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Old 05-25-2017, 01:13 AM   #1
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Deck repair

Interested to hear a few different thoughts and ideas on deck repair options. I have a Universal Litton 36' Taiwanese trawler. Much of it has been redone over the years and is good shape.

The decks not so much. The previous owner pulled the teak and "fixed them" but I'm thinking they basically pulled teak, filled holes with epoxy, maybe rolled a coat of epoxy then painted it with Durabak. I ended up completely rebuilding the main cabin/flybridge deck last year and glassed up a couple layers on the forward cabin deck. The rear cabin deck does not currently leak and I think I will eventually add a few layers of glass to that and re-paint.

The big problem is the walk-around deck. A couple soft spots and some are wet underneath. Overall this boat is quite nice, motor is solid, new fuel tanks, I've done a ton of rewiring, etc.. So I don't want to do some kind of bad idea fix to these walk-arounds. BUT it's in Valdez Alaska, we live 360 miles away, and nice weather days where I have time to go work on it don't always line up. It seems as though taking it to a yard isn't a financially viable option. So whatever it is, it is going to be a DIY project like the roof and forward cabin I did.

Any recommendations for ways to go about it? Say I could set aside a week to work on it. Trying to dry and encapsulate the wet spots with vacuum pump and epoxy probably would take a long time? I'm kinda inclined to grind off the Durabak deck paint (a miserable slow process in itself) and add several layers of E-glass and matting to hopefully make it pretty solid (perhaps with some grids of holes drilled through the old fiberglass in the soft spots to try to get some resin into the ply, then keep at trying to ventilate and dry the deck ply from below. The leaky soft spots don't seem to be too soft or large (yet) so I'm hoping that could work without cutting up the decks and/or months of work to do.

(For reference, I tore out the main ceiling down to the beams, replaced two layers of 3/4" ply, faired and glassed in about one week, mostly solo... Still need to paint it - it's epoxy not Polyester)
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:31 AM   #2
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Some photos from the main cabin repair. I'm not seeing signs that soft spots in the deck are anywhere near this bad. Didn't help that the P O put up foam and fiberglass paneling over the ceiling..
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:05 AM   #3
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I just finished rebuilding my cockpit deck and both walkarounds. In my case the teak was still there and of course if was leaking and some of the planks were even delaminated and "popping up" by themselves. For the cockpit the solution was fairly simple (in theory anyway!) Rip the floor and the frame and build new. But for the sides, there was no way I was going to do a complete rebuild in a space narrower than my shoulders. So I rip the teak, plugged the holes and found a solution that would fix the soft spot: lay down a layer of thin boards perpendicular and glass over. The result is super strong. The little boards are tong and groove by the way. So they fit nice and snug together. The last picture is with the anti-skid on.
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:36 AM   #4
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Have a look at Wood preservation, rot repair, and restoration using epoxy resin on boats, homes and log homes. pretty good site with lots of example repairs.
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Old 05-25-2017, 08:50 AM   #5
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I just finished rebuilding my cockpit deck and both walkarounds.....The last picture is with the anti-skid on.
Nice job!
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:02 AM   #6
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I would say get it buttoned up under a well ventilated shrink wrap and let it cook. This also removes the problem of weather vs when you can get up there. Remove all the material covering the wet spots and let them dry while you are way. Maybe add a few of those solar powered deck vents to the shrink wrap. You can use them on the boat later. Based on the cabin top you certainly seem to know what you are doing. Good luck!
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Old 05-25-2017, 10:04 AM   #7
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Nice job on the cabin top! That's exactly what you will find in your decks, the structural strength minimal or nonexistent. You have a textbook Taiwanese trawler! Same job, strip off the top layer, remove the top layer of Fiberglas, remove the rotten crap that's in there and lay in new ply, reglass the top of the ply and finish it with some sort of non-skid.

