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Old 04-08-2010, 15:24   #1
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Re-Caulking a Teak Deck - Advice ?

I have a teak deck laid over fiberglass that I need to re-caulk. I've found this article online but would love the advice and thoughts of forum members.

My big question is whether it needs to be done before we set sail for the Bahamas in November. What should I do to figure out the immediacy of the job?

I'd also love your #1 tips and tricks if you've done this!
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:15   #2
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Heather, that article is for the most part spot on. I spend about ~50 hours a year on my decks, give or take. Best to do them in them in the pitch of summer when the wood is as dry as possible.

While you don't need a power tool to help, it will seriously cut the time in half or more. I use a Fien Multimaster: Amazon.com: Fein MultiMaster FMM 250Q Select Variable Speed Sanding and…
, along with one of these blades: Amazon.com: Fein 4mm Teak Blade - 6-39-03-201-01-6: Home Improvement

You basically need to reef the seam, which means clear out the old caulking. If you're using the multimaster, you just start cutting into it, making sure you don't knick the wood (too much) and that you get as close to the wood edges as you can. Have a razor, an auger (bent screwdriver looking thing), and a wire brush handy.

You need to get as much of the black stuff out as you can. The bond is only between the vertical surfaces, so don't worry too much about going too deep if there's a bunch way down there. If you can get it all out, so much the better.

You can put caulking tape down in the seams although this is a little complicated and often hard to do right on your first few seams.

Tape, tape, tape before you begin to pay the caulking in. Focus on the most trashed of seams; I would never try to do the entire deck at once. Fool's errand.

It took me a few years to get really good at doing my decks, but now I can whip it out like no one's business and my seams look professional. I use Boat Life Caulk and Teak Deck Systems (TDS). They both seem to work fine, but I try to use TDS more often.

I've made quite a few blog posts and videos on teak caulking. Feel free to check them out, and let me know if you have any questions:

Rebel Heart - The boat and her crew - Eric's Blog
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:18   #3
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Thanks!

Thanks for your post, Eric! VERY useful. I've convinced my husband that we need to buy the multimaster!

I've looked at your blog briefly and can't wait to read more.

We're also prepping to leave on our big boat adventure -- in November! We've been planning for 9 years and sailing on the Chesapeake for 4. Looks like we have a lot in common!

Our blog is over at Picaroon Blog | BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN.. Let's keep in touch!
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:37   #4
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I was looking at the LifeCaulk today and it seems to recommend a "primer" before applying, but it doesn't specify what this is. I'm just starting to do some research before attempting this... Is a primer necessary/recommended? If so, any particular brands to seek out or avoid? Cheers.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:13   #5
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Life-Caulk Primer must be used with one part Life-Caulk; but isn’t required with Life- Calk Two-Part Type P, or Teak Deck Sealant

Primer ➥
Life-Calk Primer 8oz. - Polysulfide | Life-Calk | BoatLife Industries | For the Life of Your Boat
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Old 12-09-2010, 18:23   #6
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I've never used a primer with boat life caulk. Clean the surface, acetone, tape, apply.
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Old 12-09-2010, 18:55   #7
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Great post by Eric, but I would use teak decking systems caulk over boatlife everytime. Practical Sailor tested teak deck caulks not too long ago, and they recommended TDS after it outperformed the other caulks.

I've found that when I used boatlife without the primer, it tended to let go of the sides of the seams over time. No sense using something that requires two steps that doesn't work as well as a one step product.

As you can see, I've got a boatload of teak to look after!
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Old 12-09-2010, 20:00   #8
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I re-caulked my entire deck and cockpit last winter. It was a major job- probably about 200hrs. I began removing the caulk with the teak seam rasp attachment on a multimaster, but switched to free-handing with a straight bit on a palm router. I used the palm router because many of my seems were only 1/8'' deep (they are 3/16'' wide)- so the palm router allowed me to deepen the grooves to 1/4'' (My deck is rabbeted planks....3 individual planks are actually one). Once all caulk was removed, I used 1/8'' 3M Fine line as a bond breaker laid in the bottom of each seam. The entire deck was taped in sections (make each section about 5'), then caulked with TDS 440. I would highly recommend the TDS 440....the deck looks great.
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Old 12-09-2010, 20:09   #9
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Nice work man; I love the stereo in the front!

We live onboard (and have a baby), so the idea of having a dedicated chunk of time to do the whole thing at once just isn't practical for us. It's certainly the "best" way to do it however. I'm in hunt and peck mode where I see something messed up, reef/pay as much as I can in a day, and then go back to tackling some other project.
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Old 17-09-2010, 14:45   #10
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DOW 795

I just read a blog that recommends using Dow 795 caulk instead of Teak decking Systems. I've heard good thing about TDS and little about the 795 other than it is cheaper but has done well for the poster that used it.
Any comments or suggestions? I'm about to start redoing the decks on my 46 footer and want to make sure it is done right.
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Old 17-09-2010, 16:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mestrezat View Post
I just read a blog that recommends using Dow 795 caulk instead of Teak decking Systems. I've heard good thing about TDS and little about the 795 other than it is cheaper but has done well for the poster that used it.
Any comments or suggestions? I'm about to start redoing the decks on my 46 footer and want to make sure it is done right.
TDS worked great for me. And they are great telephone support (in Sarasota, FL), good people to work with!
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Old 17-09-2010, 17:26   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mestrezat View Post
I just read a blog that recommends using Dow 795 caulk instead of Teak decking Systems. I've heard good thing about TDS and little about the 795 other than it is cheaper but has done well for the poster that used it.
Any comments or suggestions? I'm about to start redoing the decks on my 46 footer and want to make sure it is done right.
It's not that much cheaper....$2/tube maybe? For the massive amount of man hours you will have in re-seaming the deck, it's not worth risking it on a material that is not intended for the purpose.
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Old 17-09-2010, 17:47   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mestrezat View Post
I just read a blog that recommends using Dow 795 caulk instead of Teak decking Systems. I've heard good thing about TDS and little about the 795 other than it is cheaper but has done well for the poster that used it.
Any comments or suggestions? I'm about to start redoing the decks on my 46 footer and want to make sure it is done right.
The toughest part of the job is removing the old caulk and preparing the seams for the new stuff. I would experiment early on with a method that works for you. Try to find a method that removes the caulk quickly without doing damage to the sides of the teak. Some tools I used were a multimaster with seam rasp to remove the bulk material, slotted screw driver to scrape the residue clean, TDS side sander to clean the sides to bare teak. However, I ended up using a palm router with a 5/32 straight bit and making two very careful passes (one down each side of the seam). The palm route method left the sides and bottom perfectly clean and square (helps when applying the bond breaker tape). It also had the added benefit of deepening the grooves so there was greater depth than width (important for long term seam adhesion). Good luck...it's a big job.....hopefully your are under cover of some sort????
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:22   #14
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Thanks for all the advice everyone! We'll probably tackle this job when we get further south (sailing from Chesapeake to FL/Bahamas in November). I've copied all your replies, though, and am taking them along!
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:38   #15
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Heather:

Here's a link with some photos of my recent experiences, for what it's worth:

Teak Deck - My Mistakes and Lessons
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