Synthetic teak deck

Discussion in 'Materials' started by dmc, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder


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  2. ralph@alter-fam
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    ralph@alter-fam New Member

    Installation methods for the synthetic teak decking

    I'm preparing for a home-craftsman-implemented replacement of a real wood teak deck (35 years old) presently screwed to fiberglass, with one of the synthetics. I have accepted the concept and general appearance of the PVC materials.

    Notwithstanding the arguments among FlexiTeek, Tek-Dek, PlasTEAK and NuTeak, I'm uncertain about the installation methods they all seem to recommend, which I'll abbreviate as follows: Make templates of large portions of the deck, build panels to match these templates, glue them down as complete panels, roll and weight them, move to the next panel, etc. BUT: don't let the bedding cement beyond the edges, don't let any of it sit more than (in my hot climate) about 15 minutes before covering it with the PVC panel, don't overlap the bedding cement spreads. My personal sentiment is quite at variance with that, and better matches the methodology indicated by travesty42 in his post #36 on this thread: installation plank-by-plank.

    My own major concern, despite the obvious fact that this will be a very large job, is going to be appearance and durability of the result, not efficiency. I'd like the deck condition to NOT be the reason for the next major refit of this yacht. And I'd like the next major deck problem to be long after my time.

    I'd be grateful for some comments on the pitfalls of the plank-by-plank installation approach. I see the need for craftsmanship being greater using that method, with mistakes having more noticeable or more expensive consequences. I see the same problems with getting the PVC down onto the wet glue quickly, etc.; but because the panels can be kept so much smaller, I anticipate less difficulty doing so.

    Any other issues or arguments? Then why are all 4 suppliers recommending the large-panel-from-a-template method? Even the real teak deck replacement advocates seem to use that method. Is it just efficiency?
  3. rustypirate
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    rustypirate Junior Member

    I beleive that the lat technique is preferred because of the set time for the glue used. It is much easier to lay an even coat of adheasive over a reasonable area in the amount of time that is allowed for working that glue. The single plank method tends to produce inconsistant glue coverings between planks.

    I cannot state to the faux teak decking, but I have applied the treadmaster product onto a deck (twice).

    The first time was using the recommended epoxy glue method and it was a horrible mess. In less than a year patches had come loose and it needed ot be replaced. Getting it off was worse than putting it on.

    The lessons I learned were invaluable though.

    Make templates of all the areas.
    Cut the material to match the template.
    Mask the general outline of the area leaving plenty of room on both sides of the edge.
    Mark the outline of each piece onto the masking tape and cut/remove the tape from the glue side.
    Use a better glue than epoxy, I used 3M 5200 and it worked wonderfully.
    Spread the glue over the entire area to be covered with a fine toothed adhesive trowel and overlap the masking tape by about 1/4".
    Lay the material over the area and weight evenly (sandbags layed close upon each other and overlapping all edges).
    Once the glue has dried to a firm film, use a razor to score arond the edge of the mat and pull up the masking tape to create a nice clean edge.

    This is the method I used last time and none of it ever showed the least inclination to coming loose.
  4. harhhnt
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    harhhnt Junior Member

    Laying a synthetic deck

    I can appreciate you concerns, they are all well founded. Laying a deck in large panels is difficult, given the different adhesive properties. There are slow cure adhesive which are more user friendly. Stazo has a wonderful product which will not skin over and give you ample working time.

    One of the problems with lying a panel is air trapped, which later can manifest it self as a bubble. The trapped air expanding with the heat of the sun and voila a bubble.

    It is very difficult especially in tight quarters to apply suitable and uniform pressure to push out the air. No one method is absolute. The techniques used must vary with space. By this I mean, if you have a large area a mechanical tamping machine can be used. In close quarters a block of wood and a hammer.
    sand bags, buckets full of water do not apply enough pressure to accomplish the desired result.

    We use vaccum bagging whenever we can.
  5. goboatingnow
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    goboatingnow Junior Member

    I have done two flexiteak installs ( as an amateur) and also see an amateur install TekDek. If youre a competent wookworker you can install it. For one-off installs forget the template and panel idea, The only one i saw done got it wrong. Install plank by plank, do the outside covering boards first and all margin boards etc aaround hardware. Then cut and lay planks as required. Note that for long straight runs Flexiteek produce a rigid product called Aikona, that lays down better. However its not a solid colour through the product.

