Teak Decking Over Steel - Bad Idea??

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by Tygafan, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Tygafan
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    Tygafan Junior Member

    I read an article in a UK based boating magazine recently that recommended the use of teak decking or the new synthetic type Tek-Dek decking on steel boats. The reasoning is that the teak deck overlay would protect the paint finish from chips and wear resulting in better overall long term protection of the steel deck. I would think that this would create a problem for the steel deck due to trapped moisture. Can any of you steel boat gurus offer any advise on this subject. I would love to have teak deck soles on my steel boat but have always thought that this was a BIG no-no.....????????
     
  2. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    no, its very common, when timber was plentiful, even liners had it
    the key is this
    You must have adaquate film of paint on your deck, around 250 microns dry film thickness
    Then you can lay your teak with the correct sika, no need to penetrate the steel with fastenings
    If you make patterns of you deck, for the areas you want to lay over, you can take that pattern and make up the areas away from the boat, and drop onto the boat in one. good luck, lovely stuff to walk on teak
     
  3. opusnz
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    opusnz Junior Member

    teak decks

    Sorry Lazeyjack,

    I have to disagree. In my opinion, putting teaks decks on is like giving cancer to a boat. I love the look of them too, but in my experience, the adhesives eventually give way due to the oil in the teak. The glue manufacturers will have you believe that teak can be glued, but I haven't seen it yet. The best glue in my opinion is resorcinal glue but that wouldn't work in a joint with gaps or movement. I think that they may be nice for awhile, but in 10 years time the teak decks would be nothing but a problem. As for walking on them, they are nice but too hot in the sun for bare feet.

    I would just use a good non-skid paint coating like No-Slip (KiwiGrip) on top of a good epoxy base.
     
  4. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    funny that , all my boats which had teak, still have teak with no probs, the makers of super yachts been having success since sika was used, , ah well what do I know, 40 years in the industry:( still I guess theres time for me to learn eh
     
  5. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    lazy,

    As in all things it is how it is done. There have been many teak decks laid over crap paint systems etc etc and as a result they have failed, leaving the casual observer to cry that teak over steel is a bad thing, and understandable on the face of it.

    Modern two pack protective coatings certainly allow teak to be used with, as you say Sika and of course 3M 5200 type polyurethane adhesives, it does all come back still to the substrate being correctly protected, and this is very rarely done correctly. I go even further than your 250, and regard 300 as my bare minimum, measured with a magnetic gauge at least 30 days after processing before I would let anyone slap teak onto it.

    Generally though, for the home builder, or one on a budget, stay away from the teak unless you are prepared to do it right, it will certainly come back to bite you if you do not do it as Lazy says to a minimum 250.
     
  6. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Oh, and do not screw it down to the deck whatever you do!
     
  7. opusnz
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    opusnz Junior Member

    Don't believe me, go into any marina, walk the docks, and you will see teak decks curling and lifting. Almost all will have been put on by professionals who thought they were doing it the right or best way. My epoxied steel decks on my boat are now almost 20 years old and as close to maintenance free as they can be. The Sikaflex caulking on my teak hatches has had to be redone several times since built. That is after using all the primers and prep the manufacturer recommends. If I had covered my decks in teak, I believe they would be a mess now.
     
  8. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    opusnz,

    Most "teak decks curling and lifting" are the result of two little understood things that are regularly done incorrectly.

    Curling....this is a direct result of using teak wood that has simply been slab sawn...most yards selling teak do not allow the product to be selected (or they would be left with all the crap naturally), so they send out wood that has not been quarter sawn, the end user generally would not know the difference anyhow, so he lays down a slab sawn hunk of wood that curls as it dries.
    Lifting...again, improper use of adhesives or ill prepared substrate, again human fault, not the fault of the product in 99% of the cases observed.

    Now having said all this, unfortunately today there are way too many people out there posing as trained Shipwrights that would not know the pointy end from the blunt end....just look through this web site to see some of the stupid questions asked here by these so called professionals (see their web sites, many of them are so dumb they actually show where they work...God help anyone using their services), posing as fibreglass experts and offering their services to the unexpected, 5 minutes after asking how do you do it!

    I have no problems at all with either professionals or amateurs asking questions, that is how we all learn, my concern is the fact that they do not know what they are doing, yet have the gall to charge innocent customers hard earned cash for doing crap work because the do not know how to do it, then the end result is "teak decks curling and lifting"........enough said.
     
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  9. Tygafan
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    Tygafan Junior Member

    It seems that if the protective coating is of adequate thickness, good adhesives and caulking are used, and the teak is of a high grade there is minimal risk of steel rot. By all accounts is seems that the bigger issue is proper maintenance of the teak deck which I already know about. Teak decks are high maintenance (but they do look sweet!). Thanks for the advise. Now I just need to decide between natural teak, Tek-Dek, or KiwiGrip non-slip coating. Decisions, decisions..........
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Just about every metal capital ship, in every navy around the world, until recent years, has carried some sort of oily wood, usually teak on their metal decks. Countless metal pleasure craft have also had teak decking.

    There are two primary failure points to consider in most deck replacement jobs: the condition (thickness and intactness) of the protective coatings (paint) and the condition and upkeep of the wooden overlay.

    In most cases, failures can be traced back to both excessive movement of the overlay (which tears up the adhesive/sealant) and insufficient or breached coatings (which permits the substrate to swell from oxidation, lifting the overlay).

    In short, yes, you can overlay metal decks with teak, but as with most things, it's the surface prep and the upkeep that will insure long service records.

