Flexiteek is a PVC compound not vinyl. It also only runs 1 degree farenheit hotter than real teak in direct sun. I am interested to find out what issues you had with the Flexi, and why you feel cork board is better.
As far as quality, I suppose we have to ask ourselves how many companies are using cork on their production models, and how many are using Flexiteek. I visited the website you posted, and even on their own installation images, you can see how horribly orange it is when wet. I also dont understand the allure of having your boat look like a giant thumbtack board. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
PVC-POLY VINYL CHLORIDE
IS THIS NOT VINYL? ENLIGHTEN ME PLEASE.
In any event, I don't have any experience with the cork material turning orange as you see it.
We exhibited at the New York Boat Show 2007, we were approached by many people and selling boat dealers as well. The major complaint expressed was one of heat. The PVC material absorbs heat and the decks get and remain hot.
The factory was represented there and they expressed this problem as well. They are putting white striping, attempting to lower deck temperatures.
The dealers expressed the same complaint received by their customers about heat as well. They told me they water down the show boats at the dock to keep them cool in the summer.
This has also been expressed by owners in Florida, there it is even worse.
I prefer cork because it is cooler then a wood deck, does not get slippery when wet, which wood does at times, especially worn decks.
We offer two products, Marine Deck 2000 and Seacork. We have 8 years of history with the MD2000 and have not found anything that is a negative.
It is repairable, with little effort and the repairs cannot be seen once accomplished. I cannot say this about any other alternative material. The ease of repair is amaziang. Unless you have some working knowlege you will just have to take my word for it.
The UL equivilant testing lab in Europe has rated the MD 2000 product. The expected life given their testing is 30 years, a teak deck is rated at 12-14 years
Other people expressed their dissatisfaction about the PVC. One lady in particular stated to me that a neighbor at the marina has had a flexiteak deck on their vessel for two years, and it looks terrible now.
I have done a lot of testing, and have found it difficult to repair, if acetone comes in contact with it it melts, It gets black scuff marks which are very difficult to remidy, and after you get rid of the marks the repair is visable.
If you turn over a piece of the PVC the real color is the back side. Its true surface is a burnt orange color to me, and very smooth and shiney when first manufactured. The brushed side being lighter, it looks tan but this is from the surfacing which gives it a rougher testure. If you sand it with anything it starts to polish and get very smooth. This is why they tell you to use a wire brush to restore is surface if need be.
Working with this material is difficult and you must purchase the parts precut,
not so with cork. There have been complaints of bubbling, this caused by air expansion under the deck from the heat of the sun, I fault the installer for this problem, (to be further evaluated) It could be the adhesive letting off gases when very hot, I don't know yet and am looking into this.
There is much to learn, but I can tell you I have experienced no problems what so ever with the cork.
The MD 2000 has been in use commercially in holland for 12 years. The passenger count is 6000 people per day and it takes 2 years before the heavy traffic areas are in need of repair from wear. Thats more than 4,000,000 passangers. I think this speaks for the durability of the product.
I can also tell you that when it comes to looks, I have had people standing 3 feet from me while installing a deck, pontificating how they would never put that teak on their boats.
I dont like the fact that every one is associating the material with Teak. This is not a copy cat situation. Cork is Cork and just because it appears like traditional teak, obviously the look that is desirable, it is still cork and the mentality is one of cork boards and wine corks. This gives the general public reason to reject it at first glance.
The reality is, yes it is cork and everyone needs to adjust and be more open minded. This material is by far ideal for the application.
By the way, it was used on some of the Ameriacas Cup Boats in the early 1900's.
PVC has its place in boating. I compliment the Manufactures of Flexiteek for their design of this product and the in roads they are making. It sure looks better than the fiberglass bathtubs vessels have become.
A good comparison to what is happening with deck coverings, is similar to what went on in the camping industrty in the 70's when alternative insulations were trying to compete with Down as an insulator. Down is the best insulator but falt can be found given certain conditions. All the manufactures in the world were trying to justify thier synthetic products.
There is a place for everything, one just has to sort through the information and use it accordingly to correctly apply the products available given the application.
Teak is still by far the best looking material and if one can afford the care and maintenace it still has its place.
The bottom line, if you want the look of Teak then step up to the plate and recognise what you have to do to maintain it.
How about this. Should we be sadd that Roses have thorns or should we rejoice that thorns have Roses? I still love teak but there are alternatives and they have their place. Which one will you use? Harry Hunt
Last edited by harhhnt : 01-22-2007 at 05:48 PM. Reason: spelling
Thank you for your well thought out response. I appreciate your points. The biggest obstacle we have with Flexiteek is lack of education from dealers etc. Installations also have been poor.
The bubbling is caused by using too much glue. There is in turn excessive gassing, hence bubbles. I am scared to find out that someone told you to use a wire brush to fix the Flexiteek, one shouldn't need anything more than 60 grit sandpaper and a slow sanding pace.
