Hull-Deck Joint Repair

An 8 foot section of the hull-deck joint had failed underneath the rub rail.

The 1999 Key West 1900 Sportsman center console boat that we’ve been hired to re-power needs some other TLC.  If you’ve been following along, you know we checked the hull for water penetration and de-watered it in a previous post.

Hull-deck joint separation
This view from underneath shows how the joint has separated. I used shims to hold the joint apart so I could inject adhesive into it.

In my evaluation, I noticed that the hull-deck joint had separated for about 8 feet on the port side.  This is a key structural element of any boat, and an issue that needs to be fixed.  Key West uses a “shoe box” type of joint where the deck piece has a 1-1/2 inch flange that fits down over the top edge of the hull topsides.  The joint is hidden by the rub rail, and is screwed and glued with 3M 5200, a very tenacious adhesive.  Just imagine how much stronger a shoe box is if you glue the lid on.  If you try to push in the side of the box, under the flange, it caves in pretty easily until you glue it to the top.  Then it becomes a rigid, monocoque structure.

The first thing was to unscrew it and clean out the old adhesive.  This wasn’t too difficult using a scraper and heat gun.  Then I had to re-glue and screw.

Re-glued hull deck joint
I taped off the joint before gluing to make clean up of the excess easy.

Once I scraped off the squeeze out and removed the tape, we had a much stronger boat.  That was the easy part. Next time, we’ll talk about the gel coat repair required because of the extensive cracking along the top of the flange.  No–you can’t just slap the rub rail back on.  It won’t cover that cracking.  So tune in next time!

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