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Replace floor


mejim707's Avatar
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05-19-08, 09:56 AM   #1  
Replace floor

Hi, I am in the middle of a job to replace the floor on my '84 Regal Medallion. The floor had bad dry rot in some places. I pulled it out and noticed what looks like a little bit of rot in the stringers where the floor support attached to the stringer and extends under the floor.

Now, how do I know if the stringers need to be replaced? That section the wood is quit soaked and feels soft. Will the boat break in half and send me to my demise in the lake if I don't replace it?

 
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05-20-08, 06:12 AM   #2  
With the advent of fiberglass boats years and years ago, it never ceased to amaze me that manufacturers still used wood as the structural members of their products, including the flooring. That being said, there are two types of boats - those that are rotting - and those that will. The fiberglass hull was laid, then the wood was pressed in to the wet fiberglass inside the boat, and encapsulated in layers of the stuff to provide a "waterproof" seal. (HAH). Once that wood gets wet and starts to rot, the only way to fix it properly is to replace it. Not to say you can't simply patch over the obvious spots, but there will be plenty of "not obvious" spots that will continue to deteriorate. Cutting out the old wood and replacing it is the "right thing" to do. Before you start, make sure your hull is securely supported, as the stringers and floorboards are both structural in a boat and the hull can flex while you're replacing either/both.

Will she break up in the middle of the lake? Probably not.... Will the engine come loose from the stringer engine mounts under high stress - now that's a possibility. If you have a skier's tow pylon attached to the stringers, it also risks being ripped out of the boat under heavy load.

It's a pretty big undertaking - but do-able (I refloored/stringered) my 20 yr old comp boat a couple of years ago) Took a while to do it right - but I'm now confident she's good for another 20 years.

 
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05-20-08, 11:20 AM   #3  
Point noted

I have looked over the section last night and confirmed that there is still plenty of "good" wood in the tricky spots as described in the image I posted here. How do I figure out how far down the stringers should be replaced? I was told to drill a few holes and check then refill with resin. Without cutting all the stringers out how do I know for sure what needs to come out? The boat seems so well sealed other than in that spot in the picture. WHY WHY WHY did they not seal those spots? Also, I have run the engine and did not notice any movement ot it's mounts, in fact, the mounts look sturdy. I am all new to this and the advice is great. If I do cut out the sections of stringers as shown in the pictures, If I do one side at a time do I need to do anything special with securing the hull?

 
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05-20-08, 04:39 PM   #4  
A qualified marine surveyor will tell you everything that is wrong with the hull of your boat. The will test for a solid hull, they have moisture meters that shoot through the fiberglass and take readings. They can pinpoint exactly what you need to do. Not exactly cheap, but will give you piece of mind that your boat is 100% safe to opperate.

 
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05-20-08, 07:54 PM   #5  
the stringers seem strong.

If I leave the stringers, remove this stupid #[email protected]^ foam to get rid of the water in it and replace the floor, if the stringers are strong and everything in the back with the engine is strong is this something I could operate safely or if I go out, will it bust in 2 hurling me to my water demise? I got the boat for free when I bought a newer trailer. I have spent 500 on the boat so far, drive bellow, impeller kit, floor wood (marine), fiber glass resin / cloth (or whatever), relay, ignition switch, and skin chunks. If the boat is strong would I get a few years out of it at least? There is no good answer here I take it. I guess I will need to tear out the front boxes, floor in front and all foam. . Welcome to boating...

 
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05-21-08, 04:26 AM   #6  
Sounds like you have a handle on boat ownership.... work, work, work.... Face it, it's a 24 year old boat - and typically, at some point there is a law of diminishing returns on the work you do.

You're correct in your assumptions - remove that darned foam.... if it's wet, it was obviously open cell foam, which absorbs water, making your boat weigh about 3X what it should. Remove the flooring (tougher than it sounds - don't cut through the hull in the removal process - and dig out the foam, letting it air out thoroughly before going any further. Cut and fit the new flooring panels to size. Before fastening to the stringers/sides of the boat, coat the underside of the new flooring with polyester resin and about 1/4th the recommended hardner. This allows the resin to soak into the wood before hardening, especially along the edges. Screw down with SS screws (you can't screw into the sides of the boat - you'll have to lay fiberglass matt (saturated) along the edges and lay your new wood into it, with enough weight to keep it down while it cures. (Work neat - cured fiberglass is a pain to sand if you don't) Once you're happy with the new floor, finish it with fiberglass - and new carpet. (This is a very brief synopsis of floor replacement - get more detailed instructions before starting)

As far as the stringers are concerned. I've seen boats run for years with totally rotted stringers. They provide fore/aft support for the boat and are the attachment points for motors/tow bars/etc. Most boats (Regal included) are pretty stout along the bottom, and the risk of it "folding in two" on the lake are pretty remote. You're more likely to have the motor rolling around in the back one day when torque/rot take their toll. Even that would probably not sink her (probably).

If you do decide to replace/repair stringers......

