Balsa Cored Hull Problems

Faced sailing inconvenience while using the balsa-cored hull? Well, you perhaps do not know how the balsa hull itself is connected behind this! 

Worry not, we have got the solution to spell out.  So, what are the key balsa cored hull problems?

In our research, three major balsa issues were detected including a lack of encapsulation. Meanwhile, being a highly flammable wood makes balsa riskier in sailing operations. Along with that, hardness and durability issues are always there as the core problems.

Balsa Cored Hull Problems

But that’s not everything. Going through regularly maintaining a few safety precautions will keep your boat sailing relaxed. To let us know those hacks, stick with us throughout the article.

So, let’s get going!

Top Balsa Cored Hull Problems

Enough of scratching the surface! Now, we will try to unfold the problems and their possible solutions!

Problem 1: Lack of Encapsulation

Most boat users forget its key trait containing mould risk. Especially, operating a boat requires protection from this issue. 

Mold is what can grow gradually in your boat. After a period, you will find the boat gaining more weight than before. A big risk indeed. 

Users have a misconception that molds are not that harmful. But the reality is completely the opposite.

Apart from the weight gaining of your boat, it can absorb water! Yes, and that’s how higher risks are there while sailing in deep water. 

Along with that, allergenic mold types release a bad musty smell. To some extent, it can induce coughing. 

And even, chances of falling into allergic or asthmatic conditions are there. In the meantime, you barely can avoid effects such as rashes, and breathing issues. 

So, you can guess now, how harmful molding can be! Getting attacked by our respiratory system is not a joke! Let’s explore the possible solutions to get this problem stopped. 


You should consider balsa wood encapsulation as the last stage of prevention. Before jumping on it, scouring the moldy surface might do the basic job. 

Fungicide for removal can be a good option. 

However, talking about boats, doing these simple steps can be difficult. Sand wood usage also ensures the lessening of mold in a large portion. 

Meanwhile, it can take mold spores away, fleeing into the air. To mitigate this health risk, getting the process done by experts is recommended. 

As much as possible you removed molds? Now, a mold sealant will be required. 

At the same time, stay away from covering the mold area with regular painting. Even using paints containing mold resistance might not be effective in controlling mold growing or leaking. Polyurea paint also joins the ineffective painting list. 

However, encapsulation can only be completed when you use epoxy on the wood surface. Once the hull is built, encapsulation is not that helpful. In the meantime, applying this process inside the joints comes fruitful.

Problem 2: Hardness Issue and Durability

Is balsa strong? Even though Balsa hull is listed as a hardwood type, you will find it quite weaker. 

Especially, applying this in boats or other vehicles, or accessories, getting higher durability is not guaranteed. 

Also, water resistance is not that good here. Some softwoods even might come with a far better outcome.

So, replacing this wood can solve this issue. You might think you can refurbish this wood, but it’s not realistic at all! 

There are thousands of wood types available for the comfort of your application. So, why keep backing up this specific one, right?


While considering sheer robustness and durability, then this wood might not be your ideal company. 

Meanwhile, loads of wood are there just to fit nicely in the marine application. Look at the woods such as cedar, spruce, teak, chestnut, mahogany, ash wood, and so on. 

Each type delivers much more hardness and stiffness than a balsa hull can! Let’s get a quick overview of different types of wood hardness!

Wood TypeJanka Hardness- lbf
Spruce White480
Spruce Red490
Cedar Yellow580
Cedar White350

Got any hints from this table? That’s right. 

If you measure different woods including balsa, the hardness test shows balsa is quite ordinary. So, avoiding balsa hulls for marine applications is recommended. 

Along with that, it can not provide you with much bending strength too. It stays between 2550 to 3170 PSI as its bending strength. 

In the meantime, you might find cedar, teak, etc., providing much robustness to bend. As a result, the more load these woods can resist perpendicular to the kernel. Besides, it carries only 145 PSI as its compressive strength. 

The only solution to this- is no more balsa involvement in your boat infrastructure. Yes, it carries significance and has positive sides. 

But in the long run, all you want to see is the boat’s durability. Also, while boating in 2 to 3 foot waves, you can’t but need to avoid balsa. 

From compressive strength to bending strength, from hardness to density, balsa can’t help enough indeed!

Problem 3: Highly Flammable

You don’t want firing risk while sailing the boat, do you?


But after knowing the flammable nature of the balsa wood, you should take effective steps ASAP. So, let’s reach the solution!


To proceed with this, you shall require a few major tools. These are,

  • Bucket 
  • Zinc Chloride 
  • Ferric Chloride 
  • Boric Acid
  • Ammonium Phosphate 
  • Spraying Bottle 
  • Hand Gloves 
  • Mask

Now, let’s begin the main process!

Step 1: Water Boiling

Initially, you have to make a saturated solution first. To do this, one cup of water is required. And then, put this in the saucepan. Wait until it gets boiled. 

Step 2: Adding Borax

Now, turn the flame off. It’s time to add 2 and a half tablespoons of Borax powder to this boiling water. And, keep stirring until the powder gets mixed totally.

Step 3: Cool Down

Bring it out from the stove now. And, wait until it comes to room temperature. 

After a while, you will see Borax getting stored in the bottom line. Meanwhile, the top water you have got is the required heat-retardant mixture. 

Step 4: Fill Bottles in

At this point, you need to fill the container and spray bottle with the solution.

Step 5: Spray the Hull

Get closer to the hull. Make it wet first and then start spraying generously. Once it’s done, get it dry. 

Then again, apply a few coats there. The key target is to get the solution soaked into the balsa hull.

Lastly, allow this to dry completely. Doesn’t matter if your boat is plugged inside or outside

Risk is always higher due to flammable issues. But throughout this process, you can at least reduce the flammable chances than before!


Why Is My Boat Made Of Balsa Wood?

The cell structure of balsa wood can be very glue-friendly. As a result, boats with larger, high-speed, lightweight features can be suitably made. In these cases, only one-inch balsa including the hardwood veneer is enough! Hulls coming from this material are quite tougher and more resilient.

Does Balsa Wood Rot?

Yes, it rots. But the balsa wood can initially protect against the leak. As a result, you get core protection much better here compared to other woods. In situations like moisture penetration, balsa wood can extraordinarily integrate wet. Along with that, its drying is quite effective to get the restoration.

Can Wooden Boats Go In Salt Water?

Yes, you can. However, woods exhibiting much more swelling during moisturization can not be effective. In the meantime, Mahogany can be a stable wood even after it is wet. And, its infrastructure can work suitably in salt water while utilizing epoxy and so on. Your boat should avoid moisture.

Final Words

Hopefully, this article solved all the balsa cored hull problems for you. Try to be a little mindful about molding by regularly keeping the boat checked. 

We hope that you will find this article useful in your next DIY marine project.

Got anything to share? Let us know!

Good luck!

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