Subject: Teak Deck Removal
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998

Dear Dr. Rot,
I have a twenty year old trawler with a teak deck on the aft cockpit. The caulking is starting to separate and the surveyor recommended removing the teak rather than going to the work of recaulking. If I do this what is the procedure and what goes down when the teak is removed? Another boat on my dock had the teak deck removed and he put down some kind of epoxy then painted. Where it feathers into the cabin and gunwales it looks terrible because it is not smooth and even. I don't want mine to look like that. I am pretty handy if I can get a idea of what I'm supposed to do. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

Rick N.,
Des Moines, Wa.


I'm a little surprised that the surveyor would recommend removing the teak -- unless it's worn so thin that you'd never get caulking to hold. Teak looks no nice and gives such good traction I'd sure hate to see it go.

Assuming that the teak is still good enough to salvage, it's just a matter of stripping out all the old caulking, cleaning out the seams, and then re-caulking with a 2-part polysulfide. I emphasize the 2-part. The 1-part products just do not hold well. DETCO makes one, or we can get them for you on special order. This is slow detailed process, but with tape down on both sides of the seam it moves right along. Of course you would sand down your teak to a level surface first.

My second option, assuming that the teak must be pulled up, would be to soak the wood underneath (assuming it is wood) with the Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) to help it resist future rot, and then lay down some of the pre-fab teak decking. This stuff is expensive, but then you're not looking at a whole lot.

My third option would be to pull the teak, CPES the under board, and then lay down a new piece of good exterior grade ply that has had the edges soaked in CPES and Layup & Laminating Resin and both flat sides painted with CPES, and then coated with whatever non-skid surface you prefer. At the edges you could use quarter-round or something similar to cover gaps.

Whatever you do, I would try and keep some protective surface between the walking part of the deck and the structural deck base. Just painting or epoxying over the base deck does not seem to me a very good idea.

Come back if you have more questions.