Cracks, water leakage, sun damage and bubbles; there’s no way these terms are acceptable concerning Synthetic Teak Decks, but when the damage is small and unnoticeable they are easy to ignore until it is too late.
Synthetic Teak Decks are a great way to keep your boat looking real without the headache of tiresome maintenance. Howev over time, an average boat deck experiences a lot of foot traffic as well as UV radiation and heat. Though a Synthetic Teak Deck is very durable and maintenance free, even a quality product like Nuteak or Flexiteek with a good installation can bring small issues with time.
These small and inexpensive issues can become a big expense if left for too long. Minor damage left for too long on a Synthetic Teak Deck can also turn a relaxing time on deck into a day of bumps, bruises and small accidents as the deck turns into a tripping hazard.
Our Innovative Marine Coatings team did a repair for a commercial charter cruise boat in Tasmania. Their Flexiteek deck was over 13 years old and had many minor issues.
Here are some of the damages and an explanation of how easy the repairs were, as they were caught early.
Minor Issues and Simple Repairs
A boat deck much like a house is constantly expanding and contracting based on the weather. This being consistent over years had caused small cracks within the joins of the deck. The repair for this was simple; with the use of a special welding machine, my team
made the cracks look like they were never there with a top-weld.
Years of wear had taken its toll on this deck; the glue was deteriorating causing the deck to break away and small amounts of water to pool under these sections. To start, we lifted the deck at the points where the water was pooled, we then scraped out the old glue, dried the area and re-bonded the deck down. To finish, the joins were re-welded from the top and trimmed off.
This deck was smooth, shiny and darker than its original state. Our goal was to bring this deck back to its original color and texture as it was 13 years earlier. This particular Flexiteek deck can be sanded with 40 grit sandpaper. Another popular deck like it, called Nuteak deck, can also be sanded with the same. We prefer a belt sander with a 40 grit belt for the big areas and a hand sander for tight sections. This method quickly removed the top layer of the sun damaged areas. Concerning this particular job we only sanded areas we did repairs on and the crew was to follow up later with a complete sanding.
Please note this is only suitable for a quality PVC deck like Nuteak or Flexiteek. We have seen first-hand, decks of different material that did not react well to sanding. Always check a small section of your deck before committing to sanding the whole deck.
While this was not a problem on this deck, we have seen other synthetic teak decks with this problem. This is due to a bubble of air having been left under the deck upon installation. This is a reasonably easy fix if caught early.
- Make a straight cut with a sharp utility knife all the way through the synthetic teak deck along a caulking line in the centre of the bubble.
- Ensure the inside of the bubble is dry before squeezing Fixtech Fix3 glue or a similar product into the cavity around the edge of the bubble and moving inward toward the centre of the bubble.
- Push the deck down evenly from the outside of the bubble moving inwards towards your cut so excess glue will escape out of the cut.
- Once the bubble is flat wipe off the excess glue and place a piece of 6mm MDF or similar flat material over the area.
- Place a full bucket of water on the area and allow the glue to set for 2-3 days before removing the bucket.
- Sand the area with a 40 grit belt to remove excess glue.