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Old 05-28-2015, 09:26 AM   #1
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Need advice on Survey finding (moisture)

Good morning all.

Had my very first survey yesterday. Boat surveyed great except for two spots on the house walls that showed some moisture on the Surveyor's meter. One area was about a 2'x1' area below a Salon window. All of the windows have been replaced and there is just a slight 3"x1" stain below this window. The second spot is in the forward head around the port light. It was pretty obvious that there had been some water damage to the interior paneling and the owner told me that he noticed the intrusion and rebedded the port.

Both areas are dry to the touch and no signs/smell of mold. Wall of Salon is firm with no squishy spots. The head has one area that I was able to indent slightly with my thumb.

This is a 1977 Defever and in excellent condition except for these two spots. I'm trying to stay positive but don't want to get into a can of worms either. She's been kept in a covered moorage for at least the past 10 years and I think that is what is nawing at the back of my brain. CO has put 1200hrs on her since he's had her (5yrs)

I ask for suggestions, opinions and advice oh wise ones.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:40 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. Soul. If I missed you, welcome aboard. IMO moisture meters can either be a curse or a blessing. In the hands of a skilled technician they can indeed suggest a "problem" but I have seen them used as a definitive instrument by those less skilled to note "problems" that weren't really "problems".
That being said...Could it be that the surveyor saw the staining and assumed the presence of moisture? NOT saying your surveyor is unskilled but...
You are right to be concerned and covered moorage can easily mask a porous boat. When we purchased our first larger vessel, we enjoyed a very dry summer, cruising and learning. On one of our last outings at the end of the season, it poured and poured rain. Our previously "thought to be dry" boat, leaked like a sieve. We had EVERY pot, pan, pail and container underneath the Niagara-like flowage inside.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:50 AM   #3
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Thanks RT. I know a lot about landlubber water and construction but am a newbie to the marine world. The surveyor couldn't find any other issues with the boat except for a few goofy things that made me feel like he was trying to just find something to justify his bill. He almost seemed pleased when he could give me "some bad news". But even then, he didn't seem to concerned about these areas after pointing them out.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:58 AM   #4
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Whether superstructure moisture is a real problem has a lot to do with how the boat was built. There are some T/Ts that were built with almost floor sweepings as coring. Any moisture will quickly rot it, start delaminating, and fall apart.

I had a friend with a Marine Trader. He literally sawed off the entire superstructure and built it back from the hull up due to moisture intrusion.

OTOH quality built boats like the Grand Banks are built with real marine plywood coring and moisture in the core doesn't kill them. A Defever as far as I know was built more like a Grand Banks than the Marine Trader noted above.

If the fiberglass is not delaminating then you will probably be ok for many more years.

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Old 05-28-2015, 10:24 AM   #5
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I've had both good and bad experiences with Marine Surveyors. As pointed out earlier, moisture meters can be easily misused. Anyone can find anything wrong with even the most well-mantained and well constructed boat.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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The only way to my knowledge to find the extent of the damage would be to do core samples. Considering this would not be a structural problem based on the area I may choose not to address it at all. Run a hose and spray water on the outside for many minutes and see if its leaking inside, bet it isn't. If it isn't and otherwise the boat is a good purchase, I'd get an estimate to have the area re-cored and use it to negotiate. That is all.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:18 AM   #7
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Dry rot doesn't just stop by itself. Taiwanese boats are infamous for crap core like DJ mentioned. Go back on the boat and lie on the front bunk and look up for any signs of discolouration. A lot of the bots had holes drilled in the deck for screws and only bungs put in the hole, no screws. This leads to core-rot that will require cutting out and reglasssing and a lot of the interior being replaced.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:48 AM   #8
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I really appreciate the responses. I was way overthinking everything last night and working myself into a dither. I don't believe there is anything structurally wrong with this boat. Just overly cautious about the moisture. I've looked at a ton of boats and am well aware of the rot issues in the TT's. Fortunately, she has factory fiberglass decks. The fiberglass in the areas in questions looks great and no signs of delam. The only real visible signs of water damage is around the head port where the interior veneer is pretty stained and in rough shape. It's a small area and could easily have occurred from a port left open for a period of time.

