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Caulk in teak deck is smudging!! Help!
tarzan
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 11:45 PM
Joined: 28/10/2009
Posts: 3


I've just come aboard an 8 yr. old yacht with badly neglected teak.  We've just sanded and treated all the rails so they are looking much better.  The floor in the cockpit is another story.  The black caulk lines in the teak are sticky to the touch and smudge all over the wood (mainly in one high traffic area).  I'm having the same problem with the caulk in the galley as there is a decorative teak trim around the floor there, too.  The owner is not interested in replacing the teak so I need to learn how to fix it.  Will two part Snappy Teak take away the tackiness of the caulk as it cleans the wood?  Do I need to remove the caulk and refill the effected areas?  Has anyone else had this problem??

Also, what would cause this to happen?  Age?  Sun exposure?  Some weird chemical? 

Henning
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 5:03 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Most likely an improper caulk. You may have to reef the caulking out and redo it. The best way I have found to do that is to get a "tire regrooving iron" and make the blade so it fits your grooves. This will allow you to make very short work of reefing out all the old caulk.

junior
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 11:22 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Never understood why caulking sometimes turns to bubble gum. You have no choice but to rip it out. By far the best tool to remove caulking from a teak deck is a plunge circular saw and a set of guides. Straight guides and flexible guides are used to guide the saw blade in the seam . To make a flex guide for tight bends , with a band saw cut hundreds of kerfs on one edge of a clean straight doug fir , three quarter inch x 4 , 8 ft long batten . The batten in flexed to the appropriate curve and clamped, nailed, screwed into a suitable deck seam. In minutes the caulking is gone, the seam is fair , even thickness and the teak wall seams are sterilized. If you bring in a contractor and he is not familiar with this technique...get a new contractor. Corners , ends and nibs are stripped with a Fien Multimaster, razor knives, chisels and a template guided router . As a temporary fix to get you thru a cruise you might consider a razor knife to remove a shallow "V" of bubble gum caulking, carefully tape off the seam then lay a quick fix bead of Silka flex DC , wipe smooth with a putty knife and immediately remove the tape.
14Freedom
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 2:56 PM
Joined: 16/04/2009
Posts: 155


Hey All,

I have to agree with Junior...I re-caulked  the decks of a 1939 50' Alden sloop. True teak decks where they were the overheads down below. The technique was taught to me by the guys at Pease Brothers Boat Works in Chatham, Ma and they are renowned for restoration and repair of wooden boats.

The owner bought a 4" circular saw at Wood Workers Warehouse and a blade the width of the actual seams.It was tedious and time consuming and dirty but the old caulking/cotton batting came out cleanly and left a perfect edge for the new caulk to adhere to. Just be careful with the depth and work in short strokes so you are following the seam and not veering off it. I then vacuumed with the bristle attachment, wiped with denatured, taped off the seams and used fast-cure Boat Life. When it cured I used an EXTREMELY SHARP wood chisel to level the seam to the deck then pulled the tape. It came out beautifully.

DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT RUSHING IT!!!

ATB-
The Slacker



ChaseTheWoodGuyFL
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 3:29 PM
Joined: 29/09/2008
Posts: 15


Good Luck

Henning
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 2:35 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Junior, take a look at this:
http://www.mile-x.com/td-40rg-hand-held-tire-regroover.aspx

No guides (and the nail holes from tacking them down) required, no bits and crap flying, no risk of popping out or tearing chunks out of the wood... Just get the wide groover blade and grind it to fit your slots. It pretty much guides itself and you push it along at about a foot a second. Really and truly, this is the best way to reef caulk out of a deck, and it's fast, cheap and easy and much much safer and cleaner than using a saw.

14Freedom
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 4:05 AM
Joined: 16/04/2009
Posts: 155


Hey All,

Good heads up Henning, but a foot a second? That's almost the speed of Oscar De La Hoya's punches... I didn't mention the job I did was 12 years ago.
Probably the "gummy caulk"was caused by a deckie spilling acetone. Evaporates quickly out of wood/metal so no one notices but eats any kind of plastic/vinyl/LP paint if left to it's own devices.
Old school, new world.
I need a tire re-groover for my retreads too!

ATB-
The Slacker

Marc
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 5:10 AM
Joined: 03/07/2009
Posts: 4


Sorry to say it but your only option is to remove all of the affected caulking and re-do it.  Several years ago I worked on a very busy charter yacht and we had the same problem, particularly on the high use deck areas.  Never confirmed the cause but the decks were two-parted between virtually every charter and I suspect that this may have been a contributing factor, as well as perhaps a poorer brand of caulking.

