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Old 13-08-2013, 10:09   #1
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Leaky wooden deck

Hello all

I am in need of some advice with the boat I live on. Iíd like to point out I currently have little knowledge about boats or the terminology used. So do excuse the Ďsimpleí description.

The boats deck is Teak wood, approx 30 x 10 ft. The planks are led directly onto the inner supporting beams of the boat. Which makes for a pretty looking boat from the outside and in, but she leaks a lot. The planks have previously been caulked (about 2 years ago) but since then have just been left, the wood hasnít been treated at all either in that time so itís all looking a bit tired and weather beaten with visible slight splits in the wood itself aswell as gaps in the caulking lines. I live on the boat permanently and itís becoming a pain having to heave a 40 ft tarpaulin over whenever itís going to rain so I need to look to fix it before more rain kicks in.

My first thought was obviously to keep the deck original, to recaulk it every year and treat the wood twice a year in-between. Iíve spoke to someone who specialises in caulking wooden boats in my area who has worked on my boat previously and he says to recaulk the deck would be pointless, due to the age and condition of the wood (boat built 1915), they cannot guarantee that the deck would ever remain leak free.

It has been suggested to take up all fixings and glue a huge sheet of ply wood cut to measure onto the original deck, then screw down all fixings on top. This seems to be the favourable options but Iíd be worried this would cause mold under the ply/ on top of the original deck.

Has anyone got any other alternative solutions or had experience with the above idea with good/ bad results?!

Thanks in advance!! (-:
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Old 13-08-2013, 10:25   #2
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Re: Leaky wooden deck

you could lay fiberglass over the top of the deck as a "quick" permenant fix,or bitumen,canvas then varnish or paintas a temp fix.

though generally if the decks are beyound repair ,marine plywood with an epoxy and layer of biaxial cloth,then redecked with new teak is the accepted practice.

on larger boats a layer of portland cement is another quick fix!
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Old 13-08-2013, 10:41   #3
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Re: Leaky wooden deck

Many older boats have had the decks glassed over. It works for a while. Big job to do well, but could be something that saves your boat. I personally would avoid putting plywood on... I think that's a short term solution. For an cheap easy fix I might be tempted to try some sort of flexible durable deck material that is "painted" on thick. Take a look at older wooden tugs etc in your area. Maybe DuraBak non skid or something like that layed on thick from gunnel to cabin with a good prep prior. I used the stuff on some big timber deck steps at home a couple years ago. They had soft spots in a few places... it sticks tenaciously to poorly prepped wood, goes on thick, seems to expand and retract with the heat in summer/cold in winter... and made a strong barrier over the soft spots.
I'm visualizing a pretty well worn boat. I really dont know the proper fix other than new decks... $$$$
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Old 13-08-2013, 15:38   #4
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Re: Leaky wooden deck

Have you also checked the hull for wood rot? A friend of mine almost lost his wooden boat due to fresh rain water leaking through the deck, pooling in the hull, and causing wood rot. He didn't catch the problem until he needed a survey to renew his boat insurance.

People I know would just glass the deck.
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