How To: Avoid unnecessary wooden boat repairs with marine epoxy
When it comes to protecting your wooden boat from water penetration, defence is the best form of attack. Coating with a marine epoxy like WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is the best way to waterproof surfaces and guard them from any unwanted ingress. But even the most diligent coater might miss a nook or cranny and leave some areas vulnerable.
“The biggest culprit for water ingress is screw holes.”
The biggest culprit for water ingress is screw holes. Even when coated with varnish, screw holes can allow water to penetrate wood. This is because moisture can find its way into the wood during so-called ‘thermal cycling’.
What is thermal cycling?
Thermal cycling is where the wood expands in sunlight and due to increased pressure, air is forced out of it through the unprotected screw holes and end grain. Then, as the day ends and the wood cools back down, it contracts and the air rushes back in through these weak outlets. Unfortunately, water and moisture from the air rushes in too – leading to warped or discoloured wood and peeling or lifting varnish.
How do I avoid this?
To stop thermal cycling, simply apply a few drops of WEST SYSTEM epoxy to the pilot holes.
Our top tip is to use a pipe cleaner to quickly swab the epoxy into the screw hole prior to running the screw into place.
But what if I need to remove the screws later?
Best practice used by professional boatbuilders is to apply a wax or mould release to the screws. If you forget to do this then you can use a soldering iron to heat the fastener head for removal.
Find out more about bonding hardware using marine epoxy
If you’re using screws, fasteners or other hardware while working on your project, check out the handy tips on installing hardware in our trade secret.
Looking for the product to do the job? Head over to West System International for product advice and further support.
Image credit: toddsminitugbuilding.blogspot.co.uk