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Old 08-12-2016, 07:28 AM   #1
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Hairline cracks in fiberglass deck

On a recent deluge, I noticed a drip from my cabin ceiling underneath my deck. I do have some small hairline cracks in my fiberglass topsides and need to coat it with something, though it is the high-humidity season in North Carolina and coatings don't typically like that.

I mostly don't know what the heck I am doing most days where marine coatings are concerned, but I need to address this quickly either with some epoxy mix or pretty thick touch up paint on my 30yo trawler.

Any experienced with this who can lend advice?

Thanks.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:46 AM   #2
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Close up pictures please...but hairlines don't normally leak....unless they go under a fitting and separated the sealant.


Often the water travels along seams, random routes a good distance and the entry point is hard to find.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:56 AM   #3
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Close up pictures please...but hairlines don't normally leak....unless they go under a fitting and separated the sealant.


Often the water travels along seams, random routes a good distance and the entry point is hard to find.
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Old 08-12-2016, 12:07 PM   #4
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Close up pictures please...but hairlines don't normally leak....unless they go under a fitting and separated the sealant.


Often the water travels along seams, random routes a good distance and the entry point is hard to find.
True that. I am tracing gravity so as my deck slopes upward near the bow, I can start with some fittings and or crack locations there.

But what I was asking about is a recommendation for any alternative sealant aside from my two part epoxy, which I think I will likely use...

Thanks,
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Old 08-12-2016, 12:36 PM   #5
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I'm no expert, but I would be concerned that if the deck has a wood core, a simple external deck fix may not help. If the wood is/was saturated in water, it will be weakened badly and a fix to the deck will still leave a weak core beneath it.
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Old 08-12-2016, 01:39 PM   #6
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Small hairline cracks in the gel coat popping up here and there over time are normal. I have a every year that get properly repaired. As Psneed indicates, they should not be deep enough to create leaks as you describe. Are your decks balsa core? I would check it out with a moisture meter.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:11 PM   #7
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Try this stuff as a BandAid, but sooner than later you need to properly remediate it. CAPTAIN TOLLEY'S Crack Cure Sealant, 2 OZ. | West Marine
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:42 PM   #8
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Try this stuff as a BandAid, but sooner than later you need to properly remediate it. CAPTAIN TOLLEY'S Crack Cure Sealant, 2 OZ. | West Marine

Not only as a bandaid, but it can help you identify where the leak is coming from. Use it on one possible source of the leak and wait and see if the leak is gone. If it is, go back and do a proper repair. If it didn't stop the leak, go onto the next possible culprit.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:24 PM   #9
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More than likely leak is from a hatch or fitting.
Think of it this way, if you have a hairline crack in your bottom gelcoat does it leak into your bilge? Probably not.
Water leaks are a bitch to find, they travel from place to place, run down hill.
90% of time caused by bad bedding on a fitting or hatch.
If your topside cracks are that bad your core will be saturated and you have major problems. Doubt that is the case.
Pics would help.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:50 PM   #10
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I had to remove my complete cabin headliner and have someone on the bridge with a water hose fill the bridge deck. I stood below and found where the water was coming from. A huge undertaking I didn't enjoy! Hope you don't have to go to that extent but I had to. Those bridge deck leaks are like jungle gorilla warfare
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Old 08-13-2016, 08:20 AM   #11
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Any deck that is cracked so much that it leaks needs to be replaced with a stronger deck.

There is no structural strength left if water drips through the laminate.
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Old 08-13-2016, 08:39 AM   #12
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Hairline (of course depends on one's definition of what that is) cracks are usually an indication of something wrong with the core below. Regardless of whether they are causing water to leak into another space, they should be attended to; the implications will only get worse in time. The first step is to determine how deep they go. I can tell you from personal experience, a small crack over a void in the core can let a lot of water in. It could be that the core became wet, in turn causing the crack, by water entering from another spot such as a fastening spot.

You don't have to replace an entire deck, just the wet core area.
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Old 08-14-2016, 06:35 PM   #13
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"Git Rot" is very thin epoxy. Good for dribbling into cracks.

"Gluvit" is good for large areas. It goes on like a paint.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:50 PM   #14
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I don't want to be a smart a##, but water doesn't always run downhill. If you are having trouble locating the entry point, you might look "uphill" of where the leak appears inside. This is due to surface friction. In construction using laminations or lap joints, it is possible for the materials to separate just enough to draw the water uphill at which point it is possible for the leak to show above the actual entry point. Just something to think about.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:25 PM   #15
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30yr. old Marine trader .... plywood core in decks.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:06 AM   #16
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I would suspect that it is coming in around your bow sprit or the scansion bases. But wherever it is, it is probably the same leak that softened your deck on the bow and it finally found its way into the cabin. Show it to me next weekend and let's see of we can find it.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:44 AM   #17
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I would be willing to take a look at the leak with you. I'm in the Wilmington area.
What you find at the source of the leak(s) will determine the best product and method for repair.

Shoot me a PM or give me a call, 949-939-6329.
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:42 PM   #18
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Thanks, but boat's in New Bern now.
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:46 PM   #19
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I've hit it with epoxy, the obvious spots. But I went crazy when I saw this surface on another boat:

Treadmaster Non Skid Deck Covering

This would remedy a host of issues. And my surface would look quite primo.

Anyone have experience with this?
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notlandlockedforlong View Post
I don't want to be a smart a##, but water doesn't always run downhill. If you are having trouble locating the entry point, you might look "uphill" of where the leak appears inside. This is due to surface friction. In construction using laminations or lap joints, it is possible for the materials to separate just enough to draw the water uphill at which point it is possible for the leak to show above the actual entry point. Just something to think about.
Completely ripping out the deck is my emotional thought. It passes quickly. But I think I am strategizing two-part epoxy to the visible spots, git-rot in any internal wet spots found, coating the deck, and then the rubberized mat surface in my prior post.

Just going to ruminate on it a bit before committing dollars.
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