Why is MarineCork more appropriate than wood teak for boat decking?
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 9:00 AM
The world is changing and the best thing to do to keep up with the times is to revise our certainties. Especially when new information shows us a different reality from our own unchangeable reality. A great truth is that cork is more suitable for boat decking than for bottles of wine. Corkscrew manufacturers and cork fans should not be hurt by this reality. As a matter of fact, many people including winemakers, think that the best wine is the one stoppered with screw or crown caps but not with cork. On the other side, with regard to boat decking, everybody will agree that cork is the best material to be used for decking.
Following you will find two methods to appreciate the comfort, suitability, pleasantness of the special MarineCork material used for boat decking by Sea & Swim Division of Sea Sace Components.
Practical method: you get on a boat provided with cork decking instead of wood teak decking; you test how you walk on it barefoot or with shoes, when the deck is wet or dry, you experience the feeling when you walk on it under the blazing sun, you see how much maintenance it requires and how it ages.
The second method is more analytical and less practical and consists in a market research to compare the the materials used to cover the boat fiberglass. Basically there are three materials available today on the market: the first is the traditional wood teak, the second one is the synthetic teak and the third one is cork. Among the three, cork is the most ecological alternative: compared to the synthetic teak, it is natural and does not imply the felling of trees but only the hulling.
Cork oaks, a type of tree which grows in the Mediterranean basin (and therefore less impacting on transportation costs), are cyclically hulled by expert barkers. In addition, unlike teak, there is no illegal cork, and in Europe it is not allowed to sell or use teak coming from Myanmar. Unfortunately, even last year, two famous English shipyards with seat in London, were accused by EIA (Environmental investigation Agency) to build yachts by utilizing illegal wood teak coming from Myanmar.
MarineCork, which is 100% natural cork, is a non-slip coating, thus representing a very stable ground for whoever walks on it when it’s wet (for this reason it can also be utilized for poolside). In addition, thanks to its weight (only 2,7Kg/mq compared to 4,5Kg/mq of a good synthetic teak and up to 9Kg/mq of a 2cm-thick natural teak), it’s perfect to be used for racing yachts (and we saw already the results at Orc World Championship in 2017 when Tp52 ZeroCould became the world champion).
Cork thermal insulating features bring double positive effects: the immediate benefit is that cork decking allows to walk on it barefoot during any season of the year and any time of the day, even under the blazing sun. Furthermore it helps to keep a constant temperature inside the boat, thus reducing the use of heating during the winter and air-conditioning during the summer. Nowadays the shipbuilding sector takes into great consideration this additional eco-friendly feature not only for the boat performance but also to safeguard the environment.
All the boat owners who were used to a teak decking, do remember very well that it is a good practice to wet the fuel tank cap in order to prevent fuel splashes or leaks from damaging the valuable decking. And also everybody knows that, when something like wine splashes, sun lotions, sandwich sauces, oil, coffee or dyes, spill on the wooden slats, it is necessary to remove the stains immediately in order to avoid permanent halos. MarineCork, being a low hygroscopic material, does not absorb liquids nor gets it stained: what you need to do, is just to rinse the stain (without soap) and forget about it! Of course, if paint spills on it, sanding will be required, but during an enjoyable day at sea, it will be rare to spill paint on the decking!
Cork is elastic and resistant, it lasts for a long time and it does not dent if heavy objects fall on it. Compared to teak, it requires less maintenance, it’s unalterable over time and it’s oil, fuel-resistant and ethyl alcohol resistant. Water, insects and rodents don’t damage it, nor is it affected by saltiness or UV rays except for the color (but Sace launched a product, Cork Protect which prevents the aging effect).
Being resistant to various substances and products, it will be enough to clean the cork surface every 10 days.
Finally, MarineCork is highly fire-resistant, it’s self-estinguishing and does not produce toxic emissions. Even in this case, a simple sanding will restore the burnt part and make it new.
Now, you are free to think of something better than cork for your decking, but if you feel like you are out of place as a dinosaur in front of a smart phone, don’t say I didn’t warn you!