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Old 08-12-2011, 07:53 AM   #1
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Old Boats and Teak Decks

After the survey the other day failed miserably in what I consider record time, I have a few questions for you guys.

The surveyor told methat generally speaking, when a boat has a teak deck and is 25 years old it is almost a given that the*deck has been penetrated by water and is pretty much shot. In the case of the boat I was interested in, lots of water has been leaking down through fittings and the sea water/salt water leaked on top of the fuel tanks and corroded them to the point that there were holes in the top of the tank. He said this was fairly common in poorly maintained boats.

What has your experience been?


-- Edited by Tony B on Friday 12th of August 2011 07:55:25 AM
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:37 AM   #2
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Old Boats and Teak Decks

I agree it is the fault*of the previous owners not the teak decks.* If teak decks are maintained properly they will last as long as the boat.* Teak decks give early warning signs.*


-- Edited by Phil Fill on Friday 12th of August 2011 09:44:26 AM
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:13 AM   #3
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Look at my photo album.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:57 AM   #4
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

I agree 100% with the comments of your surveyor!! Teak decks look beautiful and I love them but probably 99% of owners fail to properly maintain teak decks over the years.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:09 PM   #5
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Quote:
Tony B wrote:
*

The surveyor told methat generally speaking, when a boat has a teak deck and is 25 years old it is almost a given that the*deck has been penetrated by water and is pretty much shot.

What has your experience been?


*Not true at all.* A teak deck will last decades IF.... IF.... it has been properly treated and maintained.* The two things people do to teak decks that hastens their demise is try to keep it looking like new teak by sanding or using teak cleaners and restorers.* Both of these remove wood, one mechanically and the other chemically, and wood that goes away will never come back.* So a teak deck should never be sanded and never be cleaned with any of the so-called teak cleaners or restorers.

The second thing people do that is bad for the deck is to let deck seams that pull away from one side of the other of the groove go un-repaired.* This is how the water gets down under the deck planks.* Deck seams are actually fairly easy to repair once one learns the proper techniques and uses the proper materials.

Our boat is now 37 years old and it has its original deck.* It has been sanded too much and was in pretty rough shape when we bought the boat.* But a shipwright determined there was still enough deck plank thickness left so he regrooved and reseamed the main deck (a REALLY big job, by the way).* Unfortunately at the time he did this the deck sealant TDS was not on the market, so he used the sealant that was commonly used back then (some 10 or 11 years ago).* While it has held up fine in most areas the parts of the deck that get the most use, side and aft sections, have places where the sealant has pulled away from one side of the groove.* I have been repairing these when I've had time using TDS and the results have been great.* But I still have a bunch of places to fix.

But if the seams are good and the screws are all covered with properly installed plugs, a teak deck is good for a long, long time.* However, most owners of boats with teak decks haven't a clue how to take care of them, and what's really bad is if they try to keep them looking like new teak, aka brown.* Anyone with a teak deck had better learn to love silver-gray because that is the color they want to be and should be allowed to be.

A teak deck, like a fiberglass deck, should be kept clean.* And the ony way a teak deck should EVER be cleaned is with clean salt water and a detergent like Joy that makes suds in cold water.* We use a conventional string mop to wash our deck but a few times a year I use a 3M doodlebug pad to give it a LIGHT scrubbing.* When one does this, they should ALWAYS go across the grain of the wood except in places where deck hardware precludes this.* And a teck deck--- or any teak-- should NEVER be powerwashed, even on a light setting.* Even doing this one time will start the wood surface crevicing and once it starts the weather will keep it going.

So.... a teak deck can be a wonderful thing but only if it is treated right.* I believe a teak deck offers superior traction wet or dry over any other deck surface.* However it is not an ideal deck surface in hot climates because in the sun it can get very, very hot.* Not so much a problem if you wear shoes but if you like to go barefoot on the boat a hot teak deck is not something you'll want to walk on.

