Normal usage of the boat can result in the stringers being worn out. As a result, the repair work on stringers is a usual task that you may need to carry out occasionally to keep your boat in shape. Repair work on fiber-glass boats is not as cumbersome as you may have imagined. You can easily employ your skills to achieve excellent results.
Step 1: Analyze the Damage
A professional way to start repair work is by analyzing the entire damage first. This will give you the scale of repair that you may be required to launch into. You should start with a careful inspection of your boat to detect areas demanding repair work. It is common that some areas of the boat are inaccessible therefore you can cut holes and use mirrors and lights to get an insight into those areas. When looking for damage, you should be looking for cleavages in the stringer or rotten wood at the core due to leakage. Judging by your assessments, you can choose to replace the stringer or just repair the existing damage. If you analyze the damage to be on a larger scale then it is recommended to replace the stringers altogether. However, for small repair work you can follow the easy steps mentioned below.
Step 2: Drill holes in Damaged Area
Use a drill to drill holes at equal intervals in the damaged area. The holes should not be wider than 0.2 inches in diameter and should be located at least at one-inch intervals. The depth of the holes should be deep enough to penetrate the rotten wood. You can judge this depth through the ease of drilling. As soon as you surpass the rotted wood, drilling may get harder.
Step 3: Let the Wood Dry
You should allow the damp wood to dry before you proceed with repairing. You can use a hairdryer or flameless gas torch to speed up the process. Using epoxy on dampened wood will reduce the strength of hardened epoxy.
Step 4: Inject Epoxy into the Holes
After ensuring that the holes have been dried properly, you should inject the holes with epoxy. The epoxy you use should be water resistant and harden with time. A quick hardening epoxy would discourage penetration and thus not completely repair the rot. To further increase penetration, you can also warm the epoxy. You should persist with injection till epoxy swells through the holes. In addition, make sure that you proceed slowly when injecting the mixture as too fast an injection may also leave some air bubbles in the holes.
Step 5: Use Fiberglass Tape to Cover Holes
After allowing the epoxy to harden, you can use fiberglass tape to cover the damaged area. You can use a couple of layers of the tape if damage was large. This will help in restoring stiffness in the stringers and will ensure that your repair work lasts a long time.