Water intrusion through bridge screws
The second kind of crack we are going to look at is the caused by water intrusion into the wood substructure. This kind of crack is caused when water gets into the wooden roof substructure causing it to swell and crack the fiberglass.
The first thing we need to do to repair this crack is to identify where the water is getting into the roof structure. Here are some places to look. If the crack is around the bridge, look at where the bridge is attached to the roof. Several manufacturers simply screw the bridge directly to the roof. Over time, the silicone used to seal where the screw penetrates the roof can deteriorate allowing water into the plywood substructure. Most of the time, but not always, this will also result in the roof leaking in the salon.
You can fix this problem in 2 different ways. The first and best way to repair this problem is to raise the bridge up and fiberglass a small wood block onto the roof to which to attach the bridge. Once you set the bridge over it, the bridge can’t move. You can also put a screw through the bridge into the side of the block as well. This will insure you will never have this problem again.
The second way would be to simply remove the screw, scrape off the old silicon, and reseal it using new silicon. The problem with this is that you will have the same problem again at some point in time.
Regardless of which method you use, before you place the bridge back in to final position, you will need to open the water damaged area up and let it dry thoroughly. You can do this with a hook bill knife or a grinder. Be sure to remove any loose and delaminated fiberglass, opening the roof up until you find dry wood. Once the wooden substructure is completely dry, you can take a folded 7” grinder disk or a grinder and smooth the area. From here you simply need to apply 2 layers of 1 and ½ ounce chopped strand mat. Mix enough resin to wet out thoroughly. Allow to dry completely, sand sooth and apply a thick coat of gel coat with surfacing agent.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. Good luck and happy boating.
- A small amount fiberglass resin
- A small piece of chopped strand fiberglass mat
- A small amount of gel coat with surfacing agent or “wax” in it
- A very small amount of MEK or hardener
- 2- 2” disposable paint brushes
- 2 small paint trays
- 4”- 36 grit grinder pad
No one wants to spend time working on their boat, but there are times that it is a must. Today we tackle the subject of repairing cracks in the roof.
Cracks in a modern houseboat roof are not uncommon and not something to be afraid of as long as they are fixed in a timely manner when they appear. If they are not repaired soon after they appear, water intrusion can cause major damage to the substructure of the roof. And we all do not want that. So don’t put the repair off!
Cracks can be caused by several things. One of the most common is flex in the roof. Flex is caused when you encounter large waves, when a boat has been moved from one lake to another on a trailer, or lifted using a travel lift. Most of the time this kind of crack will appear on the roof’s edge or “gutter rail.”
This kind of crack is one of the easiest to repair. First, let’s look at the location of the crack. If it is at a break in the T molding at the bottom of the outside roof edge, it has been caused by the T mold moving. To repair this type of crack you will need the following items:
–small drill bit
–2 small 1″ stainless steel screws
–a small amount of fiberglass resin
–a small piece of chopped strand fiberglass mat
–a small amount of gel coat with surfacing agent or “wax” in it
–a very small amount of MEK or hardner
–2-2″disposable paint brushes
–2 small paint trays
—a 4″ 36 grit grinder pad
–a 4’x4′ piece of plastic for a drop cloth (a large trash bag works great)
The first thing you will want to do is secure the T mold. This will help prevent this kind of crack from happening again. Looking up under the roof edge you will see the joint in the T mold. Take the drill and drill a small hole on either side on the joint under the roof edge. Secure the T mold using the 2 small screws. This should prevent this spot ever cracking again.
Now take the 4″ grinder pad and fold in half. Sand the crack out completely and scuff up about roughly 2″ or so on either side of the area. Place your drop cloth/trash bag below the area you are working on to prevent dripping resin on the side of the boat.
Now you are ready to glass the spot. Tear, not cut, 2 small pieces of fiberglass mat just large enough to cover the area you have scuffed up. Make sure the edges are feathered. This will make prepping for the gel coat much easier. Mix a small amount, about 4-5 ounces of resin with 6-7 drops of hardner. IMPORTANT–Mix extremely well!!! Using the 2″ paint brush wet the fiberglass met until it is saturated. It will become clear when it has soaked up enough resin. Use the paint brush to smooth out the mat and get all of the air out from under it.
Wait until completely dry. This should take roughly one hour depending on the temperature outside. Once it is completely dry, take your 36-grit sanding disk and sand the new glass until smooth. Once you are happy with how it looks, mix a small amount of gel coat, about 4-5 ounces with 9-10 drops of hardner. Again, mix extremely well!! Use a new paint brush to apply a generous amount of gel coat. Do not apply enough for the gel to run.
Okay, congratulations, you have fixed a roof crack. Now all you have to do is clean up. If you have trouble finding the materials for this repair or have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to put together a repair kit for you.
Next month, we will look at another kind of roof crack. Again, we will walk you through the proper repair method. Until then, get out there and enjoy the water safely!!