    The main beef I have with Flexiteek is that the white caulking ( inside areas for heads and showers) isnt a white more a cream colour and hence you cant use ordinary white caulk in places where hand caulking is neccessary. You have to then use flexiteek cream caulk "rope" and set it into channels cut with either a router or a sharp chisel. ( The same problem doesnt exist for black caulking).

    Stick it all down with a polyurathane adhesive

    It does get very very hot, In the Med, ours was so hot by midday that it burned the soles of our feet and needed watering down from time to time.

    Contary to some posts it does stain, its quite sensitive to have grit/dirt rubbed in with use and even hard power washing doesnt remove it, Heavily trafficed areas therefore tend to darken and short of a complete resand I cant clean it up to look like a new install.

    Oh if you varnish it you loose all the non-slip properties and its as slipply as hell in bare wet feet.
  6. ralph@alter-fam
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    ralph@alter-fam New Member

    Thanks for your responses. Here's a quick update on the direction I think I'm going, and how I got there (see my earlier post for background):

    1. I've been told that the only way that Flexiteek will do a project is the LAT method; although they'll accept my template if I choose, or do one themselves otherwise. They'll also deliver the mats (my term) for me to install, or lay them themselves. Probably not fair for me to be too specific here on what their quote to me was but let's call it over $35/sq ft if I do the labor and over $50/sq ft total if they do the whole job. Since I'm in Ft Lauderdale travel isn't an issue, and their own staff could do the labor if I chose. It looks to me as if this material could be layed a strip at a time; but Flexiteek is not recommending that.

    2. NuTeak has their own new product but their approach to templating and laying it down is similar. Prices appear somewhat lower, but not a whole lot. Again, travel isn't an issue. Similarly, it appears that this product could also be layed a strip at a time; but NuTeak does not recommend that.

    3. I've heard claims that all the products (Flexiteek, NuTeak, Plasdeck, and Tek-Dek) are identical chemical composition. I've heard contradictory claims, that they are not. Haven't absolutely resolved that yet. Obviously the mechanical construction of the strips differ, the ways they are fastened together (weld with plastic welding rod, glue, just bits of caulk to not at all - if you lay it down a strip at a time) differ, etc.

    4. I've heard claims that Tek-Dek is no longer selling their decking product anywhere but Australia and Europe. I've heard claims that PlasDeck is out of business; or still in business but not selling their decking product; or selling a new version of their decking product carefully crafted to avoid infringing the Flexiteek patent; or still selling the same old product. I've heard claims that PlasDeck was enjoined not to continue selling the infringing product; and other claims that no injunction was ever issued. I've heard claims that PlasDeck paid damages for infringing the Flexiteek patent; and I've heard that no such payment was ever made (so far). I've heard claims that an appeal of the court decision, and a review of the original patent award to Flexiteek, are underway.

    Anyone wanting to pipe up on adding any clarity and/or certainty to any of the above please do; we definitely could benefit from some definitive clarification. I have read at least some of the patents (Flexiteek, two to Plasdeck at this point) but I haven't yet seen any of the specific court orders, just press and other reports of what they said.

    Some of what I've said above is after several conversations with people at PlasDeck/PlasTeak, as well as NuTeak and Flexiteek. And I mean no criticism of them or anyone else; it's just that different views on what the TRUTH is still exist out there in the marketplace. I'm trying to keep my mind as open as I can. I'm also trying to make progress on my project....

    5. Primarily because of my prejudice AGAINST the LAT technique I have homed in on PlasDeck, and I've placed an order for a small amount of material with them. Not yet received. I'm counting on their staying in business and selling a product that performs at least as well and appears similar to their (most recent) PlasDeck. Assuming it gets delivered, that tells me at least a little bit about some of the answers alluded to above. Price for material appears to be a good deal lower than with either Flexiteek or NuTeak; but there's no labor cost included here.

