In recent years New Zealand trailer-boat manufacturers have really embraced alternative decking materials, using them for cockpit floors, side and foredecks, non-slip areas and steps. Some products can be supplied pre-cut to fit a specific vessel or model in a range, and many come with adhesive backing, making them super-easy to apply; others are easy to cut and fit in situ using suitable glues.
Like traditional teak, the majority of alternative deck materials can be applied to aluminium as well as fibreglass and wooden boats. Aluminium boatbuilders in particular have really embraced the new deck coverings.
These two manufacturers are among many Kiwi boat builders offering alternative deck coverings that provide improved aesthetics and underfoot comfort, along with excellent grip, wet or dry. EVA in particular is being used on gunwales, swim platforms, sidekicks and steps, as well as in cockpits and on foredecks.
New-wave deck materials can be divided into three broad categories: natural wood (including teak and manufactured wood-composite products); PVC (polyvinyl chloride) products; and closed-cell foam products, either PE (polyethylene) or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate).
Manufactured wood-composite products have many of the same properties as real teak, but are cheaper to buy and easier to lay. They can be supplied prefabricated.
PVC decking is virtually impervious to chemicals and solvents, is lighter and harder wearing than natural timber, comes in a variety of colours, and can be engineered to look like real teak with a wood-grain finish.
Closed-cell-foam deck materials come in a multitude of colours and patterns. They can be cut to any shape, and supplied pre-cut or in sheet form with or without adhesive backing. A great DIY option, they’re non-absorbent, soft on the feet, hard wearing and non-slip. Most can be washed using soap and water or non-acid household cleaners such as Simple Green.
An attractive natural wood product made in the China from PVC, it has many of the traditional teak decking’s attributes with few of the disadvantages. Requiring minimal maintenance, it’s cheaper than teak and less fiddly to lay. The material can be supplied pre-cut to fit a specific vessel.
Main features: High durability in the demanding marine environment; cool underfoot; excellent non-skid, especially when wet; easy to clean; prefabricated and finished; environmentally sustainable; cheaper than teak; traditional and free-deck designs.
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