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Old 09-27-2019, 06:41 PM   #1
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High-density polyurethane foam for deck repair (InjectaDeck)

Hi all,

Quick Ask

Before I post this, may I ask the favor of not turning this thread into a debate or opinion board as to whether I made a good choice or bad one, or whether others should make a similarly good or bad choice?

Instead I would like to share with those who might be interested some facts that I learned, some estimations that I made, and the result to date of my experience, including some photos, answer any questions I can about my experience for others, and see if anyone else has had //actual experience// with the same type of solution I used, good or bad.

I ask this because I chose to repair a section of my front deck using 12-lbs density polyurethane foam branded as InjectaDeck, and in trying to research it on boating forums, there were tons of opinions from those that had never used the material, researched its properties, or even known anyone who had. The boating forums have that type of speculation covered, I think. I'd like this thread to remain based on the properties of the material and/or experience with the material, acknowledging the limitations of my experience which is only now beginning the test of time.


What was in need of repair?

My boat originally had teak decks, including up front. As can happen with teak decks, they reached end-of-life (without major overhaul) and the prior owner removed them, applied an additional sheet or two of glass and some (probably 1-part, but *not* kiwigrip) non-skid paint. The decks were mostly fine, but there was significant softness forward where there were various penetrations for deck hardware, e.g. related to anchoring, and on one side, where I can only imagine an old deck screw or few were leaking. Also, whatever paint was used significantly wore off, even after seemingly less than 2 years.

I contracted a yard to do the repair. My initial proposal was, as I had done on a prior boat, to extensively drill into the deck, dry it out completely, inject tons of epoxy, glass over, and non-skid/paint. The yard didn't feel that the Florida weather would be sufficient to dry the deck thoroughly for that type of repair. Instead, they proposed removing the core in the seemingly soft areas, replacing it with marine plywood, glassing over the repaired areas, fairing, and repainting the deck. I accepted this counter-proposal.

These repairs were completed, but were, in my humble opinion, of low quality and not to spec. They didn't repair all of the soft areas, the patches could be seen as slightly raised areas, the texture was inconsistent, and they ground through the glass overlays in some places while fairing and before painting. Also, instead of using the AwlGrip system, as originally agreed, they used a mix of gelcoat and coarse texture.

I applaud the yard for owning it, recognizing that they didn't do what was agreed, and very promptly giving me a 100%, full, refund -- seemingly unheard of among boatyards! They were nice folks who goofed (perhaps a lot). I don't want to run them through the mud here. I can provide further details in direct messages, if anyone is curious.

During the time that I was able to watch a portion of the original work, I saw that the core being removed wasn't "mush", but wet, and my problem was mostly delamination between the wood and the top fiberglass. For the curious, the core was weaved wood layers.


Preparing for Round II

After further drying the deck from underneath as best as I could over the course of about 8 months, I decided it was time to try again. I was thinking of doing it myself, but as an out-of-town boater who has had a lot of down time doing maintenance recently, I decided I wanted to hire someone, as much as it pained me. My initial thought was to have someone grind the deck down to the fiberglass, fix the problems with the finish work on the recently done patches, do the epoxy injection, and reglass and repaint.

But, I was concerned that, if there was still elevated moisture in there, the epoxy, although it would cure, wouldn't adhere well. And, Florida isn't Southern California, where I did this last time. It is just more wet, more often, in every way.

In thinking about it, I wanted an epoxy like structural resin -- but one that wouldn't just cure when wet, but would also be able to incorporate small amounts of moisture allowing it to bond strongly to slightly moist materials. That brought me to polyurethane, which can bond through moisture by incorporating it, is moisture resistant, and can fill gaps keeping water out in the future.

My initial thought was trying to inject a polyurethane adhesive. But, they all seemed to be either too thick or too rigid when cured. My next thought was a 16lb structural foam from US Composites. It met the requirements above and has great mechanical properties. The challenge was how to inject it.

My next thought was a polyurethane foam and injection system used for foundation repairs. I couldn't find anyone selling those that would sell directly to me and also provide any measure of technical support for the application.