    6. I've also heard horror stories about deck (sections) of any of these materials failing. I can't get specific details of what the failures are, although most seem to be failures of adhesion, and may plausibly be blamed on faulty installation (bubbles captured, insufficient rolling or weight, etc.). In evaluating any of these failure reports, it's pretty important to realize that at various times in the past different physical products were sold under different names. In particular, it appears that both NuTeak and Plasdeck sold the Tek-Dek product at certain times in the past.

    My plan is to do (as I've said) a strip (or group of 3 strips, as delivered) at a time, roll immediately trying to ensure no bubbles (which I think I will be able to do with the strips kept narrow), and weight with a concrete block or so on the whole surface at least overnight. (Using some broken-down corrugated cartons to protect the Plasdeck surface from the concrete.)

    7. I'll add one detail I haven't seen mentioned too prominently. The expansion of this material with heat I'm told is pretty substantial. If a single strip (their maximum length is 32 ft.) is layed without a break, I can see it expanding enough to buckle (or at least put some upward pressure in places). I think it would be important to place caulk-line breaks every perhaps 8-10 feet; hopefully the caulk will be resilient enough to absorb the expansion.

    But NO, I'm not an employee, stockholder, distributor or installer for them. I am on the way to being a customer, and I'll gladly update y'all on how it goes with that.

    Sorry for the wordy post. Hope someone thinks it was worthwhile. More as it happens...
  7. jmodena1963
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    jmodena1963 New Member

    I'm curious about health concerns when using a synthetic decking that is PVC based.

    Sanding PVC is not the smartest thing to do when you know those particles might end up inside your lungs.

    Here is a link with information about PVC.

    PVC is a cheap plastic. Wikipedia states that.

    Why would I pay 50.00 dollars a sqft to have a cheap plastic on my boat, that is harmful to my health or anyone using it.

    I don't know, can anyone address this?
  8. ralph@alter-fam
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    ralph@alter-fam New Member

    Synthetic Teak Deck = PVC (Danger?)

    I'll try to avoid my emotional responses to your questions, and try to address them directly:

    Having installed to this point a few tens of square feet of PVC on my boat's deck, I can say that there's very little sanding of the PVC involved. Much less than were it real teak. As to the relative danger of PVC dust vs real teak dust in my lungs, I have no data, even after referring to that data you've referenced. I'm willing to believe that neither is good for my lungs. I try to keep each out of my lungs when working with any of these products. In the procedure I'm using, which involves removal of lots of very old real teak, and the dirt it has collected in its grain, the old adhesive that was used to bed it 35 years ago, and some of the gelcoat that it was bedded to, there is indeed a great deal of sanding, but only I would guess 1-2% of that involves sanding the newly-installed PVC. The vast majority of the sanding dust is remnants of the old teak and its dirt, its bedding compound, and the fiberglass resins/gelcoat that were the boat's original molding.

    Yes PVC is a cheap plastic. I'm glad that means it doesn't cost me a lot. Certainly a lot less than $50/sq ft. That's a positive for me, certainly it was one of my objectives. I'm also happy at all of its performance measures that I've been able to deal with so far. PVC isn't nearly so cheap when it's infused with proper plasticizers, UV inhibitors, and molded/extruded to approximate the appearance of real teak planking. But it still costs lots less than real teak.

    Real teak would have cost me much more than $50/sq ft. And in my opinion the substantial amount of sanding that would have entailed would have been among the easier parts of the installation task. Safer? Not sure which side of that I'm on.

    Sorry, but my personal judgment on your set of questions is that I'd rather put what I consider inert PVC on my boat's deck than cut down the trees to lay a new real teak deck. The vast majority of the PVC offcuts can be recycled; and believe it or not, I am collecting most of them.

    The big questions, still to be evaluated, in my own personal opinion:
    1. How will the appearance change over time? Not just 5 years, but maybe 30? Will I like it then?
    2. Will it stay on through the ravages of the weather and sea treatment? Over something like that same 30 years?
    3. By how much will it increase the value of my boat, in the resale market, given the badly deteriorated condition of the real teak right now (or when I started a few months ago), relative to the increase I might have expected from a replacement with real teak? And if anyone cares to address that, estimate those relative contributions to value over time, say every 5 years for the next 30?

