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Old 26-12-2014, 12:14   #1
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The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Three years ago I "discovered" an exterior finish that I am absolutely sold on. I replaced the roof on our gazebo and did a lot of other trim work around the house when a local paint store recommended Defy Extreme Stain. I had tried practically everything else and they all failed quickly so, what the heck?



The product was applied to the cedar trim in the picture above three years ago. I have done nothing to it since. I have since used Defy on all the exterior cedar we've replaced or added around the house and it looks just as good as when new.

Instructions are pretty simple, rough sand to about 80 grit, apply the first coat, then apply the second coat before the first dries - wet on wet. That's what I did to the wood in the pic above and on all the other wood since. It's worked great.

So I got to thinking, since Defy is designed for decks, has been practically bullet proof and it requires a slightly rough surface to apply, why couldn't it be used for marine decks too?

I don't know if the manufacturer has ever tested it in the marine environment but from my experience, I can't see how it could do any damage. The stuff is supposed to wear away over time, kind of like bottom paint, and you just come back and make another application. It sure seems a lot better than scrubbing the fibers away or sanding. And since it requires a slightly rough surface for application, and when dried isn't slick at all, it seems like it should work.

Defy has a watery consistency and can therefore be easy to splash onto adjoining surfaces so you'd probably have to cover whatever you don't want it on. I've gotten it on my skin and it's survived a week of showers before I had to scrub it off. But that watery consistency assures it gets into every cell in the wood and may be why it has worked so well.

What do you think?
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Old 26-12-2014, 12:21   #2
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Teak decks don't need any "finish", and certainly not one preceded by sanding with 80# sandpaper . Just pour buckets of seawater over them as often as you can; they take care of themselves.
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Old 26-12-2014, 17:45   #3
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

But you know practically everyone wants their teak decks looking new. And the only way to do that is either scrub it or sand it. Either way, you shorten the life of your deck.

We've seen teak decks that have been scrubbed and/or sanded until there's almost nothing left. What would the owners have done to them if the decks kept that new look instead of turning grey? That's what Defy does, it stops the greying and seals the wood.

And 80 grit is no problem on the feet. I'd rather walk a deck that's been sanded to 80 grit than 180 or 240 grit. It's a lot safer.

What I don't know is how Defy reacts to salt water. The wood in the picture has seen three years of Chicago weather. Just add salt.
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Old 26-12-2014, 18:19   #4
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

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Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
But you know practically everyone wants their teak decks looking new. And the only way to do that is either scrub it or sand it. Either way, you shorten the life of your deck.

We've seen teak decks that have been scrubbed and/or sanded until there's almost nothing left. What would the owners have done to them if the decks kept that new look instead of turning grey? That's what Defy does, it stops the greying and seals the wood.

And 80 grit is no problem on the feet. I'd rather walk a deck that's been sanded to 80 grit than 180 or 240 grit. It's a lot safer.

What I don't know is how Defy reacts to salt water. The wood in the picture has seen three years of Chicago weather. Just add salt.
Well, of course, everyone has the right to do whatever he or she pleases with his or her own teak decks

But I would suggest that trying to make teak decks look anything other than their natural silvery grey color is a futile exercise. Teak is an unusual wood -- it is made up of alternating layers of very hard and very soft material. It breathes and is basically impossible to "seal" unless you encase it in epoxy or something.

Sanding teak decks is bad because the pithy soft part wears down and is then protected by the higher hard parts. If you sand down the higher hard parts, then the pithy soft parts start to wear all over again, and soon you don't have any thickness left. Besides that, if you sand them down, you disturb the caulk joints and usually will have to do them over -- a colossal job.

If you don't mess with them, they last a very long time. Mine are 13 years old and are almost perfect. They even survived a stupid crewman's having spilled a bucket full of dirty motor oil on them , and you can't even see now where it happened.

If you do mess with them in any way, you start various vicious cycles of different interventions, and will inevitably shorten their lives. Oiling them causes dirt to be attracted to them, instead of being shed as teak in its natural state miraculously does (even dirty motor oil), which means you have to keep stripping off the old dirty oil and re-oiling them. You can "brighten" them using a chemical favored by power boaters (usually oxalic acid), but then they look blotchy after half a season, so you have to keep using it, and soon you have to replace the decks, because the acid destroys the pithy part of the teak every time you use it. Replacing the teak decks is usually the most expensive single thing you can do to your boat, more expensive even than repowering.

Teak decks are also destroyed, amazingly quickly, by brushes, and even by strong streams of water like from hose nozzles. It rips the pithy part right out of them.

If you just don't mess with them in any way, they will look beautiful for a very long time. They do need the salt water, however -- the salt attracts water and keeps them moist. They don't like to get too dried out. You hardly even need to wash them, even -- in their natural state, they repel and shed dirt. I wash mine, at most, three or four times a year. People are amazed at how much easier they are to take care of, than plain gel-coated decks.
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Old 26-12-2014, 19:44   #5
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

You make a lot of sense, but from what I seen, you are a rarity. I've seen videos by "experts" where the "expert" shows you how to scrub your deck with the grain using a hard bristle brush. At least he rinsed it with salt water.

