My general feeling is that fake decking is the nautical equivalent of vinyl siding: a low-cost substitute that weathers well but will never be the aesthetic equivalent of the real thing.
That said, I must admit that Flexiteek is better than real teak in a few key ways. For one, it’s lighter. And, according to the manufacturer, it never needs to be oiled or treated. The company also says that the PVC-composite grips better underfoot when wet, which should help when the seas get rough. It’s also easy to install. Just measure, cut, glue, and smooth and you’re done. (Replacing sections is also relatively simple.)
Furthermore, the company claims that common mottles such as fish blood and red wine clean up easily. To test whether this assertion is true, I decided upon a few stainds I’d had the pleasure of cleaning in the past: transmission fluid, motor oil, and coffee. I poured each fluid onto a sample of both Flexiteek and real teak. After five minutes, I wiped off the excess with a paper towel and scrubbed the spots with a mixture of boat soap and water. When I dried the surface with a heat gun, I found that while equal exposure left the teak warm to the touch, the Flexiteek was unbearably hot. As for removing the stains, Flexiteek was the clear winner. Although it was left slightly discolored from all three items, I’d postulate it was light cleaning regiment (e.g. no detergent). The only stain that came out of the actual wood was the coffee.
Flexiteek, (954) 973-4335. .
This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.