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Old 10-10-2016, 03:25 PM   #21
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I think the Gougeon Brothers would have a different opinion. Lots of folks have varying opinions about whether encapsulating large chunks of lumber is a good or bad idea. I'll bet a buck that the issues lie more with how stable the chunk is, how dry it was at coating, how carefully/successfully the coating was done, and what the chunks were subjected to later.

The basic idea is that epoxy is so good at not passing water (low permeability) that a dry piece of wood will stay dry. Paints and varnishes are not all that good. The piece of wood does not have to 'breathe'; its moisture content has to stay low enough to not support rot and to not change size with absorption.

I've done a fair amount of epoxy encapsulation. Mostly on house projects, one Flying Dutchman sailboat restoration. Epoxy-coated countertops and flooring. Various outdoor laminations. I had only one failure: boiling water that leaked out of a coffee maker was hot enough to swell the countertop and crack the epoxy. About 20 years later, the cracked finish has not deteriorated further. Other minor failures have to do with dinging a pine floor and the epoxy was not flexible enough to follow the ding, again, no propagation of the damage. Folks who build stripper canoes have the (secondary...the prime is that the glass is doing the flexural work and the wood is core) advantage of the 'glass reinforcing the coating: less susceptible to dings.

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Old 10-10-2016, 04:26 PM   #22
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If you want it to last a long time and be rock solid then I would suggest the following.

1. Replace the wooden beams with fiberglass beams. Strongwell (Structural Shapes and Plate - Strongwell) is a good source for composite beams and panels.

2. Either buy composite panels or fabricate your won using something like Coosa board (Specialized Structural Panels - Coosa Composites). Ideally, make the deck as one piece or as a second choice 2 pieces and bond the panels to the composite beams. That will create a solid, rot and leak proof deck. Coosa board is available in sizes up to 5'x12'. It would make a great base for Strongwell's non-skid panels.

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