The rusting of the top surface of fuel tanks is very rarely caused by water getting down though the deck itself.* It is almost always caused by water leaking down around the fuel tank fill fittings in the deck.* Their bedding can dry out or deteriorate at which point water can get underneath, run down the filler hose, and pool on top of the tank.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:22 PM   #6
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Marin, you are correct they will last a long, long time IF maintained. Problem is, like I said, 99% of owners don't maintain them right!
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Quote:
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..............*like I said, 99% of owners don't maintain them right!
*+1*****
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:16 PM   #8
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

** On my 40 sedan Marine Trader I kept the decks up and still managed to get soft spots under the teak. When I pulled up the teak I found that there was one (1) layer of what looked liked 6 oz. cloth and in some spots there was no resin. Poor construction is what lead to my deck problem. I pulled all of the teak up and replaced the plywood and am in the process of reglassing using epoxy resin.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:26 PM   #9
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Teak looks lovely and is great for the original owner. Down the line I'm afraid teak decks become an expensive liability to subsequent owners because either they will need to be removed or replaced or the boat value will drop like a stone to allow for that contingency.

Why oh why would someone build a 100% waterproof deck and then drill 2,000 holes in it!

We just bought our new boat and top priority was NO teak deck. We do have teak planking on the sundeck which looks nice, but none anywhere else. At least on the sundeck it is covered by a hard top and sidescreens so remains dry, if that were not the case we would not have bought the boat.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:33 PM   #10
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

I just thought about that today. We had a ball busting rain shower and I crawled around everywhere looking for water. I thought how the deck would leak if had a teak if I owned it. I am almost overwhelmed as it is.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:42 PM   #11
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Quote:
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Why oh why would someone build a 100% waterproof deck and then drill 2,000 holes in it!
They don't anymore and haven't for some time.* Higher end boats like Grand Banks, Fleming, etc. as well as custom yachts have been gluing their teak deks down for some years now.* No screws.* And the new sealant materials, specifically TDS which is what Grand Banks uses, have made a world of difference in the integrity and longevity of deck seams.* I've been using TDS for seam repair work for some years now.* Major, major improvement over the previous seam materials.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:04 PM   #12
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Teak decks can be managed, but it is a bit time consuming.* Keeping up with loose bungs and recaulking here and there go a long way.

If the boat has been neglected and the decks are leaking or coming loose in sections, you might want to pass on it.

If the price is low enough to justify stripping off the decks and going teakless,* you can avoid much grief in chasing leaks for years.

My own deck took three seasons of playing around fixing things and it is now stable and dry.

It looks nice and feels nice and wears well, but you can't help but look for signs of trouble.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:39 AM   #13
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Old Boats and Teak Decks

"The surveyor told me that generally speaking, when a boat has a teak deck and is 25 years old it is almost a given that the deck has been penetrated by water and is pretty much shot."

Your was not referring to a genuine teak deck, where 1 1/2 or 2x2 teak was laid down and IS the deck.

He was referring to a TT teak paint job.

Here , usually exterior ply , was covered with a layer or two of pollyester GRP , and then a layer of teak was stuck on to look like a real "teak" deck.

As an outfitter during the high sales period of this style of Chinese "composite" , I got to visit loads of boats.

While many of these have been nursed for decades , and still survive , the deck under is a different story.

The cabin house is similar Chinese composite , so frequently any penetration , window ,door even wiper mounts needed to be resealed after 6 -9 years , and probably wasn't.


GENUINE Teak decks , , are frequently good (if maintained) for the life of the vessel.

The usual TT "teak deck" is long past its usefull life and what and how the repair will be , cosmetic or structural will be decided by the intended use of the boat.

None of these early trawlers had offshore potential , so for most folks cosmetic is just fine.







-- Edited by FF on Saturday 13th of August 2011 04:42:11 AM
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:08 AM   #14
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

The Hallberg Rassy yacht*in the slip next to us 5 years ago*had to have his (solid) teak decks renovated at 15 years old.* That entailed removing all the original plugs and*screws, replacing them with new lower head profile ones (made specially for Hallberg Rassy, which shows how often it is needed) new plugs and a complete redo of all seams.* Prior to this, water was finding it's way under the decking, around the genoa track bolts and through to leak into the cabin below.* This was not a Chinese composite but a solid fibreglass hull and top made by one of the top European boatbuilders at very premium prices.* The repair took a team of two specialists 6 weeks to do, guess what that labour bill cost!* Sadly the whole episode had to be repeated the following season because the 3M's caulking was a faulty batrch and failed.* So apart from just the cost, the owners lost the best part of two seasons's use of the boat.

