ALTHOUGH MANY BOATERS might not think of it this way, a boat’s deck is a critical piece of safety gear. Its job? To keep your feet, and therefore you, firmly planted onboard. Traditionally, decking achieved the necessary nonskid properties in one of three ways: being coated with textured paint; molded with aggressive patterns
in the deck, or covered with teak wood, affixed to the deck with screws and glue.
GO FOR FAUX … TEAK, THAT IS
Attractive, nonskid alternatives to teak decking have come a
long way BY MICHAEL VATALARO
Each of these presents drawbacks.
Diamond-cut-patterned, nonskid, and textured deck paint tend to capture dirt and
grime and can be difficult to keep looking
clean. The “nonskid” particles in the paint
can wear off over time making it ineffective. Teak, the best looking and most traditional of the three, requires maintenance,
especially as it ages.
But there are alternatives, and they come,
like so many other things in boating, in the
form of acronyms: PVC and EVA. You’re
probably familiar with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is used in everything from pipes
to window frames in the housing industry.
EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate, closed-cell foam commonly found in flip-flops. If
you’ve owned a pair of Crocs, you’ve enjoyed
the comfort of EVA underfoot. Neither of
these would have been considered suitable
for marine decking without the addition of
UV stabilizers to prevent it from becoming
brittle and cracking. Choosing between these
chemistries comes down to how you use
your boat, and personal preference.
The PVC version of teak
comes formed in long
rolls of narrow strips.
Most manufacturers have
designed a “
tongue-and-groove” system to make
interlocking the strips
easy. The patterns that
cover your deck are made
from interlocking strips
cut to length, joined
together, and then bound
by a border, if you like, to
finish the look. You can
do this yourself, but it’s
far easier to have these panels built by an
expert at the factory. All you need to provide
is a template. Or you can have an installer
come to your boat and make the templates
for you, and the final install. This increases
the cost, of course, but should result in the
best possible appearance.
Color combinations and styles vary by
brand, which includes PlasDECK, Flexiteek,
NuTeak, and Dek-King, among others.
Professional installers may not be available
PRACTICAL BOATER | GEAR
More and more boatbuilders
are turning to PVC “teak” in
place of the real thing, such
as the Nu Teak on the swim
platform of this Azure.
and price for
Some installers warrant
their work for
the PVC teak