4494Re: Replacing teak deck
- Dec 4, 2008--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Linda Lane Thornton
> Andy is thinking about taking off the teak deck on our Nic 35Dear Linda - My wife and I removed the teak deck on Liberty, our N35
#21. It was a huge project, but it was necessary because water was
leaking past the fasteners in the outboard and inboard strakes,
threatening the balsa core. The bungs, fasteners and bond between the
deck and the teak were all so far gone that I believe no amount of
paint/sealant/wonder goo would have been sufficient to block water
The teak was laid over the "stock" non-skid patterned gel-coat. Only
the outboard and inboard strakes and the kingplank were screwed down.
All of the teak was laid into a hard resin adhesive. Some strakes
came up easily, but most didn't and we removed these using a power
planer and lots of detail work with a wood chisel and a heat gun.
We found it impossible to avoid gouging the underlying gel-coat in
numerous places, so once the teak was up a complete re-fairing was in
order. Now is the time to repair any delamination, which can be
easily detected by tapping with a small hammer or lightly dragging any
small tool across the fiberglass deck. The sound of delaminated areas
is unmistakable. For us, delamination was limited to just a couple of
small areas - particularly around the first stanchion bases. I
removed the wet core from these areas and re-cored with fiberglass
cloth in West Systems epoxy. While I was at it I removed the teak toe
rail and routed out the lousy mush that was in the bulwark and
replaced it with glass cloth and epoxy.
One of the many little trials of this project was the matter of deck
hardware removal. The genoa track was particularly vexing. It was
fastened with machine screws tapped into an aluminum plate encased in
the deck core. Almost every one of these stainless screws was frozen
(predictable, really). I tried a lot of tricks to back these screws
out. In the end I carefully guided a Sawzall between the track and
the teak riser, cutting each of the screws. I managed to avoid
damaging the track or the teak and reused both. I drilled the holes
right through the deck and when it came to replace the track I did so
with through-bolts and a stout metal backing plate (same goes for all
Back to the deck. I used a belt sander and 60-grit paper to do an
initial fairing and to remove the hard resin adhesive. A lot of the
gel-coat was removed, too, which is no problem. I also drilled out
around any screw holes and filled them with epoxy thickened with
colloidal silica. I first painted the decks with unthickened West
Systems epoxy then faired with the same thickened with their #407
fairing filler. Lots of fairing, sanding, refairing ... you know the
drill. Because the decks will ultimately be covered with some sort of
non-skid, it's not necessary to do a perfect fairing job.
I then painted the decks with Awlgrip. I primed with several coats of
Awlgrip primer (the best primer I've ever used), then painted with
Awlgrip using the "roll and tip" method. It's a pain and it's a
finicky product. If you choose to use it, follow the instructions
carefully, particularly with respect to what thinners and reducers to
add for the temperature you're working in. I painted the bulwarks,
too, and up the cabin house sides to a masked line just above the
level of where the teak deck was originally. I haven't gotten around
to "feathering" this line into the house gel-coat. The Awlgrip gives
an amazing gloss finish and it is quite tough.
I've experimented with every non-skid technique I can think of. In
the end what I settled on was thickened gel-coat applied in a uniform
layer using a notched scraper and then textured using a "Goop Loop"
texture roller. Google "Goop Loop" (say that ten times fast) and
you'll see what it is. Others have told me they've had good luck with
other kinds of texture rollers.
I masked around all the deck edges with 1.5" tape, around all the
hardware and in a few places across the deck with 1" tape. This
masked off the areas for the non-skid.
Getting an even pattern in this rolled-on gel coat is a bit of an art.
We can discuss the method in more detail if you're interested, but
the best advice I can give you is to do a lot of experimenting on
scrap material before you hit the decks. Important variables include
the amount of filler used, thickness applied, number of "strokes" with
the roller, ambient temperature, phase of the moon, etc. After
rolling and letting the gel-coat cure (don't forget to add curing
agent!) you'll have a deck with lots of very sharp little peaks. I
lightly block sanded this with 100 grit. The result is a very
effective non-skid surface.
Overall this was a difficult project. The results are good and I'm
confident that the boat is far better for it. Stopping the water
penetration into the deck core was imperative. The decks are much
cooler and hardware is more easily bedded and sealed.
The level of difficulty is largely a function of how compulsive you
are about perfection at each step. I spent way too much time fairing
because I didn't know at that point that I would be rolling on a thick
coat of textured gel-coat, which hides many sins. The Awlgrip is also
a pain to use but it lasts and lasts. Once I got the hang of it,
rolling on the gel-coat was quick.
Good luck to you and Andy, Linda. I think waiting to do this in New
Zealand is a good idea since you'll have more ready access to the
materials you'll need.
Liberty, N35 #21
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