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Old 06-03-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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Teak Joints

My sundeck Teak is in very good shape, but I have a few cracks in the joints between the teak planks that need to be filled. The "grout" is a black color. Any hints or tips to fill in the planks? Type of material?

thanks
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:46 AM   #2
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I've been told to use a good 2-part polysulfide seam sealant like Boat Life. It'll be interesting to hear what people recommend. I have plenty to do myself.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:09 AM   #3
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My sundeck Teak is in very good shape, but I have a few cracks in the joints between the teak planks that need to be filled. The "grout" is a black color. Any hints or tips to fill in the planks? Type of material?

thanks
Polysulfide is the standard. It is basically solid rocket fuel and applied correctly, should last for 15+ years.

You have to dig out what's bad, thoroughly clean with acetone and apply thin tape at the bottom of the groove, as you only want the caulk to stick to the sides of the seam, not the bottom. This is a critical step for maximum longevity.

Your cracks could be the result of problems with the initial installation, or a symptom of general breakdown, so be prepared to do a little more, not less renewing if necessary.

This is a pretty good summary of what to do:

http://www.zetamarinegroup.com/files...on%20sheet.pdf
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:58 AM   #4
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Go back into the archives or google TDS deck caulking. The majority of new decks and repairs of older decks probably use TDS over other products. It's one part and other that using some acetone, no primers are required. You can buy the tubes on line.

The World's Leader in Pre-Manufactured Custom Teak Decks - Teakdecking SystemsŪ
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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The people at TDS are very helpful. They offer great step-by-step instructions on how to use their products.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:27 AM   #6
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Having used several types of deck seam sealant on our boat over the years I can say with no reservations that TDS is the only deck sealant worth using. It is what Grand Banks, Fleming, and many manufacturers of high-end yachts use today.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
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Go back into the archives or google TDS deck caulking. The majority of new decks and repairs of older decks probably use TDS over other products. It's one part and other that using some acetone, no primers are required. You can buy the tubes on line.

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Larry, I think you will find that the TDS product (my, and your link above) is polysulfide rocket fuel, just as Boatlife is, or Thiokol or others that cure from moisture in the air, which is why they will cure underwater (more or less instantly).

TDS may well have incorporated the primer, but the MSDS isn't helpful in identifying what it is. Changing the brand name doesn't change the chemistry.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:48 PM   #8
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Our main deck was reseamed a couple of years after we bought it. The shipwright used Thiokol which was the "most common" seam sealant ised at that time. The seams have held up okay in most places but the material is obviously deteriorating as if you run your finger over a seam your finger comes up black.

A year or so later I did some seams on the teak planked pad on our aft cabin top. I used the same technique I was taught by the shipwright who did our main deck. The only difference was that I used TDS which I had just heard of. It was not even available retail yet --when I called TDS to learn more about their product they offered to send me a tube of thei caulk free which was all I needed to do the job. Today, some ten years later, the TDS seams are as good as the day they cured after we laid them down.

