Decking Material -- Teak vs Fiberglass - SailNet Community

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Old 04-26-2006
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Decking Material -- Teak vs Fiberglass

I'm new to the BB and am quite impressed with the conversations I have reviewed. While I am boatless for the time being, I do look forward to a purhase of a coastal cruiser - eventual blue water boat. From my previous experience (limited), I have come across owners that had teak decks that had pulled them up to correct water seepage resulting in some deck rot.

Any suggestions out there as far as what to avoid what looking at used boats and their respective decks? I ask because for example, I've admired teh Swans, but their decks are teak -- what goes - suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Bernie
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Old 04-26-2006
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Nothing compares to the beauty & traction of a natural teak deck . . . as long as it is properly maintained. They are found on the most expensive boats, but also on some older (& cheaper) Taiwanese-built boats, using inferior craftsmanship, materials and fastening techniques. One could argue that these boats have given teak decks a bad name.

The greatest liability is fasteners leaking into a cored substrate, rotting the core & migrating to cabin spaces below. This can be avoided if the screw bungs and caulking are maintained by not using bleach or other chemicals which may degrade the caulking & glues.

The best teak installation is when overlaid on a solid fiberglass deck. To my knowledge, Nauticat Yachts is the only boat builder that does this with all their boats.
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Old 04-26-2006
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TrueBlue:

Appreciate your response --- agree about the beauty of teak. Regarding the installation by builders, is there a master list anywhere that tells what boats install over fiberglass (aside from the one you mentioned) versus over cored structures or is this just a question that a buyer needs to ask?

Additionally, if I found a boat with the teak, should a good survey pick up on any potential problems here?

Bernie
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Old 04-26-2006
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Fortunately replacing a teak deck is one monetary hara-kiri I have missed amongst various financial shipwrecks over my years of boat-owning. It’s the type of cost that underpins the jokes about boat expenses: a hole in the water, boat dollars, “if you have to ask…”, etc. There are items that any sensible, dollar-constrained boat buyer should simply, always, walk away from (my personal list being): colored gelcoat hulls, lots of varnished teak, cored hulls, steel keels, Taiwan boats, and …teak decks.

Aside from maintenance, teak decks are subject to wear, the wear can open bungs or eventually expose the fasteners. I think the question is only WHEN, not if, the decks need to be replaced. Since most owners won’t take on a repair like deck replacement until its need is obvious, at that point the deck also needs to be re-cored. Who needs such aggravation, even if money is no object?

That Nauticat has an un-cored deck is an interesting oddity, which reduces the teak deck replacement problem (no deck re-coring), still leaving the need to eventually replace the teak. Say only $10-15,000 versus $20-30,000? IMHO, boating is expensive from the get-go, why take on reasonably avoidable trouble?

Cored decks are almost universal, Nauticat being an exception (although I have seen a listing for an older Nauticat that referenced a wood core deck, maybe there's exceptions for the exception...)
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Old 04-26-2006
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It can be great! .... but no teak for me.

I would love to have a teak deck if I didn't have to maintain it (not a huge deal) or ever worry about leaks and core degradation (can be a HUGE HUGE deal). No teak for me. Not enough hours in the day, but some folks priorities are different.

The deck surface that everyone seems to RAVE about is treadmaster. We inherited it on our vessel and we love it. It is a diamond tread pattern in sheet form and made from a rubber/cork composite. It is expensive ($12-$15Sqr/Ft) but seems worth it. We are painting it using the non-skid micro-spheres in one part marine enamel and would not change. A lot of folks tell us they wish they had treadmaster. If we were doing it again we would choose it.


Treadmaster:
http://www.tiflex.co.uk/marine/marine.html
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Old 04-26-2006
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There are also some pretty good artificial teak decking materials now. If you like the look of a teak deck, they may be worth taking a look at. Some of the newer installations use adhesives, so the risk to cored decks is much lower than one that is screwed into place.
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Old 04-27-2006
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No Teak for me

I love teak and teak decks are beautiful. Despite this, I have never owned a boat with a teak deck and do not plan to. I sail with my dogs, who are deck trained. The smaell of urine absorbed into the teak would probably keep me land-bound.

There's also a weight issue, but that doesn't figure into my logic - it's all about the dogs and the potential smell.
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Old 04-27-2006
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Protect those teak decks

We also love teak decks and our 9 week old puppy, who recently replaced our past 4-legged sailing mate, euthanized 3 months ago after 14 years of dinking her ashore. With this one, we've pad-trained her to go on a pad, on-command, and being as smart as she seems to be, has taken to it very well.

The potti-pads are easily exchanged with an astro-turf door mat, over a plastic tray. Our plan is to position it on the foredeck - attached to a line so we can rinse it overboard while cruising.

This hasn't been tested offshore yet, but she has used the pad over our teak decks while at dock . . . a good sign that it may work.
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Old 04-28-2006
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Appreciate everyone's comments on the subject -- a wealth of information. My new perspective is to not search out teak, but be cautious when looking for a boat with teak installed.

Again Thanks!

Bernie
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Old 04-28-2006
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We have teak decks. I wasn't looking for them when we bought our boat 4 years ago and bought it in spite of them. We have found the traction as advertised and the maintenance much easier than expected. The trick is getting them into good shape. Once done it is just a matter of keeping them clean, never using brushes, never oiling or sealing. We have had no deck leaks due to the teak or fasteners. The boat is 23 years old. The decks were redone (sanded, refastened and rebunged) about 4 years ago (we had the previous owners complete this as a part of the sale). The deck is teak layed over fiberglass sandwiched plywood. The fiberglass was designed to take the fastening screws without penetrating the core. So far we have seen none of the reputed issues. I think it depends on the design, installation and maintenance.
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