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 Snap Fasteners Leaking?
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1st Mate

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Initially Posted - 10/08/2018 :  18:59:14  Show Profile  Visit HerdOfTurtles's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I would like to install a sunbrella cover over my companionway to help keep water out of the boat when there's a downpour but I'm not sure what's the best way to install the snaps. One guy basically writes them off as destroying your boat:

"Snap fasteners? You mean those little snaps that hold my enclosures and covers on could be causing me a problem? Yep, that's exactly what I mean. Every single snap that is installed into a cored structure is likely to be allowing water into the core. One recent example turned up a 31' Tiara in which the entire deck and cabin trunk core was filled with water, so much so that water was running out from under the snap fasteners, leaving nice trails of green slime. This happened because someone installed snap fasteners all over the cabin top to secure sunbathing cushions."

What do you ya'll think? Hogwash? Silicone? Life caulk? Butyl tape?

1978 Standard Rig
Fin Keel

Edited by - HerdOfTurtles on 10/08/2018 19:03:17

Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/08/2018 :  19:21:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good question. I have a dozen or more snap fasteners ringing the cabin top on Passage. I think they were intended for the pop top cover gizmo. Never used it.

One or two of these fell out so I ground out the holes and filled with MarineTex. I imagine if I pulled all of them out Id find a small amount of rotten wood in each one. They were probably installed correctly over 15-20 years ago, but nothing lasts forever.

If you want to add snaps, just drill out the holes with a 1 diameter, so theyre larger than the new screws. Then fill the holes with thickened epoxy. Once the epoxy cures, either install a threaded sleeve or drill a screw sized hole and screw in the snaps.

Eyeball the screw shank and make sure the drill is thinner than the threads but thicker than the shank.

You can use polysufide caulk to bed the snaps in the odd case that the drill punctures or cracks the plugs.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain Milford, CT
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Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/09/2018 :  03:49:47  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I also have snap fasteners that are adjacent to the companionway and cabin top. They were most likely put there for attaching a pop top cover. I have never had an issue with the snap fasteners - They do not penetrate into the cabin and about 2 years or so ago, I decided to strip my companionway boards of varnish/cetol that had accumulated for who knows how long and then treated the boards with teak oil. I now utilize a Sunbrella cover over the boards to extend the life of the teak oil. Inorder to do that, I installed snaps to a fitted piece of sunbrella matching up the snaps with the existing snap fasteners that surround my companionway. I cleaned up the existing snaps and the cover snaps on and off fine.

I have another cover, actually two covers connected to each other which will utilize the snaps on top of the cabin to protect my rails, etc once I stripped them of remaining varnish and treat with teak oil. However, the covers on top of the cabin are a bit of a chore to install and uninstall each time you go sailing. It is nice to get onboard and square away any prep efficiently to get on with the sailing. Installing covers has benefits but once you start covering everything, it becomes a bit of a nuisance added to the start up and wind down of each sailing day.

'89 Robin's Nest#5820, Potomac River/Wash DC
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Erik Cornelison

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Response Posted - 10/09/2018 :  15:01:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My boat has them on the cabin top, probably been installed since the late 80s.

Ill check them this fall to see if they are letting water in. Ill report here what I find in a few weeks after I pull the boat for the season.

No issues so far, but my boat came from New Mexico which doesnt see much rain.

Erik Cornelison
6th Generation Professional Sailor, First Gen Submarine Sailor.
1986 Standard Rig SW. #5234

Edited by - Erik Cornelison on 10/09/2018 15:04:15
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Response Posted - 10/11/2018 :  17:41:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My boat also has the fasteners that you are talking about. These are there for the pop-top canvas.
I have not noticed any issues with water damage.

Carlos Ortiz
"Colibri" 1986 Catalina 25
Std Rig #5150, Seabrook, TX
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