Teak has been used in boats for well over a century.
However, it should be noted that teak generally isn’t used in the complete construction of a boat.
You’ll mostly find teak used to create decking or interior and exterior finishes within the boat.
In this article, we will tackle more on why and how teak is used in boat construction:
Teak is Physically Stronger Than Many Other Wood Alternatives
Teak is a type of hardwood tree that makes it stronger and denser than softwood trees like pine and Douglas-fir.
This additional strength makes it much more durable than other types of wood.
At the same time, teak isn’t as expensive or as heavy as other hardwoods like oak, maple, and hickory. As a result, teak is the best wood that can be used on a boat deck.
Do a search for a teak deck versus other kinds of wood decks, and you’ll find that there just isn’t anything to compare it to.
People either buy boats with teak decks or with composites, fiberglass, or metal.
Teak is Easy to Work With
Teak can be cut and finished with hand tools.
This gives builders the ability to make tight planking for teak decks.
It also gives them the ability to make more intricate teak pieces that can be used as accent pieces and interior finishes.
Woodworkers also like the fact that it’s hard to crush teak. This makes it easier for using it to create dovetails.
It also makes it easy to assemble different pieces of teak together.
Teak is a Non-Slip Surface
Many people prefer teak decks over aluminum and fiberglass because it provides a less slippery surface to walk on.
This is a natural feature of teak that is a result of the fact that the wood grain of teak is densely packed.
Surprisingly, teak doesn’t feel rough to the touch either. With non-skid applications, you’ll often end up with a finish that is rough to the touch.
This finish makes the deck harder to clean than the finish of a beautiful teak deck.
It also makes teak a more pleasant deck to fall on as you won’t end up scraping yourself.
Teak is Naturally Resistant to Moisture
One of the top qualities of teak is its ability to survive in wet areas.
Teak is derived from tropical climates, and it’s naturally resistant to mold and mildew. It won’t rot quickly like other woods, so it ends up making an incredibly durable boat deck.
The same oils in teak that make it resistant to moisture also make it resistant to pests as well.
Termites and ants are unlikely to dig into your boat’s teak deck.
Teak is Low-Maintenance
The properties above make teak a low-maintenance material.
You don’t have to continually seal a teak deck to keep water and bugs out of it, and you don’t need to sand it to make it safe to walk on.
Teak decks aren’t hard to clean either.
Most boat manufacturers encourage teak boat owners to skip soaps and solvents and to clean the boat deck with just water and a brush.
This saves teak boat owners both time and money and makes cleaning a teak deck a breeze.
What Happens When a Teak Boat Deck Becomes Damaged?
Repairing a teak boat deck can often be easier than repairing a fiberglass or aluminum boat deck.
The average DIYer will usually find it much easier to replace a few teak boards versus learning how to lay fiberglass or repair aluminum.
The tools required to fix a wooden deck are also cheaper and easier to obtain.
To fix aluminum, you may need a welding machine, and to repair fiberglass, you may need vacuum sealing equipment or at least a suitable ventilator.
Fixing a wooden deck just requires you do know how to use a saw.
Teak Offers a Luxury Feel
Teak boats inspire both a feel of luxury and nostalgia at the same time.
This material has been used on yachts and other luxury boats for centuries and will probably be used for many years to come.
A teak deck looks more luxurious than a fiberglass or aluminum boat and can even command higher resale values.
Alternatives to Teak
If you’re looking for the luxury look of teak, you won’t find too many alternatives.
Currently, there are some synthetics on the market that mimic the look of teak, but in all honesty, they just don’t look quite the same.
This being said, if you’re looking for alternatives that match the durability and workability of teak, there are many options to choose from.
Fiberglass can easily be used to make a strong, durable, non-slip surface, and aluminum can be used to make decks that can last several generations.
At the end of the day, however, if you have your heart set on a teak deck, then the real thing is going to be the only thing that will satisfy you.
Teak is a durable and highly sought-after boat building material that both boat builders and boat owners love.
Take advantage of this by making your next boat a teak boat.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.