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Old 26-02-2013, 12:35   #16
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

It's amazing/frustrating how seemingly complicated it has gotten to pick the right caulk/sealant for any given job. I am currently researching the best caulk to use to bed three new stainless ports I plan to install on my boat in the spring.

I wrote to boatlife and they recommended lifeseal - a combination of silicone/polyurethane. I wrote to 3m twice with no response either time. I know I don't want to use their 5200 in case the port ever needs to be removed from the boat, but the port manufacturer specified it in their insallation instructions.

Butyl tape has some recs, but others say it continues to ooze in hot weather making periodic cleanup necessary.

Despite it's claims, polysulfide does eventually crack and dry out and the white (which I would be using) yellows over time where ever it shows.

Practical Sailor recommends butyl or sikaflex - maybe I'll give the nod to sikaflex, though I've never used it before.

I'm all ears if anyone else has had a good experience with any given caulk for bedding ports and/or fittings.
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Old 26-02-2013, 12:42   #17
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
You can get it from the local RV store but not sure how to identify the good stuff from the not as good, if there are differences. Stu, any idea on this?
Pretty well covered in the link, in great detail.
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Old 26-02-2013, 12:48   #18
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

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BUTYL tape is what you need. 4200 is an adhesive, NOT a sealant, don't use it. Silicone should only be used on Beckson portlights because that's what the manufacturer recommends. Silicone is not a great sealant.

Try this, great source for butyl tape:

Bedding Deck Hardware With Bed-It Butyl Tape - SailboatOwners.com
+1 on butyl tape and +1 on following Maine Sail's advise.

I purchased my butyl tape directly from Maine Sail at a boat show, but he does sell it on his website. I ordered a battery monitor from his site on Sunday and had an email that it had shipped by 10AM on Monday. Can't beat that!
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Old 26-02-2013, 12:51   #19
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

Visible, exposed seams: 3M 4000UV or Sikaflex 295 UV

bedding compound, under flange etc.: Polysulfide like LifeCaulk (3M 101 was the same)

I have met several boats with leaking ports that tried everything and only stopped the leaks with their final attempt with 5200. I think this is due to a problem with the fit of the porthole. I have windows in the hull itself and they are done with Sikaflex and still good after 20 years. Behind chainplates I have sheet rubber gaskets (neoprene), also good for ever.

Don't rule out silicone too quickly. I use it in galley and bathrooms just like in every house. What does your boat have around the galley counter? Glass fish tanks are put together with just silicone... it's an enormously strong adhesive.
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Old 26-02-2013, 13:26   #20
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

The nice thing a butyl is you can reposition and tweak. I also had the oozing problem with butyl. I fixed this problem by running a bead of 5200 around the edge over the butyl. I didn't think the fix would work but I sure as heck did not want to redo, it was a 13 foot lexan deadlight.

I've removed a dozen ports that had polysulfide, at first I nearly ripped the gelcoat off trying to pry the port loose. A sympathetic old timer showed me the trick of cutting the caulk with a razor, or tapping a sharpened thin putty knife around the perimeter, better still, a thin diameter wire cable cuts really well and contours to the shape of the hardware.
Hope that helps
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Old 26-02-2013, 14:00   #21
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

I'm definitely looking for something with decent adhesive qualities. The ports are pretty heavy, and I think the screws will need some help keeping the ports in place and sealed up tight.

One thing scaring me away from the lifeseal rec from boatlife is my 28 year old boat might have a deck paint job in it's future, and I'm worried about silicone infection keeping the paint from adhering over time. Do the pro's have solvents to remove any residue silicone in areas where it was used?
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Old 26-02-2013, 14:04   #22
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

The thing about sealants is there is no one cure all. You should use the right stuff in the right place. Silicone does work well but has a bad rep from the cheap stuff most buy at the hardware store then they claim it is ALL bad. This is simply not true. Others say use only this or that. The truth is sealants react and adhere differently to different substrates. If I were the OP i would think about a good quality silicone or one of the silicone hybrids. When it comes to sealing things the cost of the sealant is small compared to the labor and or the labor of re doing it. Buy the good stuff from a marine supplier and do it once. If you go to the RV store or hardware store you will get the cheap stuff for houses or RV's which after all are not boats are they? To help with understanding sealants I posted a comprehensive article on my web site.

