teak decking for boats

Teak Decking for Boats


teak decking for boats


When a durable deck surface is required on Boats, Ships, Yachts, Pontoon Boats and other water craft,  teak decking for boats provides the ideal properties. Teak can enhance the visual appearance of any deck and can provide good grip characteristics especially when wet. When in a  dry state teak is easy to work and takes adhesives well.

Deck Thickness

Deck thickness for any type or size of boat is largely determined by structural requirements. Teak is laid using one of three methods:

The traditional method - whereby the real wood teak is sawn into strips up to 19mm thick and applied directly to a metal, GRP or wood surface.

The thin veneer method - here the teak is only 5-6mm thick (before finishing) but the total deck thickness is made up by laying on to a plywood base (perhaps 8-10mm thick) using adhesive. This method saves weight since only a thin layer of teak is used. However, life expectancy is still over 15 years even with heavy use.

The Synthetic Teak Decking - whereby a mat made out of PVC planks which look and feel like real wood teak are applied directly to Wood, GRP or Steel surface.


An MS-Ploymer based adhesive such as Saba Sealtack 750 is the best decking adhesive to be used with Artificial decking, such as DEK-KING Decking, on GRP, Wood or Steel boats.It has a 35 hour curing time and once it cures it will bond the pvc profiles to the deck of your boat. No special primer is required before application.

A two-part solvent-free epoxy adhesive is another alternative  to bond veneer teak or thicker teak material.

When iy comes to reaql teak or veneer teak, ete same adhesive should be used for all bonding operations but if the thin veneer method is employed, an 8-10% addition (by volume) of Graphite powder will give the necessary colour for the adhesive that is seen between the planks. This will also give the glue some ultra-violet protection.

General Teak Preparation

Before any bonding commences, determine the layout pattern of the teak strips. This applies for Real wood, Faux teak and Veneer teak. They can be either parallel to the centreline or parallel to the sheerline. The former method is more commonly used since the grain of the teak will be oriented in the most effective way to resist deck compression loads; it is also the quickest procedure and probably the only choice if the traditional planking method, using thick sections, is used.

The teak strips should be ‘quarter sawn’, a technique which ensures that the edge grain is on the flat surfaces. Teak cut this way not only wears more slowly and more evenly than ‘plain cut’ teak but also has the least expansion and contraction. Strips 40-50mm wide are the normal width for ease of handling and the length should not

exceed 3m.

When cutting teak for the thin veneer method the strips should be cut no more than 6mm thick so that after sanding the finished thickness is 3-5mm. If the thickness exceeds this figure the inevitable expansion and contraction which occurs, and which is normally constrained by the epoxy adhesive, may exceed the bond strength of the adhesive causing it to split at the wood/adhesive face.

Preparation of Surfaces

Real Wood Teak Surfaces

After cutting the teak all bonding surfaces should be sanded with a coarse abrasive paper (40-60 grit) across the grain in order to obtain a good key, followed by cleaning with liberal quantities of a fast epoxy solvent).

Other Wood Surfaces

All screw holes and other surface imperfections should be made good with epoxy filler. Polyester-based fillers should be avoided as they may inhibit the cure of the epoxy adhesive. After sanding with a coarse grit paper the surfaces are cleaned thoroughly with a fast epoxy solvent). Ideally the wood or plywood surface is coated with 2 coats of an epoxy system using a fast hardener to give adequate protection against moisture. If possible both sides should be coated. After allowing at least 24 hours to cure the surfaces are wiped with cleaning fluid and sanded using 60-80 grit paper prior to bonding the teak. Particular attention should be given to sealing all end-grain if plywood is used as a base.


All surface coatings must be removed (paint, non-skid coatings, etc.). If the deck has a moulded-in tread it should be ground away with a coarse sander down to the laminate. A small angle grinder with a flexible sanding pad is ideal. Before bonding the teak all sanding dust should be removed and the surface cleaned with a fast epoxy solvent). Acetone is not recommended as it may contain undesirable contaminants. If bonding to a new GRP surface it is important to determine whether the laminate is fully cured, since epoxy will not bond satisfactorily to a less than fully cured polyester laminate. From the time the boat was first started the elapsed period for this is usually between 2 and 4 weeks at normal temperature. A small preliminary test is advised to ascertain when a good bond can be obtained.

Aluminium Boats

It is important for the best adhesion that all bare aluminium is pretreated with an Aluminium Etch Primer before bonding. It is likely that some filling will be necessary which can be done using the chosen epoxy system with the addition of glass bubbles and colloidal silica. After sanding and solvent cleaning using a fast epoxy solvent, bonding can commence. If the deck shows any significant distortion it is simpler to adopt the thin veneer method using a plywood base which will serve to fair the surface.

Steel Hulls

Steel surfaces coated with an epoxy holding primer should be coarse sanded and cleaned thoroughly with a fast epoxy solvent

Application Methods

Composite Decking

This method uses planks made out of recyclable decking material. The decking comes in 10 metre lengths which are 5mm thick and can be 5cm / 15cm wide. There are a number of profiles available which will accommodate any installation. The mat creation is very easy, even for beginners. It is less time consuming when compared to real wood decking or veneer installations. The profiles come with a male and female edge for easy installation. We can compare this synthetic decking installation with a home parquet flooring. On our website we prepared an easy Boat decking Installation instructions.

