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Old 22-12-2015, 03:32   #1
JMK
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How to remove silicone sealant

I know this is rather mundane question given some of the other posts I've been reading today, but I have five opening ports I need to replace and I'm trying to figure out the best way to take them out with minimum damage to the boat. They were installed with generous amounts of silicone sealant and the few I have taken off so far was not a pretty event. I was wondering if a hot air gun would be helpful at all (heating the port to try and soften the silicone).

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J.M.
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Old 22-12-2015, 03:43   #2
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

I am sorry to say that there is no easy way to remove silicone apart from purely mechanical means; heat doesn't help
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Old 22-12-2015, 05:03   #3
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Not so much to help remove the ports but to remove the silicone residue after so you can use a proper sealant going back in. This is the only stuff that even begins to work. Silicone is terrible stuff. http://www.dsr5.com/siliconeremoval.htm


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Old 22-12-2015, 05:20   #4
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Interesting product but they have no dealers in NE. Hardly matters but why?
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Old 22-12-2015, 05:24   #5
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

[QUOTE=JMK;1994370 I was wondering if a hot air gun would be helpful at all (heating the port to try and soften the silicone).

Thanks,
J.M.[/QUOTE]

I'd imagine that heat would affect/soften/melt the port plastic before the silicone.

Remove any fastners, pull the trim ring, cut the silicone with a razor knife (inside and out) then smack em with a mallet a couple times to pop em loose. Done son.

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Old 22-12-2015, 05:27   #6
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

You can find some solvents, purpose designed to dissolve bedding compounds & sealants, if you do some digging (or know someone with a Chemistry degree).

Though, the simple method is to take a sharp; Filet Knife, Utility Knife (with a thin handle), or an Exacto Blade. And slip the knife's cutting edge in between the hardware to be removed & the boat. So that you're cutting the sealant's bond, prior to pulling the part. Also, sometimes a putty knife with a good edge on it works well too.
But when you do things this way, removal's a lot easier & less destructive, than just trying to remove things via brute force.

I'm a big fan of the Filet Knife for thses jobs, as due to it's flexibility (& sharpness), you can use it to get into a lot of places which are impossible to reach with other cutting tools.

Also, for some hardware configurations, you can use a piece of thin wire or cordage (monofilament/braided fishing line, thin Spectra, or Dental Floss, etc.), with handles on both ends of it, to cut through the sealant as well. Often employing a sawing motion with it, in order to cut through the bond. Although on some bits, you get lucky, & a straight, garrotte type motion will do the trick.

These techniques, in their various forms, work on most any type of sealant or bedding compound. Including stupid stuff, like 5200. Although with the latter, it does take a bit more work.

And given the oddly shaped, & unique bond lines on some bedded parts, you'll sometimes have to use your knife to make a series of "plunge cuts", all of the way around the perimeter of the item to be removed. Sometimes going completely around it several times, in this manner.
Other times you'll get lucky, & one clean slicing path with the Filet Knife will do the job. And the part will practically fall out.

Then, once the parts are off, removing the silicone residue is pretty straignt forward: Scrapers/Putty knives, a wire brush & or wire wheel in the chuck of a drill, plus various other abrasive means. 3M Scotchbrite pads, sand paper, etc.
That, & of course some of the old standby solvents. Some of which I'll use in conjunction with a 3M Scotchbrite pad, for stubborn bits.
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Old 22-12-2015, 05:30   #7
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

I don't know where to buy it in the US but Dow Corning DS 2025 is made just for this purpose.
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Old 22-12-2015, 05:55   #8
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
These techniques, in their various forms, work on most any type of sealant or bedding compound. Including stupid stuff, like 5200. Although with the latter, it does take a bit more work.
Actually, 5200 comes off relatively easily using "DeBond Marine Forumla" (Marine Formula – DeBond). It might work on silicone too, although I haven't tried it.
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Old 22-12-2015, 07:33   #9
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

I found the Harbor Freight multi tool: Oscillating Multi-Tool with the flexible scraper tool to work quite well.
Also, +1 for the DR5, you might try the DR5 with a piece of Scotch brite.
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Old 22-12-2015, 09:30   #10
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Wonder why they make silicone gloves for cooks? Very heat resistant. You will burn down your boat before you will affect the silicone. It really does not belong on a boat. Removal is a manual task. We resorted to using ultra fine tooth hack saw blades to get the stuff off a variety of surfaces. Otherwise, sharp puddy knives, sharp knives, and fine rasps will do the job. Now throw out the other silicone tubes you have and use approved marine sealants.
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Old 22-12-2015, 09:36   #11
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
Actually, 5200 comes off relatively easily using "DeBond Marine Forumla" (Marine Formula – DeBond). It might work on silicone too, although I haven't tried it.
DeBond worked for me Ziggy after cutting the bulk away.Required some scraping & rubbing also but it does dissolve silicone enough to clean the thin remains away

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Old 22-12-2015, 09:50   #12
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMK View Post
I know this is rather mundane question given some of the other posts I've been reading today, but I have five opening ports I need to replace and I'm trying to figure out the best way to take them out with minimum damage to the boat. They were installed with generous amounts of silicone sealant and the few I have taken off so far was not a pretty event. I was wondering if a hot air gun would be helpful at all (heating the port to try and soften the silicone).

Thanks,
J.M.
A hot air gun will not soften Silicone Sealant. (Works great for 3M 4000 UV, 4200 and 5200 though.)

As others have mentioned, the best method is to break the bond with a sharp tool, and slowly pry the pieces apart. Sometimes prying with a wide putty knife while cutting with a sharp blade works well.

After the pieces are apart, the surface should be prepared by scraping as much silicone off as possible with a sharp tool. Then sand the remaining residue off. Finally, vacuum all bits of silicone sealant up, and wipe with acetone (2 rag method) to clean up any remaining minute fragments.

PS, I just removed 10 opening ports bedded with Silicone Sealant to regelcoat a cabin trunk and decks. All silicone must be completely removed to assure gelcoat, paint or alternate sealant adhesion.

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Old 22-12-2015, 10:26   #13
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

Silicone.

Are we using the name loosely?

Not all adhesives are silicone, most caulking compounds on boats are not silicone. I was not able to chemically remove silicone which was put on by the PO to bed some ports, I had to actually remove some of the surface by aggressive sanding to make sure the new sealant would stick.
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:27   #14
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

the multitool with a sharp blade is fast then when you get the parts off you just have to sand and sand. It's awful stuff.
We did ours and put it back with butyl tape but that's another thread.
We have banished silicone from the boat but still have years of discovery as the previous owner thought the stuff was a miracle or something.
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:29   #15
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Re: How to remove silicone sealant

US Distributor Tool for Dow-Corning 2025
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