Then, I stumbled into InjectADeck. It seemed to fit the bill, come with an injection system, and be available to an end user. I called the company and spoke to the owner. He filled in some gaps and told me it is a 12-lb polyurethane foam. But, after hearing about my situation, he initially recommended /against/ using it. He felt that, if my core was still solid and the fiberglass was not adhered, it could over expand, push up the fiberglass, and make a mess. None-the-less, he referred me to someone in my area who was experienced with it, Spencer of O'Connell Marine in Palm Harbor near Tarpon Springs, FL.

Spencer came out, and decided it was a good fit. As for over expanding, he felt that wouldn't be a problem as my top fiberglass was solid and they could drill a lot of holes, injecting a little into each, rather than fewer holes, trying to push it father. And, in this way, limit over-expansion and provide plenty of venting preventing push-up. We also agreed that they would drill well past the soft areas to try to inject everywhere they could, so I wouldn't be calling them back when another delaminated area, previously unnoticed, made itself known. They seemed very knowledgeable and like good folks, so I hired them.

Total cost was just under $3,000. It is important to realize that this wasn't just for the repair -- a very significant amount of the cost was grinding off all of the gelcoat and texture applied as part of the prior repair, because I wanted to make sure that work was exposed and repaired as needed. Another cost was actually fixing the problems in those sections, e.g. leveling, fairing, glassing, etc.

A more typical InjectaDeck repair, I am told, would cost far less, because the whole deck doesn't need to be worked and, depending upon the owner's budget, it may not even need to be fully painted vs touch-up painted.


Round II

The repair was done with the boat berthed at Clearwater Municipal Marina. It was done cleanly enough that none of my neighbors nor the marina complained at all. This is impressive because the marina isn't really one that likes major work going on.

The repair took less than 3 days time wise. It was spread out over about 5 days, due to their schedule and me not caring as I wasn't around at the time.

A bunch of pictures of the InjectADeck portion of the repair and the final result can be found here:
-- https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...I5?usp=sharing

I haven't yet been to the boat since it was done, but it was inspected by people I trust, and I am told it looks perfect and feels solid. I'm going to sound it with a hammer in a couple of weeks when I'm there. But, I 100% trust the folks who checked on it.


For $3,000 Why didn't I just replace the deck core?

My goal wasn't to save money. It was to definitively solve the problem while preserving boating time.

I did save some money as compared to a full re-decking, I don't know how much. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd guess replacing the decking would have been ~$5,000, meaning I saved about $2,000. But, that wasn't the motivating factor.

I am convinced that polyurethane has the ability to solve the problem I was having with the bonding of the fiberglass to the wood, and convinced that it could do that even with whatever moisture might be remaining, which I am not entirely confident epoxy could have done (though maybe). I also felt that the expanding foam, although less dense and with less compressive strength than (less foaming) polyurethane adhesives still had the compressive strength that was needed, and could also fill any small voids to minimize the impact of any water that might leak in.

I might have felt differently if my decks were really mushy. But, my sense is that with mostly good core and mostly small problems, what I really needed was good adhesive coverage and good bonding.

It is also the case that I haven't been really sold on some of the redecking projects I've seen. They've cut the glass off the deck, replaced the core, epoxied it back down, glass taped over the seams, faired and repainted. And, that's all good. But in some cases the plywood has been pieced in, looked like a jigsaw puzzle, had some large gaps filled with resin, and I just haven't been convinced it was been as good as the original. I've walked across some decks that had been replaced a few years after it was done and felt movement or seen cracks in the paint forming. Without me being there, I just didn't feel I could quality control for that at all.


What is InjectaDeck and what are its properties?

It is a 12-lb density polyurethane foam that I think is more broadly marketed by at least another company for gap-filling in foundation repairs.

Polyurethane foam can incorporate (small amounts of) water while curing, so within some reason, it can bond despite the substrate being wet. This was an important property to me. And, the reason I chose it over an epoxy.

