Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Fort Lauderdale
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Re: First encounter with soft decks.
This is not a fun job to do. The general procedure is to track down where the water is coming into the deck from and address that concurrently with the work on repairing the core.
If the area is small, you may be able to get away with drilling many many small holes in the deck, digging out the wet core nearby, letting the core dry out for a good long while (no humidity), then refilling with epoxy.
The second way I've seen this done is to take a circular saw or dremel like multitool (you'll use a lot of wheels) and set it to the depth of just the fiberglass skin. Then cut around the wet spot with the saw. Carefully pry off the skin (you're reuse this), clean out all of the bad core material (usually balsa or in some cheap boats plywood), then reset the core and re-apply the skin coat with epoxy filling in the seams and voids.
This gets even more involved if you're in any sort of structural area such as mast step or support area for windlasses, etc.
Either way, think of the materials involved.
You're talking tools, epoxy resin (expensive), marine balsa (not cheap). Now think of the time involved. Cutting, drying, cleaning out core, recoring, reskinning.
With plenty of good boats out there, WHY look at one that has core issues. I'd only approach a boat with wet decks if it was a screaming deal...meaning they're practically giving the boat to me for free.