Thanks again for the quick responses. I really appreciate the depth of knowledge at TF and the ease with which it is shared. Helps a newbie a lot. Wife says I spend tooooo much time surfing the site though. hahaha
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:50 AM   #9
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Now I have to go measure the covered moorage that I've secured to put her in if this all works out. She may be 3 INCHES TOO TALL!!!! Gotta love boats.
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:09 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr. S. "... She may be 3 INCHES TOO TALL!!!!" Just let a bit of air out of the tires...

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Old 05-28-2015, 12:34 PM   #11
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Use a moisture meter before and after a good hosing down of any suspected areas its not a 100% but if positive it will tell you something you want to know.
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Old 05-28-2015, 01:44 PM   #12
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Two spots on a boat that old, I say you are doing good. All the doom and gloomers her on TF are going to say your boat is falling apart. It's a boat, it's going to be wet. below a window should be an easy fix. don't get discouraged, just ask for some compensation in the price and move on.
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Old 05-28-2015, 02:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmill29130 View Post
Two spots on a boat that old, I say you are doing good. All the doom and gloomers her on TF are going to say your boat is falling apart. It's a boat, it's going to be wet. below a window should be an easy fix. don't get discouraged, just ask for some compensation in the price and move on.
I have to agree. Small spots are easy to fix.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:36 PM   #14
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As was said above, get a price to repair the damage and subtract that from your offer. The seller will do one of three things, 1) accept your revised offer, 2) meet you part way or 3) refuse to budge on the price. At that point you have to deccide what to do. If the seller does #1, enjoy your new boat and make the repairs at your leisure or don't make them if you aren't concerned. If the owner does #2, decide if the revised price is acceptable to you. If it is enjoy your new boat and make any repairs you deem necessary at your leisure. If the revised priceisn't acceptable to youwalk away from the deal. You will be out your time and the cost of the survey. If the seller does #3, you have to decide if the damage is enough for you to walk away from the purchase. If you decide to walk, you are out the cost of the survey and your time. Otherwise enjoy your new boat and make any repairs you deem necessary at your leisure.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:51 PM   #15
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A 38' year old trawler is going to have rot somewhere. If those two spots are the extent then that would be amazing to me and relatively easily stopped from spreading (a "like new" repair may be significantly more expensive).
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Old 05-29-2015, 01:10 AM   #16
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You make it sound like you just talked to the Surveyor but don't have his report yet. If that's the case, wait to receive it before any reaction, good or bad. Surveyors often say something on site but then detail their findings in the report and indicate more what severity they see with the problem. They also should make suggestions of any further suggestions to learn more if they feel necessary. They have an obligation to point everything out but in the report itself they separate the items they consider to really be issues.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:50 AM   #17
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I have to go with Refugio on this. If you like the boat and it is priced to reflect it's age and condition, two damp spots (apparently the source of which are already repaired), would not be a deal breaker for me. Just leave yourself room for the cosmetic repair.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:31 AM   #18
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Here's how I would expect the survey to read...something like this.

Two spots of moisture were detected. I would expect this on a boat this age and am not alarmed by it. Based on their levels and lack of any elsewhere I believe they are primarily cosmetic. The only way to be certain would be to cut through and take samples. My recommendation is that the buyer address the issues and be aware if any additional areas develop while using the boat. The main thing is to prevent any further damage that might occur.

Certainly doesn't sound like a deal breaker unless the surveyors report reads far different than I anticipate. I wouldn't even consider it beyond expected wear and tear.
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:01 AM   #19
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I ran into a really soggy boat with a surveyor. He got about an hour into the survey and said 'Listen, I'm not supposed to tell you whether you should or shouldn't buy this boat. I don't offer that kind of advice because I don't want the liability. My job is to present the facts as I see them. This time, I'm saying don't walk, run.' He only charged me a small portion of the agreed full price.

Hopefully you've got an honest, stand-up guy like that, and he'll tell you if it's a real problem.
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:22 AM   #20
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As was said above, get a price to repair the damage and subtract that from your offer. The seller will do one of three things, 1) accept your revised offer, 2) meet you part way or 3) refuse to budge on the price.
...or the seller might elect to repair the spots.
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