Conventional Decking with Teak

This method of construction should not be confused with ‘traditional’ method of planking, where the planks are laid directly over deck beams and notched into the king plank down the centre and meet a covering board down the sides. Here no adhesive is used (the only fastening method being screws or nails) and the seams are caulked and payed with a marine stopper or hot marine glue. The conventional method differs in two important respects. Firstly, a flexible caulking compound is used between the seams and an adhesive is used to fasten the strips down to a solid base (which may be plywood, GRP or metal). Secondly, the teak strips can be thinner (but not as thin as the veneer method), perhaps 19mm thick, and they are screwed down to the base material (in the case of wood) or bolted (metal or GRP). Since plywood is lighter than teak, some weight saving can be made over the traditional method and the deck is likely to be stronger and leak-free. On production GRP or metal hulls a flexible elastomer adhesive sealant such as  Saba 750 or Sikaflex are sometimes used instead of epoxy adhesive to bond the teak directly to the GRP substrate and the same product is used to lay the seams.

Being apparently no less effective than using the more rigid adhesive technique it may be more convenient for manufacturers, since the preparation is far less intensive. After all of the teak planks have been fastened into position the gaps between are payed with a flexible sealant, either a polyurethane elastomer type such as ‘Sikaflex’ or polysulphide rubber type such as ‘Arbocol’. Teak plugs should be glued into all screw or bolt holes and left proud of the surface.

The Thin Veneer Method

This method uses a suitably thick plywood base, pre-coated with epoxy system, upon which are fastened teak veneers no thicker than 6mm. An epoxy adhesive mix, pigmented black by addition of graphite powder, is used to both glue the strips down and fill the gaps between the strips. The strips are usually held in position by stapling every 10-20cm and the gaps between the strips maintained at a constant width (usually 3-4mm) by the insertion of spacing pieces, usually of plastic.

The use of a temporary clamping bar will ensure the minimum number of staples piercing the teak veneer. The bar, usually of wood approximately 10mm thick and protected with polythene, is laid at right angles across a number of strips at a time. Staples are then driven through it into the plywood base at a spacing corresponding to the gaps between the teak strips, thus bedding all the strips into the adhesive at the same height. When the glue has sufficiently cured the bar is removed. Sufficient adhesive should be applied to the teak and bare plywood to squeeze out and fill the gaps between the teak strips.


When the sealant and the adhesive mix has cured, the synthetic material is sanded with a 40 or 60 grit sandpaper. All other surfaces are sanded with 50 grit paper. On large open surfaces a floor sander is best but a hand operated belt or rotary sander is adequate. We do not recommend a belt / rotary sand on synthetic decking materials. With the conventional method of teak decking, only the minimum of wood is removed but in doing so the excess flexible sealant is removed and the teak plugs are faired in. With the teak veneer deck, sufficient teak should be removed by sanding to bring the thickness down to a finished thickness of no more than 5mm. Any remaining filling of the gaps can be completed at this stage with additional graphite epoxy mix and a final sanding with 80 grit paper used to finish the deck.

For more information please visit www.teakforboats.comPlease see this link for other teak decking installation instructions

Boat Decking


All our boat decking panels are  high quality products; a result of years of experience in boat carpentry and woodwork. Our suppliers constantly invest in product development and product improvement.  By visiting the DEK-KING Products Page you will notice that we have an extensive range of decking profile to suite every boat decking installation.

We test our profiles to ensure the meet our stringent quality standards and we never promote new products before they have been proven to take the toughest test by Mother Nature and of course the demand of all our valued customers.

Our prefabricated boat decking system was developed for production boat builders but it has also great advantages for private customers and professional installers. DEK-KING is a synthetic teak panel and it is made of composite materials. All our materials are 100% recyclable.

Boat Decking

In a recent boat show we attended we placed a real wood teak panel and a boat decking panel made out of our material. We challenged our visitors to select identify which panel was wood and which panel was made out of synthetic decking material. They were even allowed to touch the surface of both panels. Everyone agreed that the two panels looked and felt the same.

DEK-KING is sold in 10 metre lengths (rolls)  to boat manufacturers, boat yards or to the yacht owners.

We also offer the prefabrication service of the panels from a template which customer send us, but this depends on the load we have at the time of  your order or your location. If you are interested in the product but would like to do the templating and installation yourself, we would like to invite you to visit the Boat Decking installation page.

We take pride in knowing that we provide the all around highest quality product in the synthetic teak industry. We know that you have a choice when it comes to selecting a product for your boat, and being able to work with a product that was built by boat enthusiasts and experts alike, you’ll receive top-notch integrity and quality to our product.

  • Maintenance Free. No Curing, Sealing, or Oiling!

  • Non-Slip

  • Doesn’t Grey, Blemish, or Fade Over Time

  • Won’t Stain – A Quick Rinse and You’re Set!

  • 5 year Product Guarantee

  • Has Withstood the Wear and Tear of Cruise Boats in the Scorching Middle East for Eight Years with no Blemishes, Fading, or Bubbling.

  • Easy to Install – Do it Yourself, Pre-Fabricated Mats or Full Service Install!

As synthetic teak decking for boats is becoming more and more recognized throughout the boating community, it is important that we remain a cut above the rest. The Dek-King product is like no other. It gives a look and feel that simply cannot be duplicated.