The properties reported to me by InjectaDeck were as follows:

Density (Core) Free Rise 12 Lbs Astm D 1622
Low Temperature Astm D 2126
Aging ( 20F) (Shrinkage) <0% 1 Day
(Shrinkage) <0% 7 Days
Water Absorption <1% Astm D 2127
(Volume Confined)
Shear Strength 75Psi Astm C 273
Tensile Strength 300 Psi Astm D 1623
Elongation 5% Astm D 1623
Viscosity 375 Cps
% Solid 100
Color Amber
Tdi Content 0%
Usdot Shipping Data Unregulated Class 55

One critical measure missing was the compressive strength. I called those I believe to be the original supplier to InjectaDeck, and they didn't have this number available. But, they "total wild guessed" it to be in the "300-450psi" ballpark. By comparing its properties to similar materials sold by other distributors, this seems very consistent to what I'd also guess.

Using the low number of 300psi, the material seems well suited for the intended purpose.


Who supplies the material to InjectaDeck?

The InjectaDeck folks were extremely helpful to me with the technical specs, so much so that I was able to track it back to what I think is the actual supplier to them. But, I'm not going to post their name as to not undercut InjectaDeck. I don't want to punish them for providing me with the technical details in full. It was good to see them not playing "hide the ball".

And, in my opinion, whatever their mark-up, they were 100% worth it to me. They took my phone calls, text messages, and emails. They answered every question. They earned their money through added value.

My view is that, for this application, one should buy it from them -- and save the foundation distributors for foundations.

If you really, really, really want the name of the supplier I found, DM me. I'll give it to you. But, I don't recommend that. It'll just cause the folks we need to support us to support us less.


My Assessment To Date

Epoxies are much stronger/tougher in essentially every way. But, in my own assessment, for my situation, what reality mattered was the ability to adhere to glass and wood given the moisture that in reality exists in almost any deck. I'm better off with a well-bonded polyurethane than an epoxy that won't necessarily bond well in the real world situation, I think. And, my decks just weren't ripe for replacement, and I didn't want to wait for them to get there.

I probably would have felt differently if I had mushy decks. But, for what they charge for InjectaDeck, I'd might also recommend that someone trying to balance boating time or money with longevity dry a deck out as best as possible and give it a shot. It is pretty inexpensive. There isn't much to be lost. I like to do things Right, but I also don't like to make the Imaginary Perfect become the Enemy of the Real World Good or falling into the trap that repair needs to wait until it makes sense to replace with new.

I don't think one can expect to shoot it in between two layers of glass with wood mud inside and expect anything good to come of it. It isn't a magic bullet. But, I really do think that there is a useful place for it in situations like mine that aren't bad, but are also show their age in places.


The Future?

If the deck shows any signs of failure or degradation in the future, I'll try to remember to post here. I may or may not remember to update it in a few years if it is still good. But, if anyone ever wants to ask how it is lasting, reply here or DM me.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:06 PM   #2
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Nice write up. Thanks.

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Old 09-27-2019, 11:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for a great writeup on a problem that likely all of us hope to never have to face.
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:00 AM   #4
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Thank you for sharing your experience and reasoning.

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Old 09-28-2019, 07:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great write up. May I ask what was used as the non-skid finish?

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Old 09-28-2019, 08:01 AM   #6
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Hey Ken,

It wouldn't have been my first choice, I'm an Awl Grip person and have wanted to try Kiwi Grip. But, it is an "AwlGrip equivalent" (note the quotes) from NorthStar with Faco FasGrip additive. It was sprayed.

So far it looks good, but we'll see if it lasts like Awl Grip. I've heard that line before. Actually, in boats I've seen lately, although I've never tried it myself, Kiwi Grip seems to look better longer than textured Awl Grip or anything else, at least to me. And I've never seen texture decks sprayed and wonder about thickness and abrasion resistence.

At any rate, these folks said this sprayed with texture nicely and handled rain and condensation better sooner, which was a risk the week they were working and in Florida, generally. It is what they usually use, and I found nothing bad about it (but didn't research it much). So, I figured I'd let them use it and, if it wears out Awl Grip or Kiwi Grip it myself. Somehow I have a history of being hard on non-skid, so I think of it more of a maintenance item than a long term investment.