We've used the Thiokol as well as Lifecaulk which is almost worthless as a deck caulk as it deteriorates within a year in the weather. The chemistry may be the same, I don't know, but the TDS product makes everything else look like playdough in terms of longevity in the weather. Which I guess is why Grand Banks, Fleming, et al use it on their newbuilds.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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TDS may well have incorporated the primer, but the MSDS isn't helpful in identifying what it is. Changing the brand name doesn't change the chemistry.
Carl: You could be right. I'm not a chemist. TDS says it is a "one-part silane polymer", what ever that is. All I know is, like Marin, I've tried the others and TDS is all I will use.
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Carl: You could be right. I'm not a chemist. TDS says it is a "one-part silane polymer", what ever that is. All I know is, like Marin, I've tried the others and TDS is all I will use.
The sailboat we owned for 24 years, built in 1979, had teak decks with Thiokol used on the seams. Looked about the same when I sold it as when I bought it. That would have been a 2 part system, like Boatlife "P" or "Z", which doesn't require a primer and will last many, many years, but is a hassle to mix and only has a one hour working time. The single part Boatlife product is not the same stuff, so I am not surprised it didn't work out for you Marin. I don't know, but what I think TDS is doing is using the silane polymers to modify a single part polysulfide product, resulting in a product that has excellent adherence and durability. Whether it is better than a 2 part catalyzed polysulfide, I have no idea, but I wouldn't assume that because boat builders save time in construction using a product, that that product is superior, but sometimes. After all, if the deck lasts 15 years instead of 25 years, it's still out of warranty. Since silane polymers have only been developed in the last few years, I guess we'll find out in another 15 years or so whether they are superior to the 2 part systems.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:17 PM   #11
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If one believes Grand Banks they say they switched to TDS because they've found it to be a superior sealant. They use it not only for the deck seams but to glue the whole deck down-- GB stopped screwing their teak deck planks down sometime in the early 2000s if not earlier.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:42 PM   #12
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If one believes Grand Banks they say they switched to TDS because they've found it to be a superior sealant. They use it not only for the deck seams but to glue the whole deck down-- GB stopped screwing their teak deck planks down sometime in the early 2000s if not earlier.
Odd they don't use the TDS epoxy product designed for gluing teak decks, favoring the product designed as a seam caulk.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:50 PM   #13
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They may use the epoxy. The GB factory manager at the time only told me that "We use TDS to glue the decks down, too."
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:50 AM   #14
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If one believes Grand Banks they say they switched to TDS because they've found it to be a superior sealant. They use it not only for the deck seams but to glue the whole deck down-- GB stopped screwing their teak deck planks down sometime in the early 2000s if not earlier.
We replaced all the teak on the house on our last boat. We cut and dry fitted all the pieces and then bedded the deck in TDS. We put concrete blocks on top of the teak for a couple of days. We then went back and caulked the seams. Not a fastener used and when we sold the boat 6 years later, other than some surface wear the decks were perfect. TDS is like black super glue that has flexibility.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:58 AM   #15
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We replaced all the teak on the house on our last boat. We cut and dry fitted all the pieces and then bedded the deck in TDS. We put concrete blocks on top of the teak for a couple of days. We then went back and caulked the seams. Not a fastener used and when we sold the boat 6 years later, other than some surface wear the decks were perfect. TDS is like black super glue that has flexibility.
The correct way!
Sealing the grooves and expecting the screws and plugs to remain waterproof after 25 years is just avoiding the reality of what's going on under that old teak deck. If it makes you feel good...then continue on.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #16
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We replaced all the teak on the house on our last boat. We cut and dry fitted all the pieces and then bedded the deck in TDS. We put concrete blocks on top of the teak for a couple of days. We then went back and caulked the seams. Not a fastener used and when we sold the boat 6 years later, other than some surface wear the decks were perfect. TDS is like black super glue that has flexibility.
Cool, glad it worked well. TDS seam caulk looks like it has the same tensile strength as 3M 4000, (300 psi), but quite a bit less than the epoxy TDS sells for gluing decks (7,600 psi). Hard to beat epoxy if you want something to stay put.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:40 AM   #17
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The correct way!
Sealing the grooves and expecting the screws and plugs to remain waterproof after 25 years is just avoiding the reality of what's going on under that old teak deck. If it makes you feel good...then continue on.
Actually the screws and plugs are rarely the problem behind serious moisture getting under teak deck. At least so says every shipwright I've ever talked to about the care and feeding of teak decks. The real problem is deck seams pulling away from one side of a groove or the other. This is why it's so important to prep the grooves properly before seaming and using bond-breaking tape in the bottom of the groove. It can sometimes be very difficult to see the fact that a seam has separated. But when they do it's an easy entry point for moisture, and often a lot of it, to get down under the boards. From there it can migrate down alongside the screws into the wood core of the deck.

This is why gluing a deck down is so much better than screwing it down. Moisture can still get down under the boards when the side of a seam fails which is inevitable over time. But once there the moisture can't go any farther, thus preserving the integrity of the subdeck.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:20 AM   #18
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Actually the screws and plugs are rarely the problem behind serious moisture getting under teak deck. At least so says every shipwright I've ever talked to about the care and feeding of teak decks.
When you actually pull up a few boards and take a look. Report back!
I pulled up mine and I know what I saw.
Like I said...If it makes you feel good...continue on.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:45 AM   #19
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I have. Screws not an issue. Seams were.

Now maybe your deck was such a mess that water was getting down through everything. But in all the discussions about the maintenance of a teak deck on the GB owners forum the seams are always the culprit, never the deck screws themselves (other than the fact that once moisture gets under the boards it can migrate into the subdeck via the screws penetrating the subdeck. But even with missing plugs little or no moisture will get down around the screws to gather under the boards. Unless the deck is in horrible shape in which case anything can happen.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:55 AM   #20
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Keep drinking the cool-aid.
If screws aren't an issue ever wonder why the industry doesn't screw the decks down anymore?
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