Off with the teak Decks Part 1 p Featured image

What to do with a Teak Deck Sailor…. (Sung like drunken sailor) – Teak Decks (Part 1)

From the day we bought this boat almost 2 years ago now, we have contemplated, thought, discussed, debated, researched, and waffled on what we would do about the teak decks.  The boat had leaks down below.  Period.  Some were obvious locations that we knew and could track down and even fix (corner of the butterfly hatch, around the mast boot, the dorade, a coach-house fixed port to name a few).  The problem wasn’t so much those, it was the ones we couldn’t track down, the ones that would have us spending hours over time with flashlights in the rain trying to see a wet trail of where it may have run to that dripping spot.
The seams between the teak boards needed to be removed and replaced at minimum.  But the question was still there.  What else is there.  Lets say we do that and that buys us a few years, how many of the screw holes holding the teak down are causing water to seep into the deck core and what invisible  problems could be happening.
This was the bigger of our fears.

After way to much angst and deliberation and research and estimates and calculation of time to make my own new teak strips and alternate faux teak products I finally just said F#%k it.  I needed to get past the analysis paralysis I found myself in and make a decision, something that wouldn’t let me waffle as easy in the future.

With that thought, and a mallet and a couple of crowbars, I have set into motion the direction for the teak decks !!!
Off they go - Deb and I removing teak
Off they go.  Period. End of story.  No more debate.  I love the way they look and hate the challenge they have caused me.  I am not even going to say the teak decks caused some large amount of work, I was paralyzed by the darn choices and options and love of the teak look and feel and hatred for the cost to replace and heat on my feet.

So last weekend we pulled up the teak decks on the Port side of the boat from the coach-house forward to the bow.

There are likely lots of ways to do this but the way we chose to do it was by using 2 pry bars.  We had a flat thin bar that was about 14″ long and another heavier duty one that was about 18″ long.  I chose to use a rubber mallet, mainly so my marina neighbors don’t completely hate me due to the banging of a hammer against metal.
What worked best for us to use the thin bar and insert it between the strips of teak.  I would hammer this in sideways across the boards so it was under about 5 of them or so.  Then I would use the heavier crow bar and hammer it in between the flat bar and where the teak was still adhered to the deck and lift up.  This would allow the screws that were holding the teak down to basically pull through the bottom of the teak (mine was worn pretty thin).  This way I could pull up the boards in sections of 3-6 boards wide and anywhere from 2 to 10 feet long lengths depending on where it broke.
Closeup of the teak being removed
This process worked well for us and when complete, we had to use a hammer and chisel/scraper to pick up small pieces of teak that may have broken and were stills tuck around some of the screw heads.

I then swept up the deck of all sawdust and removed all of the teak boards that we pulled up off the boat  I ended up storing the pieces that were longer than about 3 feet because I intend to use them as accent pieces on things that we will still end up building on the boat.  For example I will likely build new deck boxes and thinking that the teak may make a nice lid and it would help to keep that classic look even when I no longer have teak decks.

It was then time to remove the screws.  After a few hours of removing teak and cleaning up, I sat on the coach house room and counted the number of boards across that I had removed.  It was easy to count because 90% of the screws are all just sticking up out of the deck there.  I then counted the number of screws in a 10 foot section.  There are a lot of them because at some point, somebody had added additional screws to the deck so about 3-4 inches from every bronze flat head screw from the factory there was a stainless pan head phillips screw as well. (not done greatly at all because most were not even attempted to be countersunk).
I did some quick math and estimated 922 screws to remove in just this section.  That means that my estimate of about 3000-4000 screws on the deck is likely pretty close to accurate.

Deb smiling while she worksDeb was pulling out screws while I was ripping up teak.  We made decent progress, but I will be pulling up screws for a little while.

That turned into another debate, many people suggested just taking an angle grinder and putting a small divett where each screw was and the grinder would just cut the screw away.  That is likely ok since I intend to put a layer of fiberglass over the deck when I am done inspecting it, but I want the screws out.  I want to do it right and somehow leaving 3000 broken screw shanks in the deck and core, just doesn’t feel ship shape to me.  With that one sentence, I have condemned us to sitting on our knees with vice grips on each screw and removing it that way.  Most all of the screws have some kind of epoxy or something in the grooves that don’t allow a screwdriver to get a bite out of it and the vice grips actually work pretty well.

This work is going to take us a bit of time as we are doing it on weekends for the most part and some evenings when I am not traveling so this will likely be a blog post over some period of time.  I will try to add links to the bottom of the post for the next post related to the Teak Decks so that if someone later wants to come check out how we did this, they can do that pretty easily. (follow the blog post bread crumbs, so to speak)

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