You have already done this...the bad news is it might have gotten into the cabin walls too and you might have to chase it into the window surrounds. In fact with the cabin top like it was, I would almost guarantee it. Good luck - brave man!
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fotoman View Post
I just finished rebuilding my cockpit deck and both walkarounds. In my case the teak was still there and of course if was leaking and some of the planks were even delaminated and "popping up" by themselves. For the cockpit the solution was fairly simple (in theory anyway!) Rip the floor and the frame and build new. But for the sides, there was no way I was going to do a complete rebuild in a space narrower than my shoulders. So I rip the teak, plugged the holes and found a solution that would fix the soft spot: lay down a layer of thin boards perpendicular and glass over. The result is super strong. The little boards are tong and groove by the way. So they fit nice and snug together. The last picture is with the anti-skid on.
Nice looking work. The T&G boards you put down were on top of your existing fiberglass deck, correct?
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:34 PM   #9
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Thanks for the comments everyone. I'm headed down tomorrow to do some work, hopefully weather will cooperate so I can kiwi-grip last years glass work on the Flybridge and fwd cabin, plus a long list of other maintenance items to try to stay ahead.

Pretty much what I expected to hear on the decks, but good to hear it from other folks. I am hopeful that the ceiling didn't thrash the walls too bad. The windows and such were re-done with what looks to be pretty nice by the PO, I don't have any signs of leaks there. Rear windows were glassed in completely and smaller port lights put in. But I suppose given the caliber of his work, I should assume that nothing is up to par. I really don't want to start cutting into the existing deck, but if it's too soft or wet I suppose I will have to. Hopefully I can do something along the lines of Fotoman above and be done with it without too much pain. Planning on lapping glass up on to the sidewalls about 2-3" up from the deck, and covering it all with something like the Kiwi-grip perhaps, so I don't have to spend too much time with fairing and should end up with a good work boat deck.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:20 PM   #10
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Nice looking work. The T&G boards you put down were on top of your existing fiberglass deck, correct?
Correct. I did this because there were a few soft spots. It was the easiest fix I could find. it is rock solid now. I filled the joints between the boards with fiberglass putty and sanded smooth before laying the glass (3 layers of 1.5 once mat).
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:16 PM   #11
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Looks nice. I did ny decks with Kiwigrip this winter.
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:19 PM   #12
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My hat's off to both of these jobs . Well done.
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Old 05-29-2017, 06:40 PM   #13
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Looks nice. I did ny decks with Kiwigrip this winter.
Ditto the Kiwigrip. Great product.
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:26 AM   #14
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Put down a coat of Kiwi this morning. Very easy (and not smelly). The texture is serious though, I can imagine the grunge that will build up in there in short order.. Might try a second coat tomorrow, thin it 10%, and use a smoother roller.

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Epoxying down some d-rings to my flybridge/main cabin deck. This will hold the freezer in place. After rebuilding this roof, I decided no penetrations through it that aren't 100% necessary.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:12 AM   #15
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Nice work.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:41 AM   #16
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I put Kiwigrip on my decks. Serious texture. I am going to use Woody Wax on it to help keep dirt from sticking. Thinking about putting it on today.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:40 AM   #17
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Just got done with the Woody Wax. I washed the deck. Had to scrub in some places where the bird crap was stuck on but not too difficult. The WW was very easy to apply, just leave the deck wet and spray WW onto brush and brush down decks. Waiting on it to dry now and then you hose it down to remove excess WW. Time will tell how well it works in preventing stuff from sticking.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:31 PM   #18
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Kiwigrip's texture definitely holds dirt and crud. At least once a year, I give it a light pressure wash after giving it a good scrub with the deck brush. The result isn't perfect but pretty good.......until my dog's next round of beach mud comes aboard.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:04 PM   #19
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Have you tried waxing it?
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:58 AM   #20
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Started on my stern deck during our week out over the 4th of July. Had two days of good weather and was able to grind off the stern nonskid and get one coat of 10oz glass down, just barely enough to seal it. Hope to address my soft spots later from underneath with a vacuum pump and thin epoxy since the ply core is sandwiched back there. Two or three more layers of glass needed on the top yet, but at least it is more waterproof than it was.
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