Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-19-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk?

Two nights ago I went to the boat and sealed the edges of the speakers with a very thin bead of 3M silicone caulk. Last night we got a deluge of rain and 45 mph gusts. Today I went to the boat to check on things, and the boat was 100% dry. The fix worked!

I've been bugged by this for 3 years without a permanaent fix. I had always resorted to taping plastic over the speaker. I knew there were cracks around that one grill, but always thought that the speakers underneath were independently sealed, so never thought of sealing the cracks. It was not until I noticed that they were Polyplanar speakers, looked at the Polyplanar website, that I realized that the grills were integrated with the speakers, and therefore there had to be a watertight seal around the edge of the grills.

So 3 years of frustration are finally ended.


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post #12 of 16 Old 09-19-2012
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Re: Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk?

There is a product call Debond that has been use for remove or dissolve 3m5200 so that you can remove your speaker and reseal properly again. I hope this help you with your project.
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-20-2012
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Re: Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk?

This is one of few places on a boat that I think that silicone is completely appropriate.


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post #14 of 16 Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk?

I just rebedded the speakers on my boat. If they are built the same way as my speakers, the covers can be removed with some effort. The mounting screws had to be removed first, then carefully pry the covers off. There are tiny screws coming from the back to attach the covers. Once the covers are off, you can carefully push razor blades between the boat and the speaker. If it's done with 5200, you'll have to go very slow, but it can be done.

I considered Butyl to reseal with, but since the speaker body is plastic I didn't know if the butyl would be properly compressed between screws. So I went to Ace Hardware and bought a $3 tube of white Butyl caulk. So far so good.

Caulk, Butyl Rubber Sealant, "Ace"


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post #15 of 16 Old 09-23-2012
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Re: Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk?

I've been waiting for somebody to start posting detailed specifications on 5200 vs butyl vs 3M silicone and wax poetic on film strength and tensile strength and the half-lives of various sealants that might be used to seal a gap between a plastic speaker and a fiberglass bulkhead. Then of course it would devolve into a bitter pissing match between two guys who would probably end up friends in real life. I'm a little disappointed.


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post #16 of 16 Old 09-23-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Sealing around speaker: Butyl tape or caulk?

Just a quick follow-up on my initial success story.

Yesterday evening we had another deluge of rain. I went down to check on the boat today, and it is absolutely dry everywhere, including the head and bilge. (Since I have an outboard, there is no packing gland to leak into the bilge.)

Previously, in addition to some water in the stern battery locker, I would get a few ounces of water in the head and in the bilge whenever there was a very heavy rain. I was always looking for separate leaks into those areas. Those areas are also completely dry now.

In retrospect, during some rain storms I had checked back in the battery locker and would always notice water drops on the various hoses back theere. Since the discharge ports for the holding tank and bilge pump are right below the speaker, any leaks in through the speaker would drop water onto those hoses. I had assumed that the water just dropped directly down off the hoses back there. But now it appears that due to surface tension, the water probably was guided along the outside of those hoses all the way from near the transom to the head and bilge pump amidships.

Moral of the story: Lots of things are interconnected, and solving the root cause can often eliminate multiple problems at the same time.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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