Synthetic Teak DeckBy Andrew McDonald

A beautiful synthetic teak deck installation.


Wooden boat production in the 1940’s and 50’s was epitomized by expert craftsmanship, beautifully faired curves, bright varnish, and high-grade materials. Teak in particular is highly rot resistant, prized for its ability to produce its own oil, and recognized by its tight, straight grain. Anyone who has been around a classic wooden boat will not only feel the nostalgia – but can also smell it in the varnish and wood dust that permeates the surrounding air.

This golden age of wooden boatbuilding was followed by years of experimentation and engineering in fiberglass. This involved the use of polyester, epoxy and plastic resins engineered into boat-like shapes – lowering the costs of manufacturing and requiring that the every-day boater just had to take on small repair and maintenance tasks. The first years in this transition held a mix of wood and fiberglass; wood was used as a coring material, with beauty found in trim, handles and bases of teak. Over the years, the wood trim and veneers have been whittled down to the bare minimum. In recent decades we have seen composite woods and carbon fibre as the aesthetic focal points instead. A sharp contrast can be seen in the America’s Cup contenders; a century of change between Herreshoff’s Reliance and modern AC50 class yachts.

Colour CollageA wide range of colours and patterns are available.

The pendulum has swung back in recent years. Modern cruisers are looking for all the advantages discovered in a century of boatbuilding: modern design and engineering, ease of repair and maintenance, and the aesthetics that call to mind the rich history of boating.

Teak trim and veneer are still being used extensively below decks in modern production boats – but more and more, owners are looking for a more traditional look on deck, leading to an explosion in the manufacture of teak-style decking – decking that looks and feels like teak, without the cost of teak wood, or the installation and maintenance costs to keep it looking great.

Traditional teak decks pose a number of problems: Teak is a slow growing hardwood native to south-east Asia, taking 40+ years from planting to harvesting. Large portions of the teak coming into maturity over the next few years have already been sold. There is high consumer demand, with poor availability. In short, teak is expensive. Add to the materials cost, the cost of craftsmanship: turning raw lumber into fitted curved decks, followed by caulking, varnishing, oil and maintenance.

Enter synthetic teak – a less expensive option, made from long-lasting and environmentally sustainable materials. The decking material is manufactured in rolls of a soft/flexible PVC, roughed on the surface to a 40 grit, making it feel and look like a wood surface. The rolls are tinted to a shade similar to freshly milled teak, with black or white lines pre-printed to give the appearance of caulking between planks. The underside is grooved to allow solid contact between the synthetic components and the boat surface beneath. Sections have a beveled edge (much like a DIY hardwood flooring), allowing the product to be both manageable and customizable. Synthetic teak can be re-sanded over time to restore any colour fade. For maintenance cleaning, the surface can simply be pressure-washed. The design ensures that it is non-slip, UV rated and anti-fungal. From a safety standpoint, the product is fire rated and doesn’t build up static friction. An added bonus: it’s stain resistant – resistant enough for the marketing folks to state specifically that it’s safe against staining from red wine spills and blood.

Laying New DeckIt looks real. It feels real. It has none of the disadvantages of traditional teak, and it provides significant advantages to more common white decks. Finally, the value add in terms of aesthetics and resale value can be high.

Installation is fairly straightforward, with sections essentially pre-cut and glued into place. Boat owners can work with manufacturers to install the product in a number of ways, depending on their desired level of involvement.

The first is the DIY, cash and carry route – a roll of pre-formed synthetic flooring is purchased to a specific length and width. This option is ideal for small, straight sections, when little design flourish is required.

Second is a more customizable DIY option, by templating sections. This option is more labour intensive, with some prep-work and pre-planning needed, but the results can be well worth the effort. Templates are made using masking or construction paper. Paper is laid out, secured and marked. Once sections are transferred, plank orientation is specified. Sections are numbered and labeled, and then sent to the synthetic teak supplier for manufacture. Manufacturers supply detailed information on the format and labeling that they like to see to ensure that there are no mistakes, and that the end result is what is desired. Once manufactured, components are numbered and labeled to match, and installation of the pre-formed sections becomes a DIY project.

Finally, a completely hands-off approach; having a contractor create templates and install the manufactured sections. This comes with a price tag, of course, but the end result is a professional design and installation.

New DeckCreating a pattern from an existing deck to lay a new synthetic teak surface.

