bodega87

Refinishing an old teak deck

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Obviously an undertaking, but also obviously worth the cost/effort vs. replacement entirely. 

I understand both processes well enough, what I have not been able to find out there in the world wide webs is how to know if theres enough wood to refinish the decks.

 

So the potential project has hard seams, and apparently not too much water intrusion. many of the slats are ridged, or U shaped. My estimate is that a thorough sanding may get the job done. The issue that really lies is that if it is NOT possible, then purchase of the boat will not happen. I'm prepared to sand and re-caulk. I am not going to undertake a ma$$ive project in replacing the whole deck. 

 

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How deep are those failed caulking grooves?

Are there missing plugs? If so how deep is the screw head? If the teak is worn to the point that screw heads are flush with the surface or so close that a plug won't hold then the deck is done.

The foredeck is usually the worst so start looking there.

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You need a minimum of 1/4 inch remaining, they dont look too bad. You might be happily surprised if you fix the caulking and put a belt sander over it

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Are there missing plugs? If so how deep is the screw head? If the teak is worn to the point that screw heads are flush with the surface or so close that a plug won't hold then the deck is done

+1. 

With teak decks I do have a simpler rule "just say No". Makes the decision making process simpler.

 

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Closely inspect anything fastened over top of the teak. These will reveal the original deck surface. How much these things stick up above the surrounding deck will show how much wear has occurred.

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Without knowing a lot more about the situation, it's really not possible to say anything:

  1. Is it a plastic boat or a wooden boat?
  2. What's the age of the boat?
  3. How thick is the teak?
  4. How is the teak held down? It looks like screws at 12" centers. All those plugs will need to be replaced and most of the screws removed and reset. How many are there?
  5. There appear to be lots of deck fittings (stanchions, bimini tie downs, filler caps), all of which must be removed and then rebedded. How many fasteners are there in all that?

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From (my) experience, the teak thickness is key.

1/2" teak can generally be regrooved at least once, thinner almost certainly not (the deck will have worn unevenly). Should be a simple matter to remove one or two of the through-deck fittings (fuel or water fill?) and measure the thickness (generally much less worn at the fitting), as well as the groove depth. Any serious seller should allow this. 

You'll want to regroove to 1/4" and sand, the measurements should allow you to do the maths.

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5 minutes ago, Fleetwood said:

From (my) experience, the teak thickness is key.

1/2" teak can generally be regrooved at least once, thinner almost certainly not (the deck will have worn unevenly). Should be a simple matter to remove one or two of the through-deck fittings (fuel or water fill?) and measure the thickness (generally much less worn at the fitting), as well as the groove depth. Any serious seller should allow this. 

You'll want to regroove to 1/4" and sand, the measurements should allow you to do the maths.

Funny enough, this makes a lot of sense. Just poke through one of the thin grooves and measure the depth. Not sure how I didn't think of that! 

I believe as installed it was 1/2" but it is very old, possibly in the range of 60 years old. Boat is very well taken care of, but the decks are the lone spot that needs addressing.

What is the reason for pulling one of the fittings? 

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To see how much of a raised "pad" is under it - that will show how much the deck has been worn down.

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2 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

To see how much of a raised "pad" is under it - that will show how much the deck has been worn down.

Exactly. Under the fitting (e.g. if it has a flange) you should see essentially the original deck so you can measure the original thickness and how much has been worn down. Also may show the sub-deck: ply, balsa, etc, and how the two were fastened together: caulking, epoxy,.......

That deck looks in reasonable condition but only further investigation will tell. Bungs are easy to replace, shorter screws aren't too bad, depending on how the teak was fastened.

What's it look like from underneath? Any signs of leaks?

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I can't imagine why anyone cares how much it's worn down, the only relevant question is what's left and is that serviceable.

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Sanding is just a plain waste of teak.

Inspect for deckhead leaks , redo the caulking and plugs where required and go sailing.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Moonduster said:

I can't imagine why anyone cares how much it's worn down, the only relevant question is what's left and is that serviceable.

