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Old 15-03-2014, 21:44   #1
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Teak Decks Fastened from Inside Cabin

Hello to all who visit this post.
I'm new to posting on the forum as well as being the proud new owner of a Lafitte 44. She has all teak decks that were fastened from the underside. As the teak has worn down the tips of the screws have begun to show and the previous owner would grind these screws flush with the deck to avoid cutting your feet.

Now if all teak decks eventually leak the it was explained to me the bright side to being fastened underneath was that the water will at least be able to exit the core so it won't rot as quick. The previous owner would spot a leak, remove the screw and rebed it with Life Caulk.

I've already done this with a few screws I've found and am chasing down some new leaks now. It's going to rain the next 2 days so I should see.

My questions is what is the best way to remedy this problem long term? This Summer I am going to refit the boat and work on the deck. Replace some boards. Re caulk all of the seams as they appear original from 1980. But what is the best fix for the screw tips slowly coming through? The rebedded screws seem like they would not leak in to the cabin anymore leaving more of a chance of water staying in the core and risking rot.

I'm tempted to remove each screw, drill it out, fill with epoxy and then rebed the screw to make sure I save the core. But then I have screw tips exposed on deck. Which don't bother me as much as the obvious hole down into my cabin.

I can't seem to find any maintenance info for decks fastened from underneath. So anyone out there have any info, tips, stories, or ideas?

Thanks
Brian
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Old 15-03-2014, 22:13   #2
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Rip off the teak decks, fill the screw holes from the top side, and paint non skid in its place. Your idea that having them fastened from the inside slows down the rot is bogus. The water is still getting into the core, and will rot it out more and more as time passes. Knew there was a reason I passed on that LaFitte with teak decks.
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Old 15-03-2014, 22:41   #3
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

I agree. Rip the teak off and pray that you dont have to replace any core. Fill the holes and fair it out. Then non skid it. It would be the best long term fix.

I just finished ripping the teak off mine and I recored the whole deck if you have any questions...
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Old 15-03-2014, 23:18   #4
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

A teak deck generally lasts about twenty to thirty years before needing replacement. That fact that yours is worn down to the screws tells you it's service life is over. Replace it, either with a new teak deck or otherwise. This is why no one in the know wants to buy a boat with an old teak deck, it costs a fortune to replace.
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Old 16-03-2014, 00:24   #5
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by b_ascott View Post
...what is the best way to remedy this problem long term?...what is the best fix for the screw tips slowly coming through? ...
That depends.

Those screws are superfluous IF the teak deck overlay is still well bonded to the fiberglass substrate. Then you could remove the protruding screw and fill/caulk/plug the hole.

If the teak is not well bedded, you'll have to remove and replace it.
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Old 16-03-2014, 00:37   #6
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Your teak decks are ready for replacement. You may get a few more seasons with little fix its but you may as well face it you will have to replace the teak or simply go to a non skid. Non skid is a good choice and will make it easier to sell.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:10   #7
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Brian.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:36   #8
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

I was very weary about buying a boat with teak decks while I was shopping. But I liked the layout and the build of the Lafitte. I tried to do proper homework and I consulted the designer, Robert Perry, and also a surveyor who told me that the screw tips protruding were mainly a cosmetic problem that would need to be dealt with one screw at a time but that there should be no structural problems or delimitation with the core. I really hope they are right about that. Otherwise I just spent a "boatload" of money for the opportunity to do the types of repairs that i passed on other boats because of.

Even in the most worn out of places in the teak deck there is still 5/8" of teak there. That seems like a lot of good wood still. The owner removed some teak around the cabin and said it was bedded very well. It's supposed to be an "over built" kind of boat so I would hope that they over bed the deck too. But there are two boards that have warped and popped up on the corners. Sooooooo....i don't know.

What would be the worst thing that happened if i took out all the screws and filled them with epoxy like Tera Nova said? If a board came up can I just rebed the board?

Of the parties that look at teak and scream "maintenance!" and rip them off and the other suckers who ridiculous enough to try and save them I fall into the ridiculous group. But only if it is possible to preserve the structural integrity. I don't mind a really big job every once in a while.

Now how ridiculous would it be or difficult to remove the teak fill the holes and replace the teak with a bedding compound? Anyone know anyone who did that? Like I said the teak still has 5/8' to 3/4".

Also, how do you check the core for rot? Every moisture meter I seen isn't going to fit in a screw hole.

Patr1707- I'm reading your blog now.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:48   #9
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

When I read the thread heading I immediately thought of the lafitte 44 and sure enough...

As was mention, pull them off. A friend had one and for years he battled the leaks. He sold the boat and I recently ran across it again, with the teak decks removed. I didn't recognize the boat. It was gorgeous and no leaks. The new owner completed the work himself and did a very nice job.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:54   #10
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

5/8" thick is a thick teak deck, few builders and yards these days put it on that thick. It was the year of the boat that twigged me as teak usually has time limits due to weathering but there may be something you can do. I'm assuming no leaks below through the deck? There are more experienced people here I'm sure that have had direct experience with decks screwed from below, mine has been with decks screwed from above.
I do like your boat, I almost bought one 20 years ago, loved that big flush deck.
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Old 16-03-2014, 07:17   #11
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

A good fix is a bit more work than putting some sealant on a screw, but it isn't difficult.

