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Old 31-07-2015, 12:36   #16
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

In my youth, working as a shipwright in boat/shipyards, I often had to do repairs on canvas covered decks. There was always substantial rot underneath.
To fasten into a core, drill old screw holes well oversize and deeper than the fastener length, bevel the fiberglass around the hole and fill with epoxy with a high density filler (I use West System 404) that has adhesive properties. After curing, drill a proper hole for the fastener. When driving screws, use a syringe to put some epoxy down the hole. It lubricates while driving and forms a bond that will still be watertight long after I'm gone. The fastener is encased in epoxy and the core is kept watertight. Removing the screws later will require a driver with an impact function. I have a wood boat and I set all screws in wood exposed to weather this way.

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Old 31-07-2015, 20:08   #17
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
Hi folks,

I'm contemplating what to do long term with my aging teak decks. They are teak strips machine-screwed (!) down to the 3/8" thick fiberglass top skin of a balsa-cored deck. Its old, no room for bungs, don't want to drill deeper, etc. etc.

I have some ideas for how to reclaim the teak without it breaking into a million pieces and then use a modern teak deck adhesive to re-apply it without fasteners, but another approach I'm considering is applying a canvas deck.

The boat is a cheoy lee with an awful lot of woodwork, and I'd like to maintain her character. Some folks have opted to simply remove all the teak, fair, and paint, and that's certainly a compelling option, but it just won't feel the same under my feet as a teak deck. I'm thinking the traditional canvas decks might be a neat option, perhaps I could even just remove the teak planks running along the toe-rail and leave the rest on, attach the canvas _over_ the teak, then relay my border teak for a classy finish along the edges. Is this insane?
Chris, my concern would be the condition of the balsa core, if you've had leaks for some while. Once you got the teak off, you'd have access to the balsa core, and could figure out how good the deck is. It seems to me that the guy who wrote in about having repaired canvas covered decks mentioned a lot of rot under. Furthermore, you might have a real problem getting appropriate canvas.

Anyhow, my 2 cents is that the core issue needs to be addressed first, and then decide how you're going to address the deck covering. Also, I would wonder about the water-tightness of the hull to deck joint, and suggest you have a good look to be sure water isn't coming in there as well.

Good luck with it, it's a big project any way you do it.


Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 31-07-2015, 22:13   #18
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

What's your budget in terms of time and money? And what are you expectations and long term goals?

If all of these are modest then I think it's a prospect well worth considering.

It's been a while but I have had experience with canvas decks before. They have their charms not besides being a lot less work than tearing off a teak deck as long as you are willing to keep up on the paint.

Whats the most important thing about sailing? Keep the water on the outside of the boat.

Will your proposed solution accomplish that goal? Hell yes.
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:45   #19
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

I would seriously consider selling the boat, if you are honest about the material and labor costs involved, this becomes a real option. Life is short. The best of luck whatever you do.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:41   #20
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

For me, this story is deja-vu all over again. In the 1970's I owned a Cheoy Lee Offshore 36. (built in 1965). She was a great sailing boat with a beautiful varnished teak interior. The problem - the teak deck was like a trampoline. Many of the bungs had popped and the teak overlay was so thin that you couldn't deepen the holes deep enough to hold the new "dots" - as they were called by the Cheoy Lee ship yard in Kowloon. In addition the foredeck was like a trampoline (I later learned that this was due to rot of the "balsa" core).

I decided to have the deck replaced with thicker teak at Gulf States Yachts in Seabrook, Texas. They did a beautiful job - replacing the Teak with 5/8" stock. This "cured" the trampoline effect - for a while. To make a long story short the problem was rotting of the "balsa" core. But it wasn't a balsa core - it was a plywood core and not even marine plywood at that. So I sold the boat at a considerable loss with full disclosure.