    I hope to live long enough to contribute my own estimates to those answers for at least the early years of that future.
  9. u4ea32
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    u4ea32 Senior Member

    I don't get the entire move towards fake teak. Every bit I have ever seen looks fake, and it gets really, really, very hot, and dirty. And its heavier.

    Real teak can be glued down, vacuum bagged, no fasteners. Good builders have been doing this for 15 years at least. So the installation, and no holes through the deck into the core, is the same for both.

    And the entire argument about maintenance is bogus. I've maintained teak decks, and its easy: just wash them down with a hose, not a power washer, every week or two, and they look GREAT. Brushes should be avoided!! No bleach or teak cleaner or oil is needed. Just water.

    A half inch thick deck washed down like this lasts a couple of decades. What other surface of a boat lasts a couple of decades??

    Sure, you will use a chisel to cut down the black every 5 years or a decade.

    But teak is MUCH cooler than the fake teaks. And the traction simply remains great forever.

    It is also pretty darn good at stains -- I've never seen a potato chip, dip, wine, or sun tan lotion stain the teak. You've got to get on it, but if it was carpet, you'd do the same!
  10. Cabriolet Cat
    Joined: May 2010
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    Cabriolet Cat New Member

    Teak Deck sythetic

    1: I have used Stazo flooring which is a cork based imitation teak. That comes i rolls with a roll of white PVC border or black border. Semi labour intensive to fit down.
    2: Have seen flexi teak many times which appears to be a PVC based product and heavy.
    3: Comcork Australia manufacture a non slip deck material with a round or diamond pattern that is used on many docks and commercial passenger vessels in Australia. They also make a preformed with the divider strip teak decking that appears easy to install. Its made of natural materials and they have a range of colours.

    If I were going for imitation teak I would lean towards the Comcork products for the envirioment and ease of fitting.

    Better still save the weight. time and costs and paint with non slip unless there is a drastic need for teak.

    I have built up knowledge of the above 3 products by use or research over many years in the industry.

    We are presently laying a real teak deck in the cockpit of a 39 foot composite catamaran build here in Phuket - als0 the back steps and the inside saloon will have the same treatment. Ourside will have sika black in between - whereas the saloon will have white Sika. The outside will need regular buckets of seawater to keep it cool or shoes will have to be worn.

    In the past I considered Comcork nonslip for a alloy cat but in the end just used non slip paint

    Hope the above is of some help

    Robert Mott
    Composite Catamarans Co. Ltd.
    Phuket Thailand
  11. harhhnt
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    harhhnt Junior Member

    Alternative Decking Materials, The debate continues, but there is one really good one

    I am just waiting to see who finds it first. Then the industry will buzz big time.
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  12. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Very honnest post.
  13. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    This is a very personal opinion.
    I dislike teck deck. They are over the top and start to be ridiculus in some plastic boat.
    I like pine deck. Treated with linseed oiled and pine tar very often. Smell good.
    And if the boat has streamline and complicate superstructures as all the plastic boat have, I will definitively avoid the ridicule of a teack deck, and more over a "faux" teak. This is the top of the non-sense.
    As I say above, this is my two cents
  14. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    And what did Holland do with all that pine? They built boats... Dutch boating industry in the 17th and 18th century has deforested Holland, Northern Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, even into Russia.

    The output of boats was massive.

    Back to teak and / or alternatives:

    I have seen many of them, but unfortunately lots of them do not look like teak. With the exception of Estec, I must admit.

    Teak is a great product on a boat, but although only a small amount of deforestation is due to teakdecking (numbers to be discussed, I will not be art in that discussion) it is a good idea to look for alternatives.

    However, should an alternative look like teak? There are other great products, and with a bit of creativity these can be used succesfully to make great decks. To my mind comes Gibco Flexmold, which in combination with gelcoat (which can be in various colours) gives great products, but also roll-on coatings, like Sicomin / Map Yachting Deckline, which gives a very nice and soft rubbery like deck, in various colours.

  15. jezzb
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    jezzb Junior Member

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