Teak Decks & Grinding the caulking down - SailNet Community

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Old 10-29-2008
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Teak Decks & Grinding the caulking down

I have teak decks with were done 20 years ago with the black caulking. Now that the teak has weathered the black caulking if about 1/16 to 1/8 inch higher than the decks. I was told I could use an 8" grinder with a soft pad and 80 and 120 grit sandpaper to cut this down. I would think this would scratch the teak and leave swirl marks, but the guy who told me said it wont. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 10-29-2008
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My teak deck is less than 5 years old and the caulking is already a bit higher. I was told a belt sander works, if and when you want to get at the teak.
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This isn't exactly the same thing, but I think the principle still applies.

Years ago I re-caulked the hull of a wooden boat and worked hard to get the polysuphide that I topped the joints with dead flush. When the planks expanded, the caulk sat higher than the planks, just as you describe with your deck. I shaved off that high spot using a very sharp chisel; just carefully pushed it along trimming the caulk flush with the planks. Sometimes it would dig in when I wasn't careful enough, but those instances were easily sanded out.

HOWEVER...... If I'm not mistaken, the caulk joint on decking doesn't go the full thickness of the plank. If the deck is worn down and you remove the caulk, you might expose the joint.
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I would second using a sharp chisel... since the sander is probably going to damage the teak.
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You might try a razor blade scraper; it would be a long, difficult task but it could be done.

Caulked teak decks usually have a piece of cotton string beneath the caulk (if done properly) so you can pull the string and lift the caulking out. This is done so that re-caulking is easily done to protect the underlying deck from leaks. At 20 years old without re-caulking it probably is either time to re-caulk or replace the teak decking depending on how much deck material is left.
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