Repairing Stress Cracks in a Nonskid Textured Surface

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by gjrylands, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. gjrylands
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    gjrylands Junior Member

    Can anyone advise me how to repair stress cracks in a nonskid textured surface? I've got stress cracks in the deck of my boat. I want to repair them before I get damage to the core, but I also don't want to loose the textured deck surface.

    Where can I get a magic wand?

    Gerry
     
  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    What is the color of your decks? Can you get a compatable adhesive in that color? Would you be willing to coat your decks with a new color? Let me know this and I'll try to offer some suggestions. Also, how wide are the stress cracks?
     
  3. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    You didn't say if the pattern was diamond, square, bumpy, or whatever. In any case, repair can be as simple as deepening and vee-ing the cracks, filling with a small bead of epoxy from a syringe and painting the one bad area, or painting the whole non-skid deck for a perfect match.
    Whenever non-skid is involved, it's not easy or cheap to fix UNLESS you end up painting, because matching colors is so finicky and gel coat is too thick to duplicate the sharpness of the other non-skid areas if applied by spray.
    There comes a time in every glass boat's life that you think about paint, after fixing all of the cracks you can find. Your boat is probably at that point.
     
  4. gjrylands
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    gjrylands Junior Member

    Repairing Stress Cracks in a Nonskid Textured Deck

    I've got a 79 F36 Trojan. The texturing of the deck is dimpled, for lack of a better term. There are recessed spots over the entire nonskid surface.
    The stress cracks are not much larger then the thickness of a hair. The deck and boat is an off white color.

    I’m not against the idea of painting the deck with Awlgrip, or some other similar product. What do you do to get a new nonskid surface? How about grinding out and repairing the cracks, and rolling epoxy mixed with Q-cells with a stipple roller before painting? I would think the deck would be sanded with 80 grit before applying the epoxy. There are breaks in the texture where the deck is smooth; at the toe rail, around hatches and where the deck meets the cabin. Additional breaks can be added so the deck could be done in sections. I’d rather not have to do the entire surface in one shot.

    I know conditions (sun, temperature, humidity, and maybe others that I don't know about.) will effect how fast the epoxy will set. Experimenting will be needed so a uniform texture is produced. In order to get a uniform thickness of epoxy on the deck I was thinking that if the epoxy was applied with a notched trowel the thickness should be consistent so when rolled with the stipple roller the texture would be consistent. (I don’t want the surface to be so textured that bare feet will bleed.) (Maybe the stippled surface would need to be sanded before painting to give a uniform finish.)

    Does this approach sound like a realistic solution or is there a better way of producing a nonskid surface? (I’m not sold on adding sand to the paint.)

    Will the epoxy need to be primed before applying Awlgrip? If so, with what?

    Any help or comments would be appreciated. I think I know just enough about this type of work to get myself in trouble. If this works the rear deck and bridge floor will be put on the to-do-list.
     
  5. fiberglass jack
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    fiberglass jack Senior Member

    if you go to the baking section of the supermarket and buy the little sugar balls for decorating iceing get a few different sizes, after you repair the area roll on a heavey layer of gelcoat on the deck and then sprinkle down the sugar balls once the gel is cure wash out the sugar and u will be left with a dimple surface
     
  6. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    It sounds like you've got some cracking from where gelcoat has shrunken from years of UV radiation and this is very typical, especially if the gelcoat was applied a little thick.
    Here's the thing----- the process is ongoing. In addition to prepping for paint, it would pay to apply some light glass cloth along with your epoxy.
    Others may be more expert than I regarding what weight of cloth, but I would use maybe a 4 oz at least, and possibly as much as 10 oz, which will really protect that deck for a long time.
    The idea is to have some tensile material that won't telegraph through any new crack. This also means cosmetic cracks already there don't need to be so carefully filled---- the cloth will eliminate future growth of those cracks.
    Regarding the new non-skid, there are many ways---- walnut shells, sand, sugar as mentioned, and a whole host of products of all kinds.
    I prefer the sand myself. In any case, prime with the primer specced for use with awlgrip, or a substitute recommended by an experienced painter.
    I'm a one-part paint guy, so I'd only screw you up if I told you to use the same method I'd use for single-part polyurethane. Someone else here would be a better advisor.
     
  7. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Yoiu can make a mould of the pattern in the deck using latex rubber. Peel it off the original where it is in good condition. After the repair has been done, place the rubber mould over the wet gel and gently allow the pattern to match up again, then cover with thin plywood and then some pigs on top to hold it all down, the end result is almost indistinguishable from the original.

    Also the same latex mould can be used to laminate a patch onto it. The old deck is routed out and the patch piece inserted, I have used both methods and the results are very good.
     
  8. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Correct, Landlubber--- and it could be that the original pebble surface is exactly the same as the surface of plexi ceiling panels used for covering flourescent fixtures in (usu) commercial suspended ceilings.
    I've seen this done, where a proffesional glass boatbuilder used the panels as part of the plug for all of his boat deck molds. The panels are 2 x 4 feet, and cost only a few dollars.
     
