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4494Re: Replacing teak deck

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  • J. Seth Strattan
    Dec 4, 2008
      --- In campernicholson@yahoogroups.com, Linda Lane Thornton
      <lindalanethornton@...> wrote:
      > Andy is thinking about taking off the teak deck onĀ our Nic 35

      Dear 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
      from penetrating.

      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
      other hardware).

      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.

      Best wishes,
      Seth
      Liberty, N35 #21
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