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Old 12-06-2008, 21:00   #1
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Teak Decking

Hi Guys

I would like to pick your collective brains about teak decking, is it worth having? Maintence issues, cost of repairs and so on. If its a real pain then I will put it on my list of things to avoid. thanks in advance.
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Old 12-06-2008, 22:35   #2
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A little more info required. Are you looking at laying a deck on a new boat, or renewing an old deck???
Teak is expensive material and very very expensive in labour and hard hard work. An existing deck well cared for should last a good 20yrs or more. A poorly looked after deck will start having issues in about 15yrs. Once you get leaks, it is hideous to find the source and often the best course of action is to remove and lay a new deck. But that depends on the severity and difficulty of finding the source.

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Old 12-06-2008, 22:39   #3
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One particular boat at the edge of my possible price range has a teak deck in need of minor repairs, I am after info on what it takes to maintain a teak deck and are they a good thing in peoples opinion.
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Old 13-06-2008, 03:56   #4
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Teak decks originated as a nonskid method. The soft light grain and the hard dark grain make a very nice nonskid surface. The soft grain wears slower than the hard grain and the deck is self maintaining as far as non skid properties. Back when boats were made of wood it was a good choice.

We have teak decking only in the cockpit and bridge deck. There can be problems with an older teak decking if not maintained or not properly installed. The boards in older boats were screwed in and the screw holes can come back later to leak. When teak gets dried out it can split. If you wash down a teak deck with sea water every day using a soft brush it won't dry out. New methods of installing teak no longer require screws. The new mastics work well and many expensive trawlers with teak decks have been done this way for years.

If you look at older boats with full teak decks it becomes another item to survey as replacement is not a cheap process and just removing the teak and completing repairs that were causing it to be removed is alone a lot of work before you can replace them.

For us I like the teak deck because we don't have a whole boat of it. We have maybe 50 sq ft of decking and then some on the cockpit seats and cockpit table. It takes a few hours per year to clean well and treat. I do it a few times a year plus wash it down as I do the rest of the boat. We also have fair amount of teak bright work on the boat so I am faced with a fair amount of work on that. If you like the look you have pay the dues. Folks that don't want any to maintain are of course people that don't want the look either.

Modern nonskid decks have as much nonskid property or more than teak wood and are easy to clean to the extent that cleaning the boat is easy. The appeal of teak is purely the tradition of having it and the nice look it has (or does not have). There is no functional requirement to having teak and not something else.
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Old 13-06-2008, 04:31   #5
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unless the teak is glued down with no screws I would stay away from it especially if you sail in tropical areas. but hey some people insist on the teak deck and it is their choice. but if you want a deck that doesn't leak then you probably don't want to put a few thousand screws in it.
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Old 13-06-2008, 05:15   #6
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A traditionalist's view

A boat is probably the most emotive thing a person can ever own, except perhaps a set of golf they tell me. That’s why this and other forums exist, and never ending opinions and discussions in club and harbour bars throughout the whole world. The sea’s tradition has been forged in trials and hardships from time immemorial and is very important to many people to this day, including me, and wooden decks are one of these traditions. I would never dream of owning a sailboat without the striking appearance of a clean teak deck, so I therefore accept the work involved—which can indeed be tedious and frustrating and has been correctly enumerated by others here. The rewards are walking for’ard bare-foot on a misty morning at anchor, feeling the wetness of the deck, then watching it slowly change into a clean white sheen, as the sun dries it.
But the deck is just one aspect of a boat, so after careful consideration and inspection, buy the vessel you want. If you don’t care about tradition or appearance, and can’t handle maintenance, then you will be happier without a wooden deck.
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Old 13-06-2008, 05:19   #7
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If you must have teak, please try and ensure any new teak you may buy isnt from an endangered species (eg Phillipines teak) or better still is plantation grown.
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Old 13-06-2008, 05:40   #8
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Probably bad if added as an afterthought on a fibreglass boat

I friend has a teak foredeck that was screwed into the fibreglass by a past owner. His deck looks nice but is soft due to leakage and core rot around each of the many screws. This is not surprising when one sees the great care normally used when mounting anything that causes holes to be screwed or drilled though a cored deck.
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Old 13-06-2008, 06:19   #9
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My opinion run away fast. The cost of replacing a teak deck on a 40' can run from $20k and up. If you decide to do the work yourself just the materials will cause your checkbook to have ulcers. I can understand why people like them. It is beautiful but I'd rather sail than work on my boat.
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Old 15-06-2008, 17:38   #10
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Thanks guys, I was really looking for another reason to say no to the boat. Its just that its sooo pretty, but it really is too big and the draught is also too deep, so three stikes and its out.

But I could just see myself at the helm of that very pretty schooner
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Old 15-06-2008, 18:55   #11
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After a three year search and looking at a lot of boats, we finally purchased a 36 foot Tashiba sail boat,without teak decks, We decided on the one we purchased after looking at another one with teak decks in Houston, TX. It was available for a very reasonable price but the quote I received to replace the teak decks was $30,000. That was a deal killer for me and convinced me that I didn't want anything to do with teak decks.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:27   #12
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I used wood teak alternative on mine. Am I allowed to post the link from where I got it?


sure Jezzb ; -)
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:31   #13
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Sure you can as long as your not affiliated with the company.
I think what would be of great interest would be some pictures of the work and finished deck.
Also some details on working with the stuff would be great.
Lots of us teak deck lovers know that our days are numbered and will be looking at alternatives.
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Old 02-05-2010, 15:26   #14
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G'Day Audrey,

You would be amazed at the number of folks out cruising that have (at some expense and with some difficulty) REMOVED teak decks and replaced with glass or Treadmaster or whatever. In the tropics, teak decks are very hot, both on your feet and down below, and they often crack or suffer other problems, both structural and cosmetic. As mentioned above, if screwed down, there are nearly always issues with leaks into or through the deck's core.

They do look nice when in good nick...


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Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Port Cygnet again, freezing our bums off.
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Old 02-05-2010, 16:46   #15
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I have teak decks on my Hans Christian. It's nice, but certainly requires a lot more work. My boat in general is a floating forest worth of wood, and the teak decks are suprisingly easy to deal with given some of the other challenges. For the most part teak is pretty rot resistant, holds up great under weather, and is great under foot. It's cooler than any other material in the sun and makes the boat smell nice too.

I spend maybe ~50 hours a year reefing and paying the seams. It took a while to assemble all the right tools and skills, but now I can rip up a few seems, clean out the grooves, prep the area, lay down caulk, and clean up in an hour and change.

If you don't mind working I'd recommend them. Make sure they're thick. If you have wafer thin teak you're going to have a lot of problems because the screws don't have enough bite to hold down. That seems to be a problem from 35 years of owners sanding their decks down, slowly but surely removing valuable old growth teak that they'll never be able to replace.

Wash them down every week with sea water. I use TDS for teak-to-teak, and boat life caulking for teak-to-fiberglass or otherwise connections.
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