Is Wood Good?

Flexiteek Decking: Fake wood that looks good

To see if Flexiteek - a synthetic substitute for real teak I've admired aboard many test boats - wears as good as it looks, I glued a 3-foot-by-3-foot swatch of the stuff onto a fiberglass panel. I screwed this to my dock, and then I let Mother Nature do her thing for months. Soap and water cleaned up all but the oil I sloshed on, which required a light sanding with 80-grit paper. It also stood up to pressure washing without losing its appearance. The downside? Flexiteek is hot on bare feet.

As an example of cost, Flexiteek runs $5,762 on Four Winns' V338 cruiser, whereas real teak sets you back $6,050. Do-it-yourself installations aren't recommended, but handy boaters can handle it, or you can have a boatyard do the work. Flexiteek provides the teak look with easier maintenance.

Price: starts at $45 per square foot. 954-973-4335; www.flexiteek.com