Start cutting... about 6 - 12 inches past where you believe the rot stops. If you cut through good wood entirely - you were successful... if you continue to hit rot - keep cutting back till you hit 100% good wood. (rot is like cancer, leave a little, and it will continue to grow). You can drill test holes elsewhere throughout the boat, just be sure to fill them throughly with a mixture of resin and glass threads to keep them dry in the future. While removing your floor/stringers, make sure your hull is securely supported on the trailer, both fore/aft and side/side.

The stringers will not simply "lift out" when you cut through them. The wood is bonded to the fiberglass and will require digging/sanding to remove all of it. Wear a mask, and safety glasses. Fiberglass can be sharp, don't cut yourself on the edges.


Last edited by thezster; 05-21-08 at 04:42 AM.
 
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05-21-08, 06:16 AM   #7  
Settled...

I have a better outlook on the entire project now. Thanks for the reply. I will tear out the from seat boxes and will not rebuild them. I will tear out the floor in from and start by pulling all the foam out. I am a bit concerned by how hard it will be to get all the way down to the lowest point in the front of the boat to get the foam out but I will make sure it's done. I will look over the stringers and drill holes. I do know the stringers, from where I have already drilled, are in fact wet, but not rotten, yet... I guess when they dry that's when the rot sets in. Perhaps I would just keep wetting them like oiling and engine... Once I get all the foam out and I am down to bare "Bones" I will choose at that point what I want to do with the stringers. From what you say, if I keep the boat on the trailer could I do one full length stringer at a time and not worry about the boat doforming? If so I may just do it for the heck of it. I like the boat, and, it was free! The engine and outdrive are perfect and everything in it works. It's a keeper. Now, when I'm done reflooring, do I need to replace the front seat boxes for weight distribution or could I just add aftermarket seats at a later time? Also, is it completely true I don't need to replace the foam? Thanks for everything. Having people here who understand this wonderful stuff helps me from jumping off my house.
This is the Free boat


This is the Volvo Penta aq125a


This is the cut away floor. Not completed but enought to depress


Drilled holes in a stringer. The chalk is where the holes are drilled and the saw dusk was damp.


This is the drivers side stringer where most of the rot shows. I cleaned all the wood smoosh away to expose only the "Hard" "good" wood.


And the #$%@! foam...


Last edited by mejim707; 05-21-08 at 06:47 AM.
 
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05-21-08, 06:30 AM   #8  
You can do without the foam - though it is designed to provide flotation in the event of a swamping. You could buy a two part foam mix and pour it in place - but it's kind of six of one/half dozen of the other.

If you keep the boat on the trailer - and the bunks support it thoroughly, you should have no issues with deformation.

Worry not about weight distribution due to the original seats and/or aftermarket units. It's minimal. Your boat, at it's age, probably has wooden seat frames - and they tend to go first due to rot. I rebuilt mine with plastic plywood when I renovated my last boat. Spendy, but they'll never, ever rot again. The new upholstry, should you go that direction, may cost you more than the entire boat is worth - and is a call you will make later.

Good luck - and welcome to the wonderful world of boating... (A boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money)....

 
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05-21-08, 10:22 AM   #9  
replace the stringers

so, if you're suggesting that I replace the wood in the stringers then is it true that you need a sort of felt bedding for the new wood stringers so if you hit a wave the boat doesn't crack?

 
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05-21-08, 12:52 PM   #10  
No felt bedding... it absorbs water...... (the enemy) Imbed your new stringer sections directly to the hull using saturated fiberglass mat between the existing hull and the new stringers. I would suggest using a length of plywood on the outside/inside of the new stringer sections to keep it rigid, using construction adhesive and polyester resin without hardner and SS screws to mate the new assembly.

 
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05-22-08, 09:54 AM   #11  
Another...

Ok, another stupid question. Please excuse it, but hey, every dumb question you answer puts another tick on your post counter.

Here it is, if the wood in the stringer is still light colored and strong but when I drill a hole it seems like moist saw dust comes out, does that mean without a doubt that if the wood is slightly moist in there that when it fully dries the wood will no matter what be dry rotted, punky and useless? Just asking. I ask because the exposed wood in the above pictures is dark colored and has been saturated. It is drying but is still strong like Bull. Shouldn't it crumble in my hand when I try to break it? I am so dumb with this stuff but I'm learning a lot and love every second of this. I am getting experience I never thought I would and thank you for the help! This little boat is just the beginning of a long life of boating. One day I'll get a ship... Until then

 
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05-22-08, 10:59 AM   #12  
A boat the age of yours (and one of mine) is going to be fully saturated - no doubt about it in my mind. I would bet you could drill to your hearts content and never come across "dry sawdust". Face it - it's going to all rot one day - sooner or later. Wet does not = rotten however.... though it is stage 1. Forget "drying it out"... won't happen! As mentioned above, cut out the rotted portions and replace with new. The balance of the stringers will no doubt last longer than your love affair with boating (unless you're like me and addicted to the darned things)... "Happiest day in the life of a boater is the day he gets his boat...... Second happiest day in a boater's life is the day he gets rid of it..."...

 
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05-22-08, 11:04 AM   #13  
Ha

That's funny, kinda like what people say about pools but I still have no intention of tearing mine down. I will replace just the rotted areas and will not concern myself with the sections that are just moist if that is what you're saying. Thanks again!

 
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