If you are considering renewing your boat teak and are not sure whether to install new teak wood or using synthetic teak, then this post is for you. I’ll go through the process of old (wooden) teak removal and installation of a synthetic one. If I did it, then you can do it!
Bolero only has teak in the cockpit floor, cockpit seats, and in the stern. After 20+ years, it’s expected the teak to be in fairly bad conditions, although it will depend largely on how well it was maintained, the climate where the boat was stored/moored and, of course, how good the teak was.
Luckily, the previous owner had already replaced the teak in the cockpit seat, while the floor is still in fairly good conditions being most of the time in the shade of the bimini. So, the only place that needed to be replaced was the teak in the stern.
First of all, I purchased a multi-purpose tool. I opted for the Black & Decker MT300SA2-QS model, but I’m sure there are plenty of good models also from other manufacturers. After using it for some month, I can only recommend any boat owner to invest some money and get a multi-purpose tool as it has the power to make many tough jobs way easier.
The scraper function is all you need to properly remove the old teak. Make sure you control the speed of the oscillations so that you can get used to the tool. You want to work horizontally in order to avoid damaging the gelcoat below. It took me 2 to 3 hours to remove the teak from the stern.
The good news here is that braking is always easier than fixing: removing the old teak turned to be an easier task that I expected. All you have to be worried about is not to damage the gelcoat. Make sure you stay off the edges when you use the scraper.
I noticed that some parts were coming off very easily, while others required some extra work: it will mainly depend on how good the adhesion of the sealant used with the old teak was and whether the wood was rotten. The worst the state of the teak, the easier it will be to take it apart.
What you need to buy/have
All you need to do the job is:
- Acetone (and a rag);
- Transparent resistant plastic films;
- A marker;
- A ruler;
- A good cutter;
- Tubes of black UV resistant sealant (here you have a wide choice, I used Rotabond 2000, just because I had some left from a previous DIY);
- Silicone gun;
- A spatula/dough cutter to distribute evenly the sealant on the surface;
- Mask tape;
- Dish soap;
- Single-use plastic gloves;
- Kitchen paper;
- Weight (I used diving weights);
From Amazon.es I purchased a 240 x 90 cm roll of dark brown Zerone Eva Teak: the product has all sort of positive reviews and its price was attractive (69€ delivered). Without hesitating too much, I decided to give it a go.
Installing the synthetic teak (aka EVA teak)
The EVA teak comes all nicely rolled-up, the first thing you want to be doing is unrolling it and place some weight on it to make it flat. Leave it overnight.
Follow these steps to prepare the surface and get the EVA pieces ready to be sealed to the deak:
- Place the plastic film on the top of the place where you are going to install the teak;
- Mark the perimeter of the area. Take into account that you will fill the edge with the black sealant: you want to have a maximum 5mm black border;
- Now place the trimmed plastic film on the top of the EVA teak, stick it with some tape and use the ruler to cut straight lines with the cutter. For rounded shape, use any sort of support that can help you cut nicely rounded shapes;
- Mask the edges of the trimmed pieces with some tape. In my case, I noticed that the blue tape didn’t ensure good adhesion. The paper tape seemed to work better;
- Mask also the edges of the place where you will be applying the pieces as you don’t want any black sealant to mess up your new teak or white gelcoat.
It’s now time to stick all the pieces you have cut:
- Wear gloves and clean up the surface using acetone and a rag,
- Apply the black sealant and distribute it evenly with the spatula. You want to have a well-covered surface. The EVA teak I purchased came with a self-adhesive glue. I preferred to add anyway the black sealant to ensure a good adhesion as I don’t want to repeat the same task in a few years;
- Place the teak on the top and apply pressure to make sure there is good contact between the teak and the gelcoat;
- Add extra sealant all around the perimeter, and use your finger to apply a smooth and constant pressure on it. I normally put a drop of dish soap on the finger to make it smoother. You should go around the edge in one go without pulling the finger off;
- Take the masking tape off and position the weights on the top of the teak.
- Let it dry and enjoy!
The manufacturer states that “As a foam material, EVA has good cushioning, impact resistance, heat insulation, moisture resistance and chemical resistance, no absorption. It is easy to clean, it can be washed with water or vacuum cleaner“.
It’s too early for me to tell you how this synthetic teak compares with the traditional “natural” one, I’ll update the post in the future in case of any negative surprise. So far, I really like how it looks.
If you have any question or feedback, please leave your comment in the section below!