Refurbishing Teak decking

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JonMenig

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Aug 15, 2021
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I just purchased a 1995 GB Classic. The teak decks are worn to the point where screws are showing and the caulk is pulling out of the grooves. I had a guy take a look and he said the teak has enough thickness remaining to allow for a full restoration of the deck. The deck would be sanded, screws countersunk deeper, bungs re-plugged, caulk channels re-routed and filled, and then a final sanding.

Two questions:

1. Has anyone had experience with this process.

2. What is the original thickness of the teak deck planks.

Many thanks!
 
I was taught by a professional that you need a minimum of 3/8” of thickness for your teak decks to be considered “serviceable”.

Three of us did what you outlined on a 43’ sailboat. The side decks were about 1/2” thick to start with. The teak on the house was a little under 3/8”. We tried a test area but there wasn’t enough thickness to remove and reinstall bungs and screws, recut the planks, caulk and sand. The teak on the house was replaced.

Good luck on your project. You only do it once. :)
 
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First thing I'd do is pull a couple of the exposed screws and verify the wood's thickness. You'll then know for sure if you can drill deeper and replug.
 
Try to find out if the screws are in place to fix the wood on the deck or if they are temporarily installed to serve as a clamp for the possible glue between the wood and the deck below.
If the screws are used as a glue clamp, you can remove them and cover them with a wood plug.
If the screws have not been used as a clamp, it is even more important whether the wood is still thick enough to countersink the screws again.
After 25 years, I provided the teak deck with new sealant, manually removed the old sealant with a sharpened screwdriver, degreased with acetone and applied new sealant.
I taped the teak planks and then applied the sealant, leveled the sealant with a spatula.
Remove the masking tape immediately, by masking it you do not have to sand the teak deck after sealing, this saves the thickness of the teak deck.
I did about 3 joints a day, then I got sore knees.

Greeting

Pascal.
 
If it's only a few popped bungs and exposed screws you could probably get away with pulling just those and replacing the bungs with no screws. Most of the accounts I've read on removing teak decks said even with all the screws removed they still had a hard time getting the teak off, indicating the sealant/adhesive was doing a fine job all by itself.
 
The screws have done their job. I remove the screws on my Grand Banks as the bungs pop out. Drill a 3/8 hole down into the deck core (Careful not to go through the bottom layer of Fiberglass) Fill the hole with epoxy and drive in a new bung. One and done.
 
I also have removed the screws and filled with epoxy. Once you redrill the hole you might want to shoot some acetone into it and let it dry out a day or two. If for some reason there was any moisture this would help it dry out. Make sure to visit the teakdecking systems website. Great info and I have used their tools and products.
 
I just purchased a 1995 GB Classic. The teak decks are worn to the point where screws are showing and the caulk is pulling out of the grooves. I had a guy take a look and he said the teak has enough thickness remaining to allow for a full restoration of the deck. The deck would be sanded, screws countersunk deeper, bungs re-plugged, caulk channels re-routed and filled, and then a final sanding.

Two questions:

1. Has anyone had experience with this process.

2. What is the original thickness of the teak deck planks.

Many thanks!
I have similar situation. Decks are fine, but teak is not serviceable. So I sanded the deck smooth and level again, then sealed the entire deck with a coat of penetrating epoxy, and filled missing plugs with thickened epoxy. Then a final quick sand, and applied Tuff Coat primer, and Sand color Tuff Coat non skid. The Tuff coat itself seals, but I wanted the epoxy sealer as well. Did the Flybridge deck 2 years ago, this is the aft deck, and doing the side decks later this month.

Yes, I would rather have kept the teak deck, however not enough to replace the teak. I did not want to remove it and have to build up fiberglass in its place, the epoxy soaked teak is the same strength, the right height to shed water.
 

