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Old 28-04-2018, 20:38   #1
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Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

Hello all, I have yet another question, this time about teak decks. I used the search function but was unable to find what I was looking for... though I learned a lot about teak, synthetics, and COST!!!

I am looking to purchase a liveaboard monohull sailboat (between 36-39') next fall. I have been using YW to keep an eye on boats, in my price range, and keep my expectations in check, lol. What is the deal with teak decks? The price range I'm looking for, are boats around 10 - 20 years old. Many of these boats have teak deck and most of them are grayed and look like crap! (JMHO). I wouldn't want that on my boat. Sure it looks amazing when it is new, but after 10-15 years it starts to look haggard.

What is the reason for teak decking? There must be some advantage to it, because it adds a substantial cost to new boats, and it seems to go the hell pretty quickly.

In trying to compromise and not outright exclude teaked boats, I am curious about the annual maintenance cost and hassle of teak. Is it better, easier to maintain than a fiberglass deck with a textured coating?

After watching SailLife on YouTube, he ripped his teak deck off and resurfaced the entire deck of his boat (an 80's Warrior 38) with fiberglass and texture. That seemed like an incredibly labor intensive process and took most of the summer for him to complete. Not something I would want to tackle, and would rather use that $$$ and effort for other improvements on a boat.

I guess, in summary, What is the advantage of teak? Why would I want teak? Is it mainly cosmetic? Traditional? What is the deal with teak? Should I just write off teak boats, as I would never want the cost of replacing a teak deck. I can't understand why someone would want to spend so much money on a wood surface that is battered relentlessly by sun and sea conditions... unless they have plenty of money to burn.

ON AN UNRELATED NOTE:

Why the hell are there so many boats for sale in Croatia!!! It seems half the boats in my search criteria are from Croatia! My assumtion is that they are mostly charter boats... but many of them look to be in excellent condition. Is this some sort of buyers scam?

Thanks to all in advance. I'm still in the early stages of planning and learning, and you all have been a tremendous help to me thus far.

~Harrison.
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Old 28-04-2018, 21:25   #2
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

I think for the vast majority who do their own maintenance, teak quickly falls out of favor. But boats are sold to new boat customers, and new boat customers are rarely thinking of long term maintenance.

I am a function over form type of person, and I hate every last piece of teak on our boat.
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Old 28-04-2018, 21:37   #3
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

Teak makes a great non skid surface wet or dry. Most people love the look of teak, it's normally associated with higher end boats. If you can trade your boat with a teak deck in every 10 years then you will probably have a good experience. Teak decks are hot on the feet in the tropics and also add to heat below decks not withstanding being very expensive to replace. These days the less expensive boats are using very thin teak from plantation supplies which means the decks will not last as long as teak from old growth forests that was thicker. Older boats used screws to hold teak down and suffer from leaks, newer decks are glued in place. If your pocket book can take the hit teak is a nice finish for decks even with it's draw backs.
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Old 28-04-2018, 22:12   #4
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

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I am a function over form type of person, and I hate every last piece of teak on our boat.
I am with you on that! Form follows function, pretty much sums it up for me. I've never ordered power windows and locks on new vehicles, until they were standard and I had no choice. Just more stuff to break and expensive to repair.

For interior cabin, yes! I like the look of wood accents and trim, but I'm not even a fan of all wood interior either. I actually LIKE the look of the spartan, all white interior, I've seen on some of the racing boats, but pretty much, every other element on those boats, wouldn't work for me... i.e. an 8+ foot draft and a 20' diameter wheel! lol.

Over time, I would like to refit the interior of my boat to suit my needs, but I don't want to add refitting the deck into the mix... even if it is only to remove the old teak and refinish with fiberglass. That seems like a lot of unnecessary work, if I can avoid it.

Thanks wyb2.
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Old 28-04-2018, 22:27   #5
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

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Teak makes a great non skid surface wet or dry. Most people love the look of teak, it's normally associated with higher end boats. If you can trade your boat with a teak deck in every 10 years then you will probably have a good experience. Teak decks are hot on the feet in the tropics and also add to heat below decks not withstanding being very expensive to replace. These days the less expensive boats are using very thin teak from plantation supplies which means the decks will not last as long as teak from old growth forests that was thicker. Older boats used screws to hold teak down and suffer from leaks, newer decks are glued in place. If your pocket book can take the hit teak is a nice finish for decks even with it's draw backs.
Thanks. Is there a sort of cut-off period when boat were switched to thin plank teak? If I WERE to purchase a teak decked boat, I certainly wouldn't want the nightmare of finding that it was screwed in place! For instance, there is a 36' Beneteau 36CC that I love, but it has a teak deck. Is there a way to tell, from photos if the deck is screwed down, or glued. I am not at the point where I am ready to buy, so I'm not very keen on involving a Broker at this point. I am trying to narrow my scope purely based on photo's, descriptions and downloading some owners manuals on models of particular interest.

And, ... no sir, I am NOT made of money, so until someone comes along and explains why I absolutely can't live without teak, I don't have much interest in it. If it is adding to the resale cost of boats I'm considering, I would probably rule them out as well. All other things being equal, on the 36CC I like, it seems to add about $7 - 10K to the selling price, (judging from the 4 or 5 I've seen on YW).

