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Teak Wood for Boat Decking: The Ultimate Choice for Durability


Creating and customizing your very own boat is an exciting process… But it can also be a stressful one! If you’re reading this, you must be at the stage of choosing a material for the decking of your boat. You’ve come to the right place. By laying out the pros and cons of using teak wood, the goal of this blog is to ease your decision-making process.

teak wood used on boat from diamond tropical hardwoods
Teak Wood on beautiful boat

Teak Wood

Teak (Tectona grandis) is a tropical hardwood tree species that is best known for its impressive durability and water resistance. It is originally golden brown in color and has a smooth grain and texture. Teak wood has a high natural oil content, primarily silica, which provides its strength and decay resistance as well as its stunning color. All of these characteristics make it a very popular choice for boats, flooring, outdoor furniture, countertops, cutting boards, and more. Learn more about teak here

Pros of Teak Wood for Boat Decking

Water Resistance

Teak wood is blessed with a very high content of silica and oil, tight grain, and high tensile strength. These factors work together to make it one of the most water-resistant hardwoods available. This, of course, is essential for boat making. Not only will teak hold up against whatever body of water it’s floating in, but it will also protect your boat from harsh weather conditions, mold, mildew, and rot. Additionally, teak has a low shrinkage ratio. This means that changes in moisture are not going to easily warp your wood.

Insect Repellent

Teak’s natural oils also make it resistant to pesky bugs. You won’t have to continually seal a teak deck to keep bugs out.

Non-Slip Surface

Alternative surfaces like aluminum or fiberglass are slippery to walk on. Because of this, oftentimes non-skid applications are necessary—but these can leave your deck feeling rough to the touch. However, because of their densely packed grain, teak decks are naturally non-slip.


One of the draws of using teak for boats is that you can customize it to best suit your needs and preferences. Teak’s stunning colors consist of light honey yellows, warm browns, and dark reds. You can choose to let these colors fade over time to a distinguished silver patina. On the other hand, you can choose to add a teak sealer for extra protection and shine. Still, you could opt for a more dull, natural look with tung oil or linseed.


Teak wood is insanely strong and durable. It is very resistant to scratches and scuffs. Additionally, though it is very strong, it is not as heavy as other hardwoods like oak, hickory, or maple.



There is strict management of ethically sourced teak’s resources. It is rare and always in demand. Its weight and density can make it difficult to work with, and it takes a toll on flooring installers' equipment. For these reasons, teak is definitely a more expensive option.


Though teak is not the heaviest of the hardwoods, it can still add a lot of weight to your boat. If you have an intense need for speed, teak may not be the best option for you.

Too Tough?

The strength of teak makes it very durable, but it also makes it difficult to work with. Equipment can easily become dull, adding time and money to the process.

Easily Stained

If you like to enjoy a glass of red wine while relaxing on your boat, keep in mind that teak can stain easily. Oil and wine are big culprits.


Teak decking on boats should be cleaned fairly frequently. It is best cleaned with a soft-bristled brush, fresh or saltwater, and a single-part cleaner.

  1. Using your soft brush, scrub the boat deck with a single-part cleaner or dish soap. Scrub lightly against the grain.

  2. Rinse well and wash often to keep residue from building up and becoming ingrained in the wood.

  3. Clean any spills immediately to prevent permanent damage.

  4. Perform light sand-outs annually. This will smooth out your teak while restoring it to its original color. Sand-outs are best when done by a professional.

  1. Two-part cleaners

  2. Stiff-bristle brushes

  3. Power washers

Where You Buy Your Teak Matters

Unfortunately, a large portion of teak sold is unethically sourced. This teak is harvested from protected forests to be sold around the world at a discount, leading to deforestation and habitat destruction. Because of this, it is very important to be mindful when choosing where to buy your teak. We recommend only buying teak that is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Learn more about our FSC certification here

At Diamond Tropical Hardwoods, our teak is 100% FSC certified with proper chain of custody certifications. It has been sustainably sourced from our plantations in Costa Rica.


Teak wood is costly and it does pose some difficulties with its weight, toughness, and vulnerability to staining. However, many buyers view it as a smart investment. They enjoy its benefits like water resistance, durability, and overall beauty. As always, it's important to weigh the pros and cons as well as consider your own unique situation before deciding if teak is right for your boat. We hope you learned something and you consider choosing us to meet your teak wood needs for your boat decking projects!


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