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ContinuousWave: Whaler Repairs/Mods
Solvent for Silicone Sealant
|Author||Topic: Solvent for Silicone Sealant|
posted 10-13-2003 01:39 PM ET (US)
The previous owner of my 1987 REVENGE 20 added two large stainless steel mounting plates to the rear of the cockpit to which he fastened a home made rear seat. The seat was removed long ago, and now I am in the process of removing the mounting plates.
The plates were sealed to the cockpit deck with some material which appears to be clear caulk, perhaps silicone based. It does have a rubber quality to it. I have removed most of it by pulling, scraping, etc., but now there is still quite a residue which is embedded into the non-skid pattern of the deck.
So far the best tool for removing it has been the finger nail on my thumb, if I remember not to trim my nails for a couple of weeks.
Accounts of first hand experience in the rapid removal of this type of residue would be much appreciated.
Is there a good solvent to loosen the caulk without doing more harm than good to the gelcoat?
posted 10-13-2003 02:12 PM ET (US)
I've tried several solvents, none seem to work great on dried silicone, but I've had some luck using acetone to clean up the leftover residue from scraping. It took some vigorous rubbing with an old towel and acetone but eventually it all cleaned up.
posted 10-13-2003 08:28 PM ET (US)
The auto parts store should have a rubber eraser type wheel that you mount in a drill, it is used for removing vinyl decals and such. It should work great on silicone, without subjecting yourself to unwarranted chemicals.
posted 10-13-2003 08:55 PM ET (US)
I've used it with no ill effects. Eats right throught the stuff. I just scrubbed it off with a stiff brush and water.
posted 10-13-2003 08:56 PM ET (US)
I'll try again...
posted 10-13-2003 09:01 PM ET (US)
I am refering to the Goof Off. I have not tried the Goo Remover.
Really stinks..... use in a well ventilated place.
posted 10-13-2003 09:49 PM ET (US)
I've had some luck with Boatlife Release Adhesive and Sealant Remover. It is "formulated to remove cured or uncured silicone, polyurethane, and adhesives. Great for clean-up on hands, tools and equipment. Will not harm metals, fiberglass gel coat, glass, or plexiglass. Safe on most carpets, vinyl, plastics and painted surfaces."
posted 10-14-2003 08:51 AM ET (US)
I also have used Release with fair results. The key is to mix it with patience and allow it to work. A toothbrush should bite into the nonslip pattern well enough without marring the gelcoat. But the loosened caulk will fly when you start scrubbing so keep a rag handy to prevent the stuff from scattering.
posted 05-17-2004 07:29 PM ET (US)
I am still working on removing this old sealant. Any new suggestions?
|Tom W Clark||
posted 05-17-2004 08:12 PM ET (US)
In my experience as a contractor, home owner and boater for most of my life and having dealt with silicone sealant from many different manufacturers in many different applications I have yet to come across *ANYTHING* that will cut high quality fully cured silicone. Period.
I believe the only way you will remove that silicone is mechanically.
After sanding the affected area down with a hard block and perhaps 220 sandpaper to the tops of the "tits" of the non-skid I would use the same tool I use for patching the non-skid in Whalers, the edge of a furniture scraper.
Procure a scraper like this one:
Sharpen it and run it on edge down each and every "valley" in the non-skid until all the silicone is scraped/gouged away.
Random notes on silicone caulk:
When I bought my Outrage 18 in 1989 there was a teak enclosure mounted to the face of the console that partially housed the previous owner's VHF radio. This teak enclosure was sealed to the fiberglass console along the 3/4" wide edge of the teak.
After I removed all the screws that secured it, this small enclosure would still not budge. I ended up putting all of my 170 pounds of weight on it and it finally tore loose taking some gel coat with it! This was even more remarkable because the force I was applying was in shear, not simply an up-lift which would have a greater tendency to pull the finish off.
Uncured silicone can be cleaned up with any penetrating oil. I often use WD-40 for this purpose when tooling a caulked joint. After applying a bead of silicone, I over spray the bead and the surrounding area before running my finger down the joint. The oil will impair the adhesion of the silicone as it is smeared over the surrounding area and it will clean up with paper towel.
Water or window cleaner can be used to do the same thing, but you must work quickly. Good shower door installers use the window cleaner method and they generally are very good and neat at applying silicone caulk.
posted 05-18-2004 12:57 AM ET (US)
Tom--Thanks for the advice. I have found that the human finger nail is about the perfect hardness for scraping. It is hard enough to get the silicone out, but not hard enough to scratch the gelcoat. However the tool wear is excessive. :-)
I would be afraid to take a metal scrapper to the gel coat. I have a plastic pick tool which I use when installing telephone wiring on dense punch blocks that might work well. I'll give that a try next weekend.
posted 05-28-2004 11:52 PM ET (US)
I just had my motor raised with help at a local marine repair shop. They removed the old silicone caulk with spray carburetor cleaner which the buy from Wal-Mart at under $1.00 per can. It was pretty effective and didn't damage the gel coat in any way. They told me they use it all the time for clean up on boats and never had a problem.
posted 05-29-2004 07:50 AM ET (US)
Since the subject of silicone solvent has been brought up I'll relay a true story of about two weeks ago. A friend of mine went into a local marine surplus store and asked the rather well endowed clerk if they knew of any solvent for silicone. Her answer was, "have you tried saliva?". Beam me up! Happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
posted 05-29-2004 09:34 AM ET (US)
Dave--thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try.
Clark--Very funny story!
posted 05-29-2004 11:38 AM ET (US)
Check out this page on cured sealant removal from the GE Sealants & Adhesives site. http://www.gesealants.com/sealants/diy/library/usingsealants/cured.shtml
Permatex makes a silicone stripper. http://www.permatex.com/products/prodidx.asp?automotive=yes&f_call=get_item&item_no=80647
Dicone NC9 sounds interesting. http://www.prosoco.com/Product.asp?ID=43
posted 06-08-2004 10:58 PM ET (US)
Gasoline will eat silicone and seperate it from the deck. Then you can just wash it away with soap and water.
posted 05-20-2008 09:01 AM ET (US)
Which method is the least damgaing to the gelcoat? Does acetone damaged the gelcoat?
posted 05-01-2009 07:13 PM ET (US)
I had recently installed window panes using silicone sealant with some getting on the pane nothing seemed to work in getting the residue off in desperation I finally tried the clear packing tape that I had it lifted the film residue and globs right off leaving the panes easy to clean. Maybe this will work on other surfaces.
posted 05-01-2009 07:28 PM ET (US)
This stuff looks interesting.
posted 05-01-2009 09:54 PM ET (US)
Try "3M 2153 REMOVER CAULK LIQUID - 8Oz." about $5
posted 05-02-2009 07:53 AM ET (US)
well jimh,,its been 6 years now and your thumbs are now either gone and you need help opening things or the removal is complete ,,what did you use ?
posted 05-02-2009 08:28 AM ET (US)
The plastic telephone installation tool was effective. Its hardness was greater than my fingernail and less than gel coat resin. I do not recall if a complete removal was obtained. I sold the boat!
posted 05-02-2009 10:08 AM ET (US)
Hey Clark - uh, what was the name of that marine surplus store? GPS coordinates? We need to get to know her, I mean the store! Sounds like excellent customer service.
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