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Old 10-09-2014, 15:03   #1
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Teak Deck Refresh

Hi everyone,

As summer winds down here in New England I'm starting to think about what I'll tackle this off season.

My teak decks are getting pretty sloppy. My boat's deck construction is a standard fiberglass / balsa composite, with a 1/8" skin on the underside, and a 3/8" (thick!!) skin on the top side. The teak planks are attached to the deck by _machine screws_ (yes) that sit in countersunk holes in the teak planks. The machine screws _supposedly_ don't penetrate deeper than the top laminate of glass, and so the balsa core is safe and dry.

The teak is wearing thin in the sense that many holes can't hold a bung anymore. They could if I countersunk the holes and drove the screws in deeper, the teak has enough thickness remaining to do this, but I don't like this because I might accidentally go too far and into the balsa core unknowingly.

I'm considering:
removing the screws
pulling the planks
filling in all the screw holes in the fiberglass deck
routing new caulk channels along the edges of the planks (those are way too shallow now too)
drilling + re bunging all the holes in the teak planks
placing the planks back on the deck with whatever glue they use nowadays that has deprecated the use of screw fasteners.


Since the teak planks are still quite thick overall, I think this would be a cheap way of restoring the deck to like-new look + feel. Note that the deck is designed without much hardware interfering with teak boards, stanchions, cleats, windlass, etc are all on raised fiberglass sections with no teak under them. That dramatically cuts down on the amount of labor I'm looking at.


I'm just not sure about how folks attach teak without fasteners, and what the expected lifetime of that glue is, and how much of a nightmare it would be if in another 10-15 years I needed to completely rip it up and put new planks down.
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Old 10-09-2014, 16:18   #2
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Most old teak planks after a deck reteak job come broken or destroyed, trying to pull off planks in one piece is a nightmare, and later you need to remove the old caulking , glue etc... a big job... they are doing here in the boatyard a new teak job in a dufour 48 , 15000 u$ just in material for start.

If your teak planks are really thick maybe its worth to make a try but if not, thin planks, and who know after removed , dont do it unless you are ready for big $$$ and lots of worktime in the deck.

Today most builders use vacuum bagging for the planks , no screws anymore..Good luck..
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Old 10-09-2014, 21:03   #3
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Re: Teak deck refresh

i wonder how vacuum bagging helps with teak deck installation. I looked at some stuff online where folks seem to glue teak to a backing to form a whole section of deck, then this section is glued (and vacuum bags are used here) to the deck. I'm not sure I understand to role of vacuum bags in this application.
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Old 15-09-2014, 14:25   #4
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Are there adhesive systems other than vacuum-bagging epoxy that folks use successfully to adhere teak to a fiberglass deck without fasteners?
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Old 15-09-2014, 15:42   #5
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Sikaflex 298 or a equivalent stuff, keep in mind that with epoxy you need to do it right, no chance for mistakes, and epoxy dont allow expansión and contraction, the trick is to get a good bonding substrate, gelcoat or Fg, sanded and clean, but i guess without vacuum bagging in mind you need to do it plank by plank using screws to hold the planks in place and to press the planks to the caulking, i think......
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Old 20-09-2014, 19:02   #6
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Can you deepen the countersink and use shorter screws? Also perhaps the deck is so well bedded that not all the screws are needed. ..just remove the screw, deepen the hole and bung.

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Old 20-09-2014, 19:28   #7
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
Are there adhesive systems other than vacuum-bagging epoxy that folks use successfully to adhere teak to a fiberglass deck without fasteners?
Teak Deck Systems makes what they call "Fitting Epoxy" that is for glueing teak to fiberglass. I put down new teak on our cabin tops using the fitting epoxy back in 2012 and its working great so far. I filled all of the old screw holes with thickened epoxy and laid a layer of glass over them before gluing on the teak. I then used bags of chain to hold the planks down while it all cured. I should also note that I was lucky in the fact that our decks are solid glass. If yours are cored, you may have some core damage to deal with even if the screws are only supposed to go as far as the first layer of glass. When you pull up the teak, you may find that things are different. You can read more about what I did on our boat and see photos here Peek at our sleek new teak
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Old 20-09-2014, 19:36   #8
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Re: Teak deck refresh

I've done a lot of teak deck repair over the years working as a boat carpenter. Refastening by re-countersinking fasteners can help but then there's reefing and caulking seams and sealing each and every fastener. If there is enough thickness to the planks use pan head self taping screws so you don't create a wedge effect with flat- head screws and split the planks. It's a huge expensive labor intensive job.
There is also the option of a new teak deck (Teak Decking Systems or similar) where you make templates and send to them and they make the panels (1/16" high quality marine ply with 1/2" teak bent and epoxied / laminated on) and you prep and glue the system down. They come with pre caulked seams, place them down and caulk cover boards, king plank, etc. Another big job but if you want teak it's the way to go. No fasteners! I've done 15 - 20 decks that way and many are more than 30 yrs old now. (I've also laid traditional teak decks on wood and composite boats)
Of course - if you want to go sailing... Pull the damn stuff up - fill holes with epoxy, and paint with nonskid - go enjoy the sun and wind...
Oh - I don't have teak decks on my boat nor will I ever have them - $$$ - but I do appreciate the beauty when well maintained. I do think it hinders resale values though.


