By Don Casey

beddingThink "gasket" when you bed hardware. The mistake most of us make is squeezing the sealant out of the joint by over tightening. While the sealant is wet, snug fasteners just enough to form a continuous bead of sealant around the perimeter of the fitting. Crank down on them only after the sealant has cured for 24 hours (one hour for silicone). Turn the nuts only so you don't break the seal on the bolts. Tightening fasteners after the sealant cures puts it under compression, greatly extending the life of the seal.

Don Casey has been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30 years, and is one of the BoatUS Magazine's panel of experts. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.


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