Build Question #1: the deck

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by JP in FL, Nov 10, 2022.

  1. JP in FL
    Joined: Nov 2022
    Posts: 13
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Ocala Florida

    JP in FL Junior Member

    I will preface this by saying that I am building a boat because I want to build a boat. I understand that the more sane option would be to buy. With that said, I am aware of the issues that can arise from a wood boat- namely longevity issues. My desire is to see this boat last at least 20 years to justify the time and expense.
    Jeff Spira provides two options to deck the ply on frame design I am building. The first is a raised, self bailing sealed deck. The second is an open planked deck much like you may see on a house. I need to choose between the two before I progress because he choice will dictate a lot about how I plan the build.
    What is WANT is a sealed, self bailing deck. I was able to speak with Jeff about this before his passing. He suggested that, if I were to seal the deck, I should plan in lots of under deck access to allow the area to dry and that I should not seal the area below the deck with epoxy. His reasoning behind this is the inevitability of water intrusion below the deck. He said that if I sealed the deck, water would get in. Either from areas where I didn’t seal well enough, from where steering, wiring, and fuel come through, or just from humidity here in Florida. If I sealed the wood below, water would find its way to wood through imperfections and not be able to dry out properly because it was sealed. My plan would be to put in screw on access hatches between frames so that o could open them to allow drying while it’s stored.

    a planked deck would be easier to build, easier on the budget, and easier in terms of maintenance.

    I guess what I'm asking is:
    1. would sealing the deck make my build less likely to last the twenty years I’m hoping for?
    2. If I’m sealing the deck, does Mr. Spira’s advice about not epoxy coating the wood below the deck seem accurate?
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 16,391
    Likes: 1,428, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I have built many boats with plywood decks completely sealed on both sides. The only problems come from damage of improperly installed/maintained hardware. Anything screwed to the deck should be properly bedded and sealed. The sealant should be re-done every 10 years or so. You don't need to remove the hardware. Remove one screw or bolt at a time, add sealant and re-install. Many old timers did not trust modern chemicals.
     
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