The details, manuals, etc, are here:
-- https://drive.google.com/folderview?...v__pDm6YK9jNxe

Cheers!
-Greg
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Old 09-28-2019, 08:11 AM   #7
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I asked because my decks were professionally done about 15 years ago and whatever they used still looks extremely good. When the time comes to redo it I would like to use the same thing or similar.

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Old 09-28-2019, 08:16 AM   #8
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I should probably add that one thing I noticed googling that paint is that it is much, much less expensive than Awl Grip, and I'm not generally a believer in magic.

My challenge with textured decks has been that the paint is so thin over the pointy texture adds that it keeps functioning well for a long time -- but doesnt look new.

That's where I've seen the no texture add, all paint Kiwi Grip jobs seem to shine.

If you got 15 years from textured deck paint, I too want to know what you used.

By contrast, I've abused the heck out of Awl Grip hull rubbing docks, fenders, and tenders -- and it doesnt care a lick.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:00 AM   #9
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Ken,

The best deck texture I had done was by a guy who used Awlgrip. He primed, then taped the lines, and then painted one coat seemingly light on accelerator, then covered it, and I mean covered it with texture while the paint was wet, then once dry, he peeled the line tape and shop vac'ed the tons of extra off, and painted 2 more coats, then pulled the other masking off.

He used a shop vac he only used for this purpose. When done, he emptied it through a screen back into the bucket of texture and used it for the next job.

It came perfectly consistent and was very thick over the not-too-coarse grit, but still had good texture for nonskid purposes.

Cheers!
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkesden View Post

If you got 15 years from textured deck paint, I too want to know what you used.

By contrast, I've abused the heck out of Awl Grip hull rubbing docks, fenders, and tenders -- and it doesnt care a lick.

That's the thing, it was so long ago that I think it was 2 owners ago. They did pass along a photo album of the work. There may be some receipts from it but I'll have to dig to see.

I think it's either sprayed gel coat with non skid additive or something like Awlgrip.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:17 AM   #11
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Here's a couple of pictures today. The decks are a bit dirty but you can see the texture.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:20 AM   #12
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That is amazing for 15 years!
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:07 AM   #13
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That is amazing for 15 years!

15 years in NH and 15 years in FL are two different animals.
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Old 10-06-2019, 04:28 PM   #14
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Just to add a bit; I don't know this product, but I have some experience with urethane foams. Most of these are 'water blown' in that they absorb moisture from the surroundings while reacting, so I tend to believe the Injectadeck claims. They tend to be brittle, so I'd like to see long term results. Certainly higher density will have higher strength, and the integrity of the skin seems important.

Another good source for DIY level supplies is smooth-on: https://www.smooth-on.com/ They will have kits in a variety of sizes and densities. They are also good if you have to make a mold to replicate deck features.

And for medium size jobs, you can get 15 pound cans like here: https://www.mcmaster.com/9325k56 - the 'insulation' types tend to be low density, but some research might find other choices. Try Dow and 'Foam-It'
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:48 PM   #15
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Hi all,

So, I got out to the boat myself and both looked over everything and sounded the deck.

1) When walking over the deck with shoes and then barefoot, my initial steps (pardon the pun), the repair fixed the springy/pop feeling in the area just aft of the deck hardware where the fiberglass became delaminated from the wood core. To someone just walking (or even stomping) across the deck, it felt very solid. I was (and remain) very, very pleased.

2) When I sounded the deck, I was actually a little bit surprised. Tapping really lightly, the fiberglass, itself, always gave a sharp, crisp report. But, dialing my technique in and sounding it in a more useful way, the report on the deck varied from a really crisp, sharp sound in some areas to a lot less sharp in other areas (but nothing I'd call "dead" or a true "thud").

3) Comparing to vessels of the same era with similar construction and "good" decks, none of the areas sounded "bad" to me. But, it was almost like there were three different sounds: the sharp report I really liked hearing, a sound more like hitting a less dense species of wood, and a third sound.

4) I now wish I had done a full sounding (not a here and there sounding) immediate before the work, not 8-9 months ago (before the prior deck repair), to have a comparison with more recent memory. Sigh.