You can go with the machine method of removal and if you were doing a 50m tri-decker, I would recommend it.  If you are doing relatively small areas, it is often simpler, safer and easier by hand.  Use a new Stanley knife and cut vertically along the join between caulking and teak.  The depth you need to cut to will depend on the thickness of your teak and its amount of wear but about 5mm is a good guess.  Ideally, you want to cut all the way to the bottom of the caulking but if it is very deep, this is not so easy and is often better to do it in two stages. Keep replacing the blade to keep it sharp if you are doing a large area.  Do this slowly as accuracy is paramount, you don't want to be taking chunks out of the wood.  Then take a sharp wood chisel, the same width as your caulking lines (normally 4-6mm), using it in the inverted position, slice down through the caulking and then run it along the groove (always pushing away from you!).  Once you have reached the bottom of the groove, which may take a second run , you can trim off any excess from the sides with your sharp blade.  Then use a very coarse abrasive paper (40 or 60 grit) folded around a thin piece of wood (1mm thinner than your caulking groove) and run this up and down the groove to remove all traces of the old caulking.  This is essential as new caulking does not bond well to old caulking and will be the cause of water ingress.  Once you have a nice clean groove, use a high pressure air line to remove all teak dust and other residue.  Then prime with Sika DC Primer, allow this to dry  and the apply your new Sika 290DC.  There are many methods of applying this:  you can simply squeeze it along the groove, ensuring always that the excess is above the deck height, wait 24+ hours for it to dry and then trim/sand back the excess and this is the method used for large areas.  If you are doing a small patch or repair however, Junior's tape and putty knife (or I use a wooden mixing stick) is the quicker and easier method as there is no sanding involved so therfore no obvious colour differences between the repaired deck area and the surround.
Check out the Sika website as there is a good deck caulking application guide and all the best.

Noel
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 7:49 AM
Joined: 15/07/2008
Posts: 5


Junior is on the right path. If you have time & can get the boss to swing for a FEIN MULTIMASTER, this is the way to go. If you go to amazon.com and look up blades, you will most likely find one that is shaped like a "c" there are different widths of these blades that fein makes. see link:http://www.amazon.com/Fein-6-39-03-200-01-7-3-mm-Blades-1-Pack/dp/B000NDCWQ4/ref=sr_1_28?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1273300623&sr=8-28 I also like juniors guides and templates that he was mentioning. I have in the past put down 2" blue tape on either side, purchased a yard stick or two that is metal(for straight reefing runs), used a glue stick gun & hot glued the yard stick on either side to use as a template. Beawre that too much pressure can pull the tape or glue so still be gentle on the guide when using this method.Careful on your variable setting on the fein, you can still do damage & scallop out more material or wood. (practice on something else till you understand the machine & how your handling will affect your work) Any tool in untrained hands can do more damage then good. I believe every boat should have a multimaster on it! Don't worry about trying to get every bit of caulking out using the FEIN, you can return later & use a razor knife etc. You also want know the approximate depth that you need to work at. Insert a razor blade or similar to check depth of caulking or cut a small section out by hand to verify how deep you need to go. Once depth is establised, measure up from the bottom of the blade & wrap some blue tape around the blade as your guide. In closing, I suggest you practice first, once confident, if possible try an area that is less noticable in case you have a problem. Have a work blanket down on deck & be prepared for the waste/ old caulking that tends to end up everywhere if not prepared. Be cautious of metal as well as this can obviously damage the blade. If damage occurs you can always sharpen it w/ a small file. (a leatherman surge file or similar works well for this task. This helps in cost management, because if you buy the blade somewhere other than Amazon, they tend to "gouge" you for them, sorry about the intentional pun. I've used this tool numerous times over the years. I/ we reefed three decks of caulking up against the house to prepare for a full paint job & saved the owner huge & learned something at the same time. Compared to having the yard carpenter do it at 75+ an hour. I strongly advise purchasing one for the deck. I was turned onto them in 1997 when I got to go to Feadship (my Disney land) & take delivery of a boat. They're awsome! Hope this helps! -N- P.S. I also like the FEIN because of the star design which allows you to set the blade at multi angles. I know this sounds like a pitch for fein, & I guess it is, but since their patent has expired, many more options have come on to the market of similar style & cheaper. Google Finehomebuilding multitool review & you should find a recent article comparing the tools. As w/ there rating, I suggest you get the Fein, it's the first one & the best. But you have to weigh how often it is going to be used to justify it against the possible savings & need as well. Some of the tools shown in that article offer adapters or are universal in using blades from other manufacturers so check that as well. If it was me, I'd obviously go for the original. All the best. -N-
Noel
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 7:57 AM
Joined: 15/07/2008
Posts: 5


I forgot to mention that Marc is 100% on using sika for replacement caulking. You could also check by possible looking for an end grain piece that is exposed/ or doesn't have a margin board at the end. Like possibly a gangway or passerelle.
junior
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 8:01 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Hennings tire re grover might be a handy tool on site. Never seen one in action. I would think its shortcoming would be that it does not give you a clean wood edge after removing the caulking. Another tool Ive seen in action that might be safer than a circular saw is a variable speed right angle drill. One year I was on a Swan and the decks went bubble gum. New boat so warranty job. Nautor flew a gang in and they removed the caulking with a variable speed right angle drill fitted with a custom made , 60mm diameter by whatever the seam thickness, circular saw blade . The circular saw blade had a machined 8mm thick by 50mm washer on each side of the blade to act as a 10mm depth gauge and off they went. Made fast work of it. Oh, and when using the batten and circular saw routine you tack the batten into a caulking seam, not the deck.
Henning
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 8:31 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


