A Teak, Synthetic teak or NewDek Deck….Is it only taste? Or is there also a better choice?

There’s good reason why teak is so popular in the marine world. For long terms it does not only look good and timeless but it’s also low in maintenance and extremely durable. Teak however, is facing rising costs and increasing rarity. And this trend is only continuing with the aesthetic and functional benefits of teak decks remaining unbeaten by alternatives.

Unsurprisingly, this has created a recent boom in the market of synthetic teak which is generally regarded as actually quite good and other possibilities as for example NewDek.

Let’s look at those 3 options and compare them…..when will a NewDek Deck be more interesting than a traditional classic teak deck of Synthetic? Are there just as there are loads of different boats also loads of different choices for your deck?

Cost

Many different manufacturers make synthetic teak, so price varies depending on where you go. Generally however, it’s safe to call synthetic decking around 30-50% cheaper than real teak. On a large deck, this can make a substantial difference and allow for the saved cash to be invested elsewhere on the yacht.

The price of genuine teak reflects its rarity and desirability, which alone will make it worth the cost to many owners. They say that «The younger crowd purchases teak; each piece shows originality, it smells amazing, looks classy, and enriches your boat.»

NewDek is new on the market it’s hard to compare with any of those 2 above. NewDek is made of cell EVA foam, a high-resistance and flexible material. It’s a foamy composition. It makes it in price the way most cheapest option of these 3. The material NewDek Teak or Grey is a €115,- a meter. This is exclusive making plantillas, digitalizing and installing NewDek)

Function

Of course, all 3 genuine teak, the synthetic kind and NewDek are just as ‘functional’ as each other, in that all serve as perfectly stable surfaces on which to walk.

It’s all in the subtleties though; like its surface temperature during long periods of sun exposure, synthetic decks and NewDek work less here in the Mediterranean as they get hot in the sun. Some manufacturers have pale colours to help overcome this, but still they still get really hot.

Genuine teak maintains an acceptable temperature on the surface. Genuine teak is also praised for its general non-slip quality even when wet, although synthetic PVC-based teak is often regarded as having even more grip and can provide a very solid footing, also when wet.

NewDek, Customers report that the material is comfortable, providing just the right amount of cushioning for safe and comfortable exercise, play, and work. The material’s softness means it lessens fatigue from long periods of standing. EVA foam also absorbs noise – an added bonus for a weight room or work room. Mats have good grip, so they won’t slide across slick floors. EVA foam is easy to clean and is resistant to chemicals, making it ideal for sweaty gyms or play rooms. It is highly weather resilient and has low water absorption, so it can withstand spills, wet feet, and messy pets. Parents like that the material is nontoxic, and BPA free, as well as soft for falls.

Aesthetics

Synthetic teak decking can come very close in appearance and texture to the real thing, if you are not the expert you won’t see the difference. Synthetic teak isn’t always going for the real look, though, and with anything manufactured comes a certain level of creative freedom.

Synthetics however — whilst created and therefore not bound by whatever nature gives us — can have issues not found on its genuine brother. There have been reports of bubbling in synthetic teak decks as a result of adhesive gassing or trapped air bubbles. An experienced installer will be able to avoid this issue, but it remains an issue without any real-teak victims.

NewDek is a product where you will see the difference. NewDek manufactures Auto-adhesive sheets 5mm wide bicolor and brushed finished. Available in 2 colors: Brown-Black and Grey-Black. And has a high creative freedom. The sheets are printed. Logos can be printed in your deck in no time where ever you want. Issues are not yet clear. It’s a new product. But because it’s a Easy to install as it is an auto-adhesive product. We can imagine it can react also like synthetic teak, adhesive gassing and the wear and tear of this product will be higher then the other 2.

Environmental Impact

Teak, due to its unique and attractive properties, is in high demand and short supply.

On the issue of sustainability, there are many questions about the sustainability of teak production, as most of the teak used in yacht production is from natural forest growth principally from Burma. The problem is that the yachting community has a decade-old expectation of teak quality, and many yacht owners will only accept teak in long lengths with perfectly straight grain.

Such timber can only be produced by felling very old, naturally grown rainforest trees, which are  sometimes hundreds of years old, and are becoming more and more scarce as the last natural stands of forest are depleted. It is not renewable in the short term, since each tree needs decades of growth.

Synthetic teak has its own environmental qualms with its use of PVC; a substance that by its very nature isn’t particularly sustainable as it uses oil and chlorine in its production, two substances not particularly known for their ‘green’ status. However, this is often put against the fact that a synthetic deck will normally last for decades before needing replacing.

NewDek is made of cell EVA foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) EVA Foam is a soft, yet durable polymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate commonly used in flooring. The material is commonly used to manufacture flip-flops as it is soft without being sponge like.  One of the reasons EVA is superior to PVC in regards to health and environmental impacts is that it does not require the addition of chlorine (which leads to the generation of dioxin, a highly persistent carcinogen) and it doesn’t require plasticizers (like BPA or phthalates). However how long it will last on your deck we can’t give you an awnser to that. It won’t last as long as teak or synthetic teak and for that it will have a higher environmental impact.

Maintenance

One of the reasons teak got so popular in the first place is its resistance to the elements, and its natural oils that fight off algae and mould. It need only be cleaned with salt-water and rarely needs much further maintenance. Sunlight will cause teak to lighten to that ‘silvery grey’ that we all recognise. This is often the desired appearance of a teak deck and many will recognise a ‘fake’ deck from a mile away by its colour alone.

Despite the relative ease with which real teak can be properly maintained, that hasn’t stopped manufacturers of the synthetic varieties boasting of its almost complete lack of necessary maintenance. Synthetic teak has «very good resistance to heavy loads and blows.»

The caulking of a teak deck will require separate attention; bad or ill-maintained caulking can cause a host of problems, though an experienced installer will be privy to this and know how to avoid the issues.

Last but not least to think about, if you want to have your teak deck not the grey we all see on real teak decks but the new red teak colour you will have to clean and seal your deck every half year.

With NewDek we do not yet have experiences with long lasting decks. It’s UV resistance, has a low water absorption and easy to clean as they say.

In conclusion

Whether you choose to fit a deck with real teak or synthetic teak, chances are you’re going to be happy with your decision. These two options offer numerous benefits with few in the way of downsides.

Real teak on a boat is a very beautiful thing. It has taken a long time for the wood to grow and be selected. When an experienced woodworker gets his hands on it, it becomes art. Old growth teak is used because of the natural oil content, a natural preservative helping repeal saltwater and natural elements like the sun.

When Synthetic Decking came around there was a lot to be desired, over the years the consumer has voiced opinions causing the manufacturers to produce a more natural synthetic look. I personally love the look of a real teak deck, but would desire the maintenance of a synthetic.»

Those more appreciative of naturally occurring materials will enjoy the natural qualities of teak, along with the sound knowledge that the real stuff is always going to be more impressive on your yacht.

Synthetic teak offers benefits from a cost and maintenance point of view, and can be more easily sculpted. You can call the synthetic stuff: easier.

And If you are talking about easy, fast result for a shorter term of time and a low budget even NewDek could be a good solution. With his Auto Adhesive sheets the installation is done in a day where the installation of teak or synthetic teak will take a large installation time.

Any questions we have all material in our shop and all projects you can also see on boats in our area!

Hope to see you soon in our shop!

Un Saludo,

Patrick y Brenda
Carpintero Naval Patrick Klee