delamination. Another, less common at least among good boats, is a lamination void from the manufacturing process due to not enough resin being used or the resin being to thick to wet out properly.

It would also help if you said what boat do you have? This may be a common problem to your particular model/make of boat.
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Old 05-11-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickbwells
Two areas of my deck make a very slight crackling sound when very heavy people (not my wife) steps on them. I am assuming that the fiberglass has separated from the plywood underneath. I doubt that it is rotted because I can see the underside in the cabin. Can I solve this by drilling a few holes through the fiberglass and pouring/injecting resin into them?

Pat
I don't understand the bit highlighted, do you have bare plywood visible from under the deck?
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Patrick,
I have a spot on my boat that sounds similar to your situation. In my case, there is one spot about 4 - 6 inches in diameter which crackles a bit when I step on it the first time--if I move and immediately step on it again, it doesn't make that sound, but it will after some time has passed. There are no fittings around it, so it's very unlikely that water has gotten in there, and otherwise the boat is in excellent condition. It is not at all soft or spongy, and doesn't look any different from the rest of the deck. I have shone a light at it from inside the boat, and that spot doesn't look any different--ie. not more dense, opaque, etc. I asked several knowledgeable people about it, and so far they have each (independently) said that it doesn't look/sound like deck delamination. One said it's kind of like a creak in the floor of a house. All have said I shouldn't worry about it.
I wonder if your situation is similar--perhaps just one of those anomolies. On the other hand, if there is any sponginess or sign of dampness, then that's a different story altogether, needing repair.
I'll be interested in what others suggest.
Frank.
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You can check for delamination with the "percussive sounding process". Basically, take a smaller rubber hammer or screwdriver handle and tap the deck. Solid areas will give a sharper sound and delaminated areas give more of a thud.

Cockpit soles on some boats were just never made strong enough from the factory. If you have access to the underside you might think about adding more fiberglass to the bottom to reinforce it.

Good luck,

Tim
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Old 05-11-2007
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Sometimes decks come from the factory with voids in them. Not delamination after-the-fact.

I squirted Gorrila Glue into a small hole from underneath to fix mine. The glue expands to completely fill the void. You can check out the entire thread here:

Gorilla Glue on a boat?
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Simon,
Right, the ceiling of the cabin is made out of plywood, with the fiberglass on top of that. When I purchased the boat the ceiling was covered in some tongue and groove boards but I removed them in order to find any leaks and allow everything to dry thoroughly.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Patrick-

It may not be delaminated...but just not strong enough a layup of laminate. Define very heavy (btw, using very heavy and wife in the same sentence is very risky at best )

How do you know it is delaminated? While drilling holes and injecting epoxy can't really hurt... and do take care to keep it as clean as possible, since Ollie's right...the stuff's a bear to remove afterward. Does that area of the deck have any fittings in it that might have let water in?? Water intrusion is the most common cause of delamination. Another, less common at least among good boats, is a lamination void from the manufacturing process due to not enough resin being used or the resin being to thick to wet out properly.

It would also help if you said what boat do you have? This may be a common problem to your particular model/make of boat.
Sailingod,
I have a Cascade 1976 Cascade 36. There are some fitting several feet away from the crackly areas but as far as I can tell from the looks of the bottom of the plywood it is in good shape with no rot. I think that 30 years is probably long enough for the bond to break down, water or no water.
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Quote:
Right, the ceiling of the cabin is made out of plywood, with the fiberglass on top of that. When I purchased the boat the ceiling was covered in some tongue and groove boards but I removed them in order to find any leaks and allow everything to dry thoroughly.
It's quited posibble that the removal of the toungue-and-groove boards is what is causing the flexing. If the construction is just a top skin of glass over plywood, that strikes me a quite light. You may want to reinstall the boards.

Alternatively, you can glass in a lower skin. You'll want to build in a few stringers in the process if you go that route.
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