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Old 31-08-2018, 02:08   #1
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Teak deck maintenance costs

Hi there! This is my first time starting a thread, although I've been reading the forum for a while with great interest. I am new to sailing, still rather a wannabe sailor. We are looking to buy our first boat this winter/spring of 2019. We came across a boat which seems a real deal and fits most of our criteria, but has a teak deck, which makes me nervous.
I did some research on teak deck maintenance - most seem to recommend gentle care, avoid scrubbing, etc. but I still would like first hand info form some teak deck owners - what exactly do you do for maintenance and how much does it cost, say over the course of one year? I also searched for some old posts in the forum and most seemed to be about replacing the teak with fiberglass - is it that bad?
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Old 31-08-2018, 05:15   #2
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

If the teak deck is already in good condition with no leaks and good caulking, then there’s very little if any maintenance required. Leaks, protruding screws, caulking issues; if any of these are present, then you have lots of work to do in your future. Look for a boat with vacuum glued down decks.
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Old 31-08-2018, 05:25   #3
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Maintenance of teak decks is virtually free since you only need to wash them with salt water and a soft brush. Using any sort of cleaner is damaging to teak since it takes away the softer parts of the grain leaving the ridges. If you want to have a smooth surface you sand a little and your teak is now a bit thinner than before. It is important to realize that two very different methods have been used to install teak decks. Older boats have teak boards screwed down. This results in a few hundred holes into the fibreglass deck and its core (balsa or plywood) which rots taking away considerable strength. Fixing this is a huge, messy job. If you want to replace the teak it can be $25k or more. Even going to a f/g deck will be a great deal of work since you still need to replace the core before rehabbing the f/g surface. Newer boats with teak decks generally have the wood glued down rather than screwed. This protects the f/g deck and core. Some boats even have a synthetic 'teak' that looks very much like the real thing and stands up better to cleaning and does not stain as easily as wood.

If I was looking at boats i would stay away from teak decks entirely unless it was one of the new ones. Even then I probably would not want one since they are very hot underfoot, especially in warm places, if you like to go barefoot as I do.
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Old 31-08-2018, 05:48   #4
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
since they are very hot underfoot, especially in warm places, if you like to go barefoot as I do.
That's something I hadn't considered at all, thank you...

This is an older boat we are looking at so I suppose it is the old method. Is teak supposed to be covered with any protective oil? That's what I used to think but now I am finding different info...
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Old 31-08-2018, 06:10   #5
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manana5 View Post
That's something I hadn't considered at all, thank you...



This is an older boat we are looking at so I suppose it is the old method. Is teak supposed to be covered with any protective oil? That's what I used to think but now I am finding different info...


NO! Oiling a teak deck will not only make it potentially treacherous, but oil attracts dirt, darkens, and sets you up for more maintenance than leaving it natural.

Wash it gently with salt water every now and then and let it be.

As mentioned, they are hot underfoot. Not just warm, but burn the soles of your feet hot at the height of summer or in the tropics. And that heat load transfers into the boat.

I would only consider a teak decked boat if 1) the deck was well maintained with little wear and many years of life left in it and 2) I was prepared for the job of stripping it off at some point and repairing and finishing the underlying laminate.
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Old 31-08-2018, 06:36   #6
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Maintenance cost for teak is zero. Until you need to replace it, then it is MUCH. Concur to what has been said before. No cleaner, teak oil. Let it age natural to a beautiful silver colour. IF preciously oiled, this will take a few years. Also, silver decks are less warm than oiled ones. But, yes, barefoot in hot climates means you will dance We normally kept this in check by watering the deck at regular intervals while in the tropics. Water buckets make for good excessive.

There is no better anti slip material than teak. Wet or dry, the footing is secure (Not if oiled....). Also, it adds strength to the deck and insulation.

Screwed down decks can be OK, but let a surveyor have a look at it. If the plugs and caulking look OK, then there is probably no problem.
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Old 31-08-2018, 06:50   #7
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Taking a perfectly good pretty much water proof fiberglass deck and drilling 10,000 holes in it to fasten teak decking was about the stupidest idea anyone ever had. We have enough problems with the holes we have to drill for hardware and such. If the woods of glued down that's ok, but if you see the little round buns all over it, run away.
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Old 31-08-2018, 11:04   #8
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

The teak is not the problem it is the paying going south on older boats and bungs coming out. Repaying requires routing out the old and repaying the seams. I would assume there are better materials for paying today, however the inherent oily nature of teak inhibits rot but also inhibits bonding to it. Repaying can be expensive since it is labor intensive with the routing.
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Old 31-08-2018, 11:50   #9
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

In our boat the teak deck is practically maintenance free. We don't do anything with it except flush it with water, and scrub it very lightly once a year, and sometimes a bit to get occasional bird poo away.

We like the teak deck as it is, gray when dry and brown when wet. No need to sand and no need for the polished brown colour. We like its functional properties. It is slip free and dries fast.

I guess people are mainly afraid of the hard work that is required to take the teak deck away if it goes bad, or the cost of buying a new teak deck, and also the risk of some of the screws of a bad teak deck causing a leak to the cored deck (we have screws, but a solid deck).

We are in the north where the heat collecting properties and rapid drying of a dark teak deck are a positive thing. In tropics a white deck would reflect the heat better out, and teak decks might also wear out faster.
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Old 31-08-2018, 12:41   #10
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Thank you. The boat we are considering also has screws but a solid deck. We don't plan on going to the tropics with this particular boat, it will be staying mostly in the Mediterranean. Thought it can get quite hot there in summer too.
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Old 31-08-2018, 12:54   #11
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Solid deck. That is fairly uncommon. Normally decks are cored. Are you sure? With a solid deck I would not worry, as possible leaks from the screws will not affect the integrity of the deck for a long time.
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Old 31-08-2018, 16:46   #12
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

We are re-caulking 51ft of teak veneer, mainly glued, but plenty of screws too. Costs thousands. Caulking is easy, replacing slivers of veneer to bring the deck back to new is the skilled tricky bit.
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Old 31-08-2018, 16:54   #13
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Teak decks are so beautiful (and great for grip), but such an enormous amount of work when they die. I'd avoid screwed teak decks entirely, reluctantly, and probably also avoid teak on the side and foredecks. But I can't do without it in the cockpit -- boats that are all white in the cockpit don't feel like sailing boats to me. They remind me more of racing boats or motorboats.

So it's glued-on teak in the cockpit only for me. You can sand it back every now and then, and in a few decades when you're down to the last millimetre you can either sell the boat or bite the bullet and get it re-done.
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Old 31-08-2018, 18:31   #14
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

When you get the boat surveyed make sure the surveyor checks the underside of the deck as much as possible. Even better if he has a moisture meter to get some readings.
As a surveyor I have a neutral opinion of teak decks. They look great when new but fixing them when old can be very expensive.
If you are half handy when it comes time to replace them you can save yourself a lot of money. If you remove all the deck fittings and teak then let the boat builder fill all the holes and glass the deck and you then finish the painting and screwing the fittings on you can do it pretty cheaply. I was involved with a teak deck replacement that cost a fortune simply because the owner did not want to get his hands dirty.
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Old 31-08-2018, 18:33   #15
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Re: Teak deck maintenance costs

Keep the Fresh water Hose Off your teak deck ! Use salt water and you will keep the leaks out and the money in your wallet !
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