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leecarlson 05-08-2008 11:57 AM

epoxy resin vs. polyester resin for hole repair
I'm getting ready to rip up old teak decks, fair and put down non-skid (still not sure what kind, but that's another story). I was just assuming I'd fill all the old screw holes with West System epoxy and sand smooth as part of the prep work, but an old salt/professional boatrepair guy who we had give us a quote on replacing the teak decks (way too expensive) said he uses polyester resin to fill holes because it's much easier and faster and cheaper and the holes are small enough that they're not structural and they're going to be painted over anyway so mositure resistance is not an issue.

Is he right or is that a cheap way to go that will give problems down the road?


sailingdog 05-08-2008 12:09 PM

I'd use epoxy myself.

Freesail99 05-08-2008 12:13 PM

I agree about the epoxy, you shouldn't need more then a quart.

artbyjody 05-08-2008 12:18 PM

Use Epoxy unless you are absolutely positive that your decks are made from poly / vinyl. Epoxy is the only one that can bind to any of the the construction / lay-up methods used.

Be wary tho - mix only small batches - and have your areas prepped and ready to go before you start mixing and patching....I use regular painters tape around areas or parchment(wax paper) paper to isolate areas..(such as holes underneath)...

feetup 05-08-2008 12:19 PM

Polyester falls way short of epoxy in both adhesive qualities and in elasticity. I would venture to say that the only place where polyester exceeds epoxy is in cost , and by a small margin, ease of use, but the second is subject to argument.
Also, if the bond fails, paint, even non-skid is not going to keep it water tight for very long.
I agree with the dog, epoxy.


"Two things are infinite, the universe, and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the Universe" Albert Einstein

chucklesR 05-08-2008 12:27 PM

Saving penny's on the deck is sure to cost dollars later.
I'd not only fill with epoxy (bulked with filler), I'd coat the whole deck area with a overcoat if you are going to paint and redo the non-skid. Even a gallon of epoxy is cheap compared to fixing it again.

jrd22 05-08-2008 12:33 PM

We just did the same job and our paint/fiberglass guy said the same thing as yours. We potted all the holes with epoxy being careful not to get it on the deck and then he fixed any fiberglass problems (from removing the teak) and faired the decks with polyester fairing compound and will be spraying the gelcoat over that. He's been doing this for over 30 years and we have had him do a lot of work on several boats so we have a lot of confidence in him. By the way, I don't know what he quoted you to remove the teak, but it may seem like a bargain after you do it. It took the two of us 6 days to remove ours on a 40' boat, and the teak was only on the lower deck, none on the cabintops. I think it would have gone faster if we had used an air chisel, but there might have been more tearing of the glass. It definitely would have been easier if it had been warmer- unheated building and 35 degrees F. Hope I never have to do it again, my back and knees hurt just thinking about it.


artbyjody 05-08-2008 12:40 PM

jrd: I really wished you had not posted that destruction picture ... :D sigh... That is what I get to look forward to doing this fall....

jrd22 05-08-2008 12:49 PM

Sorry Jody, I was lying. It's really a fun job and promotes marital harmony!


max-on 05-08-2008 01:24 PM

That job looks like it was a bear, I think it would take a long time on my boat, and it is small by comparison:

Jody, what did you think of the cork product?

Stillraining 05-08-2008 09:40 PM

OK Educate me...

Whats with ripping up all these teak decks...Are the attachment screws causing leaks? why cant you sand or plane them down and have a thinner but functional deck if there deteriating a bit...Are they rotting from the underside?

artbyjody 05-08-2008 09:51 PM


Originally Posted by Stillraining (Post 311590)
OK Educate me...

Whats with ripping up all these teak decks...Are the attachment screws causing leaks? why cant you sand or plane them down and have a thinner but functional deck if there deteriating a bit...Are they rotting from the underside?

Attachment screws and rivets. Due to the expansion properties of teak versus fiberglass, in a lot of cases there is moisture intrusion or actual deck rot. I have several spots topside that have to have the core excavated and properly patched. Unfortunately - that is the penalty of having teak decking...and one of the reasons composite like teak is desirable as its a glue down style of decking....

Max - I checked out the site but not many dealers stateside. I am most likely going to go with PlasTek (think thats right) as one just needs to send in templates and they cut to match according to style desired. I probably will omit the cabin top though as there is just to much to work around and I kinda like that look you have on yours...

leecarlson 05-08-2008 10:08 PM

Thanks to all for responding; it sounds like epoxy to really fill the actual holes to ensure not water penetration of the deck into the core, and polyester is ok for fairing. I was pretty sure about the epoxy to fill the holes; it just seems right (I remember using polyester when I was younger and did some fairing work on cars and I don't remember it being very structural), but I hadn't thought about a mix and match approach, using both epoxy and polyester -- thanks John. And thank goodness we're not doing this in the dead of winter in an unheated shed....