14Freedom wrote:
Hey All,

Good heads up Henning, but a foot a second? That's almost the speed of Oscar De La Hoya's punches... I didn't mention the job I did was 12 years ago.
Probably the "gummy caulk"was caused by a deckie spilling acetone. Evaporates quickly out of wood/metal so no one notices but eats any kind of plastic/vinyl/LP paint if left to it's own devices.
Old school, new world.
I need a tire re-groover for my retreads too!

ATB-
The Slacker


It's a literal "hot knife through butter". The leading edge is concave and at angle so it just strips it out in a curled roll pretty much as fast as you can push it.

Fonz
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 11:36 AM
Joined: 16/10/2008
Posts: 5


Hi Tarzan and others. The sticky, smudgy caulking is usually caused by either use of agressive teakbrighteners as a last desperate attempt to freshen up things or by using caulking compound that was out of date at the time of application.
About using teakcleaners and brighteners containing oxalic/sulphoric acid: Modern day caulking compounds, especially SIKA, are not or hardly resistant to these cleaners. Hard to explain in english, but these acids affect the "weekmaker"(Dutch word), a chemical substance that makes sure your caulking compound is nice and smudgy during application and stays flexible after curing. Modern (polymer based) caulking compounds differ slightly from the old fashioned products in the way that they don't contain harmful solvents and are more environmetal-friendly in general. This affects their chemical resistance to acids. Safe teakcleaners and brighteners are usually based on lemonacid, check SIKA's and Epifanes' teakcleaner.  A lot less harmful, though being not as effective as the oxalic/sulphoric acid- based cleaners.
About 10 years ago I usually encountered this problem of smudging caulking on decks where SIKA was used, now  I see it with other caulking compounds as well. Usually the problem self-cures, but only after a very long time (at least a year) and regular wash downs with just water and mild detergent. The 'weekmaker' slowly becomes inactive again and the caulking hardens.
Usually, cleaning up a teakdeck is not the most favorite job on board and often it is done just before the owner steps onboard, to ensure the deck is at its best when the big man arrives.

The other cause of using out-of-date caulking cartridges is more common than you would think. If this is the case, you would see also cauking coming loose from the adjacent planking. It's a bit irrelevant to you perhaps as it is hard to check now on what happened when they caulked that deck, but it might prepare you for things to come.
Sometimes cheap/bad quality products are used to caulk decks, for various reasons and these products are fore instance less resistant to UV. THough normally this would cause the caulking to dry out and crack, it could cause smudging too (especially in combination with some agressive cleaners).

The definate solution to the problem has been well formulated by others before me and I really hope that it is only the cockpit area that is affected and not the rest of the deck as well. Cockpit areas usually get cleaned more frequently as they get dirty quicker.
I remember doing a charter in Greece through a cheap charteragency one week, starting with handing out teatowels to all the guests to be able to sit on deck without leaving Zebra marks on your bermudas or bikini's, not a lot of fun.

Good luck, and read the label of the products you buy!!

Fonz




Fonz
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 11:40 AM
Joined: 16/10/2008
Posts: 5


By the way, like your de-caulking style, Henning. I used a similar method, shaping a cutter and fitting it to a low-power soldering iron.
 

yachtone
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 12:39 PM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 96


In the meantime applying talcum powder (regularly) and dusting away the excess will help.

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 4:43 PM
Most yachts have migrated to Teak Decking Systems TDS Caulk because of problems with other products. www.teakdecking.com Good instructions at: http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/document.do?docId=229&title=Applying+Teak+Decking+Systems+Caulk -My 2 cents: When final-cleaning the seam Use Isopropyl Alcohol (Medical Alcohol 90%) rather than Acetone or Denatured Alcohol which is most likely contaminated because they are all recycled these days (which is why West System gives you alcohol swabs in their mini repair kits for epoxy).
tarzan
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 1:48 PM
Joined: 28/10/2009
Posts: 3


This is all great info, thank you to everyone. 

Upon closer inspection, there are obviously two different caulks used on the floors.  When the decks are wet the caulk that is smudging is a darker shade of black with a matte finish- it is also slightly taller than the other surrounding caulk.  This has to be a botched repair job.  There are other areas with the "bad caulk" that are not yet smudging.  If I am going to get the tools and make the mess I should probably rip out and replace every bit of the bad stuff, right?

Thank you for the tip about putting powder down for now.  That is going to be a big help, especially in the galley.  My feet literally stick to the floor because of the caulk. 

Henning
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 2:54 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1052


Depending on how much is "bad caulk", you should probably just consider doing it all. Anything over 50%, I wouldn't bother just repairing. If it's only about 10%, then yeah.

 
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