How To: TRADE SECRET Why sealing screw holes with marine epoxy is vital to protecting your wooden boat
Defending wood from water penetration is key to making a wooden boat look smart for longer. Coating with marine epoxy, is a great strategy for waterproofing surfaces and preventing wood rot. But there are some potential weak points in your structure’s epoxy armour that many people forget to sort out.
Screw holes, even if coated with varnish, can allow water to penetrate wood. This is due to moisture finding its way into the wood during so-called ‘thermal cycling’. The wood expands in sunlight and, because of 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 the moisture in the air rushes in too leading to warped or discoloured wood and peeling or lifting varnish.
How do I avoid this?
Simple. Apply a few drops of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy to the pilot holes or use a pipe cleaner to quickly swab the screw hole prior to running the screw into place.
But what if I need to remove the screws later?
Best practice is to apply a wax or mould release to the screws. If you forget to do this then you can always just use a soldering iron to heat the fastener head for removal.
Find out more about bonding hardware with marine epoxy
If you’re using screws, fasteners or other hardware while working on your project, check out the handy tips and tricks on West System International.
Our thanks to Tom Pawlak for this easy tip that will make the WEST SYSTEM epoxy barrier on your boat watertight.