As far as maintenance, when you clean your boat, you should always hose off your deck even if it doesn't lookm dirty, as the chemicals used on board will obviously harm the decking, regardless of whether it is teak or synthetic.
As far as repair, the Flexiteek can be patched to the point where you cannot tell where the damage was. This is acheived through using a heated plug of the PVC material, that is sanded once attached.
Of course all alternatives to teak have a place, personally, I would never put real teak on my boat, the hassle outweighs the function.
Either way, thank you Harry for all your information, and for the record, we should certainly rejoice that thorns have roses.
A couple of points about staining. Try this you will be amaized. Marine Deck 2000 cannot be stained! Put it in a glass of red wine, coat it with Walnut wood stain. Soak it in diesel fuel, for that matter see if you can find something that will stain it. To date I have not found any substance that will penetrate it. Cross cut it after a few days, you will find no penetration. Clean it with mineral spirits, soap and water, if there is a shadow of any kind just rub it with 60 grit. This is why I love the material so much. It is absolutely impervious to staining. Dont take my word for it give it the old college try.
My problem with Marine Deck 2000, is that it doesn't look like teak. The whole point behind Flexiteek and the rest is to have a product that closesly resembles real teak. With cork and MD2000, you may have a cheaper deck, but thats what it looks like you have. Aesthetics on a boat are paramount. Also, I don't see the advantage to having to caulk everything, whatever you save on cost is eaten up by the amount of time you have to take to 'finish' the product. Glueing each piece together, letting it sit for 48 hours, then priming the routed seams and then caulking...how efficient!
That being said, I am not here to debate you about which is better, there are different uses for either. Flexiteek is just higher end than cork or MD2000. That, and a whole lot less hassle to manufacture and install.
"That being said, I am not here to debate you about which is better, there are different uses for either. Flexiteek is just higher end than cork or MD2000."
Wow....a Flexiteek VS. Cork showdown. How about a Tek-Dek/PlasTEAK voice jumping in the fray (You do know they are both the same product right?)? Frankly I liked them all the first time I saw them. I looked at all of them very closely before adding one to my business' product line. They all have some pros and cons as you would expect from competing products. The main reason that I chose to use the Tek-Dek/PlasTEAK was first, for the looks and second for the installation method.
"That, and a whole lot less hassle to manufacture and install."
I have seen my share of boats done using the templated/pre-assembled panels from Flexiteek and honestly, it looks like , well... a big panel of plastic stuck to a deck, basically it looks like crap. The large fiberglass reveals around hardware and unique decking features that is typical for this method, can leave some really poor looking projects. Nothing compares to a complete on-site installation plank by plank....period. It is really the only true way to get a perfect fit and authentic look. It does take some time, and it does take a craftsman, but the end result is FAR superior aesthetically. "Efficiency" is not the real name of the game if you are truly looking out for your customers' best interest (which I do not believe Flexiteek is). Installing a deck that doesn't look correct or authentic does far more harm to the acceptance of our market, and the re-sale value of your customer's vessel, than can ever be quantified. But I guess that doesn't concern them or many of thier installers.
PS- The installers who did the Flexiteek job on "The World Is Not Enough" should be ashamed of themselves, it looked horrible at the Ft. Lauderdale show and I wasn't the only one who noticed it. Trust me, the sale of that yacht is being hindered to some degree due to the botched decks.
I know Flexiteek has had some troubles recently. We did an estimate for the replacement of less than 12 month old Flexiteek on a large MY in FL due to the fact that the material was "crumbling" (seemed to be UV deterioration, but who knows) and releasing from the deck. After doing similar replacement project in Savannah, GA I knew something was up. Shortly thereafter Flexiteek reduced thier warranty from 5 years to 3 years so what's up? 3 years? c'mon.... this stuff is supposed to be great. I also know there has been a big re-structuring of the Dealer vs. distributor vs. the people who do the welding of the panels network. It seems something isn't working out very well for them. Any insight on that deck-man?
That being said.... they have done a great job penetrating the OEM market and gaining A LOT of acceptance for synthetic teak with the boat building industry. There is a market for "cookie cutter" teak and Flexiteek is doing a great job of making sure that the OEM's either A) quit offering synthetic teak altogether or B) solicit an alternative supplier. I just hope Flexiteek gets things straightened out before they sour the whole market for all of us. It might help to have better trained installers at the OEM plants. Or, keep doing things the same way they do now. The poorly templated and installed Flexiteek on Cruisers Yachts and Four Winns sell a lot of TEK DEK/ PlasTEAK for us at every boat show we go to
Personally, I couldn't be happier with the choice we made. We have had zero warranty claims and absolutely nothing but very happy customers in our 3 years of installing the product. Also, we have projects all over S FL and the Bahamas and no one has ever said that the material gets "TOO" hot in the sun...although it does get warm for sure.
Just some gas for the fire.
Travis M. Tea
TT Custom Marine, Inc.
