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Old 02-08-2007
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Installing Teak Toerail

We are installing a Teak toerail on our boat this weekend and wonder about the best way we have screws about every 8" do I need to put down a bed of sealant along the whole length of the toe rail or just fill the screw holes? And what should I use 3m 101, 3m 5200, or boat life? Thanks
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First, if you have a cored deck and are drilling into the cored area... I would highly recommend that you pot each hole—drill it a bit oversized—usually 1/4" larger than the fastener requires, and then fill it with thickened epoxy and then re-drill for the fastener after the epoxy has set. This will help protect the core from water intrusion and may prevent a costly repair down the line. You should also be thru-bolting the toerail if at all possible. This way the load is spread out over more than just the threads of the screws... Fiberglass is a very poor medium for screws to hold in...it is too inelastic and brittle for them to hold well under any serious stress.

Second, you should be using the sealant under the whole toerail, rather than just the fasteners. You should also countersink the fastener holes slightly, to let the sealant form an o-ring around the screw or bolt. I wouldn't use 5200, since it is rather permanent, and if you have to make repairs to the toerail or surrounding area, it will make doing so much harder.

Since teak is a rather oily wood, I would go with a polysulfide sealant. 3M 101, BoatLIFE LifeCaulk, and BoatLIFE LifeCaulk Liquid are all good choices, with my preference being the 3M 101.

Hope this helps.
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No there is no core in this area, the boat came out of the factory with a molded in toerail about 2" tall that is solid glass. I was going to use the countersink method for the holes as well. I know thru bolting is best but, not possible in this case. One advantage is the toerail does not have anything mounted to it, its just for looks. For the sealant do I need to just run a bed along the joint or do I need to tape each side off and bed it like hardware. Thanks.
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The oil in teak frustrates many sealants, hopefully someone with specific expertise can advise.

Hopefully you have planned your water drain holes carefully, if you end with any low spots along the rail where water pools, you will be redoing the toerail finish on a regular basis...a friend owns a Southwester 42 and one year the yard didn't block the boat level and water collected inside the toerail, raised the finish, and and led to a battle about who would pay to strip/varnish the toerails. The yard eventually stepped up to the task.
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If the toerail is only cosmetic...then screwing into the fiberglass toerail is probably going to work fairly well. I would still bed it like hardware and countersink the holes. Last thing you want is a row of drips all along the side of the boat.

Sailingfool- Polysulfide-based sealants are probably the best choice for using with teak. The teak should probably still be wiped down with some sort of solvent prior to applying or bedding it in the polysulfide sealant, to reduce/minimize the surface oil at the time of installation.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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What if we varnish the bottom side before putting it on?
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Clean it with acetone and bed it in 5200. The screws are then cosmetic as it will take dynamite to remove it.
pigslo
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Don't varnish it.. if you varnish it...the bond will be between the varnish layer and the sealant, rather than the teak and the sealant... and as soon as the varnish separates from the teak, you'll have leaks... and it will weaken the sealant's portion of the mechanical bond.
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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I'm with da pig on this one.

Hey pig...what is with the new avatar? You trying to lose weight on that bike?
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It's to make up for all the drinking his previous avatar did...
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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