I was thinking the same....  

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17 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

From (my) experience, the teak thickness is key.

1/2" teak can generally be regrooved at least once, thinner almost certainly not (the deck will have worn unevenly). Should be a simple matter to remove one or two of the through-deck fittings (fuel or water fill?) and measure the thickness (generally much less worn at the fitting), as well as the groove depth. Any serious seller should allow this. 

You'll want to regroove to 1/4" and sand, the measurements should allow you to do the maths.

Fleetwood,  briefly,  how is the "regrooving" exercise accomplished in your experience ?   I have sort of a similar situation, but figured this regrooving might be tricky to do. 

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3 hours ago, Priscilla said:

Sanding is just a plain waste of teak.

Inspect for deckhead leaks , redo the caulking and plugs where required and go sailing.

 

 

 

 +1

  teak looks fine!  recaulk / rebed anything leaking and call it a day.

  you'll be chasing your tail trying to flatten all the cupping and ridges.

   if you want to do something, get a good teak 2 part cleaner system and a stiff bristle brush and go to town.

  you'll be amazed how good a freshly proper cleaned teak looks.

 

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2 hours ago, Soho said:

Fleetwood,  briefly,  how is the "regrooving" exercise accomplished in your experience ?   I have sort of a similar situation, but figured this regrooving might be tricky to do. 

Router, see vid above.

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56 minutes ago, Raked Aft\\ said:

 +1

  teak looks fine!  recaulk / rebed anything leaking and call it a day.

  you'll be chasing your tail trying to flatten all the cupping and ridges.

   if you want to do something, get a good teak 2 part cleaner system and a stiff bristle brush and go to town.

  you'll be amazed how good a freshly proper cleaned teak looks.

 

Sanding helps enormously to get the teak looking good, a smooth surface doesn't trap dirt nearly as much as a grooved, worn one. Clean thoroughly, then sand. After all a teak deck these days is mainly about its looks, not performance.....

If you value your deck don't ever use a brush, stiff or otherwise! Brushes selectively erode the softer grain in the wood, creating valleys for dirt to accumulate. Use a white Nylon tile scrubber and salt water, occasional detergent and bleach. If you don't trust me, read Rebecca Whitman's books, she knows.

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Scrub across the grain, not with it to minimize grain raising.

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53 minutes ago, Fleetwood said:

Router, see vid above.

I've seen & done some other ways - cleaning out the caulking by hand with a hooked carving chisel as thick as the groove is slower than that power tool but FAR less prone to screwups. It's not all that slow either when you get the feel for it.

I've seen a jig for routing the clean grooves that was a simple base plate with two pins the diameter of the groove width set before and after the bit. It would track the bit down the groove like the guide on a slot cat. Worked best with a small base router so the fresh cuts didn't end inches away from any verticals like the cabin top and so forth.

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Teak decks are way more than the "look" and provide a sure footedness that is hard to match.

Wash you deck with saltwater by way of going sailing and scrubbing to look bright and immaculate is vain behaviour and a waste of teak.

If you have ingrained dirt or mould use a weak version of a non caustic exterior cleaner, spray and walk away.

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I used a mould killer called "Wet & Forget on my cedar shakes and it worked phenomenally well. I had pressure washed them but they were still sort of green - the day after the W&F they looked totally clean and no wear & tear on them. Just wet them down with the mix in a watering can.

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18 hours ago, Priscilla said:

Sanding is just a plain waste of teak.

Inspect for deckhead leaks , redo the caulking and plugs where required and go sailing.

 

 

 

+ 1

and either start saving for the time you HAVE to replace the deck OR face up to the fact that a boat with a worn out warping leaking teak deck is virtually unsaleable. 

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buy the boat if you love it. wet and forget the existing deck whilst saving for a new deck in 5-10 years. go sailing. 

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I was involved with the design of a cruise ship. The teak decks were 12" thick on the drawings. Seriously. Bolted down with counterbored studs welded to the deck. Then very deep plugs.

