Quality Care for the Finest Yacht. Yours.
Copyright 2015 DAKOTA MARINE YACHT SERVICES
"I've been a fan of teak decks ever since I became mesmerized by a particularly gorgeous Swan 53, sitting at a dock in Newport RI at Bowen's Wharf. It was over 30 years ago. She was so magnificent, with her beautiful teak decks creating the perfect background canvas, framing all that extra stout stainless hardware and those monster winches. It was the beginning of my love affair and obsession with Swans."
This buckling teak deck on this X-Yacht was our big challenge to repair this winter. Unfortunately, winter was a bit too harsh to get much done. As a result, this project really impacted our spring schedule. Having to repair this deck without using fasteners, and without having horizontally-caulked end seams made the logistics of this one extremely involved. The details were endless. But finally, it's complete and . See pics below of some of the work in progress, as well as the finished product.
Various sections of the deck shown above were lifting due to water intrusion. As the images suggest, repairing the problem can be a major project.
Below, repaired deck section.
Teak decks can certainly add beauty to almost any boat. When cared for properly, they can survive for decades with minimal maintenance. For those which did not necessarily receive the best treatments early on, or are maybe reaching the golden years of their life, they may require some more time and effort to keep them functioning and looking shipshape. Left without attention for too long, they can turn into an overwhelming problem, ultimately affecting the structural integrity of the boat.
Teak decks project work has evolved into somewhat of a specialty of ours over the years. We repair them, reseam them, resurface them, refasten them and properly maintain them so that their life expectancy is lengthened considerably. Aggressive or incorrect cleaning practices and caustic cleaners will drastically shorten the life of a teak deck. If maintenance is done correctly, from the start, a well-made teak deck should last 25-30 years, or more. We have seen decks that were ruined by improper maintenance in less than 10 years! Teak decks are truly special, and must be treated as such. That's what we do.
We use only the best materials when working on teak decks. We work closely with Teakdecking Systems (TDS), in Sarasota, FL, recognized by many in the marine industry as the premiere deck builder in the world. TDS proprietary teak deck related products include environmentally-friendly cleaners, epoxies and award-winning deck seam caulks, not to mention the best quality imported marine-grade Burma teak lumber.
At left is a series of photos from a teak deck which is on it's last legs. Water has gotten under the deck in places and separated the teak from the fiberglass sub deck. The teak plugs (bungs) which covered the fasteners have become exposed due to excessive wear of the deck, which is a result of natural weathering along with incorrect cleaning at some point in it's life. Short of replacing the entire deck, the only way to fix this is to remove the teak battens in those affected areas, assuming the thickness is still more than a 1/4". We would then totally clean the sub-deck of the old adhesive/sealant (a sizable project in itself), scrape off and resurface the bottoms of the teak battens (unless replacing with new teak battens), and if there is enough thickness left to the battens, re-counterbore/countersink the fastener holes an 1/8" deeper to allow enough room above the fasteners to install bungs deep enough to weather a few more years.
In the case of the boat at left, there were additional issues. A large portion of the bronze deck fasteners were corroded down inside the sub-deck due to all the moisture that got under the teak deck and ultimately found it's way down the shafts of those fasteners. So, removing them without breaking them was virtually impossible. Though we got a good portion of the screws out in one piece, just as many broke off, creating the major task of getting all the broken studs out of the fiberglass sub-deck, and repairing the damage done in doing so. It required cutting each stud out with a special tool we made for the job. The tool created a 1/2" hole where the stud was. Each of the holes had to be properly chamferred, re-glassed and epoxied, then the deck faired and finally re-drilled for new fasteners. A very long, involved, tedious project in the end, but we anticipated it going in. We knew there would be many fasteners that would break, had a plan for how to deal with it, and got it all done and the deck back together looking far better than it had been, with at least a few more years of life in the elements.
If you've got teak decks on your yacht, do yourself a favor and take care of them using the proper practices. Don't over clean, don't clean with stiff brushes, NEVER pressure wash them, and most importantly, stay ahead of the issues that can arise if water gets through the deck to the sub-deck. If you notice after a boat wash or afternoon thunderstorm that there are certain areas of the deck that don't seem to dry very quickly, relative to the rest of the deck, take a closer look at those areas. Are the caulk seams cracked or separated from the sides of the teak? Are fasteners showing through or bungs missing in the area? Is there a hollow sound if you tap on the deck with a plastic hammer in that area?
Any area of wetness on a teak deck that lingers long after the rest of the deck has dried should be checked out. What you don't want to happen is for moisture to get under the teak deck, into and through the fiberglass sub-deck, then into the core of the deck. Whether the core is foam, balsa or plywood, they will all ABSORB moisture and eventually rot away. Now we are dealing with a structural issue. Let's not go there. Give us a call. Let's see what you've got and determine how best to fix it.
Teak Decks Care, Maintenance and Repairs
Serving Long Island Sound to the Caribbean and Beyond, since 2001