Fast forward to last year. I bought a schooner in Mallorca (built 1975 in Scandinavia) - Classic fiberglass hull, overlayed teak decks. Bargain basement price - for a good reason. I saw that the decks had been fastened with stainless steel screws; this was easy to tell because there were black stains around many of the bungs - suggesting galvanic corrosion. I am now in the process of replacing that deck - which will be epoxied to the fiberglass deck below (the way quality fiberglass boatbuilders - Hinckley, Morris, etc do it these days). When that deck was removed, there were many areas where the balsa core was rotten. These are being dealt with also. (Ocean Refit - Palma de Mallorca).

Commodore Vanderbuilt had it right when someone asked him about how much it costs to have a boat: " If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it!"
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:45   #21
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

A long time ago, in work boats, when the decks were made of whatever local timber was available canvas decks were laid in "white lead varnish" - plain old lead based paint. I've done it on a Thomas Day Seabird.

Procedure is dead simple: Clean up so you have a smooth deck with all contaminants removed. Patch if necessary. Make sure there are no "hard spots" to chafe the canvas. Lay down a thick-ish coat of paint and while it is still wet, lay the canvas over top of the paint stretching it smooth. Work in a thinned coat of paint from the top of the canvas, and let the lot dry. Then fill the weave with more paint.

The trick is to keep the edges sealed. On work boats the canvas was taken under the toe-rails (if any), brought down a coupla inches on the topsides and when the paint had cured a cover strip was applied for appearances' sake. On a boat not intended to be so simple, you might have to give some thought to sealing around sundry appurtenances. In the old days sealing around deck houses, bitts and other such was done by means of quarter-rounds set in wet paint.

A deck like that is obviously NOT everlasting, but it IS cheap. It's quick and easy to apply, and if you have to re-deck in five or ten years, no sweat. The Seabird took me two days to do, start to finish. An old deck covering can be peeled off and the deck cleaned up with a scraping hook.

When you are a long way from home, and have to do everything yourself, "low tech" has its charms :-)

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Old 01-08-2015, 09:04   #22
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

FYIW department: Just thought I would mention that the professionals who installed a teak deck on my boat did not use fasteners at all; they simply used Boatlife caulk as a bonding agent and vacuum bagged it. They guaranteed it would never 'lift' from the fibre-glass deck beneath it.
One more thing; when it comes to sanding the teak smooth, they used a 10" Disk Sander (similar to a polisher) with self adhesive sanding discs on a rubber backing disk for the majority of the work and a smaller version for edge work.
I spoke to the fellow yesterday about the problems with a deck that needs total removal of the teak ... he says: "just use a much coarser grit and it will remove it no problem" ... Of course, this would mean you would need to remove all the S.S. screws first.
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:26   #23
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

Originally Posted by Sailorbob8599 View Post
Of course, this would mean you would need to remove all the S.S. screws first.
The appropriate disk on a 4 1/2" grinder makes short work of an S/S screw. If you're gonna put down a new deck with stick-um, I don't see that the tips of the old screws remaining under the new deck would do the least bit of harm.

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Old 01-08-2015, 10:15   #24
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

The Previous owner of our Hudson Force 50 overlaid fiberglass with fiberglass cloth over the teak decks in 1992 and then did the old Walnut shell mixed with paint game. So here we are in the boat yard as I type this with the plan to scrape off the walnut/paint and reapply Kiwi Grip. After hearing and reading about all the horror stories of glass over the original teak deck approach I decided to see what was going on underneath the glass, so I've ripped up a few sections of the glass to expose the teak and then pulled up the teak in a few low lying sections that would be suspect to check what was going on underneath.

There are a few problem areas around some deck fittings and stanchions but **** took a belt sander with a 50 grit belt to get that glass off the teak in most places and besides the deck fitting penetrations the teak (and sub teak wood) was a dry as a bone and looked great. So much for glass not sicking to teak! The teak decks look so good in fact the joke now is to sand off all the glass and go back to teak...not a chance in hell I'm falling for that siren song!

So I will make the repairs to the areas around the deck fittings and stanchions and then reglass/epoxy, epoxy prime and then KiwiGrip away. Maybe I have the magic deck but after 24yrs I didn't find the horror stories which seem to be a certain outcome of the infamous Glass over teak deck stores. I think what made ours the possible exception is that I could find no cracks or water leak points around the toe rail. It was nice and intact so no water flowed in. The only point of trouble I found (and even that wasn't bad) was a few deck fittings that were not pulled off but simply glassed around originally. They took the easy way out there and those were the problem points.

