Vacuum Bagged Laminate Repairs at Gig Harbor Marina

Sometimes being under pressure is just what it takes to get the job done.  And vacuum bagging at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard is just the kind of pressure needed for jobs on laminate decking and other gluing repairs.

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Boatwright Chris Wolle checks the hose on a vacuum bagging project adhering Permateek decking to engine hatches.

Vacuum Bagging Pressures Laminate Projects at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard

Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard has among its many capabilities the tools and equipment to vacuum bag projects, said Mark Lindeman, boatyard manager at the marina. With a vacuum pump, plastic sheeting, mastic tape and an air hose, boat wrights are able to accomplish gluing repairs that require powerful, even pressure to compress laminate components tightly.

“This allows us to do more complicated gluing repairs upside down and in all positions on the boat,” Lindeman said.

Boatwright Chris Wolle recently used the vacuum bag set-up on new decking for a Tiara cruiser at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. He glued Permateek synthetic teak decking material onto the boat’s engine hatches, using the vacuum bag to tightly compress the components together.

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The Tiara waits her new engine hatches, which are being covered — and cured with vacuum bagging — with Permateek decking material.

“I used the vacuum bag to adhere the Permateek to the old deck,” Wolle said, adding that the vacuum pump exerts 10 pounds of clamping force per square inch over the entire sheet of laminate. “So, if you are vacuum bagging one square foot of laminate, that’s 144 inches or 1,440 pounds total of pressure on the laminate.  That’s a very strong force compressing the materials together for several hours. We get zero voids — that’s what we strive for.”

Vacuum Bagging Pressures Laminate Projects at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard

He also had praise for the synthetic teak decking material.

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Wolle shows finished engine hatches, which have been covered with new Permateek decking material. Vacuum bagging allowed for tight, even compression during curing.

“Permateek is very easily repaired and lasts two to three times longer than teak,” he said. “There is no maintenance and it’s highly resistant to rot and weather.  You can also use this (vacuum bagging) method with fiberglass or other laminate work,” he said. “Vacuum bagging allows us to get stronger, lighter fiberglass.”

Vacuum bagging is a technique employed to create mechanical pressure on a laminate during its cure cycle. Pressurizing a composite lamination serves several functions, according to an online article. First, it removes trapped air between layers. Second, it compacts the fiber layers for efficient force transmission among fiber bundles and prevents shifting of fiber orientation during cure. Third, it reduces humidity. Finally, and most important, the vacuum bagging technique optimizes the fiber-to-resin ratio in the composite part, said the article.

Vacuum Bagging Pressures Laminate Projects at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard
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Many projects, such as vacuum bagging new Permateek decking, are under way on this Tiara, a project boat at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard.

So, when your marine repair needs call for a high pressured approach, bring your boat to Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard for vacuum bag service.




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