5) My best guess is that what I heard was was there was. Some areas were the new plywood with an excellent report. Some areas were the older core material, showing some of age and condition and being a different type of core material, and some areas where I was hearing the report of a thin layer of InjectADeck.

6) For the most part, the InjectaDeck didn't seem to upwardly displace the fiberglass. But, the area where I had the unbonded glass, which was the reason for the repair, did lift up a little bit. You'd really have to know to look for it to see it, and look at it sideways (not at a normal angle), and even then it is barely noticeable as it was very, very little and smoothly tapered off. And, most importantly, it didn't cause any puddling at all when it rained. But, having looked at the deck as much as I did before and after, I am confident that there was a slight a slight change.

6) Having said that, I'm not disappointed about the glass being displaced a hair upward in the repair area. It really was just a hair and the taper was very smooth over a large area. And, I wanted the glass bonded to the wood and something had to go in between to do that, so I'm glad it did. I guess, as much as anything, I am was personally glad to see a nice smooth contour, not something lumpy near injection sites.

7) The plywood repairs that had previously been faired in poorly by a different contractor (boatyard) were revised very nicely. I was very pleased to see, or rather not see, them. And, in fairness (also pardon the pun) some of what I think might be elevation gain from InjectaDeck could potentially be fairing around the front one of those repairs (though I doubt it).

7) Two disappointments: On the port side, away from all of the repair work (both the most recent repair work and the prior repair work), there were two quarter sized blisters in the deck paint. To me, they looked like they were caused by solvent entrapment, but I don't really know. In any case, they made me sad.

8) I called the folks and sent them cellphone photos. They sounded very shocked and disappointed, assured me it was under warranty, and promised me they'd be out to fix it within the next very few days. They said they wouldn't know what they'd need to do that correctly until they looked and broke them open. But, they promised me everything would be fixed right.

9) I'm taking them at their word that it'll be fixed correctly. I really do believe that something went "wrong" and that they'll completely correct it, doing whatever they need to do that. I've had things go that way on me, too. I'll judge them by it when it is done, after they address it. In fact, quickly backing one's work, even when something has an issue is a plus in my book.

Overall, assuming the paint issue is fixed, I am 100% happy with the job. I feel really good that it fixed the problem, it feels solid, sounds reasonably solid, has a nice non-skid texture, and looks good. As Kirwan says, long term results will tell -- but I am very optimistic.

I think that is all the news that is fit to print.

Cheers!
-Greg
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:31 AM   #16
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Thanks for great write up. Now I understand what I am looking at with boat I am looking at with soft flying bridge deck.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:57 PM   #17
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Hi all,

Just as an update for anyone who cares...

The contractor came out and nicely touched up the areas where the paint blistered, but one of the two small blisters immediately blister again and larger.

When I originally hired them, I asked about priming the deck before painting. I was told that they'd spot prime the repair areas, but not the whole deck. I offered to pay more to prime the whole thing, but they told me it was unnecessary and that they don't do that. They said the recent boatyard work left a good substrate and so priming wasn't needed or helpful, except where it was, where they would do it. I tried to explain that on a 40 year old trawler, if one busted the top paint film sanding or there were spot touch-ups, one never knew what could be waiting.

I wasn't heard. At that point, I didn't try too hard, though. I'd had the same discussion with the boatyard that did the work originally, they blew me off, also. But, in that case, the paint turned out fine.

Soon after I reported the problem, they came back out to fix it. Before they did this, I emphatically repeated my plea for primer. I observed that we did have a problem, and none of us wanted a 3rd go of this. I was told, confidently, that the problem was moisture, not a chemical incompatibility, and that the problem would be addressed by alcohol or solvent drying after sanding and before painting. I tried to explain that moisture doesn't cause gas-filled blisters, that chemical reactions do. But, I was blown off.

The repair initially looked good. But, within hours a slightly larger blister formed, likely owing to the larger area sanded to fair the repair. I called them back and they reported being "aggravated" that the paint did this again, but agreed to fix it. I was later told that they consulted their paint rep, who agreed with my assessment that it was a compatibility problem and primer was needed and would be used for the re-re-repair.

