teak decking for boats

Installing Synthetic Teak Decks on Boats

Today, one will find a number of synthetic teak decking alternatives available that look good and are almost maintenance free. Depending on the complexity of the project and your  skills, installing DEK-KING synthetic teak might be a good DIY project.

Many of our customers settle for DEK-KING PVC decking because our material is very easy to install. Not to mention that out material keeps it looks and does not fade of change colour by time. Some material on the market tend to change their colour to a greenish tint. This happens mainly due to inferior raw materials used in the manufacturing process.

Each Boat project breaks down into four main steps:

1) Making the template

2) Rough-cutting and gluing the PVC teak strips together to form large panels

3) Cutting to size and attaching borders around the edges of those panels and guiling them together.

4) Gluing the mat down on the boat with our specially formulated bottom decking adhesive.

To perform the job in reality all you require is a utility knife, but it helps if you have other tools like a mitre cutters to cut andles easily and quickly.

For templating, one can either use cardboard or thick plastic sheets.

This is very imprortant - the finished job depends entirely on how accurately the template is transferred to the material and how precisely it iscut and glued. A strong, solid working surface and good light are imperative.

Rough cut the strips of planking a bit longer than needed. To ensure all panel seams are perfectly straight, work against a straight piece of wood screwed to the bench, and screw the first plank down outside the area that will become the deck.

Run a line of  Stelmax adhesive down the top inside edge of the tongue, and then draw the groove of the next plank into the tongue—gluing only the top of each tongue. The glue sets in just a minute or two.

From the pencil line on the template, add whatever additional width the template calls for and mark the outside dimensions of the finished panel. Subtract from that the width of the border strip to determine where the main panel must be cut.

Mark the centerline of the template and also a corresponding line on the teak deck panel, cut small diamond-shaped windows in the template to align the two, and tape the template down with the same half-moon cuts used aboard the boat. Cut through the template and about two-thirds through the synthetic teak, and tape the template back together after each cut, again to maintain the integrity of the template.

Remove the template, finish the cut, and clean edges with a small block plane.  Move your body, not your hand. You’ll get more control and smoother cuts by doing so.  Never use a straightedge for long cuts as the blade invariably wanders, unnoticed.  Also make sure to keep the knife blade exactly vertical so joints fit tightly and nicely without any harline gaps.

Borders (Product name - WDK102) are one teak plank and one seam wide, glued around the perimeter of the deck and typically along both edges of hatches. The work seems simple, but cutting and fitting borders, particularly at corners, takes time and patience.

Cut the finished-panel corners and trim the edges with a block plane and 40-grit sandpaper, and sand imperfections in seams, always with the grain no against.

Before gluing the panels to boat decks you must clean the deck and the panel backs with denatured alcohol. Dry-fit and precisely mark panel edges. Tape off small sections three foot squares are ideal. Squeeze adhesive out of the tube and spread the glue with an adhesive spreader. Pull the tape, set the panel in place and check the marks, then carefully roll all air pockets out with a flooring roller, working from the center toward the edges. Glue the next section before the first section dries.

The overriding concern is air pockets either where trapped air isn’t rolled out, glue isn’t spread evenly, or pressure from a knee or elbow squeezes glue thin in one spot. The result of any of the three is a raised bubble in the deck that will require time consuming repairs. Knee pads and thick pieces of "closed cell" foam spread the load while working. Please note that the adhesive cures completely after 60 hours.

You can Gallon water jugs and plywood or pieces of lead or steel to weight the corners and edges until glue sets. Clean excess adhesive with denatured alcohol and a ready supply of small rags which you can throw away after use.

All it takes to maintain that freshly laid synthetic teak is soap and water when washing the boat, and an occasional good scrubbing or even powerwashing.