Synthetic Teak Decking

Synthetic Teak Decking is a modern way to get the same esthetic look and feel of traditional Teak Decking but without the cost and time involved. Traditional Teak Decks are expensive in both material and man hours. Because of this Teak Decks on boats are a luxury these days. Many years ago Teak Decks for boats were the norm. The teak was laid on the deck frames and then caulking was used to seal the gap between the planks. Nowadays with composite construction teak decking is now a symbol of a good quality boat not a form of construction.

Teak Decks on boats are very expensive in both materials and labor. A quick estimate for a custom marine teak deck is $150-175 per square foot for the top end.

If you like the look and feel of a teak deck then you may want to look at the many Man made teak deck alternatives which are cropping up on the market. Synthetic faux or fake teak decking material is becoming much more prevalent appearing on mega yachts, cruise liners, production boats and now DIY owners .

There are 3 main reasons, when looking to replace or add teak decks, to consider synthetic man made teak deck alternatives. First is cost then the availability of Teak, and finally if you are looking to be environmentally conscious. In some parts of the world there is a shortage or ban on teak imports.

Synthetic Teak Decking Advantages  
Ease of installation Due to flexibility of the 5mm flexible strips
Material cost Real teak is expensive
Labor cost Ease of installation greatly reduces labor costs, plus no machinery needed
Color retention; Teak fades from golden brown to silver after only a few months.
Non skid properties of these composite decking materials are good The rough wood like finish is applied by sanding the finished product with 40 grit sandpaper

Surface temperature; One of the negatives of composite marine decking is the surface temperature. Being a plastic compound the synthetic teak alternatives absorb heat and darker colors absorb more. The resulting temperatures can be similar to a little warmer than teak, so in very high temps they can be hot to walk on in bare feet. Picking a lighter color helps this.

Installation; too much glue can cause bubbling due to out gassing. This product is easy to install but you still have to be aware with glue and how much and how you use it.

Synthetic teak decking Manufacturers

Marine Deck 2000

Marine Deck 2000
Marine Deck 2000

Cork Decking is one replacement for boats teak decks. Here is an example of Marine Deck 2000 on the mega yacht Sherakhan. Production boats include the Etap 46 use Marine Deck 2000.

Cheaper and easier to install Marine Deck is made from Cork, taking advantage of a greener product one that does not kill trees as it is formed from the bark which grows back. The cork is granulated and mixed with a urethane as a binder. A UV inhibitor is also added, before the mixture is cured in 20 ton presses.

There are many new products on the market which are a substitute for Teak decks. Most of them are synthetic PVC like products. Teak is a very expensive option for a deck and these alternatives save in material and labor costs. Marine Deck composite deck is flexible and easy to cut.

Marine Deck 2000 is produced in normal, narrow, margin and king plank widths. The planks are 74 inches long. You can coat the cork with a finishing product, but its best left bare. The bare surface is better for traction and grip as well as cooler.

 

Marine Deck 2000 features  
Color looks like cork, but close to teak
Thickness 9mm
Thermal cooler to touch than teak
Flexibility Flexible
Finish best left bare
Care Soap and water household cleaners (no chemicals)
Cutting razor knife
Staining surface can be sanded

 

Flexiteek

Flexiteek
Flexiteek

Flexiteek is a composite PVC based marine decking system with a surprising similarity to teak. Flexiteek Material Properties (Swedish PVC Product)

Flexiteek is the Patent Holder for PVC synthetic decking. Flexiteek manufacturers the NuTeak product as is an exclusive product for NuTeak for North America.

Four Winns, and Regal are among the production cruisers using Flexiteek.

Flexiteek comes as flexible synthetic planking of continuous length, with integral caulking strip in black or white and slightly larger border planking. The planking is curved by rising its temperature slightly, whilst curving. A sunny day is sufficient, with tighter bends being induced with a hot airgun.

planks are 9.5 meters long with 45 or 60mm strips in various plank widths.

Flexiteek features  
Color Teak appearance
Thickness 5mm
Thermal warm like teak
Flexibility Flexible and A hairdryer will add flexibility
Finish No finish required
Care Soap and water household cleaners (no chemicals)
Cutting razor knife
Staining surface can be sanded
Glue too much glue can cause bubbling due to out gassing

 

Flexiteek installation

Flexiteek Installation

Typically patterns are made of the deck required. These are then sent to a Flexiteek distributor where the panels are made. The panels are made from the Flexiteek planks heat welded or glued together. Professional installation is recommend.