4 months later, we've touched base almost every week, and they promise to come out soon, sometimes giving specific days and times, but have not returned. I even offered to pay them $300 or $400 more just to get it done. Today was the most recent broken promise.

I TXTed them at 4:18pm tonight, "I hate to do this, but my neighbor tells me you haven't been to the boat. We've hit the end of the road. I'm going to hire someone else to correct the defects. You are no longer authorized to board the vessel or undertake the repair."

At 4:56pm, they TXTed me back, "I'm sorry you feel that way. Stopped at a meeting in Dunedin on my way to your boat this afternoon. Meeting took 2 hrs. Walked out to this text. I will turn around and head back to my shop."

Dunedin is about 20 minutes from the marina. Assuming what they wrote was true, that would put them at the marina at about 5:16pm, and at the boat at about 5:20pm. Sunset is 6:05pm. Considering condensation, it would be too late to prime or paint before they even showed. Am I really expected to believe this would all have been done today, unlike all of their other promised days, but for me giving up on them? (I don't).

Annoying to be sooooooo close. But, not have it right because of not wanting to prime. I just don't get why some contractors do this. It seems like such cheap insurance to me.

I also don't get why this contractor was a baby about fixing it. The first time took him an hour. This time would have taken him two hours, one per day. One to sand and prime, one to light sand to fair the primer and paint. It is a small defect. I'd have done it myself already, but am an occasional weekender and need to order the paint, texture, thinner, converter, etc and have used the "good painting, but non-boating days" to paint the gunwales and brow and maintain brightwork.

At any rate, the final update is that the injectadeck is still working beautifully. And, the re-repair of the boatyard's "postage stamp" deck repairs is still very good, and the paint, generally, still looks good. But, this problem is left for me to fix. If I get time, I'll probably order the paint and texture (I've got primer) and do it myself. Otherwise, I guess I'll eventually hire someone. Sigh.

At any rate, the more important update is that the 4+ months later, the injectadeck is still working beautifully and, as a whole, the repair turned out well and I'd do it again the same way (just not with the same people). And, an important reminder is that materials compatibility and priming are important things!



P.S. If you are wondering who did the repair, I usually don't run peoples names through the dirt publicly. I usually work out my differences personally. But, I guess, in this case, you can read up the thread and see my original message saying good things about the injectadeck portion of the repair (which remains good).
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:49 PM   #18
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Some people don`t like being wrong. Infallible? Live and learn, I say, and try to do so myself.
When I get a trade not performing, rather than cut em off at the knees in one swoop, I give them notice:"Fred, you`ve done good work for me for yonks but this job,despite lots of promises and no doubt good intentions you just don`t seem to be able to get to it. If you can`t get to it next week by Friday, I`ll have no alternative but to, reluctantly,get someone else to do it....."
I had one shipwright promise and promise a start date and when I tried to tie him down to starting he said "If you`re not happy, get someone else to do it"; and was very stroppy when I did.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:05 PM   #19
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I guess I'll post one more update. I went to the local supplier for the line of paints that were used and bought both parts of the paint, the thinner, the 2-part epoxy primer in their line as well as the same texture. It cost about $375.00 due to minimum quantities, etc.

I opened the gas-filled blister and confirmed a good, dry substrate, peeled it back and scraped it back as far as I could, lightly sanded the edges, and primed. The next day I masked, lightly sanded and painted; then waited 90 minutes, lightly sanded, and sprinkled texture; waited 90 minutes, painted, and added some more texture; waited 90 minutes, peeled off the tape, and painted again; waited 90 minutes, and painted one last time.

Although the paint was originally sprayed, texture and all, I brushed the primer, sprinked the texture with my fingers, and 4" foam rolled the paint. I didnt want to mask for the overspray, etc, for a small repair to a textured area.

The repair is visible upon careful examination because the the texture is denser, but otherwise looks good.

And, best of all, shockingly and amazingly (not). It didn't blister or peel!
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:21 AM   #20
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Folks that are going to use sand as a no skid should know that to obtain a nice uniform look about 2 inches of sand is required for the process.


When the epoxy is hard , a leaf blower or hose will get rid of the excess.
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