Ten years back, another solid glass teak decked yacht we were interested in buying*paid out the equivalent of $45,000 to have the teak decks replaced after 20 years.* The costs are not just in the wood but for the labour to remove*the mast, every single deck fitting, sail tracks, hatches etc etc beforehand and then put it all back again afterwards, not to mention ripping out the below deck linings to gain access to through deck*bolts.

Teak is very nice, but have it with the knowledge that it can be expensive down the line.* For us this time round, original*teak decks would have been a deal breaker.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:04 PM   #15
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

TDS is Teak Decking Systems, a deck company located in Florida. They make new teak decks to order for yachts and stuff, and at some point they introduced their own brand of seam sealant. Their deck seam sealant, which I know as just "TDS" although it does have a product number, is a one-part sealant that, from experience and everything I've heard, is far superior to all the other sealants out there including the old Thiokol, LifeCaulk (which is rubbish for deck seams and just about everything else in my experience), etc. When I first heard of it and started using it you had to order it from TDS in Florida. But for some years now Fisheries Supply in Seattle has been carrying it, and since when I need it I just drive over and get it I haven't bothered to find out what other retailers might carry it. But I imagine there are others that do. TDS sealant has been used by Grand Banks in their new construction for some years now. Of course they also glue their teak decks down instead of screwing them down so that's a big improvement too.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:21 PM   #16
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Old Boats and Teak Decks

We used TDS in 2000 when we re-cut and re-caulked the*decks on our last boat.* When we sold the boat in 2006 it had spent that time in the tropics and we did not have one seam failure.* Its easy to use since there are no primers and it adheres to fiberglass.* After we cut/cleaned the seams, then used a paint brush with acetone to remove any oils from the teak before the TDS.* The stuff is tougher than the teak.* After 6 years the TDS stood proud*over the teak.

Jamestown Distributors also carries TDS.* The tubes do have a shelf life of about a year to 18 months though.* Every tube is dated.***

On a side note, I've been told that teak decks need to be at least 3/8" thick to be considered serviceable.


-- Edited by Larry M on Saturday 13th of August 2011 01:45:29 PM
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:18 AM   #17
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

The Hallberg Rassy yacht in the slip next to us 5 years ago had to have his (solid) teak decks renovated at 15 years old. That entailed removing all the original plugs and screws, replacing them with new lower head profile ones (made specially for Hallberg Rassy, which shows how often it is needed) new plugs and a complete redo of all seams.

Losing teak thickness is caused by chemicals used to burn off the surface , or sanding till the thickness is gone, an owner problem.

ALL sealers , weather between teak planks need to be replaced at about the 8 year point, regardless of the builders quality.

Seams in teak decks are a huge labor job , but the folks that want the eye candy , or prefer teak to other offshore no skid systems usually understand this , and keep a few boat bucks a year aside fot the eventual work.

The hassle with the usual optional teak paint job , not deck, is there is no rational way to replace the goop under the teak add on.

Having pulled some number of teak paint jobs , one problem is the seams and plugs are frequently just add ons to wide planks , and its hard to figure which dozen of hundreds of plugs actually has the leaking screws under.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:09 AM   #18
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Between what the surveyor told me and the replys on this thread, I think my search is getting narrowed down too quickly.
I think that it is safe to say that most 20 year old or older teak decks are going to be problematic and will be avoided by me unless something is there to make me feel better about it. Like maybe, the boat always lived in a covered slip or dock and never got wet enough on outings to ruin the deck under the teak.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:24 AM   #19
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Question:

How difficult is it for the 'untrained' person to feel a spongy deck under the teak while the teak is still on the deck?
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:27 AM   #20
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RE: Old Boats and Teak Decks

Many, now, of those boats have had the teak decoration removed, the under decks repaired and have now, simply , a non skid glassed over deck.

A friend of mine found an '89 Albin 36 tricabin like this last year. Several of the aft cabin window frames had been replaced with painted aluminum frames.

If these old boats, Albins, CHB's, and the like have had the teak replaced and repairs done properly the boats may be a good bet.

Of course, he is driving himself nuts trying to bring all the other teak trim back. It's coming and the boats shows well.
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