How to seal hull to deck joint????

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Feb 24, 2006
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Solomons Island, MD
Was out in some really rough water yesterday out of Solomons, MD. Waves were easily 3"-4" and I plowed a lot of water. Took a real beating. Noticed that lots of water was forced between the hull-to-deck joint under the rub rail. Have noticed some drips before, but never really figured out where it was coming from until yesterday. do I seal this joint, so that water doesn't run down the inside of the hull underneath the cushions in the V-Berth????
I had the same problem with my 2520. The first thing I did was seal the joint from the inside. This stopped some of the leakage but not all of it. Some of the water was coming in from the screws that hold the rub rail on and some of the bolts in the hull to deck joint so I took the rub rail off back to the cockpit and sealed over the heads of all the bolts that hold the joint together then I reinstalled the rub rail and sealed the threads on all of the rub rail screws. While I had the rub rail off I was able to inspect the factory caulking on the hull to deck joint and it looked to be intact. I did touch up one or two spots that looked imperfect. The next rough water trip I still had a couple of small leaks that I attributed to the bow rail stantions so I rebedded the bow rail. The boat seems to be water tight now.

How hard was it to remove the rub rail?

I know from many threads over on THT, that this joint is a common problem on most all boats. Because of the hull flexing under the pressure of the waves, these joints have a bit of give/movement which makes them hard to keep sealed.

Have been toying with the idea of getting a piece of oak 1/4 round or other moulding and epoxying it length of the hull in the berth, just below the joint, ending it back in the helm area. The natural angle would allow the moulding to catch the water (not allowing it to run down the side of the hull to the cushions) and directing it rearward into an area where I don't care if it gets wet. I could do that entire job in a couple of hours. Removing the rub rail, caulking, letting the caulk skim over, and re-installing the rub rail sounds like a two-day (all weekend) job.
The rub rail is really easy to remove and replace. If you do it just don't overtighten the screws when you put it back because it will distort the shape of the rub rail. I used a cordless screw gun and set the clutch down low. Your way may work also but it might be tough to hold that piece of wood in place long enough to set up. Good luck with the fix, which ever way you go.
For just a few screw problems, you can seal them from the inside.

I only had problems a few years ago with a couple on the starboard side in the cabin. The bolts don't usually leak, but the screws are less forgiving.

In this photo you can see I put a dab of LifeCaulk over the screws, and you can see a bolt and nut holding up OK.



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i doubt your leak is the hull-deck joint.....unless you have major
blunt trauma to the rub rail was SCREWED (into GLASS)
and these holes rounded out rapidly.........i had to pull my entire rail
and did three upgrades at once.

[1] i drilled out ALL holes, that is every 6 inches, and thru bolted
the (old) rail back on...dont pull too tight!......i bedded the rail this
time with 4200 fast cure.

[2] i replace the rubber insert with 5/8" braided line (i chose black)

[3] i beaded the TOP AND BOTTOM of the newly reattached rubrail
with 4200 as well......

this made the boat bone dry (in conjunction with replacing the front
I'll keep that in mind.

I'm going out today, and NOAA is predicting W winds at 15 by late afternoon, and 2-3 ft. seas. Will have some drive the boat into head seas with the tabs down and the motors trimmed in to see if I can force some water into the cabin. Will try to see where it is coming from.

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