As far as why do this? Our teak is so old and rotten it is coming up on its own; we already replaced the kingplank and a few other rotten boards two years ago as a temporary stopgap. Hopefully the decks will come up easier than John's. Our guy recommended we set a circular saw at a depth just deep enough to cut through the teak but not touch the glass underneath, then cross cut the deck every foot or so, and then go to town with a flat crowbar. We'll see how that works.

The other reason to do it is the deck was sanded down so many times by previous owners that the screw heads are starting to show through, the caulking is coming out of the seams, and the leaks--don't even get me started. Fortunately the deck doesn't feel spongy at all in any spots, so if we get to it now we won't have more drastic problems with replacing rotten sections of the deck.

BTW, this was a charter boat, and the crew obviously was overzealous in scrubbing the decks with hard bristle brushes, which caused the decks to get grainy, which necessitated the sanding down, which ruined the decks. So boat owners don't let your crew scrub teak decks with anything other than soft, soft brushes!

Stillraining 05-08-2008 10:54 PM

Learning every day...Thanks guys

sevennations 05-09-2008 02:49 PM

I'm actually in the process now of doing this. Except being the glutton for punishment that I am, I'm replacing the teak decking. I trust my carpentry skills more than more fiberglassing skills. So I hate to think what the decks would look like after I re'glass them.
The core in my deck is completely soaked. Fortunately, the decking is coming up on its own, mostly. I'm taking pictures during the whole ordeal(adventure) so when I'm done I'll post pics.

Jeff_H 05-09-2008 03:37 PM

A couple quick throughts, polyester filler does not adhere to epoxy over time. I have had problems with that in the past. I would use epoxy through out if you want a permanent job of it. Gelcoat does not adhere well to epoxy which may be why your repair guy suggested polyester. The subdeck whether cored or not is often far worse than you can imagine so budget for major structural repairs. I spoke to a fellow doing a repair on a 1960/70's era English boat with uncored decks and the surface under the teak was so bad that he ended up having to fair it and lay down a layer of cloth and epoxy. I advocate that anyway giving you a continuous smooth and fair uninterupted structural layer to put your finish on. I would also suggest that you talk to the folks at MAS epoxy. they had a cheap method to achieve a factory like non-skid.

As to Still raining's question about teak deck failures, depending on how the teak is laid, at least in this climate, teak decks typically have a lifespan of 20-25 years with 30-35 years as an outside limit. The subsurface is rarely all that well finished since its not visible making a new non-skid finish a bit of work, but far less expensive and end up with a much more servicable lower maintenance deck.


sailingdog 05-09-2008 03:43 PM

Actually, gelcoat sticks to epoxy relatively well. The myth that gelcoat can't be used over epoxy is a relatively old one. West Systems has a paper on the issue on their website.

sailingfool 05-09-2008 03:46 PM

54 Attachment(s)
A big plus of the west system stuff is their pump system greatly simplifies accurately mixing small or large batches of epoxy - I'd use West just for the pumps. For your use, mix the epoxy with collodial silica, into a paste, use a large syringe to load your holes without making too much of a cleanup mess.

mentalfee 05-09-2008 05:09 PM

I started a project like this one time...

Thought I would pull the teak deck and refinish the underlaying FRP. Spent a good deal of time pulling the teak trying to be nice to the understructure. Oversized and filled the holes. It took a lot of time and a lot of tough labor. There were areas where the core was in great shape and there were areas where it was questionable. The farther in the project I got the more I realized I was being set up for a full core replacement. The main areas of core rot were traced to poorly bedded deck fittings and not so much the teak deck srews.

I also garuntee you will use more than 1 qt of epoxy. You will fill the holes and it will either soak into the voids or rotten areas of bad core.

I would do a couple things here. Take a 4" hole saw and cut some core samples. Do this throught the teak and first layer of FRP and also the core. Do it around the T-Track and any other areas which have a high potential for leakage. Also try to do it on a downhill area as well. Take a good look at your core, a 3/8" hole and sawdust will not tell you much, if there is moisture in the dust you have problems, if the dust is dry but dark color you have problems.

The link below shows what I went through. Hindsight being 20/20 I would drill holes to inspect the core. Then I would make the decison to either cut the deck and core out all at one time and do it up right. Or, I would pull the hardware and just coat the teak deck with a thick layer of Duraback or other truck bedliner put the hardware back on and go sailing. A guy in my marina did this and it looks surprisingly OK. Not to mention he saved thousands $$$.

Picasa Web Albums - Larry - Sedna Deck Co...

leecarlson 05-10-2008 07:35 AM

Those pics of your project are amazing: quite the job removing all the deck coring and replacing. I'm hoping we don't have to go that route. Everyone say a prayer for our decks....

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