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Keyne 10-03-2001 12:01 PM

Teak or no teak...
I have heard a lot of negative things about teak decks (upkeep, leaking, etc.), but when I was at the boat show a couple of weeks ago I noticed many boats from Sweden and surrounding areas had teak decks (Hallberg Rassy, Sweden Yachts, Swan, Beneteau) and I just wondered why they would continue to use them.

Also, do people still have leaking problems with these decks? Why would someone spend the huge amount of money on a Swan or HR only to have the deck leak??

Interested in any comments.


RichH 10-03-2001 12:34 PM

Teak or no teak...
Most of teak decks being constructed today will not leak as they are ''glued'' down and the screws that were used to initialy ''spring'' the staves into place are removed and the hole is filled with epoxy, etc. ... then a wooden bung is used to cover the hole if a screw was used to hold the board down while the glue cured. ..... I wish my deck was laid in this manner but it wasnt; but will be, when I ultimately have to repair it.

cxz 10-03-2001 06:55 PM

Teak or no teak...
Sometimes the folks that can afford a Swan or HR are affluent enough to hire a person to maintain their boats in pristine condition. If there are leaks they will never see them since they someone to fix them while the owners are not present. I doubt if the owners perform much maintenance themselves.

Jeff_H 10-04-2001 03:43 AM

Teak or no teak...
To me teak decks are a ''lose-lose'' situation in every way. Teak is expensive at time of purchase. Teak requires a lot of maintenance or it deteriorates more rapidly. Teak decks are heavy and their position above the waerline reduce stability. When they get wet they take longer to dry. They are really hot in warm weather.

If you leave them natural they deteriorate most quickly. If you oil them the track oil and become slippery when wet, need frequent attention and eventually ''go dark''. Varnish (or simulated varnish) has its own problems beyond the increased maintenance. Varnish is slippery when wet and breaks down at the edges of the planks.

Then there is the issues of the material itself. When I was growing up, the ''normal'' teak used in boats was Burma Teak from old growth tree. This is the durable species of teak upon which teak''s reputation is based. Burma teak has become comparatively rare and expensive. Today, we see inferior grades and species (angelique and the like)substituted for the great quality teak of the past. I am also uncomfortable with the idea of cutting down old growth forests for this kind of purpose.

Then there are the construction technique problems. Conventional ''laid'' decks leak. Screw down decks are drier down below but it is only a matter of time before the core rots out. Glue down decks have their own problems. In order to glue down a teak deck the planking needs to be fairly thin (3/8" or so). Burma teak, which is denser than the teaks of today, erodes at a rate of 1/8" per decade. Starting at 3/8" thickness this means a useful lifespan of 15 to 20 years vs. the 40-50 year lifespan of a ''laid deck''.

I have no idea why teak decks are popular in expensive boats.

hamiam 10-04-2001 04:37 AM

Teak or no teak...
First of all teak decks should be allowed to weather naturally and should never be painted, stained, oiled, etc. Deak has been the traditional decking material for hundreds of years. While I think modern boat builders use teak decks for their aesthetic beauty, teak has other advantages: it is cool under foot in tropical regions and has natural non-skid properties. High-end boats have teak decks because high-end boat owners can both afford the maintenance on the decks and can afford to replace them every 15-20 years. Given high quality materials and a good application to begin with, leaking should not be a problem.

RichH 10-04-2001 08:59 AM

Teak or no teak...
I have several ideas why teak decks are popular on expensive boats:
They DO look good. They do provide unparalleled footing. Those that install them like the aesthetics.... the same aesthetics that include lots of britework, lots of wood cabinetry, lots of ''ambience''. My definition of ''ambience'' being the direct opposite of a sterile chlorox bottle. Not all who sail are concerned about saving 0.04 seconds per tack because of the heavier weight. There are even some that dont need to have the fastest, lightest, most ''state of the art'' (fad) .... and yet seem to be very happy, satisfied and content. (I even sand my deck every two years - oh horror of horrors) Some people simply like the aesthetics. Simply put, individual taste is not disputable.
......The same argument can be posed for adding pigment to gelcoat or anodizing aluminum: ... heavier, adds to maintenance, changes stabilty charactersistics, lessens strength, degrades after 15-20 years, etc. etc. Its all in the eye of the beholder. BTW the prettiest deck I ever saw was .... clear white pine.

lauri 08-09-2006 02:47 PM

We had the aged variety of teak decks, not pretty, not cool under foot, and not cheap to repair or replace. Repairing turned out to be a mute issue, to much sanding over the years left only replace or removing. For $25K (or more) we could replace. For under $3K, we could remove and paint non-skid. We reluctently removed, filled a zillion holes, repaired core damage and painted. And wonder of wonders, we are thrilled with the result. Our decks are cool to walk on and the cabin is at least 10 - 20 degrees cooler in the heat of mid-day! We thought we wanted new teak decks, we were wrong. The prettiest deck I ever saw is mine, water tight for winter and cool in the summer.

....and I still have an abundance of teak for ambience.

TrueBlue 08-09-2006 03:07 PM

Just for the record, if anyone is interested in enjoying the aesthetics and excellent non-skid properties of a teak deck on their next boat - without the risks of water intrusion, then consider the wide variety of yachts produced by Nauticat Yachts.

All Nauticats with teak decks are made with a 3/4" thick solid fiberglass substrate. Absolutely no coring is used anywhere, therefore even though the decking is screwed and bunged to the fiberglass, no leaks should ever occur.

Gene T 08-09-2006 03:22 PM

No teak for me!

SteveCox 08-09-2006 03:58 PM

Jeff where would you get the info that teak erodes at the rate of 1/8" a decade? Under what conditions? I am professionally trained as both a cabinetmaker and a boatbuilder and I would never make such a blanket statement about any wood. It would all depend on exposure to weather, use, care (sanding or not, oiled or not), etc. For instance, the boat I am currently rebuilding is 34 years old, has 3/8" teak decks in the cockpit, has never been taken care of that I am aware of and is still very close to 3/8" thick. By your statement there should be nothing left of it.

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