I have previously blogged about my contradictory attitude towards teak decks. In short, I admire the looks of a teak deck, but not the cost, the maintenance required and the fact that using teak is ecologically unsustainable. Rationally speaking, I would prefer a boat without a teak deck. However, most of the cruising boats built in Northern Europe seem to have teak decks installed by the yard: it is hard to find an HR, Najad, Swan, Baltic, Malö or Sweden Yachts without a teak deck. Most of the cruising versions of Finngulf’s, X-Yachts’, Maestro’s and Arcona’s are equipped with teak decks as well. So if one is looking for a boat made by some of the above mentioned Nordic yards, the teak deck is most probably an added bonus.
When seeing a boat ownership as a long term relationship, renewing the teak deck should also be taken into account. The longevity of the teak deck depends on the age of your deck and how your teak deck has been used and maintained over the years. Actually, most common mistake is over-maintenance (e.g. frequent brushing or sanding), which will speed up the wear of the wood. All in all, then the options are basically to bite the bullet and renew the teak deck with natural teak, remove the teak deck and paint the deck with non-skid paint, replace teak with cork deck or replace teak with some of the various synthetic deck materials available.
The cost of natural teak has inflated about 6-7 percents annually during the last ten years. As the price of the natural teak is probably going to keep rising in the future as well, the substitutes are getting more attractive. Of these other alternatives I would be most interested in synthetic teak materials, which clearly have many benefits over natural teak. However, all the fake teak decks I have seen do not look even close to real teak – and one can tell that from a good distance.
During last weekends’ Turku boat show I visited the stand of the company Scandinavian Teak Deck. Besides making teak decks for example for Nautor’s Swan and Baltic Yachts, they are also selling a synthetic decking material called Flexiteek, which is made from PVC-plastic. Flexiteek has four different colour options: white, black, grey and traditional teak colouring. Unlike real teak, Flexiteek does not change colour over the years.
I got a few Flexiteek-samples which I then tested against the natural teak. I like the grey colour better, because it looks more real to me. I think that in general the problem with many of the fake teak decks is that they try to look like new teak deck – when it is just laid. But majority of teak decks do not look like that after a few months in the sun.
Here are some comparison photos. What do you think, is it close enough?