At some point in your boat’s life, its stringers will need to be addressed. Many boat owners might dread this process, but if you know what you’re doing and arm yourself with the proper equipment, it doesn’t have to be such a pain. In this boat stringer repair guide, we’ll look at what commonly goes wrong with and how to address it in the most straightforward, cost-effective way.
What are Boat Stringers?
Boat stringers refer to the wood underneath your boat deck that support said deck. Think of them as similar to the joists that hold up the floor in your house. The difference here is that stringers undergo significantly more stress than joists in the home, which means you’ll have to be careful about maintaining and even replacing them.
Step One: Inspect Your Boat Stringers
Knowledge is power—even when it comes to boat repairs. That’s why a diagnosis should be your first step. If you suspect there is damage, you may have to cut a few “access holes” to get a good look at your boat stringers. But if your stringers are truly in trouble, these holes are a minor inconvenience in comparison to the potential damage there.
Typically, damage will come from either rot or, more directly, impact damage to the stringers. Impact damage usually manifests itself as visible fractures in the wood. Rot, on the other hand, will effect the integrity and strength of the wood itself.
Step Two: Repair or Replace
Repairing wood rot damage should come with its own guide—and it does here at BoatLIFE . Use your Git-Rot product and follow the steps in the guide to address the problem of rotting boat stringers—not to mention any other rot on your boat.
If the wood is damaged enough that it needs serious repair or even replacement, however, the steps will get more complicated. What’s important to remember is that if you’re going to replace your stringer, you should do so with similar material and dimensions to the original stringer. For example, replace a wood stringer with another stringer made from wood. Failure to do so can upset the balance of the construction itself, which can lead to damage in other areas.
In many cases, a complete stringer replacement can actually be easier than a partial replacement. Again, it’s important to utilize the same type of wood used. If you don’t know what wood you’re looking at, bring in a professional for their opinion. And unless you have experience with these kinds of repairs in general, it’s better to get that second opinion as a usual matter of course.
Step Three: Regular Inspection and Maintenance
Once you’ve followed through with a boat stringer repair, you’ll want to continually inspect the area for signs of problems. A good replacement should last without a hitch, but it’s always good to pay extra attention to boat stringers. Since they’re foundational to the structure and quality of any boat, a strong stringer will mean a longer life for yours.