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Old 26-02-2013, 14:36   #23
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

Sillycone belongs boobs, not boats. Have had to remove every fitting bedded with sillycone to stop leaks on two different boats.

I've used LifeCaulk for a long time on all my boats and it's worked well. Doesn't harden even after 30 years. Polysulfide caulk is also known as Thiokol and 3M 101. Have heard 3M is no longer making 101.

Limited experience with 5200/4200 or other polyurethane caulks but it seems to work okay. Only negative I've noticed is it seems to go off in the tube after it's opened faster than LifeCaulk. The adhesive nature of 5200 is a it overblown. Slow steady pressure will get stuff up. There is also a product called 'Debond' I believe that dissolves 5200 and makes removal of hardware a breeze. People have reported that 5200 was able to seal things like chainplates that other caulk failed to seal over time.

Have been using Butyl on a few things and it's worked well. Had a large fixed port that the hole was miscut by the manufacturer. PO's had used Sillycone and some other sealant unsuccessfully to cure the leak. Tried Butyl and it worked a charm. Installed it on a 50 degree degree in Alameda, CA and was afraid it would ooze out in warmer temperatues. Didn't really have a problem including 2 years in Hawaii. Be careful using solvents with Butyl. it melts the butyl into a slurry that permanently stained the very old and porous gel coat on the boat. Doesn't seem to be a problem with the LPU paint the deck is now painted with. Best to run a sharp tool around the fitting and peel the butyl off. Since butyl instantly bonds to itself, you can use a bit of it to dab at any small remnants that remain on the deck.
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Old 05-03-2013, 22:04   #24
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

I looked at buying a boat that I had owned and resealed the ports on 25 years ago with butyl and they are still not leaking and I do believe that I could remove them without breaking them even though the frame are uv damaged, while my friends 2 year old ports are leaking again because the manufacturer said use silicone
GOOGLE Compass Marine how to, there is an excellent how to there!! this is how I have been resealing my deck hardware and ports for 25+ years and have owed the boats long enough to know it worked
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Old 05-03-2013, 22:25   #25
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

Another fan of butyl tape. It only lasts for about 30-35 years though. Oh, and it's not expensive. Sorry.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:12   #26
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

The thing about sealants is there is no one sealant that can be used everywhere. Different types for different uses. Also application has a lot to do with success or failure. I have seem portlights put in with butyl that leaked like a sieve and others that did not leak at all. Good preparation is often more important than what is used as a sealant. Personally I feel butyl is best for areas having large gaps and movement like chainplates and yes sometimes for portlights. It also sticks better to metal than plastic from what I have seen over the years. Also the skill level of the installer as well as the quality of the sealant have an effect. The butyl you get at the mobile home store is not going to be good quality, just like the silicone you get at the hardware store is not going to be good quality. I think sealants are a bit like anchors, there are as many opinions as answers. What ever sealant you use make sure you do a good job of preparation and use the right solvent when cleaning up. Using the wrong solvent when cleaning up can adversely effect the cured properties of the sealant and in the end its life span.
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Old 09-03-2013, 16:11   #27
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So I rebedded my stbd jib track that was leaking through with 4200 and it still is leaking after a good heavy rain.

Frustrated!

What was the name of the tape. Butyl or something. I may try that next.

-B
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Old 09-03-2013, 17:19   #28
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

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Originally Posted by Tide Roller View Post
So I rebedded my stbd jib track that was leaking through with 4200 and it still is leaking after a good heavy rain.

Frustrated!

What was the name of the tape. Butyl or something. I may try that next.

-B
Butyl tape. Buy it here.

Need Butyl Tape ?? Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com


Great web site as well. Lots and lots of how to articles and photos.
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Old 09-03-2013, 18:04   #29
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

There are places for silicon, bathtubs and sinks. But I try to avoid it at all times. Some cabinet makers refuse to even allow the stuff into their shops. Impossible to get the stuff off. Used outside on fiberglass, it leaves a nasty stain that doesn't show until a couple of years pass in the areas where you wipe up.
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Old 09-03-2013, 18:10   #30
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Re: Caulking (Silicone or 4200)?

We bed everything above the waterline with butyl. Get it at your local hardware store by the roll. We buy ten rolls at a time.
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