For more information, there are a number of suppliers and brands on the market, with evolving and expanding product lines; Nu-Teak, Flexiteek, Isiteek, PlasTEAK, Permateek. With this many brand options, how do you choose? I began my research at a boat show, and would encourage you to do the same. At an in-person meeting, a wide variety of sample pieces are available for you to touch and compare, and you can get a sense of what’s possible with peculiar shapes and sections. Ask for photos of boats similar to yours, and get a sense of the complexity of the project before you decide to DIY or hire a contractor. There are many options to consider, but one thing remains clear; synthetic decking is an emerging market, with many applications. Aesthetics and value aside, it’s clear that vessel owners who have made synthetic deck upgrades are increasing their enjoyment aboard.

Related Articles
Canada
  • 22 September 2020
  • By Ethan

Moutcha Bay Resort and Marina

As summer comes to an end the planning begins for next year’s adventure on the water and Moutcha Bay Resort is high on the bucket list. You can bring your own boat to the Resort. They offer moorage...

Current
  • 22 September 2020
  • By Ethan

Pre-purchase PORTS Rideau new edition

Wait no longer, the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide returns this November! Prepurchase your copy now! The PORTS Essential Boating Guide to the Rideau Canal and Lower Ottawa River...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...
No wonder this is one of Regal’s best-selling boats; the Regal 33 Express offers amazing ...
The newest member of Beneteau’s Gran Turismo line is the GT 36 and this yacht brings the style and ...
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

AXOPAR 37 XC

 

Axopar 37 XCWhole new ball game…

 

Set aside your assumptions and expectations for a few minutes while we try to describe the new Axopar 37 XC that made its American debut at the 2020 Miami International Boat Show. This boat represents a whole new ball game in terms of design, performance, seakeeping and functionality. In fact, I’d say it takes a ‘clean sheet of paper’ approach to boating – it’s that different.

Read More about the Axopar 37 XC..................

Destinations

  • Prev
History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ...
On May 19, the New York State Canal Corporation today announced an updated opening schedule for the ...
If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s ...
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...

Exiting Hogs BackBy John Morris

History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ministers by date and looking out the window. Who knew it was actually interesting.

And in some ways it hardly matters because the Rideau Waterway is just so amazingly beautiful. Driving your boat through the locks is wonderful fun for kids of all ages (adult kids, too) and the scenery is sensational. The history is a huge bonus however, and worth understanding from both as a political lesson and from an engineering perspective.

Read more about The Rideau...........


Lifestyle

  • Prev
Limestone, a heritage Canadian boat brand that has earned a loyal following over the past 35 ...
Schooner Cove Yacht Club through their staff Capt. and other volunteers organize cruises so members ...
With things the way they are, a whole new batch of Canadians are discovering that boating is IT! ...
Recently while admiring the boats in Victoria Harbour my eyes locked into a 58ft yacht named ...
The 38.1m / 125' motor yacht, custom built in 1930 by Boeing of Canada and last refitted ...
This interesting shot is one you will remember. It comes to POTW from our pal, photographer and ...
Unknown to us at the time, the quest for VIA-MARA started in 1973 when I saved the back cover of a ...
You will find that many of the yachts travelling up and down the BC Coast have Sea Kayaks on board. ...
The Council of British Columbia Yacht Clubs with over 50 yacht club members has become the voice of ...
Classic boat restoration expert and wooden boat builder Stan Hunter recently sent us this great ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Exposed to the elements, outdoor fabrics tend to get exceptionally dirty. Replacing them for ...
Editor’s Note: Our Cars on Board column has been taking you for a spin in cars and trucks that we ...
Here’s a dinghy that will get you to the shoreside pier in style; this bespoke 10' RIB tender has a ...
ShockAlarm is a floating, continuously monitoring alarm that protects your family and friends from ...
The Airhead Thrust is an out-of-this-world thrill ride.  Get your wetsuite out and get ready ...
Airhead Recreational Kayak is perfect for cruising boaters at anchor.  Stow it, inflate and ...
To help keep those aboard safe, critical equipment such as the compass must hold up in the rough ...
The Boating HD Marine & Lakes app from Navionics is an excellent resource to help plan your ...
Dive tanks are notoriously difficult to stow on a boat and can be outright dangerous if left ...
Waterways around the world are increasingly becoming choked with plastic trash. To stem the ...