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Old 17-08-2012, 21:14   #1
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Terrified of Teak

Hello Teak-People!

To get the question up front - what should I look for to tell what shape a teak deck is in?

After swearing I would never buy a boat with a teak deck, there are three boats in the running - all with teak decks, of course. Prior to making a decision and getting the surveyor in, I am doing my best to evaluate the decks. Inevitably, the brokers all tell me that the decks are just fantastic. I don't believe them.

What should I look for aside from missing bungs and boards separated from the caulk? My fear is the seemingly inevitable and invisible deck rot.

For people that want more info - the boats we're looking at are all older - 1981 to 1987 range and include a Lord Nelson, a Slocum and a Tashiba.

Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated!
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Old 17-08-2012, 21:32   #2
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Re: Terrified of Teak

On a lot of boats, it's not the teak you have to worry about. It's the fiberglass deck underneath. The teak is usually sitting on top of some other material, so you need to know what the actual deck structure is made from, and find out how the teak was attached.
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Old 17-08-2012, 21:44   #3
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Find out if the decks are cored, and if so with what material for each boat. Talk to your surveyor about taking moisture meter readings from below decks. This can be misleading on a teak deck as sometimes water gets trapped under the teak planks but not in the core, giving a high reading where there is no core saturation.
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Old 17-08-2012, 23:19   #4
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Find out how the teak is bonded down to the structural deck. If it is screwed down to the fiberglass, consider how many holes are puncturing the fiberglass layer providing a conduit for water into the core. It doesn't take very many leaking to cause a big problem.
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Old 18-08-2012, 01:18   #5
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Re: Terrified of Teak

If it were me, I'd keep looking. Don't let a boat with 1000's of potential leaks pull on your heart strings. I've owned all F/G deck boats with water intrusion to the core just from a few fasteners. Imagine what the odds are with 1000s. It's not a matter of if teak deck will cause this problem as it is when they will cause it.
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Old 18-08-2012, 01:55   #6
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Re: Terrified of Teak

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
If it were me, I'd keep looking. Don't let a boat with 1000's of potential leaks pull on your heart strings. I've owned all F/G deck boats with water intrusion to the core just from a few fasteners. Imagine what the odds are with 1000s. It's not a matter of if teak deck will cause this problem as it is when they will cause it.
Unless the deck was bonded with no screws, which is pretty common anymore. Or if it's a solid deck, like mine.
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Old 18-08-2012, 05:35   #7
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Amiuda,

I've just finished removing my glued and screwed teak decks, fairing and painting the new deck. This took me three years of weekends. The boats you're looking at are all 25 - 30 years old. They will need the same treatment. I would keep looking if I were you.
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Old 18-08-2012, 05:37   #8
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, amiuda.
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Old 18-08-2012, 06:06   #9
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Re: Terrified of Teak

In addition to looking at how much the deck is eroded, look at how much teak is left. If there's at least 7/16 of an inch, you will have room to sand, replug, and recaulk (you will have to deepen the groves to 1/4").

I had my glued and screwed deck on a 45 ft boat redone in Thailand for $4500. The new deck was put down without screws and looks good after 10 years.

I took them about 6 man-days to strip the old deck and fill the screw holes. Laying the new teak was more like 60 man-days. The going rate for skilled labor was about $8/day. The decks were balsa cored, and there was no evidence of leaking around the screws after 20 years.

I could be wrong, but my best guess on having the deck stripped off, faired, and painted would be $15-20k in the US, $1k if you DIY.
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Old 18-08-2012, 07:22   #10
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Re: Terrified of Teak

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Unless the deck was bonded with no screws, which is pretty common anymore. Or if it's a solid deck, like mine.
I.ve heard of the no screw method. I bet that must be a pain to do. Tell me...if a deck is solid f/g, I imagine it would have to be much thicker than usual in order not to oil-can. Or do they run stringers fore to aft?
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Amiuda,

I've just finished removing my glued and screwed teak decks, fairing and painting the new deck. This took me three years of weekends. The boats you're looking at are all 25 - 30 years old. They will need the same treatment. I would keep looking if I were you.
I helped a friend do this on a Peterson 44. Very time consuming. Especially getting them up.
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Old 18-08-2012, 07:50   #11
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
In addition to looking at how much the deck is eroded, look at how much teak is left. If there's at least 7/16 of an inch, you will have room to sand, replug, and recaulk (you will have to deepen the groves to 1/4").

I had my glued and screwed deck on a 45 ft boat redone in Thailand for $4500. The new deck was put down without screws and looks good after 10 years.

I took them about 6 man-days to strip the old deck and fill the screw holes. Laying the new teak was more like 60 man-days. The going rate for skilled labor was about $8/day. The decks were balsa cored, and there was no evidence of leaking around the screws after 20 years.

I could be wrong, but my best guess on having the deck stripped off, faired, and painted would be $15-20k in the US, $1k if you DIY.
I'm betting ya couldn't get that same price now...
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Old 18-08-2012, 09:59   #12
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If you take a look at my posts you can see what I have done for my aft teak deck. I did a bunch of the labor and just doing to aft part cost me about 5 k and I have not completely finished all the detail work. That was just taking the old teak up and sealing all the holes with new layers of fiberglass and fixing a couple of soft spots in the foam core. had it been balsa it would have cost much more.
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Old 18-08-2012, 10:08   #13
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Re: Terrified of Teak

As mentioned above, the biggest issue is water in the core under the decks.. so be sure to get a handle on that. Although, rebuilding the decks them selves is a big (expensive if hired) messy job. for that part you will likely run into plugs that are worn too thin to replug. This means that all the screws have to be taken out, redrilled, rescrewed/sealed. Then new plgs put in. Not to mention the stripping of old caulking and recaulking. Huge job.
So... when you look at these boats... if any plugs are missing, look for the screw head... if it's shallow in the hole... run!
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Old 18-08-2012, 14:34   #14
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Thanks for all the feedback! It came in handy today. I looked at a Tashiba with teak decks and a few screws were uncovered and right up at the surface of the teak. Too much sanding? I took that as a sign and did indeed, run away.

One more question for all that have survived redoing teak decks: assuming a deck has life/thickness left in the teak, does it have any impact on future difficulties if the teak is screwed down into solid fiberglass strings rather than cored decks?

My first thought is that there might be decreased risk of rot, but probably not a big difference in the headache of replacing the deck eventually??

Thanks again - input from people with experience is extremely helpful.
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Old 18-08-2012, 15:07   #15
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Re: Terrified of Teak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
I.ve heard of the no screw method. I bet that must be a pain to do. Tell me...if a deck is solid f/g, I imagine it would have to be much thicker than usual in order not to oil-can. Or do they run stringers fore to aft?

I helped a friend do this on a Peterson 44. Very time consuming. Especially getting them up.
It's actually pretty easy, easier than the traditional method really. Mostly because you don't need to do fasteners and bungs and then shave all the bungs. But of course you need a massive collection of specialized clamps that no one who is not in business would want to pay for.
Yes, solid glass decks need to be pretty thick if they are not to oil can or potato chip. This is why you will generally only find that in boats over 50', it actually makes sense in that scale. When they built my boat they screwed the teak all the way through the solid glass deck, then cut and ground the screws flush with the underside of the deck, then applied another 1/4" of laminate to the underside of the deck, glassing the hull/deck joint at the same time. Driest boat I've ever owned. The drawback is that you can't counterbore deeper and reset the screws.
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