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Current Replies for Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200?
  Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200? (windyday)
Posted: 8:55:29 pm on 5/4/2011 Modified: Never
We refitted the boat two years ago, but after potting all the handrail screw holes I did not get around to reinstalling the teak handrails until this spring. All the prep is done and I am ready to screw them back down; now I need to pick a sealant to keep water out of the screw holes. I like butyl tape for deck hardware, but I'm not certain whether to use it or a product like 4200 for this task. If I use butyl, I can't do my usual procedure because turning the screws will simply strip the butyl, so I would make rings around the screws instead. Thoughts? 4200 has worked well for me when there are slight imperfections between the hardware and the deck, as in this case. It's messy and I would have to mask off carefully, whereas butyl is much simpler to work with, and will allow me to remove the rails more cleanly and easily if I need to.

1974 Mark II C&C 27

  Re: Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200? (Brent)
Posted: 9:17:43 pm on 5/5/2011 Modified: Never
My $0.02

I had the same question 2 years ago when I re-bedded all my deck hardware. I used 1/8 butyl on all of it and had no issues other than the constant squish-out of butyl for the first year- choose 1/16 instead. For the handrails I went with 4200 because I was afraid with the expanding / contracting of the handrails due to humidity, the cyclic action may force the butyl out quicker than on a fitting and cause them to loosen gradually causing an amplified effect. So far I'm pleased with my choice to go with the 4200. This and my transducers are the only locations I have used it.
Just do the usual caulk procedure of applying it, very lightly screw down the hardware, let it set up for the day then tighten it down completely. Good luck.

Brent Driedger

S/V Wild Rover

C&C 27 MkV #15


  Re: Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200? (windyday)
Posted: 5:39:04 pm on 5/7/2011 Modified: Never
Thanks for that -- I have had all the same experiences here as you have. 1/16" butyl tape has worked very nicely on all the deck fittings. The only other place on deck I ended up using 4200 was the manal Whale bilge pump in the cockpit deck, which finally stopped the drips. I went with 4000 for the handrails for the UV protection and better discolouration resistance. Butyl settles so much in summer heat that I couldn't see ever getting decent clamping owing to the way the handrails attach to a Mark II deck/deckhead, and the 4000 might provide a little adhesive force to supplement the screws too.

1974 Mark II C&C 27

  Re: Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200? (davidww1)
Posted: 6:58:19 pm on 5/8/2011 Modified: Never
I put my handrails on 12 years ago with 3M 5200. I know everyone hates the stuff ("screw the next guy" caulk, one friend calls it), but it has remained tight since installation. When I need to get it off, I'll use a bit of acetone to soften it up (if it doesn't break it altogether) and slit the joint with fine piano wire.

David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV

  Re: Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200? (RKYCSailor)
Posted: 9:10:17 pm on 5/9/2011 Modified: Never
I did mine last year after a long battle with the old ones leaking the previous season.  I opted for plain old silicone after attempting 3M 5200.  The 5200 simply made a mess and made it impossible to get the holes on the under side of the rail lined up correctly.  I would use butyl tape if I did it again.  I just used some butyl tape to reseal my chain plate covers and simply pressed the cover in place and then screwed straight through the tape with no issues.

I have never had success with 5200 in my life and in my area of the world in the spring when we are doing this work it is often damp and cold and the stuff doesn't ever seem to set up.  I have since vowed that 3M 5200 or any of its counterparts, 4200 and the like, have no business on any boat of mine. If you can make a good mechanical fastening then I don't believe there is any worth in a fancy marine sealant like the 3M stuff.
  Re: Teak handrails: butyl tape or 4200? (windyday)
Posted: 6:37:26 pm on 5/12/2011 Modified: 6:38:48 pm on 5/12/2011
This task requires patience, time and planning. Three years of thinking about it and rehearsal paid off.

When I removed the rails, several of the original brass or bronze screws broke off in the wood. I consulted several woodworkers and in the end we decided I had to move the rails along a bit and drill new holes. Since I had potted the holes in the deck prior to painting, I also had to redrill the 32 holes in the deck. Hence my long procrastination.

The teak plywood wall in the head on the starboard side prevented me from getting access to the four screws for the forward two sections of the outside rail, so during the prep phase I cut down the top edge of that plywood wall to 3", to just above the shelf. The original cap lifted off easily and I was able to reattach it perfectly with finishing nails, then re-varnish. We'll put some netting up there to make it a useable storage shelf. Gives more natural light into the head anyway.

The 4000 went on very well. We put the rails on with 4 loose screws, and then masked off the deck and handrails with 2" masking tape. Then we removed the rails again, and started installing from the aft end, applying 4000 to two sections of the rails at a time and screwing those two sections snug. The rails bend enough that we could access the deck to apply 4000 for the next two until done. The 4000 nicely filled the crevices, I think better than butyl would have done. Nextg morning I used a razor knife to slice away the excess and removed the masking tape, which left a clean edge.

My major concern was lining up those 4" #14 screws to attach the inside rails, and sure enough one cracked the inboard side of the outside rail section. We also cracked a section with a small screw, and I found two divots created by screws from the original installation. I ground all those down with a Dremmel tool and filled them with epoxy. I add a second big screw to that section for strength.

Came out well. Now, let's see if there are any leaks...

1974 Mark II C&C 27