Once or twice a year, during refit, they would just take a big floor sander to the whole deck. Made it look shiny and new instantly. It also took off a bit of weight up high in the ship. This helps compensate for the inevitable weight growth of ships because you're sanding off lots of wood.

The economic life of a cruise ship is about 25-30 years, so doing this annually, you have to start with a fairly thick deck 

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12 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I was involved with the design of a cruise ship. The teak decks were 12" thick on the drawings. 

Zonk I would keep that one to yourself :-)

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That's the beauty of being a N.A.  If things go really wrong, your mistakes just sort of disappear. Well usually.

Groundings on a big ass rock? Chance in a million

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Lots of great suggestions here. Thanks everyone.

 

Its always amazing to me; the wealth and dearth of knowledge available on the internet about things surely people know greatly about. 

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5 hours ago, Zonker said:

I was involved with the design of a cruise ship. The teak decks were 12" thick on the drawings. Seriously. Bolted down with counterbored studs welded to the deck. Then very deep plugs.

Once or twice a year, during refit, they would just take a big floor sander to the whole deck. Made it look shiny and new instantly. It also took off a bit of weight up high in the ship. This helps compensate for the inevitable weight growth of ships because you're sanding off lots of wood.

The economic life of a cruise ship is about 25-30 years, so doing this annually, you have to start with a fairly thick deck 

 

That's incredible, wonder what the sq ft cost was.  Most of the cruise ships I've worked on during refit are getting poured synthetic teak decks.  Rip up the old teak day 1-2, needle gun the steel, weld up the worst holes.  Day 3-4 goop the rest, quick run over with a grinder(basically the same way they deal with the hvac system repairs...) dam around the edge with thin metal and putty, pour the teak base.  Day 5, groove it with a fein tool of some sort with rollers on it and a straight edge, dribble in the black, day 6 hit it with a floor sander.  Light fast and cheap.   The interesting tool they used for getting out fasteners was a maglock drill press with an annular cutter and a steel plate with a hole in it.  They'd drill the bolt pattern to match the deck spacing for 1-4 bolts away, bolt it down on whatever hole they could hit that was still good, bore down around the bolt to the steel and then knock em off after pulling the deck. 

On 9/25/2018 at 8:59 AM, Moonduster said:

I can't imagine why anyone cares how much it's worn down, the only relevant question is what's left and is that serviceable.

How would you check the total thickness left below the existing sealant groove available for refinishing without pulling something to check the thickness below the sealant groove?(not the worn down amount). 

 

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14 hours ago, Zonker said:

The teak decks were 12" thick on the drawings. Seriously. Bolted down with counterbored studs welded to the deck.

JFC that's thick. No wonder we are running out of teak.

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The only way to do this would be with 8/4 that is 12" wide planks stood on edge. I struggle to believe anyone is doing this.

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1 hour ago, Moonduster said:

The only way to do this would be with 8/4 that is 12" wide planks stood on edge. I struggle to believe anyone is doing this.

It makes sense as to why they were using the magnetic portable drill press, they must have been boring around the studs.   I'm curious how they were attaching it through the drilled holes in the plate now, wish I'd paid a bit more attention, but they never seemed to be very happy when they were doing that so I didn't get too close. 

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I struggle with inches on drawings especially whatever the hell an 8/4 is, but as I recall they were ~12" x12". This was a standard detail from Kvaerner Masa Yards in Finland. Probably had a whole teak forest plantation they owned somewhere in SE Asia.

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They should have been jailed for that criminal waste of a limited and special resource.

Astroturf seems a much more appropriate decking material for those things.

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13 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

They should have been jailed for that criminal waste of a limited and special resource.

Astroturf seems a much more appropriate decking material for those things.

Harder to clean spilled booze or barf off though :p. The pour in place synthetics seem to be a happy medium, less weight, faster and cheaper to install. 

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This was a design about 20 years ago. No doubt they have progressed a bit since the days of logging teak forests just for a cruise ship.

Now they cut down tropical rainforests to plant palm oil trees - a vast improvement.

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