Subject: leaking teak deck
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998

Charles C. Jr. wrote:

Dr. Rot,
My trawler is glass with a plywood core under the glass decks. The teak is fastened in the usual manner with 5200 or equal and screws. Water is leaking into the plywood through the teak. The plywood is rotting. I wish to cover the teak completely. I have had this boat 13 yrs. It is a 1981 Chung Hwa.
The product I mentioned is Speedliner a spray that is used on pickup truck beds. There are other brands. I saw a trawler with this system applied. It seems to work. It may be sprayed or brushed on. Another brand is Rhinoguard.
I understand these products are also used on roofs. Thanks,
Chas C.

Okay. I don't know much about Speedliner or Rhinoguard, although I've heard of Rhinoguard. If it works on a truck bed, it should certainly work on a boat deck. The only possible problem that I can see is that teak is an oily wood and there could be some adhesion problems. Who knows? Maybe you should test a bit first?

You can seal the teak with something like our Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) which would give a good base for the top coatings. Again, a test would be in order to make sure the final coating adheres to the treated teak.

The other problem you have is the rotting plywood. The rotting will not stop just because you cover the decks, and eventually you could have some severe problems. I understand your hesitancy about pulling up all the teak -- a big job and you lose the structure of the teak. An alternative would be to remove the teak screws and flood the deck with the CPES, which will penetrate and soak into the rotten wood underneath. The ply should be reasonably dry (a summer job, unless you're a sun state resident or the boat is under cover). Then give it several weeks to cure out and apply the top coating. You won't know absolutely that you got all the rot, but you'll get most of it and the epoxy will restore strength to the ply.

Hope I've been of some help. Get back to me if you have further questions.