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  #1  
Old 07-28-2012
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Question Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

We're redoing doing the bottom. Step 1 was to grind off the old paint down to the gelcoat and add new barrier coat. But - after being in the water year-round for the last 10 years, our inch-thick solid fiberglass (no core) hull on our 1980 CSY is, unsurprisingly, wet. It's drying, but sloooooowly. The guy doing the work suggested an "ammonia wash" of the bottom. He said this procedure will temporarily loosen the outer layer of resin to let more water evaporate.

Have any of you guys ever heard of this? Any downsides (other than cost)? He promises us that the process doesn't actually remove resin or weaken the hull, just accelerates the drying time. I haven't been able to find anything on the internet about it, my searches just keep coming up with laundry products.

BTW, we're going to be using copper-epoxy bottom paint, supposed to be good for 10 years; we anticipate the cost will quickly pay for itself (fewer haulouts!) and I'll be blogging about the process (see links in my signature). Will let you know how it all goes!
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Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

Ammonia wash. I'm a chemical engineer and I find the idea interesting... but without basis. Whatever the exact chemistry might be, the effect would either be too minor and ephemeral to mater or damaging to the hull. Some grades of resin resist ammonia quite well and there would be NO affect. Some don't do well with long-term exposure. Really, sounds like unsupported urban legend. As for literature support. The only likely result is a cleaner hull which would logically dry a little faster.

Copper epoxy. From the research I have seen, the product (there are several and you did not specify) either:
* doesn't work.
* doesn't work and is hell to remove.
* works, but not better and more economically than 2-year paints.
I'm sure it depends on local waters. I would ask for several referrals IN YOUR AREA (with several years in the water) and then speak to the owners.
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Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Ammonia wash. I'm a chemical engineer and I find the idea interesting... but without basis. Whatever the exact chemistry might be, the effect would either be too minor and ephemeral to mater or damaging to the hull. Some grades of resin resist ammonia quite well and there would be NO affect. Some don't do well with long-term exposure. Really, sounds like unsupported urban legend. As for literature support. The only likely result is a cleaner hull which would logically dry a little faster.
That's a bit what I was afraid of; unfortunately your logic makes too much sense to me. Appreciate your expertise, I'm a civil engineer but materials is not my (forgive the pun) strong suit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Copper epoxy. From the research I have seen, the product (there are several and you did not specify) either:
* doesn't work.
* doesn't work and is hell to remove.
* works, but not better and more economically than 2-year paints.
I'm sure it depends on local waters. I would ask for several referrals IN YOUR AREA (with several years in the water) and then speak to the owners.
Totally agree - 4 boats have this in our marina, one of them is going on year #8, so I'm comfortable that we have at least something compatible with our local waters. Thanx!
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Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingNwing View Post

Have any of you guys ever heard of this?
in the olden days of fiberglass repair (1970's Georges Corvettes, Landover MD)...we used very stout ammonia as a wash of newly repaired fiberglass on boats and cars. This was followed by a good scrubbing with soap and water, then thinner before you primed and painted. It did cut grease and surfectants, but not sure about "drying" never noticed anything different....and with our paint jobs you would definitely "see" moisture impacts, if they were there..

Now with all the paint systems and prep, cleaners, and etchants that all match the product to be applied - like PDQ I see nothing to gain from this step. As close to Hartges as you are, you may want to stop by and talk to some of their strip and prep guys...they have re-written the book on that, yet have a warranty they stand behind...

best of luck.

as to the copper paint, if I had the $$ I would try it, not much to lose, and perhaps it may make the enviros happier to have the CU locked in epoxy instead of sloughing off daily...seems CA and WA have issues with recreational boats and bottom paint.
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

The only thing I could possibly see the ammonia wash doing is removing an amine blush from the hull that can build up as water moves to the exterior of the hull. But just soap and water will do the same thing.

Sadly I don't know of any real miracle cure for wet glass. There are some things you can do to help, but they still take a while.

1) tent the hull
2) heat the air inside the tent
3) add dehumidifiers inside the heated tent
4) do the same thing inside the boat

There are systems like the HotVac brand that are supposed to work miracles, but I havno experience with them, so can't advise either way.
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Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

Is there and issue your trying to fix or is it just that a moisture meter says it is wet ?

I am lucky in that my boats are never in more than 7 months a year BUT I fail to see how glass that took a decade to get wet is going to dry to meter level in a high humidity environment ?
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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Old 07-28-2012
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Dry heat and time. You can speed up the process by drilling some holes in the bottom (sides) of the keel about 3" deep. You can sound the hull for wetness then drill into the lower part of the punk, about 1/2 inch and let it weep. Fill the holes later with six-ten.
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Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

My only knowledge of chemistry is in fissionable materials, we don't use ammonia in the lab much. (G)

But I think someone has read "Mosquito Coast" and mistaken plain ammonia for anhydrous ammonia, which aggressively sucks the moisture out of everything including tissue it contacts. Nasty stuff. Use that to dry out your hull, maybe. Wait till the neighbors hear what you are up to. (VBG)

Likewise on the copper-doped epoxy. BTDT, worked great one year, crap the next, no real reason why. We think it "worked" very well when the bottom was in mud every low tide and nothing could grow anyhow. It may not be a total waste of money but I'd just use a conventional barrier coat followed by a conventional bottom paint.

For drying out? Ventilation, heat, time. Heat inside the boat as well to drive the moisture out. Then worry about what else the nice man may be confusing.

Anhydrous Ammonia. 99% alcohol. Yeah, there must be a lot of ways to speed this up. Remember, this time of year the firemen and hazmat teams like a nice cold beer after they're done with what used to be the boatyard.
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

I've thought a lot about drying a hull, and tried some things, like vacuum, none of which have worked. Water goes in by capillary action along the glass fibers. Drying of a surface is by evaporation from an exposed surface. The exposed end of a capillary compared to its length is extremely small, so the evaporation rate is also extremely low. Ditto for cast iron too. A cast iron keel I stored for three years in a dry location, after it had been out of the water for at least seven years still contained enough moisture for the epoxy coating I used not to cure!

The cast iron keel on my current boat was absolutely dry when I coated it with epoxy. Probably because I heated it with a 500,000 BTU propane torch to a temperature where solder melts when you touch it to the surface! That took about an hour of heating for 1500 lbs of cast iron. About 400 F, and water boils at 212, so yeah it dried. I painted on the first coat of epoxy while it was still above 130 F, you couldn't quite hold your hand on it. That coat cured quickly!

I've thought about tarping around the hull and using a propane fired heater to heat the air under the boat to about 200 F. for a couple of days. That should provide the energy to remove all humidity from the surface and force the water out. I'd like to test a piece of wet hull in oven first, to see how it dries, and then turn the heat up to see what temperature it can take without damage.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 07-28-2012
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Re: Our hull is WET! Ammonia washing???

When we barrier coated my boat it was in the spring. But my boat had not been in the water 10yrs. Going on 3 years now no problems with the 2000E at all!
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