Wood Rot Repair and Restoration
Wood Rot or fungal decay is a serious issue for wooden boats, fiberglass boats, homes and all outdoor structures that feature wood construction.
Fiberglass boats can rot?
Many fiberglass boats built in the last fifty years have wood reinforcing elements built into the deck, hull and other areas. Many boat decks, cockpit floors and in some cases boat hulls feature a balsa wood core sandwiched with fiberglass. Unfortunately, water often finds its way into the balsa core and thus begins the ugly cycle of core rot and eventual deck delamination.
Causes of Wood Rot
The presence of fresh water and poor drainage is the leading cause of rot. Fungal decay or wood rot must have a moisture supply to survive and grow. A very common form of wood decay often called "dry rot" that is now more correctly termed "Brown Rot". The symptoms and effects of wood rot can range from mild cosmetic issues all the way up to very serious structural damage. In this discussion, the topic of insect damage is not addressed although many of the symptoms, problems and repairs are similar.
Methods of Repairing Rotted Wood
Depending on the location and severity of the damage, there are generally four different approaches to repair:
- Wood Replacement
- Epoxy Treatments
- Wood Restoration
- Wood Preservation
Wood Replacement: In extreme cases of rot, replacing damaged sections may be the best choice. If replacement is not an option, a satisfactory repair may be accomplished with the use of epoxy resin based products and epoxy filler materials. These two-parts products are available individually and also packaged as complete repair kits.
Epoxy Treatments: Penetrating Epoxy Sealers are a form of epoxy resin optimized to penetrate and saturate wood fibers. These materials are available in larger quantities for coating and sealing multiple wood surfaces. If the repair job is small, two-part epoxy kits are available in convenient sizes.
Wood Restoration: Epoxy based filler putty is also a two-part product designed to simplify the reconstruction of missing wood sections. Epoxy fillers typically feature high strength, light weight and are easy to sand or blend with the wood substrate. Epoxy fillers will chemically bond with wood that has been epoxy treated. Once fully cured, the filled areas may be primed and painted to match the surrounding structure.
Wood Preservation: Borate Powders are used to control of wood destroying insects and rot. Borate can be used dry or in a water solution to form an effective penetrating mixture. Borate solutions produce no hazardous solvents and no odors.