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You need to first assure yourself that you have no soft spots or wetness in the sub deck. IMHO, if you have either of those things, especially wetness then it is time to take a deep breath. If you just sand it all up nice and pretty you may just be covering up future serious problems. Problems that you could solve for the long run now.
You won’t solve any wetness in the deck core unless you open things up, there just isn’t any future there.
You may have to do a lot of probing with a moisture meter from the underside of the deck. Problem areas are around any deck fills, water and fuel, and anything else that penetrates the deck, Sampson post, deck mounted windlass switches etc.
Assure yourself that these places are ALL BONE DRY.
if you decide to “just sand the surface off”, be aware that you will then need to re-cut all the fake caulking seams in order to get the black rubber caulking back in. Those fake seams are usually very shallow and a heavy sanding will obliterate them.
Or you can save yourself a lot of trouble and just tear the teak off, fix the wet areas, lay a couple layers of glass down and paint with nonskid. There are a lot of good products out there and you will still have a good looking deck that will likely be a lot less work down the road.
 
I have a 1978 Marine Trader Europa and have the same issue with my teak decks, especially on the fly bridge. I still have 3/8"+ of teak. I followed people's advice and remove all the plugs and screws on 2/3rds of the deck. I did not reinstall the screws and just epoxied the screw holes and installed new bungs (over 1,000). I started working on the calk lines and most of them were so shallow I had to recut the groves. After all this work the planks are starting to pop loose from the glue and is causing the calked joints to separate. I now have to remove all the teak and reglass the deck. I should have just removed the teak in the first place. I just really like the look and non-skid feature of the teak decks and wanted to save them.
 
i have a trader from 1990 the front teak dek some planks are not good gleud on the deck and a lot of screws are not real tight. last week i removed the planks without breaking on the port side of the cabin. cleaned the deck the use a 4mm drill to clean the screw holes and look to not damage the under poly. then inject isocyanate into the screw holes to close and get rid of any damp inside. i had a few screws with a hole so the core was not complete there, the isocyanate flow in every corner to fill the hole than the old teak is cleaned on the underside, the holes pluged and back gleud with weights no scews anny more. its a lot of work but teak deck is great, a new one is in europe very expencive
 

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You need to first assure yourself that you have no soft spots or wetness in the sub deck. IMHO, if you have either of those things, especially wetness then it is time to take a deep breath. If you just sand it all up nice and pretty you may just be covering up future serious problems. Problems that you could solve for the long run now.
You won’t solve any wetness in the deck core unless you open things up, there just isn’t any future there.
You may have to do a lot of probing with a moisture meter from the underside of the deck. Problem areas are around any deck fills, water and fuel, and anything else that penetrates the deck, Sampson post, deck mounted windlass switches etc.
Assure yourself that these places are ALL BONE DRY.
if you decide to “just sand the surface off”, be aware that you will then need to re-cut all the fake caulking seams in order to get the black rubber caulking back in. Those fake seams are usually very shallow and a heavy sanding will obliterate them.
Or you can save yourself a lot of trouble and just tear the teak off, fix the wet areas, lay a couple layers of glass down and paint with nonskid. There are a lot of good products out there and you will still have a good looking deck that will likely be a lot less work down the road.
IF you have moisture problems in the deck, yes you must address... especially cored Tiawain built decks. Sealing a deck that is already wet will not stop the rot. But I made my post as an alternative to trying to bring teak back to life that is beyond hope. There is plenty info on deck rebuilding.

Anyone that thinks just tear the teak off is easy... you are mistaken. Even the guy who took his screws out and now has it coming loose, thats just in a few places... most of it is adhered like concrete.
 
if the teak deck is ferm gleud it is not possible to save the teak it will break during removal. i am very lucky that the teak had not a firm bound withe the deck and all the removed planks did not break (did 20% now) i have some parts that are glued i use a oscilating saw with a old blade changed to a knife blade so i cut the teak lose, it take time

for the wet part, its hard te tell, the pulp that come out the screw wholes by drilling to 4mm is not feeling wet more clamp (or houw do you name this in englisch)
I got the advice if the injected isocyanate forms a foam and come out of the screwhole there is moister or water inside, as water react with the isocyanate
 
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