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Old 08-14-2019, 09:42 AM   #1
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Decks leak

We’ve owned Northwind, a 1978 CHB 34, for 6 years now and really like the boat. Before we bought it I looked for deck leaks, window leaks or any other signs of water damage and found none. A professional survey also did not discover any water damage. We keep the boat in covered moorage year round. My wife and I are in the 5th week of our summer cruise which took us to Desolation Sound and north. On the weekend of August 30 we were on Dent Island when we encountered the “BC storm”, a ten year rain storm that normally happens in the fall or winter. It poured, I mean poured for two days. After the first day our decks started leaking soaking our bedding in the aft cabin. After two weeks we are still finding traces of water in the port side berth. I know the standard solution is to take the teak decking off and seal the decks. I would like to keep the teak decks but don’t know if they can be removed and replaced. What is the recommended procedure. We plan to keep the boat and want to maintain it’s classic looks. Thanks for any help here. By the way we are moored in Everett WA.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:27 AM   #2
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Are you sure it is the deck that is leaking? I don't have teak decking anymore on our lower decks but have encountered leaks in similar locations. It took a while but I eventually traced it to the window frames which for me turned into a easy fix.

If it is the deck itself you need to inspect the caulk to make sure it is still tight (no cracks) and that all the screw plugs are in place and secure. A technique I've heard of is to wet down the deck then watch it dry. The areas that stay wet the longest are the areas to look for leaks.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:49 PM   #3
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Besides the decking which I would replace anyway as it will leak if it isn't leaking now and the damage to the cored plywood could be bad. So why wait for the bad, get the financial pain over with.

The other very possible problems are the stanchions which have a long history of leaking on all manners of boats. My old boat leaked, actually both my Catalina 27 and my Mariner 29 both leaked at the stanchions. You can probably find a thousand YouTube videos on how to re-bed stanchions and repair the damage to the wood core if it developed rot (it probably did). Sailboats, power boats, doesn't matter, eventually stanchions become a problem; many re-bed before they have a problem, again to prevent wood rot in the core.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:55 PM   #4
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Good information thank you both. Not all of it is what I wanted to hear but I am asking for sound advice so thank you.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:44 PM   #5
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By stock in 3M 5200 and you boat will stop leaking.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:51 PM   #6
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Stanchion leaks are no big deal, its almost a rite of passage, if you haven't re-bedded your stanchions, you're not a real boater....lol.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:02 PM   #7
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The current owner of my previous all wooden 47-year old trawler recently elected to cover the existing teak decks after I advised him that I thought the decking could not be removed without compromising the hull girder (NOT the case in your boat where teak is added on for comfort/looks). However, you could adopt the method I outlined in general for him, if you are sure you can achieve dry conditions in the underlayment. He sanded the deck and the side of the cabin and bulwark up two inches to bare wood before gluing and screwing down a what amounts to door skin material. The range of materials for this part is enormous. Then he laid down layers of fiberglass over all of it going up the sides to ensure no water leaks would develop at flat edges. After painting, he found a covering he rolled on for non-skid - it was a refinery interior tank coating (he is a process engineer in Houston and knowledgeable of some bulletproof stuff).
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:26 PM   #8
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RSN's advice about stanchions is good. On newer boats, manufacturers learned to design their deck molds with solid fiberglass where the stanchions would be mounted. Otherwise, eventually the stanchions will leak. I prefer to rebed with butyl tape but everyone has their preference.



Leaks can be frustrating. My experience on sailboats has been that the source of the leak can be reliable found by looking as far away from the wet spot as possible. So if you have a leak in your aft cabin, my experience tells me that the water is coming in from the bow. Of course, maybe I am just less fortunate that most. So far on my 9 year old boat, not a single leak has yet made itself known. Notice, I wrote "yet".
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:25 PM   #9
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Compass Marine has a great series of DIY articles. There is a really good one on bedding deck hardware. If it is the teak decking then you may have to deal with the deck core. We just recaulked and refinished our teak deck on our sundeck. I had about 300 hours on my knees doing it. If I had to do it again, I would probably just rip off the teak and lay some new fiberglass and then paint it with Kiwigrip.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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If I had to do it again

And you will have to do it again. Some of the synthetic decking materials look good.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:47 AM   #11
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The problem with stanchions is they are bolted into the deck so get tested with every drop of water that comes onboard.

