Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Anchor Locker
James,toggle quoted message Show quoted text
There are a lot of different kinds of mold, some are just superficial and some indicate that the wood is being consumed. You can try poking the wood in areas with an ice pick to see if there is any unusual softness which would indicate dry rot..which is actually misnomer since some moisture is required for rot to progress.
If the wood is dry, it will certainly absorb epoxy regardless of the orientation of the application. Epoxy can do a great job protecting wood from absorbing moisture but if the wood is already wet (wood can appear dry on the surface but there still be a lot of moisture deeper into the wood) you will be sealing the moisture in which can in some cases accelerate the deterioration. Think of the way the wood core in a deck with fibreglass on both sides of it will rot if the core gets wet. The moisture can enter through a small hole but due to the fibreglass it cannot easily dry back out. Keep in mind that with plywood, any moisture has to cross multiple glue lines to get out so the drying from the bottom could take a long time to complete if you want to go that route.
Another option would be to treat the wood with a water borne fungicide which actually works best if the wood is already wet. The borate products work pretty well in preventing or slowing rot and are used for instance in the cellulose insulation used in attics to keep the paper from rotting or bugs eating it, while still being pretty safe for humans living in the house. One such product that I have some experience with is called Timbor, which is a white powder that is mixed with water and can then be applied via brush or spray. The product is essentially odourless and cleans up with water. It will leave a white residue if allowed to dry on a surface but can be removed with soap and water. Given time and enough applications the borate can completely penetrate the plywood and should slow deterioration of the wood. The anchor locker is a pretty harsh environment for wood due to the continual dampness so if I ever have to rebuild my own locker, I will consider my options to eliminate the wood panels.
The cleaning that you are doing is certainly going to help. I try to pull my anchor chain out each time I am in a marina, rinse and dry the locker. I just lay a couple square rubber pads on the deck and pile it up close to the hawse pipe, I don’t bother stretching it out. I also keep the chain door open to vent as much as I can so that things can dry inside the locker. Good ventilation will help more than anything to reduce mildew and rot of the wood.