So what's the take away here?
Nothing for YOU because all boats are different and maybe my glass over teak deck was the 1 out of 1,000,000 that worked...but if the work I'm doing now makes it another 24yrs looking this good and keeping the sub structure dry....****...the boat will be 62yrs old and the next owner can take the teak down to plywood and "do it right".
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:16   #25

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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

There are some "cork" products and plastics that are colored and textured to look like a cork or teck deck. They come in rolls, like vinyl or rubber antiskid. If you want a classy look, see what's available in your area. You use butcher paper (kraft paper) to make a full-size template of your deck, clean it up, cut the new material to shape, and then glue it down over the old deck. Fiberglass or teak, no matter, as long as it is thoroughly cleaned and glued (and leveled out if need be) the new material will seal over it and give you a nice new deck. Not cheap--but cheaper than removing and relaying real teak. Professionally installed if your budget can tolerate it, DIY if it can't.
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:17   #26
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

Working as a Shipwright since 1985 [Graduate of the N.W. school of wooden boat building] my experience has been # 1 remove the teak decking and replace with fibreglass[after repairing any damage] # 2 paint over the teak with something like Kiwi grip and lastly if you want to canvas, put down ships felt [irish felt] first, it will cushion the canvas, then paint.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:47   #27
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

Rebuilt 1947 Lightning which had original canvas decks over the Red Cedar decking. Easy to do BUT I don't think it will hold up and it is NOT done with epoxy etc.
You lay down the canvas (get the right type from Seattle Fabrics) and then staple down the edges with SS Staples and the cover with boiling water to shrink fit and then paint ( yup plane jane paint) BEFORE it dries completely. If you want more details contact me off line.

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Old 01-08-2015, 12:07   #28
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

FWIW: A friend owned a 65' naval launch with huge wood decks in the 80's. We covered them with heavy sail cloth, ( From used heavy cloth sails ) and then elastomeric coated the deck as an adhesive. Covering the deck in sections first with the elastomeric, then while tacky, fitting the cut cloth. Ultimately a final coat of elastomeric with silica sand in areas needing traction. I visited the boat a decade later and the decks still held up against major leaks with only periodic touch ups. This info on the longevity by the crazed captain who's ego would be at risk if he admitted failure but the decks leaked like sieves prior and were water tight when we rinsed the decks the day I was there.
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Old 01-08-2015, 15:42   #29
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

I owned a Knudsen pilot 1947 33 feet. It had canvas over tongue and groove pine. After pulling the old canvas off underneath were in perfect condition. it was a tried and true method when done properly.
Basically you get a large piece of cotton duck to cover the entire boat to minimize seams. Attached around the cabin house with copper tacks. Quarter round will fit over those corners. You then systematically use a canvas puller to pull the canvas tight and down alongside the hall. Again using tacks to hold it in place. Reattach the toerail and a trim pieces.
You then wer the entire deck and apply oil enamel paint while the decks are wet. Prevents the paint from soaking into the canvas and eventually cracking. This method also gives a wonderful nonskid quality. The decks become virtually watertight but still breath enough to prevent rot or mold. I couldn't believe how wonderful my decks were decades after. Is a truly viable method for your teak situation. It's just a lost skill
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Old 01-08-2015, 18:29   #30
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Re: Covering teak deck with canvas?

My experience - fwiw: Tried to go with the short cut and just glass over my teak fordeck as it seemed solid - at first, but after several encouraging pilot holes found the underlying plywood had wet/rot in random patterns based on where the voids in the original epoxy were. Circular saw to cut the teak into 12x12 squares, then a crowbar. Then scraping the solid ply sections down to the fiberglass layer. Then built back up with two foam and glass layers. Finished with kiwi grip. Looks ok, but not faired. Solid and water tight. 6 weeks of daily work, some just an hour or two. Thanks to buddy George that did the work.

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