Did you know MD2009 is now supplying the mega yacht builders in Dubai with 17mm cork? The builders of the mega yachts are using this product because of the energy savings. They have found the insulating properties are so good that the Air Conditioning units are running less and the vessels are remaining cooler. The Generators are also using less fuel due to the decreased demand from the A/C units.
I think it is time to stop trying to make the Teak Comparison. If you want the look of teak, then get the real stuff.
Maybe some one should figure a way of applying a formica prouduct. We could use clear gelcoat, lay in a paper venier teak then apply the glass etc etc etc.
This way everyone can have a teak appearing deck, and there would be no complaints what so ever. Ha Ha, some one would find fault, you can bet on it.
I still prefer the cork product.
Harry, I am interested in Cork decks but I only have seen boats with Marinedeck. Can you make a small comparison between the two alternatives; I mean Seacork and Marinedeck, telling us the advantages and disadvantages of each material?
We are a distributer of Flexiteek, and we take tremendous pride in our work, and our customers are paramount.
There are issues with Flexiteek USA, that are making life difficult for the installers out there that actually know what a deck should look like. I know that Flexiteek USA (who is charge of the OEM installs) are fouling up the image for the whole shabang. From my experiences, Flexiteek is a great product. That being said, we are running behind Flexiteek USA and fixing their foul ups. (Especially OEM work) In our shop we have had 6 years of experience with real teak before we started to offer Flexiteek, and because of that, I KNOW our templating skills supercede those of what is being done now. We use the same aesthetic principles that apply to teak, and use them when we design a Flexiteek deck. Especially around hardware etc.
Flexiteek USA, as I see it, do not. So, in a nutshell....they are making the product look bad. If you template properly, and use the proper layout skills for the deck, the stuff looks good.
I am well aware of the problems with Flexiteek USA, and we have actually contacted Sweden to complain. Their general malaise towards ensuring the proper technique for templating/production/installation is detrimental to say the least. So a resolution is, hopefully, in the works.
Every time we hear of another problem, it helps us confront issues that need resolved, so I thank you for your input. At the end of the day, I dont want to lose money because someone hasn't taken the time to explain the proper method to utilise their product.
I am impressed with your forthrightness about the matter and I apologize if my last post tended toward "bashing". I really just get torqued by the direction Flexiteek takes in some areas. As I said, it often hurts us all. I do agree it is a decent product and I have to say that I have seen some really good looking Flexiteek installs, maybe they were yours In fact, it was Flexiteek that initially attracted me to synthetic teak in the first place.
I know Flexiteek has the $$ to work out thier problems, let's hope they do it soon. If they could get more installers who actually took pride in thier work, like you seem to, the problem would correct itself rather quickly. I know how it is to be caught in the middle between your product offerings and the vendor, sometimes it is a really crappy place to find yourself. I hope you don't get burned too bad with the re-structuring of thier distribution channels.
If you do, we sure could use a good installer in S. FL....or ten.
Last edited by harhhnt : 02-23-2007 at 04:54 PM. Reason: spell check
Your welcome. By the way, since you are so close to France, why dont you contact Dominique at Seacork. He has been installing his product in Europe for at least 4 years. He might be able to tell you where one of his jobs is located and you could visit it. Be well. Harry Hunt
Synthetic Teak Deck, court ruling
Jury rules in Flexiteek's favour
By IBI Magazine
A jury has ruled in favour of Flexiteek, a Norwegian producer of synthetic teak decking, in its patent infringement against PlasTEAK and PlasDECK in a US district court. A statement issued by the company reads as follows:
"The case was filed in June 2008, alleging that the Tek-Dek products formerly imported and sold by PlasTEAK, as well as PlasDECK's current line of synthetic teak decking product infringe upon Flexiteek's US Patent Number 6,895,881 (the '881 Patent).
"The District Court made additional rulings of law which considerably strengthened the '881 Patent. The District Court ruled that Flexiteek International AS was the owner of the '881 Patent, and that the '881 Patent was valid.
"Flexiteek's main competitors, Tek-Dek Ltd and PlasDECK Inc, have been taking the position that Flexiteek was not the owner of the '881 Patent and that it was invalid. The District Court's rulings demonstrate that the position taken by these competitors lack merit.
"The District Court also rendered what is called a "claims construction" which defines what the claims and terms of the patent mean. The claims construction significantly broadened the scope of the '881 Patent against any and all potential infringers.
"Shortly, the Court will issue an injunction prohibiting PlasTEAK and PlasDECK from making, marketing and selling the infringing products. The injunction will also apply to all the PlasDeck distributors and installers around the world.
"The jury determined that the early PT-Products (Tek-Dek's products imported to the US from the UK) were infringing on the '881 patent. Therefore, we believe this verdict is enforceable against the present ongoing patent infringement of Tek-Dek."
(26 June 2009)
Another Norwegian company has started to treat more or less local softwood to make it harder, mor durable and also a bit darker.
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