From: Mark C.
Subject: Covering Wood Decks
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997

Dear Dr. Rot;

Wow, what a find! Usually, when I want to accomplish something beyond my current knowledge base, I spin my wheels trying to find the person or article with just the right presentation of basic info to get me started on the process. Looks like your 'zine is the perfect point to start research on a topic that is near the top of my current list of stuff I've gotta become familiar with.

I'm in the process of buying a 1959 55' Chriscraft to live aboard and cruise Puget Sound waters. The deck is showing wear down of the teak to the point where screws from the inside are breaking through the exterior deck surfaces. My surveyor recommended covering the teak deck with 1/4' marine plywood and covering that with epoxy GRP. The boat has been kept in a boathouse for six years and cruised moderately. The owners say the deck doesn't leak now, but there are hundreds of screw tips showing through the teak.

Please give me your take on protecting decks of wooden boats with epoxy and GPR.

Thank you,

Mark C.


With screw tips showing through the teak, I'd be very surprised if water isn't getting in there somewhere. With the boat under cover, it's kind of hard to tell.

Your surveyor is right -- re-cover the decks. He may or may not have mentioned it, but you really need to pull off the teak to do it right. The screws can be ground flush -- it's all going to be epoxy covered anyway. Just covering the existing decks with ply without looking at the base decking is asking for major trouble down the line.

It would be remarkable indeed if the base deck/canvas were in good condition. I think you're going to find questionable wood, probably rot. This will need to be taken care of before you lay down new plywood. What you end up doing is going to depend on what you find and where it is and how much of it is there.

The epoxy resins are going to play a major part in your repairs, and you're going to need to keep the boat covered to do it right. Our Clear Penetrating Epoxy (CPES) should be a basic resource for you. It is the ONLY epoxy-based wood preservative on the market that will truly penetrate bad or questionable wood. Using epoxies and wood/glass cloth to renew decks is a tried and true method. But the eventual success lies in the details. Check out the library/book stores and you'll find references to the exact processes you'll be using.

Pull the teak, check the base deck, and then get back to us. We'll help you if we can. If the boat is in the Seattle area, we'll even come over and take a look once the teak is off. Stay in touch.