may have occurred during fitting. The discussion that follows applies
to traditional curing sealants. If you’re bedding with butyl tape, see
Cleanup of curing sealants will be easier if you mask the deck around
the hardware as well as the top of the base. As a rule, it will be less messy
to apply a curing sealant to the deck rather than to the hardware. Employ
the sealant liberally; what you don’t use is likely to go bad in the tube or
cartridge anyway. Fill the chamfer of each hole with a circle of sealant,
and then cover the entire mating surface with sealant using the nozzle or
a tool to achieve a fairly uniform coating. Position the hardware on the
sealant bed with a slight twist to align the fastener holes. Put a ring of
sealant just below the head of each fastener as you insert them.
Below deck, wipe away any sealant the fasteners push through.
When bedding fails, you want it to announce itself with a leak below
rather than channeling water into the core, so never use sealant on
the underside of the deck. To tighten fasteners, you’ll need a helper
below to turn the nuts while you hold the bolts motionless. Tighten
in an alternating pattern until you get a uniform bead of squeeze-out
all around, then stop. Squeezing out all of the sealant defeats the pur-
pose. Even squeezing it into a thin line reduces its strain capacity. You
want the fasteners snug but not tight.
Don Casey is a longtime contributor to BoatU.S. and a member of our
Ask the Experts team, as well as the author of several articles on our
Boat TECH website. www.BoatUS.com/Boat TECH
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