 

NuTeak

NuTeak
NuTeak

NuTeak is a PVC synthetic decking material made under License, with respect to the Flexiteek patent, but it has its own properties and individual look. You could call NuTeak the 3d generation as it addresses some of the issues associated with PVC decking.

NuTeak has a lighter color in its original form, than other PVC materials. PVC synthetic materials darken with age. NuTeak decided to produce a lighter color material, so that in its aged condition the final product is closer to a natural teak. It has been a criticism of the first PVC decking materials that they got too dark, which is the opposite to teak, which actually gets lighter with age.

This stuff really looks like teak. I gave a sample to a Boat Carpenter and after his first quick look he was amazed that is was PVC.

The image show how the surface has a grain to it that looks like wood and the surface is a bit furry like a rough finish of wood. This image show 2 samples of the double plank material, just lightly pushed together and holding fine. I am told to just leave the finish as it is.

The next change NuTeak made is the tongue & Groove joint.

The tongue & groove joint is designed for ease of alignment which makes for easy application.

Taking two samples and pushing them together the tongue & groove joint came together very easily and no forcing was required.

Since NuTeak is easy to join and easy to handle it makes sense that installation is easy. A sharp knife is all that is required to cut and no heavy lumber machinery is needed.

NuTeak features  
Color Light teak appearance
Thickness 5mm
Thermal warm like teak
Flexibility Flexible and A hairdryer will add flexibility
Finish No finish required
Care Soap and water household cleaners (no chemicals)
Cutting razor knife
Staining surface can be sanded
Glue too much glue can cause bubbling due to out gassing
Joints Joints Tongue & groove

NuTeak has 2 main types

NuTeak
NuTeak

The Rigid; is a wood and PVC composite material. The 2″ (50mm) planks come with Black or White caulking strips. The tongue and groove system provides easy installation that makes an average handyman look like a professional craftsman. The under lying planks in the photo are just dry laid next to each other. Rigid Material

The Flexible; material comes in 1.77″, 2.36″, and 2.95″ wide planks.

They also come in double plank profiles for easy and quick progress of your project (seen in images above). Their flexibility make it very easy to work with.

Apart from professional and DIY installation NuTeak also provides kits. North American distributors for NuTeak include Florida, California, Illinois, Canada, Venezuela, and Argentina

 

PlasDECK

PlasDECK
PlasDECK

All PlasDECK material is extruded in the USA in the Akron, Ohio area. Akron is the polymer capital of the world. PlasDECK is the only synthetic teak decking that’s made in the USA.

PlasDECK is made of specially formulated flexible PVC. This durable material contains non-migrating plasticizers, the highest UV protection, and anti-fungal agents to ensure that PlasDECK will look great for a very long time. PlasDECK has no wood or cork content which would deteriorate over time.

How is PlasDECK attached to my boat deck?

We sell and recommend a very effective one-part urethane glue. This glue is applied to the deck and spread with a trowel. Then the PlasDECK is laid in place and smoothed out with a roller.

PlasDECK has an textured underside.

PlasDECK material has a shiplap edge for ease of use and was designed with the Do-It-Yourselfer in mind.

The material comes in rolls 6inch wide and 32ft long (16 square feet, 1.5 square meters). The caulking can be black or white. There are edge pieces and other details that help form edges and finish the desired shape. There is even a peel and stick option.

PlasDeck features  
Color Light teak appearance
Thickness 1/4 inch 6.35mm
Thermal warm like teak; hot to walk barefoot on in 90 plus degrees
Flexibility Flexible and A hairdryer will add flexibility
Finish No finish required
Care Soap and water household cleaners (no chemicals)
Cutting razor knife
Staining surface can be sanded

PlasDECK Instalation

To see how PlasDECK gets installed look at this PlasDECK installation video.

Installation; PlasDECK has a good set of instructions to follow with a list of tools you will need. Although this is a mini teak deck install the time and effort is much simpler due to the ease of cutting of the material.

Conclusion

synthetic teak deck
Chris Craft

With material costs and environmental concerns, plus ease of installation, synthetic teak deck alternatives are worth considering.

Here is an example of a professional installation. This is a friend of mines “Chris Craft 25 launch” showing the deck installation by Unique Teak.

Andy is very happy choosing synthetic, over real wood, and the cost and speed of installation played a big part in his decision. The second was maintenance where he can just leave the deck, whereas teak, he would have had to take extra care and spills would prove problematic.