    Teak can and has been glued successfully for many decades. Epoxy can have a difficult time with it, much like any oily wood, but material prep can dissolve these long held, old beliefs. The adhesive/sealants of choice are polysulfides and polyurethanes. I find the polysulfides work better on metal decks, though typically they don't have the "grab" of polyurethanes.

    Sure, you can walk around any marina and see lifting decks on metal boats, but these boats also have other issues, mainly lack of proper care. This isn't the fault of the materials combinations, but the owner. The same marina will have chalky gel coats, tattered rigging, rust stained flanks, etc. Does this mean gel coat should be avoided or rigging made completely retractable so it can't rot in the sun? No, it just means most folks don't care for their boat as they once did, in the not too distant past.

    When was the last time you wiped the morning dew off your exposed bright work or washed your dock lines? Was the last time your boat got really well cleaned just before the most recent paint job? I'm not suggesting anyone here is neglectful, but you've walked around the marinas noticing wooden decks on metal boats. What else did you see and was it materials/application based or lack of care?
     
  11. opusnz
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    opusnz Junior Member

    Landlubber,

    I couldn't agree more with everything you said. All I can add is quarter sawn lumber is the way to go but I think it would cost a fortune. With teak being increasingly hard to get and of poorer quality, I think you would be very lucky to have all quarter sawn teak decks. Get the wallet out, in other words.

    Par, I agree with most of what you say but I think you are too harsh as far as maintenance goes. I have seen lots of teak decks in poor condition that had good, caring boat owners. When a boat is in great condition, but the teak decks are leaking and in terrible condition, what else can you think?

    I think its a matter of trade-offs (like anything else) with a boat. With teak you gain looks in some eyes (I see head aches) but lose when it comes to cost, weight and maintenance. The original question was regarding teak actually being lower maintenance according to an article written in the UK. I really think the article is wrong.
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I use to charter a 63' all teak ketch (from keel to cabin top, the masts were spruce). It was an all bright hull, decks, cabin and sticks boat. Yep, it was a pain in the butt to maintain the finishes on that boat, but it always looked good in my ownership, natural decks (and cabin tops) and all.

    I've replaced my share of teak decks (I'm about to install another one on a new build I'm working on). Failures can be traced to several things, poor planking selection, improper bedding, lack of preventive maintenance, improper care of the teak, substrate coatings, etc. I've seen very few decks that couldn't have been saved if preventive maintenance or proper care had been used in a timely fashion.

    Most folks let things get out of hand or use improper methods, before they seek advise or professional help. I saw a guy today, scrubbing his teak with a stiff brush and straight bleach. This isn't good care, but a quick way to remove all the summer growth between the denser winter growth rings on the planking. I will not comment on what the raw bleach is doing to nearly everything it touches.
     
  13. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    hang on one minute you disagree with me, the next you go with the concensus, which really means you did not know what you were saying in first place?
    I saw teak one and one half inch thick on the 1916 built icebreaker Krasnir in St P Russia, mind you this was a fully riveted ship, with quality steel from Newcastle Upon Tyne
    Myself I presfer treadmaster, you can spill oil on it, it looks great and you can not fall when the boat is cranked at 40 degrees, in saying that when wearing a bikini it leaves dimples on my legs!!
     
  14. opusnz
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    opusnz Junior Member

    Geez.....why does everyone seem to be spoiling for an arguement? I feel like I am trapped in a Monty Python sketch.

    OK, I will spell it out for you.....

    I agree with this:

    >>>>Most "teak decks curling and lifting" are the result of two little understood things that are regularly done incorrectly.

    >>>>Curling....this is a direct result of using teak wood that has simply been slab sawn...most yards selling teak do not allow the product to be selected (or they would be left with all the crap naturally), so they send out wood that has not been quarter sawn, the end user generally would not know the difference anyhow, so he lays down a slab sawn hunk of wood that curls as it dries.
    Lifting...again, improper use of adhesives or ill prepared substrate, again human fault, not the fault of the product in 99% of the cases observed.

    >>>>Now having said all this, unfortunately today there are way too many people out there posing as trained Shipwrights that would not know the pointy end from the blunt end....just look through this web site to see some of the stupid questions asked here by these so called professionals (see their web sites, many of them are so dumb they actually show where they work...God help anyone using their services), posing as fibreglass experts and offering their services to the unexpected, 5 minutes after asking how do you do it!

    >>>>I have no problems at all with either professionals or amateurs asking questions, that is how we all learn, my concern is the fact that they do not know what they are doing, yet have the gall to charge innocent customers hard earned cash for doing crap work because the do not know how to do it, then the end result is "teak decks curling and lifting"........enough said.
    __________________

    So how does agreeing with that refute my arguement on NOT having a teak deck on a steel boat? What you wrote was a general statement regarding laying of teak decks and a lesson on the wonders of quarter sawn lumber. By the way, I already knew that. Then again, I have only about 35 years around boats and not 40 so maybe I have no idea what I am talking about.

    I think teak decks are a bad idea and I have given my reasons why. The impression given to the original poster was that there was nothing wrong with teak decks and I strongly disagree so I couldn't let it go by.

    Feel free to pick apart what I have said and twist it all you wish. I won't respond. This forum is unfriendly, too much work and honestly I don't have the time for it.....enjoy your little club.
     

  15. Tygafan
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    Tygafan Junior Member

    I would like to thank everyone for their wise words of advice and wisdom. It has sure been helpful. However, the last thing I meant to do was to create a cyber argument. I didn't realize that "to teak or not to teak" would bring out such hostilities in some. Can't we all just get along........
     
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