  9. buckknekkid
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    buckknekkid Senior Member

    I ate them now what:D
     
  10. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    buckknenkkid,

    Go have a drink of water, sit down for a while and let it all kick in.......

    we will try again tomorrow...
     
  11. AroMarine
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    AroMarine Junior Member

    If your repair areas are small Gibco flex molds have a reversed dimple pattern that will probably match your deck. They are a good co. with a tutorial flier on how to fix gelcoat non skid. However it sounds like your situation is a little larger than this so Alan White is on the right track. A layer of glass and poly resin then prime and paint. You should grind through most of the dimpling so your surface is flat. If you can clean the dimples and your cracks epoxy is a good choice to get a flat surface. Once you get to a good base Awlgrip or Interlux's 2 part polyurethane both have good nonskid particles. Do not use sand. If you are comfortable with gelcoat there are a couple of good options there.
     
  12. AroMarine
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    AroMarine Junior Member

    For the nonskid pattern look at Gibcoflexmold.com Sorry I dont know how to hyperlink this.
     
  13. gjrylands
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    gjrylands Junior Member

    Textured Finish Repair

    Thanks for the replies. I checked out the Gibco site. Looks like the perfect way to repair damage to smaller areas, but I don't think it will work for me. From what I read the texture finishes they repair are patterns that repeat. The texture of my non-skid looks more like the ceiling panel rather then the plexi diffuser. I don’t see the pattern repeating, like a square or diamond pattern. My repairs are not isolated to a small area. There are many cracks all around the deck. A proper fix would require an entire new surface with a layer of glass. That’s not in the budget at this time, but I will grind and fill them with epoxy and live with the look. It certainly won’t look perfect but it will protect the core.

    Again, Thanks for the input,
    Gerry
     
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Instead of fooling around with adding texture and hoping for the best in a match, why don't you just make a few small molds of clean, unmolested areas of texture, then use this to cast a repair surface.

    I've made this type of repair for clients before and it's a little effort, but if you want the same texture, without having to redo everything to match, it works.

    Tape off a section of clean textured area and apply a mold release or you can use plain old automotive wax (several coats). I've used latex mold making goo, but have found that slightly thinned epoxy works better (thinning makes it flexible) and is more durable. Mix up some epoxy and thin it with denatured alcohol about 20%. Build a small dam around the area you'll be picking up the mold from (stack up some tape) and flood coat the area with this thinned epoxy. Let it cure, then peel it off the waxed surface. You'll have a mirror impression of you texture in the cured epoxy, which should be flexible, but still fairly tough, so it'll hold up to repeated uses.

    Now grind out the areas you need to, open up cracks, apply reinforcing fabrics, etc., but make sure they're all just shy of flush with the finished surface. When ready to do you finish work (adding the texture) wet out the area with neat epoxy, mix up another batch of epoxy, but this time thickened with a 50/50 mixture of micro fibers (milled 'glass fibers) and silica and spread this over the area in an even and reasonably smooth, level surface. Now place your prewaxed mold on the wet, thickened epoxy and apply enough pressure to insure the texture is transferred, but not so much to cause ooze out. Let this cure then peel off the mold and your are will have a exact replica of the texture.

    If you're careful you can even align any patterns or graining noticeable in the texture.
     

  15. gjrylands
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    gjrylands Junior Member

    Non-Skid Deck Mold

    This process sounds like it would work for my texture.

    I have both mold release wax and PVA mold release. Which release agent would you recommend using on the deck so the mold duplicates the pattern and releases properly? How difficult is it to remove the wax from the texture if it is used?
    If Pva is used, are mutable coats required? If so, How many?

    How thick should I make the mold?

    The mold you are describing sounds very much like a Gibco flex mold. From what I read in their site, you want to be able to flex the mold so air is not trapped under the mold as it is rolled into the epoxy. Would an un-reinforced mold be flexible enough to be rolled into the epoxy without breaking?

    After the initial epoxy cures, would it be a good idea to laminate a layer glass cloth or mat to the mold before it is removed or would a thinner more flexible mold be better? The mold would be used multiple times.

    There is a spot in my deck where someone jumped and fractured the glass in the deck. Water has entered the balsa core and there is a soft spot in the deck. I know the core will have to be replaced and the deck repaired before texturing the repaired area. I will need to make a fairly large mold to cover the repair.
    The pattern of the texture is running parallel to the centerline of the boat. I thought it would be helpful if I marked the mold with an arrow pointing straight forward before the mold was removed, that way the mold could be oriented so the texture would remain in alignment.
    I would think the pattern of the texture repeats, but it seams random. I don’t think I would be practical to try to find the exact part of the pattern that would fit into every recess in the surrounding repair area. How apparent will the transition between the new and old pattern be? Other posts suggested applying release agent on the undamaged surface around the repair. Does that sound like a good idea, or would it be better for the epoxy to slightly over lap the undamaged surface?

    How long can the repair be left exposed before painting?

    I think I have a good idea of the repair process you have described. Are there any other tips that may help?
     
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