1. Buy teak plugs.
2. Remove exposed screw.
3. Drill all the way through from the top down, using a drill bit sized for the plugs
4. Tape the underside of the hole.
5. Inject thickened epoxy into the hole, leaving room for the plug. Tape the top and let cure.
6. Redrill top with depth stop to ensure enough room for the plug.
7. Install plug with epoxy, let cure, chisel off excess and sand to clean up.

If needed, you can drill with a depth stop from beneath to install a new fastener. I would tap into the epoxy and use a machine screw in that case.
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Old 16-03-2014, 07:20   #12
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Thanks all for the replies so far. I understand the rip em off and non skid the deck philosophy and treatment. I was just hoping that someone had a story of saving the teak. At a minimum thickness of 5/8" up to more than 3/4" thick that is a lot of teak to just discard as not useful.

Robert Sailer, there are leaks into the cabin from where the screw tips have become exposed.
With that much teak I would think that I could even remove the screw, countersink from the top side and have plenty of material to hold a plank in place. After epoxy and rebedding.

If it really really came down to it I would pull the teak but it just seems like such a waste of thick teak. And means that I would really be kicking myself for not going with another boat. I need to be careful if thats the case that denying that self realization isn't the driving factor to save the teak. But it's still so thick!

This is my live aboard that I plan on keeping for a very long time.

I keep hearing success stories of ripping off the teak and applying nonskid as success. I am just hoping that someone has a "here is how to save the teak deck" success story.
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Old 16-03-2014, 07:34   #13
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
A good fix is a bit more work than putting some sealant on a screw, but it isn't difficult.

1. Buy teak plugs.
2. Remove exposed screw.
3. Drill all the way through from the top down, using a drill bit sized for the plugs
4. Tape the underside of the hole.
5. Inject thickened epoxy into the hole, leaving room for the plug. Tape the top and let cure.
6. Redrill top with depth stop to ensure enough room for the plug.
7. Install plug with epoxy, let cure, chisel off excess and sand to clean up.

If needed, you can drill with a depth stop from beneath to install a new fastener. I would tap into the epoxy and use a machine screw in that case.

I do not mind a bit more work at all. Or a lot of work for that matter.
Have you seen this procedure done with success? I like the sound of it.

In this procedure are you suggesting after removing the screws to rely on the original bedding compound to keep the deck adhered. Or, is the epoxy acting as a non mechanical fastener holding the deck down. I can rescrew from the underside assuming that the epoxy is bonding well enough to the teak.
In my brainstorming I wondered if counter sinking both sides a tapered bit and filing with epoxy to form a non mechanical way of holding the deck. But then fitting a bung into a tapered hole is a bit difficult.
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Old 16-03-2014, 08:05   #14
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by b_ascott View Post
I do not mind a bit more work at all. Or a lot of work for that matter.
Have you seen this procedure done with success? I like the sound of it.

In this procedure are you suggesting after removing the screws to rely on the original bedding compound to keep the deck adhered. Or, is the epoxy acting as a non mechanical fastener holding the deck down. I can rescrew from the underside assuming that the epoxy is bonding well enough to the teak.
In my brainstorming I wondered if counter sinking both sides a tapered bit and filing with epoxy to form a non mechanical way of holding the deck. But then fitting a bung into a tapered hole is a bit difficult.
Yes I have seen this done. A pro used regular screws from beneath and that didn't impress me as I saw the epoxy crack and screw heads strip. Often pro's don't do a better job but rather a quicker one. Tapping is very quick too because much of the time spent on it is won back when putting the screw in.

The epoxy plug you cast inside the hole is a mechanic fastener, provided that the teak and deck surface is 100% wet out by it and no air pockets are left. I ensure that by using a not too thick mix and stirring it with a toothpick after casting to get air out and the walls wet out. Use laminating microfibers as thickener and make it syrup consistency.
You don't need the counter sinks as the epoxy bond to the materials is enough strength.

If you ever see a plank lift, you can still screw it down but I never saw an epoxy plug fail, although I can imagine this when the teak bond with the deck also fails.
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Old 16-03-2014, 08:40   #15
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Re: Teak decks fastened from inside cabin

Thanks Jedi,
I would have not thought to tap the holes and use machine screws.

I have to move the boat from SC to Texas so this will be a Summer project. I'm trying to get my research done now to make the plan of what to do.

Now I need to find out if the core is rotted or still wet. I'm guessing thermal imagery is the only way to really tell. Or drill out plugs to test the core and fill with epoxy? As far as I've read moisture meters don't measure through fiber glass.
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