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  • 4 Post By jrd22
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Old 10-12-2012
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Teak Decks

I'm just curious if anyone knows the lifespan of teak decks. I looked at a leaky teaky in michigan several months ago. The boat is stored inside during the winter and the decks are very dark as if they had been oiled. I saw no bungs popping up or missing. I dont know how thick the decks should be. Should I pop out several plugs from various spots on the deck to check, or would that create a problem? The boat is circa 1978 and looks as good in person as it does online. Thanks for any insight.
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Old 10-12-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

The teak deck that I had on a Hallberg Rassey was overlaid over the fiberglass deck. It was great for appearance and traction. At about 10 years its life was shortened by the long term use of chemical teak cleaners and brighteners. This reduced the wood fiber between the grains. The reduced wood fiber wouldn't hold the black caulking material between the teak elements. As this deck was not structural, the teak replacement would be straightforward. I didn't get that far.
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Old 10-13-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

it is not the teak that is the issue....it is the installation and myriad holes drilled and tapped in to the sub deck (usually fiberglass) add in some delayed maintenance and the teak decks take all the blame.

If installed correctly, and maintained correctly, the teak will last at least as long as the boat.

Few sellers are going to welcome the pulling of perfectly good plugs to "see" something that is likely no indication of the quality of the deck....

rather look for softness in the deck, sponginess as you walk the deck, water stains and wood rot where you would not expect it, discoloration, copious rebedding and wobble gear or stanchions attached to the decks.

then look at the seams, again for looseness, sponginess, discoloration, etc as above.

best of luck. and do your research....teak does require care and maintenance, and the decks can be hot/hold heat in sunny climes.
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Old 10-13-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

Thanks for your reply. The information you gave is clear and concise. We have been looking at several boats with and without teak decks, and this one is in probably in the best condition of boats in this age group that we have seen. We do intend to due our due diligence though, as you have suggested. I guess we are unsure of exactly how labor intensive the outside teak would be. We just don't want to bite off more than we can chew. Thanks again for the reply.
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Old 10-13-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

Teak decks look great, and are the best non skid available IMHO. Unfortunately, teak decks can leak into the core and the resulting nightmare repair makes any boat with screwed down teak decks a deal killer for me. There are numerous threads here and elsewhere that detail the unbelievable amount of work required to repair a rotten core. If you are only going to use the boat during the summer and store it indoors for the winter and the teak deck looks to be in excellent shape you might luck out with her, but since there are so many other boats that don't have them I would still reject it. Our current boat had teak decks and we factored in the cost to remove them (well, we thought we did) and immediately tore them off and laid down glass and non skid. We lucked out and the core was fine, but I sleep a lot better knowing there aren't a couple thousand screw holes leading into the balsa and that all the deck hardware holes are potted with epoxy. Just my two cents on the subject.
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Old 10-13-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

My first thought reading the OP was your experience, John... thanks for chiming in!
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Re: Teak Decks

15-20 years is about the extreme limit for the lifetime of a screwed down teak deck.
What happens is that the screws, due to thermal cycling of the deck begin to 'saw' themselves loose, and if the 'thiokol' also begins to separate between the teak straking and the FRG deck ... you ARE going to have leaks.
NOTHING has the wet-traction of teak decks.

The repair, if done 'carefully' so that the underdeck can be restored/recored, and the teak straking remilled and 'epoxied' back to the deck will restore back to OEM condition .... you just 'remill' the 3/8" bung holes (no screws) to a large diameter - 1/2". This can be a back-breaking job, requiring care in removing the old teak (if its still thick enough) if you plan on re-using it., the use of an AIR CHISEL to remove the affected core, replacement with new core, re-lamination of the upper FRG surface, etc. etc. .... and NO screws into the FRG undelayment.

If youre looking at an old teak deck, try to find one that was 'cared for', and has been covered with a 'sealer' (Semco, etc.) that has prevented the usual 'surface erosion' and thinning of the thickness.

When assaying, wear hard leather or hard rubber soled shoes, and bear weight on each strake .... when you push down, simply watch/feel for movement of the strake indicating that the screws have 'sawn themselves' loose. The least total amount of movement under foot pressure usually indicates the minimal amount of core removal .... you only have to do 'area repair' instead of the whole damn deck.
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Re: Teak Decks

I learned a couple or three things when I laid a teak deck on the boat I built.

1. They are absolutely gorgeous but you're better off without them.

2. Don't sand them or use chemical cleaners on them unless they are so neglected you have no option - that's what wears them down, not walking on them.

3. Scrub them CROSS GRAIN and don't use very stiff brushes. Scrubbing with the grain, which is more instinctive, will wear down the sapwood faster and make them very "grainy" and rough, requiring the aforementioned sanding to smooth them out.

4. When checking their condition, wet them down and wait for them to get mostly dry - any seams, plugs etc. that stay wet longer than the bulk of the planks have failed

5. If you are laying one, don't use screws - bed them in epoxy or polyurethane goo and weight them down until it kicks.

6. Buy a boat with fiberglass decks.
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Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

Teak decks are an abomination. Steer clear of them. Paint ,with a bit of beach sand sprinkled on , while wet, has far better traction, in any conditions.
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Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Teak Decks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Large Luke View Post
I'm just curious if anyone knows the lifespan of teak decks. I looked at a leaky teaky in michigan several months ago. The boat is stored inside during the winter and the decks are very dark as if they had been oiled. I saw no bungs popping up or missing. I dont know how thick the decks should be. Should I pop out several plugs from various spots on the deck to check, or would that create a problem? The boat is circa 1978 and looks as good in person as it does online. Thanks for any insight.
A 78 'leaky teaky' with an original teak deck in good order would be an exceedingly rare bird.

20 to 30 years for an average job with average use and maintenance would be my best guess.
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