Our solution is to raise the stanchion base 1/2 or 3/4 inch with a piece of solid GRP stuck in place with epoxy or 5200.

The stanchion is bedded with Dolfinite, as even raised ,the bedding will need replacement and Dolfinite is the easiest , fastest to replace.

This raising technique works with most all items like fuel or water fills , cleats and mos anything bolted into the deck.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:50 AM   #12
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Recaulking teak deck seams is not all that bad to do especially if it can be done in small sections at a time and if you have the tools.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffH View Post
We’ve owned Northwind, a 1978 CHB 34, for 6 years now and really like the boat. Before we bought it I looked for deck leaks, window leaks or any other signs of water damage and found none. A professional survey also did not discover any water damage. We keep the boat in covered moorage year round. My wife and I are in the 5th week of our summer cruise which took us to Desolation Sound and north. On the weekend of August 30 we were on Dent Island when we encountered the “BC storm”, a ten year rain storm that normally happens in the fall or winter. It poured, I mean poured for two days. After the first day our decks started leaking soaking our bedding in the aft cabin. After two weeks we are still finding traces of water in the port side berth. I know the standard solution is to take the teak decking off and seal the decks. I would like to keep the teak decks but don’t know if they can be removed and replaced. What is the recommended procedure. We plan to keep the boat and want to maintain it’s classic looks. Thanks for any help here. By the way we are moored in Everett WA.
Is your boat like this one?

If so, it is likely not the stanchions. It is not likely the decking. It could be the hatch coaming, the windows, anything extra that is through bolted.
I had what I was sure was a leak from the deck. Folks here posted most of what you are seeing, so I started with what looked suspicious on the deck. Wasn't even close, as Dave says, look for something far away.
I eventually found the leak. It was the hatch coaming. Internal migration of the leaking water had it dripping from quite a long way from the hatch coaming. Decks are still tight after 39 yrs.

Aside: Don't know about any Aug 30 10 yr storm. It seems every storm in that area has lots of rain. This summer has been a particularly wet one, though that is far from unusual. I have some 5 gal buckets on deck. When it rains they become rain guages. This summer those rain guages have recorded overnight rains of 2" and more on more than 1 occasion. Not unusual.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:52 AM   #14
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We had a similar experience with our trawler last year up in the Gulf Islands. In our case the surveyor had identified soft spots in the boat deck so we knew it was a matter of time.

While I'm not familiar with your boat's deck construction I'd agree with the stanchion issues as they can spread and any model specific issues you an find. If it is the teak then depending in the source of the leaks and the condition of the core remediation can range from re-caulking to covering over the teak with rubberized paint (I don't recommend this but others have had success and extended the inevitable deck replacement project) or complete replacement. If the deck needs to be removed, it's unfortunately a destructive process. None of our teak was able to be saved.

Again, the core and construction of the deck will dictate the repair process. There are some nice YouTube tutorials on core replacement (SailLife, BoatWorks Today).

For us, because we didn't have a "sandwiched" core we elected to replace the entire deck. This repair approach is typical of our Bluewater model trawler. Below are some examples:

Simon's project replacing his Pilothouse roof:

Bluewater 40 Pilothouse Roof Replacement

And our project, replacing the boat deck:

Our boat deck has been removed.

A lot of factors went into our decision to replace the entire deck. Most of all me wanting to ensure it was completely repaired and my ability to DIY the project.

Our project was pretty much worst case scenario. Hopefully you can isolate your source and the repairs will be localized.

Good luck and keep us all posted!
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:10 PM   #15
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Another source of leaks is the cabin side to deck joint.

Most were inadequately reinforced so cracks and leaks occur.

Boats with teak decks have teak trim hiding the side to deck juncture.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:38 PM   #16
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Although I talked about stanchions and rebedding recommended for older boats of all ilk, my own leaks were through bolt problems, the cleats to be specific. And the cleats for my boat were undersized so I have recovered my deck, the deck dried out for a month before being complete epoxied then covered with a synthetic decking material much like the link below, but I didn't use that product:

https://www.amazon.ca/Marine-Floorin.../dp/B0741B3GCJ

In the refit, I had the stanchions rebedded as well as I knew if they didn't leak now, they would leak latter. On older boats, the money you saved not buying new creeps up on you as you do repair after repair. The advantage of redoing an older boat is that you end up with "new" and it's what you want. Or in your case, even if you aren't thrilled about synthetic decking, the idea will grow on you as you service the teak you have.
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