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Old 20-09-2014, 20:57   #9
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Re: Teak deck refresh

If the teak decks are screwed down, it's almost impossible that the screws won't have penetrated through the glass into the core. It's very wishful thinking if you believe otherwise.

Pull the screws, countersink the holes deeper, CAREFULLY caulk the screws and reinsert. Some years down the line you'll probably end up having to recore the deck because of leaks in the teak deck fasteners that were put down by the builder.
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Old 20-09-2014, 22:50   #10
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
...The machine screws _supposedly_ don't penetrate deeper than the top laminate of glass, and so the balsa core is safe and dry.

The teak is wearing thin in the sense that many holes can't hold a bung anymore. They could if I countersunk the holes and drove the screws in deeper, the teak has enough thickness remaining to do this, but I don't like this because I might accidentally go too far and into the balsa core unknowingly.

I'm considering:
removing the screws
pulling the planks
filling in all the screw holes in the fiberglass deck
routing new caulk channels along the edges of the planks (those are way too shallow now too)
drilling + re bunging all the holes in the teak planks
placing the planks back on the deck with whatever glue they use nowadays that has deprecated the use of screw fasteners.


Since the teak planks are still quite thick overall, I think this would be a cheap way of restoring the deck to like-new look + feel. Note that the deck is designed without much hardware interfering with teak boards, stanchions, cleats, windlass, etc are all on raised fiberglass sections with no teak under them. That dramatically cuts down on the amount of labor I'm looking at.


I'm just not sure about how folks attach teak without fasteners, and what the expected lifetime of that glue is, and how much of a nightmare it would be if in another 10-15 years I needed to completely rip it up and put new planks down.
That the teak deck screws have penetrated the outer skin is all you need to get water in the core. So don't allow yourself to become complacent--be watchful.

If you rip the whole deck off, good luck getting it all back on. Maybe better to repair individual planks or smaller sections that are already loose. In removing, DON'T bubba the edges of the planks! Same with removing fasteners. DON'T screw up the wood around the fasteners! If the fasteners are in good condition, and holding, you might be able to just countersink the plank a little deeper and reuse. Fuller bits are the right tool for setting the countersink and cleaning up the plug/hole.

Get the bonding surfaces clean and roughed up with 36-grit. A final cleaning with a little acetone or industrial alcohol before bonding with 3M 5200/4200, heavily coating both surfaces. Weight the plank(s) to remove all air bubbles. Control squeeze-out so you don't create a big cleanup project. Control joint size with spacers, where necessary. Caulk with Maritime or TDS. Once cured, I dare you to remove the plank.

Che--good post. I have also had enough experience with teak decks, installing, repairing, restoring, to NOT have them on TN. TDS' fitting epoxy is indeed a good product for installing their panels, which are first class.

We used to use a 2-part deck caulk called Detco Grove that was very labor intensive and difficult to get right. And just begged for making a mess. Nowadays Maritime and TDS are so easy and reliable. And no bubbles!
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Old 20-09-2014, 23:11   #11
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Re: Teak deck refresh

You can fasten a new sprung teak deck with all fasteners in the seam, using pan head screws and fender washers to act as a clamp until the bedding cures. Then you pull all fasteners/washers and pay the seams as normal. All screw holes get filled when you do so. Still penetrates the outer skin, but the best method for the DIY crowd without a lot of special equipment. No remaining fasteners, no bungs. Simple and effective.
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Old 20-09-2014, 23:18   #12
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Re: Teak deck refresh

Don't forget the motivator.
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Old 20-09-2014, 23:26   #13
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Re: Teak deck refresh

A more high end method involves the use of a hundred or so toggle clamps. Fasten each clamp to a block of ply, and then hot glue them to the deck as needed. They are easily removed but can still apply plenty of pressure. Only two planks at a time (one per side) can be done this way, but there are zero penetrations of the outer skin.
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Old 21-09-2014, 00:03   #14
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Re: Teak deck refresh

You could back the fastenings out, drill out the holes over size into the core and back fill them with epoxy. Once it's cured drill a pilot hole and replace with new fastenings that are a gauge smaller than the previous ensuring the screws don't bust out of the back filled holes.

It's a pretty labour intensive job but worth it if you love the decks.


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Old 21-09-2014, 00:35   #15
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Re: Teak deck refresh

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You could back the fastenings out, drill out the holes over size into the core and back fill them with epoxy. Once it's cured drill a pilot hole and replace with new fastenings that are a gauge smaller than the previous ensuring the screws don't bust out of the back filled holes.
...
Smaller screws will not hold well in the teak deck planks.
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