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Talking teak decks : A 10 minutes with Jason Lee Hardy, Head of Carpentry workshop at ptw Shipyard

When it comes to superyachts, there is no denying the immense feeling of opulence a natural teak deck gives. This incredibly durable hardwood brings a touch of luxury that just can’t be matched by alternative flooring.   For centuries teak has been a firm favorite with boat builders and designers due to its incredible resistance and durable qualities.

The expert team of ptw Shipyard’s in-house Carpentry and Interiors department is located in a 1500m2 on-site workshop, where over the years they have perfected the craft of repairing and replacing superyacht teak decks.  We caught up with Jason Lee Hardy, the Head of Carpentry & Interiors, at the shipyard on his morning coffee break, and we asked him about teak decks and the full range of services his department offers clients.

How popular is teak in the superyacht industry?

For many, Jason explains, teak offers a real feel of luxury but also brings a feeling of nostalgia because this material has been used on boats and luxury yachts for centuries and will continue to be used for years to come. A teak deck always looks more luxurious than fiberglass or aluminum on a boat and can often result in a higher resale value of a superyacht.

Why is teak the wood used for boats and yachts?

Teak has a number of unique properties which makes it ideal for yachts and superyacht decks, Jason tells us.  Like other wood such as elm, ash, walnut and cherry it is a strong and durable hardwood but the oil it produces has a high wax content which provides it with a waterproof resistance, and this natural protection from moisture means it has the ability to survive in wet environments. Not only is it the most impermeable wood available, but as teak trees are grown in tropical climates this results in it being unaffected by mold and mildew so it does not rot quickly like other woods.

Furthermore, the same oils in teak that make it resistant to moisture also make it resistant to pests as well, so it is unaffected by insects, alkalis and fungus.  The overall result is an incredibly durable wood that produces a stunning and hard-wearing yacht deck.  Jason smiles when he notices my impressed look. That’s not all, he continues, due to the wood grain in teak being densely packed it produces a less slippery surface resulting in teak being a more non-slip surface than fiberglass or aluminum. It really is the ideal wood for wet boat decks.

Can you tell us what causes damage to a teak deck?

Teak decking needs care and attention to ensure a longer life.  Any of the expert carpenters that work with Jason at ptw Shipyard will tell you that teak will become worn over time from neglect, overuse and improper or excessive cleaning. Jason explains that it’s very important not to let teak decks get extremely dirty as the dirt will become ingrained and require heavy scrubbing to remove. This is exactly what you want to avoid, he explains, as you should never use hard brushes or improper cleaners as these can damage the softwood.  Likewise never use high-pressure cleaners, he advises, as these blast out the softer wood fibers leaving your teak uneven and rough. This can eventually result in having to prematurely sand the teak, something you want to try and avoid for as long as possible.

What services do ptw Shipyard’s offer for teak decks?

The in-house Carpentry team, which is led by Jason, is made up of a group of talented and creative craftsmen.  They offer an array of superyacht decking solutions which includes design and production of new decks, reproduction of existing decks, replacement of teak planks, sanding, vacuuming and re-caulking.  Their custom equipped workspace at the Tarragona shipyard can accommodate any project from simple deck panel replacement to complete replacement of a full teak deck for superyacht refit projects.

Can you give us any advice on how to maintain a teak deck?

Jason recommends that you wash teak decking regularly to ensure dirt is removed before it can become ingrained.  Always use a soft sponge or soft-bristled brush only, and a light detergent. Softly scrubbing your deck about once a week is recommended and will not wear down the teak wood. He stresses that it is important to wash the wood across the grain as washing with the grain tears the softer wood fibers out of the planks and leads to a rough surface. Be careful not to over scrub teak decking because it can also result in a rough and uneven surface.

It is best to use a single part teak cleaner or soap on teak. The in-house carpentry team also advises their clients to clean teak decking with a specialist teak deck cleaner once or twice a year.   Jason also adds that it is worthwhile to inspect the caulked seams as these can become worn over time and can result in moisture penetrating between the deck planks, so it is important to fix any worn or damaged caulking immediately.

Lastly, a deck cover will reduce the teak’s exposure to sun, wind and rain when not in use. While they may initially appear expensive, they are well worth the investment and will repay their cost several times over in the end.

When you see the final results of the teak deck projects Jason and his carpentry team have worked on, you can’t help but be amazed. There is no denying their skills and expertise, as the work they have produced is simply stunning.  Their knowledge and creativity are impressive and has resulted in satisfied customers every time.  “We are always available to talk to clients about any issues they have with their teak deck”, Jason says, “they can simply contact us here at the yard and we will happily provide them with all the assistance they need”.

Jason Lee Hardy
Head of Carpentry workshop – ptw Shipyard
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