If I lived near the ocean, I take some of the teak out of my shop and run a test with the Defy. Maybe I'll run a test in the back yard for the remainder of the winter. It's worked great on cedar, but I know that's a very different wood.
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Old 27-12-2014, 00:37   #6
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Post Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
If I lived near the ocean, I take some of the teak out of my shop and run a test with the Defy. Maybe I'll run a test in the back yard for the remainder of the winter. It's worked great on cedar, but I know that's a very different wood.
Sea Salt's not particularly expensive (unless you buy the gourmet, cooking type, flown in from Brittany). So you could always mix up you own batches of "Ocean" at home, & dunk, soak, or douche the treated boards several times a week. That is, if you wanted a test that'd be a little bit closer to a "real one". And part of me putting "real one" in quotes is that while you might get the salt content of the water correct @ home, it'd still be missing all of the micro organisms & other things in the Sea, proper.
But it's worth a shot.
That, and or send some to Practical Sailor to try out in their next varnish/teak treatments comparison test.

PS: Late Breaking idea. Use some low strength Silicone to "re-tile" you shower/bathtub floor. Make up an industrial sized salt shaker to keep in the bathroom, & sprinkle the boards liberally before & after every shower.
Albeit, yes, there's the whole soap & shampoo issue, so I suppose you could test the substance this way, as well as the outdoor option delineated above. I can't much see as to how either, or both would hurt though. Especially if you treat some of the boards with a (known & documented) "control" coating.
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Old 27-12-2014, 07:39   #7
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

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That, and or send some to Practical Sailor to try out in their next varnish/teak treatments comparison test.
I sent them an email and suggested testing Defy. Let's see if they do.

No doubt the organisms in sea water can't be duplicated in my back yard. The Wood Handbook makes no mention of how teak interacts with micro-organisms, only saying "the heartwood has excellent dimensional stability and a very high degree of natural durability." Maybe "natural durability" includes tiny buggers.

The Wood Handbook also says teak changes color upon exposure to air. But the teak I have in my shop I've had for years and it still has a rich warm brown color. I suspect UV exposure is a big factor in greying.

If I had some teak caulking I'd make up a mini deck but all I have is black silicone sealant. I'll see what I can come up with for the test.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:39   #8
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

We use semco on our teak. Its a lot like Thompsons seal or like the Defy product you mention above. We need to reapply every two or three months but looks great, you do not need to sand it, and it keeps dirt at bay.

It absorbs into the grain instead of water I suppose, the teak just sucks it up. In any case, it goes on super easy with a water-like consistency and I can treat my entire toe rail in about an hour. I imagine your experience will be the same.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:40   #9
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Any kind of finish will ruin the non skid properties of the teak. Finishing a teak deck in any way is madness.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:47   #10
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
But you know practically everyone wants their teak decks looking new. And the only way to do that is either scrub it or sand it. Either way, you shorten the life of your deck.

We've seen teak decks that have been scrubbed and/or sanded until there's almost nothing left. What would the owners have done to them if the decks kept that new look instead of turning grey? That's what Defy does, it stops the greying and seals the wood.

And 80 grit is no problem on the feet. I'd rather walk a deck that's been sanded to 80 grit than 180 or 240 grit. It's a lot safer.

What I don't know is how Defy reacts to salt water. The wood in the picture has seen three years of Chicago weather. Just add salt.

You sanded all that wood? If you have all that energy, why worry about what you should do with your decks. get a piece of teak and put some defy on it the leave it in the sun with salt water and see what happens
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:50   #11
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

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Any kind of finish will ruin the non skid properties of the teak. Finishing a teak deck in any way is madness.
This. Don't apply a finish on your deck.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:51   #12
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

I seem to remember that a long, long time ago, around when Adam was a lad, that the recommended way of beautifying a teak deck was to rub it down with a pumice stone (not sandpaper because of aforementioned soft and hard bits) and then apply teak oil. Results, (assuming you had the time, patience and money) were usually great.


Care had to be taken not to smear the caulking when using the pumice. This usually meant scraping out the old caulking (a special type for teak decks) and then re-caulking after the teak oil had been applied.


Love the look of well maintained teak decks, but oh the work, cost and eventual leaks are probably not worth it.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:56   #13
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Applying teak oil makes them attract and hold dirt.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:59   #14
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

Ah but (as my daughter used to tell me) Terra, that's where the sluicing with sea water comes in.


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Old 27-12-2014, 09:04   #15
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Re: The Perfect Finish For Teak Decks?

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I sent them an email and suggested testing Defy. Let's see if they do.

No doubt the organisms in sea water can't be duplicated in my back yard. The Wood Handbook makes no mention of how teak interacts with micro-organisms, only saying "the heartwood has excellent dimensional stability and a very high degree of natural durability." Maybe "natural durability" includes tiny buggers.

The Wood Handbook also says teak changes color upon exposure to air. But the teak I have in my shop I've had for years and it still has a rich warm brown color. I suspect UV exposure is a big factor in greying.

If I had some teak caulking I'd make up a mini deck but all I have is black silicone sealant. I'll see what I can come up with for the test.

The grey is just dirt attracted to the natural oils in the wood, if you scrub the teak with spic'n span you will see the dirt flow off with the rinse. never apply so called teak oil. in the Navy they holy stone teak to clean and smooth the decks. but, the teak is 5/4s and they can replace it if needed.if you look at the mega yachts, the teak is always the natural teak color due to the paid crew caring for them. salt water does the same as fresh water, rinses off the dirt.
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