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Taco Flexible Vinyl Rub Rail installation

Replacing the rub rail is a quick way to improve the looks and value of your boat. It also adds vital protection to the critical deck to hull joint. Installation is fairly easy, a simple 2 man job that can be performed in an afternoon with common basic tools.

SeaCraft Rub Rail Bow

  1. Start off by determining what length rub rail you will need. To determine the length simply double the length of the boat then add the beam.
  2. Now remove the old rub rail.
  3. This SeaCraft had a rigid aluminum rub rail fastened by self tapping screws. Some styles of rub rails use pop rivets for fasteners. If your rub rail has pop rivets, only drill the head out to remove. Make sure your drill bit is not larger than the shaft of your rivet.
  4. Now remove the excess silicone sealant with a putty knife and sand the fastener holes flat. Wipe clean with acetone and fill the holes with West system Six10 Thickened Epoxy Adhesive. Use a spreader to wipe off any excess epoxy.
  5. Once the epoxy has cured you are ready to install the new rub rail. Start by soaking it in warm water for about 20 minutes. You want the water to be about 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or about the temperature of a warm bath. If you are unable to soak the rub rail, it can be stretched out on a driveway during a hot sunny day.
  6. Now it's time to install the rub rail. Find the middle and mark with tape or a pencil. Hold in place and drill your first pilot hole and install one of the supplied truss head screws. Install 3 screws about an inch to an inch and a half part from each other.
  7. Have a second person pull tightly on the end of the rub rail and install 3 screws the same way as on the bow. You want to do same process of 3 screws in the bow and 3 screws in the quarter. It's very important that you stretch out the rub rail as much as possible, which can only be done when it is warm. Take the time to ensure the screws and rub rail are aligned before drilling, but you want to keep moving so the rub rail doesn't have time to cool.
SeaCraft Rub Rail Drilling
  1. The spacing of the fasteners should be every 3 to 6 inches. The smaller the rub rail the easier to stretch so you can space the screws out every 6 inches. Larger rub rails require closer spacing. If the screws are spaced too far apart the rub rail will a wavy appearance.
SeaCraft Rub Rail Fastening
  1. Use 3M 4200 as a sealant for the screws and also as bedding that will provide a little extra cushioning. Apply a bead of sealant in 3 or 4 foot sections and install one screw at a time. When you only install one screw at a time it is much easier to make sure you have proper alignment and positioning.
  2. If the rub rail has cooled off it may be difficult to conform to the radius of the stern quarters. Use a heat gun on it s lowest setting and keep it moving continuously to warm the section of rub rail. It's very important to only warm the rub rail and not over heat it or discoloring or damage may occur.
  3. Once your rub rail is completely fastened, use a pair a garden pruning shears to cut off the excess. Make sure you cut parallel to the shape of the transom.
  4. Soak the insert in warm water for 10 minutes to soften it and make it more flexible. You can also use soapy water for added lubrication.
SeaCraft Rub Rail with Insert Installed
  1. Trim the excess insert with garden shears.
  2. Put end caps in place, mark holes and drill the pilot holes. Use a counter sink to prevent the gelcoat from chipping or cracking. Use care to only remove the top layer of gelcoat and not open up the pilot hole. Fill the holes with 3M 4200 and fasten the end cap.
SeaCraft Rub Rail End Caps
  1. Make sure your adhesive has cured before getting underway.
SeaCraft Rub Rail Perspective

Before launching the improved boat back in the water, take a moment and appreciate the clean lines and look of the completed new rub rail installation. Should the vinyl rub rail collect marring marks from pilings, docks and fenders, try removing marks with simple soapy water and a scotchbrite pad.

-TJ Harris

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