Thanks Robert for your response.
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Old 28-04-2018, 22:58   #6
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Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

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s there a way to tell, from photos if the deck is screwed down, or glued.

If it has bungs, they are covering screws. If it doesnít, they are glued down.

This is not without RARE exceptions, for example, I think there is one builder who would fasten from the inside, screwing UP into the teak? Or even more rare, boats like mine where the planks were pulled, plugged, and glued back down, so its got plugs visible but doesnít actually have screws anymore.

It sounds like you donít like wood that has gone grey, but to my eyes you canít find a prettier deck than silvery teak alongside varnished brightwork. People will talk about its nonskid properties, but I think the only real benefit is looks, so if you donít like the look you donít want it- its got a limited lifespan (20-40 years) and bad installations can have a lot of collateral damage.

Dropping anchor, watching the sun go down drink in hand sitting on the fore deck, I dunno, I donít think itíd be as magical a moment on a plastic deck. But Iím superficial, a fair weather weekender, and very much in the minority.
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Old 28-04-2018, 23:04   #7
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

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I think for the vast majority who do their own maintenance, teak quickly falls out of favor. But boats are sold to new boat customers, and new boat customers are rarely thinking of long term maintenance.

I am a function over form type of person, and I hate every last piece of teak on our boat.
That's rather interesting, because the use of teak in decks was (and, to the best of my knowledge, remains) directly associated with its functionality in that application...

What it appears that you're attracted to is the 'beauty' of zero maintenance...until trade in or deck replacement...we'll leave aside the ambiguities, costs and associations of 'free' as congruent or apposite to leisure or survival...


To answer the OP.

"Should I just write off teak boats, as I would never want the cost of replacing a teak deck."

Yes, or at least until you understand a bit more the nature of the question you're asking...
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Old 29-04-2018, 02:34   #8
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pirate Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

Teak decks on plastic boats are like wheels on <45ft boats.. considered to be more 'Salty' for the more 'Discerning' buyer...
The icing on the cake.. but completely needless if its a good cake to begin with..
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Old 29-04-2018, 06:48   #9
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Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

If youíre looking at long term ownership and youíre not made of money you probably want to steer clear of teak. Thatís a generalization of course; you will find well maintained teak decks that are not screwed down.

They are probably the best nonskid surface there is. When wet the grip can be tenacious. Itís great. And they wonít clog with salt like a lot of other nonskid surfaces.

They are hot, and not just in the tropics. On a hot sunny summer day anywhere they will almost burn your feet. And that heat migrates to the boat interior.

You see projects of people removing them because they have to: leaks into the deck core or getting close to it. New teak decks run about $1,000 per deck foot, so thatís why people surface with something else.

And grey is good. Let the decks go grey and wash gently every now and then with salt water and a mop. Those ridged and worn decks you see are from overzealous scrubbing. While teak is hard itís pulp is soft and itís easy to scour it out which leads to accelerated wear.
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Old 29-04-2018, 07:37   #10
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

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And grey is good. Let the decks go grey and wash gently every now and then with salt water and a mop. Those ridged and worn decks you see are from overzealous scrubbing. While teak is hard itís pulp is soft and itís easy to scour it out which leads to accelerated wear.
YES! YES! and YES! Like he says^^^

One of the great tricks of an ignorant or unscrupuless boat broker is to have teak decks power washed to "make them look like new"

It is true that does remove the gray layer, but it also does serious damage by removing the soft wood grain and taking years off the life of the deck.
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Old 29-04-2018, 07:51   #11
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

Two Word Answer:
Teak Sucks.
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Old 29-04-2018, 07:55   #12
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

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That's rather interesting, because the use of teak in decks was (and, to the best of my knowledge, remains) directly associated with its functionality in that application...

What it appears that you're attracted to is the 'beauty' of zero maintenance...until trade in or deck replacement...we'll leave aside the ambiguities, costs and associations of 'free' as congruent or apposite to leisure or survival..
I should have clarified that I don't have teak decks, so all the teak I'm hating is brightwork. I understand teak decks make a good non-skid surface, maybe if it is honestly head and shoulders above anything else, I could see the point. On the other hand our boats textured gelcoat non-skid seems to work well, and is going strong after 33 years with exactly 0 maintenance.

Feels a little like paying up for a leather interior on a car, knowing that the whole interior will need to be ripped out and replaced 3 or 4 times over the expected life of the car. How many people would take that deal?
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Old 29-04-2018, 08:03   #13
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

SIMPLE: don't paint no not even oil it, don't grind. Clean with water and a soft brush. Rinse daily with saltwater if you can. That's ALL.

Below deck you can paint it with clear paint - best is a two component as used for wooden oak parquette floors. Never paint teak that is directly exposed to the sun.
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Old 29-04-2018, 08:09   #14
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

I have minimal teak on my boat, and even that is too much work. I would never want teak decks.
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Old 29-04-2018, 08:17   #15
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Re: Newbie, curious about the mystique of teak.

Teak is hands down the best non-skid you'll find, and if you don't love it to death will last a long time. My 46 year old schooner is covered in teak, including teak decks and I love the boat, teak and all. But I'm lucky in that the PO installed an all new, 1/2" Teak Decking Systems deck in the late 90's. I couldn't begin to afford such a project, and wouldn't consider an older boat with original teak decking. If you don't love teak, steer clear, if you do, welcome the club.
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