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Old 07-10-2014, 12:04   #1
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Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

so the 40+ year old teak interior panels in my Tartan 30 (cabin top, bulkheads etc.) are showing their age. I have 3 choices:
  1. It's good enough, don't worry about it
  2. Sand and refinish (oil? varnish?) the teak
  3. Paint the teak gloss white
I'm leaning toward option 3 for several reasons: it's easier than Option 2, and it will brighten up the cabin. And everything's still trimmed in teak and I'd keep that natural.

So what do you say fellow boaters? Blasphemy? Sacrilege? Will you turn up your noses at my boat and say mean things about me behind my back? Anyone else done this and happy with the decision?
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:09   #2
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

If it's ply... not blasphemy! However if it's not perfectly smooth now, the white wont be perfect either and will take a lot of prep. Sanding ply to refinish teak you might very well end up breaking thru in spots and then it will never look right. So go easy with that.
It's a pretty big job and messy too, dust, drips, waiting in humid weather for proper curing of the paint...
I'm leaning toward option 1 on and old boat, or a quick and dirty re varnish/light sanding.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:15   #3
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Your boat, your choice.

What difference does it make what we think?

Really.

I like plain teak. Many like varnish down below, but I hate it.

If you paint it white, add a touch of blue to it, per Lin & Larry.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:21   #4
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Really your choice! You have to live below. Me- I like my nice satin varnished cabinets and bulkhead - full time liveaboard and like the warmth look of it
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:29   #5
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

As other have said, your boat. I wouldn't paint it though, that's sort of permanent and I would think hurt re-sale.
Good, bright interior lights of the right color temp will go a long way towards brightening the interior, especially with winter coming, God I hate winter.

Oh and like has already been said, you may think it's perfectly smooth, until you paint it gloss white, then every imperfection will show.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:37   #6
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

It'll definitely brighten up the interior, and where you are... Though the question arises, will it make the interior look like a Clorox bottle? It might help if you could post some pics of how she looks now. And are you talking about doing the whole interior, or just selected spots to brighten things up?

Also, given your climate, how tough will it be to get a good finish on paint this time of year, with the temps & dampness? It's something to ponder on, & perhaps test out on a spare piece of wood or in an area which is rarely seen.

That said, if you do decide to paint it, there's an old trick. Put on enough Varnish to seal things, & get it smooth, then add 3-4 coats on top of that prior to painting. That way, if you ever decide to strip the paint it'll be one heck of a lot easier to get all of the paint off. Plus, if/when you sell her, you can take her back to teak for that traditional look. And nothing sells like something "shiny".
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:59   #7
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

IMO, do not do it. Try putting bright wraps on your cushions, or adding some new led strip lighting. Anything but paint the teak.

Of course, if the teak is veneer and not salvageable, why not?
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Old 07-10-2014, 13:31   #8
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Many older boats look "dirty" and dark when the teak panels get stained (usually water drips) or simply dirty with time and old varnish.

My view is that the boat should please the owner. So, if a lighter surface (white paint) would please you more (e.g. lightening the interior), then paint it.

About 2 months ago a new member of this forum posted photos of the multicolored paint job done on an old 1960s era boat (actually a 1968 Allied Luders). The transformation was remarkable, as the interior looked brighter (light pastel blues mostly) and more "modern" than the previously darker wood tones in the saloon and head and cabin. She posted before/after photos that show the transformation. Here is a link to that topic on this forum. You will see just one or two of her photos in that discussion, but there are more on her own site. Share Your Interior <27 Feet

I often like the warm look of teak paneling, when it is well done, but I also like the lighter look of white painted interiors OVER the dark "cave" look of some older boats (that may have few and smaller deadlights or port lights or few hatches). I also think some boats put "just a little" teak in a boat (such as one bulkhead) and that it looks "cheap" and out of place. A full-on teak interior can look wonderful, or it can look dark and enclosing.
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Old 07-10-2014, 14:21   #9
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

In the interest of full disclosure, I just shelled out the cash for real teak for my cabin sole so, I am clearly biased.

1. Give a good hard scrub with white vinegar and water (3:1) and if it gets close enough to a point where you are happy with it, wipe it down with WaterLox (kinda like tongue oil w/ lacquer).

2. You already know this is the right decision if not for the associated level of effort. Again, use WaterLox.

3. I agree with Ceech, this will never look great and you would be lucky if it ended up looking good. If you want a white headliner, adhere either a white laminate or painted 1/4" ACX or Maple (bead board) plywood directly to the existing headliner.

I do understand what you are saying about the cabin being too dark (mine is all mahogany and teak). To brighten mine, I resprayed all the gelcoat with AwlGrip's San Mateo Wheat.

-steve
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Old 07-10-2014, 14:47   #10
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Thanks for the advice all. You're right, I really need to provide a better description and post pictures.

The stock Tartan 30 interior has mostly white panels, headliner and cabinet fronts already, with solid teak trim. The surfaces I'm talking about painting are the bulkheads and cabin top around the ports. I'm not sure if these areas are solid teak or plywood.

Here's a couple pictures of my T30. This one shows the port bulkhead beside the mast:


And this one shows the cabin top around the ports:


But your points are well taken regarding the prep work needed for those teak surfaces if I expect that white paint to look nice. Just cleaning and treating the teak would likely be less total work. ssanzone, thanks much for the advice on cleaning and Waterlox. I'll may give that a go.
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Old 07-10-2014, 14:59   #11
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Looks like it maybe the original finish. I had a Tartan 30 also, I sprayed Tilex on it and wiped it down with paper towels wish really cleaned it up well. Did a very light sand a put Watco oil on it and it looked great and it was very quick and easy work. Updating the interior fabric etc. can really lighten up the interior as well on these boats.

I think the more that you can maintain the boat in it's original condition with updated fabric etc. the better you will be when it comes time to sell.

That's my 2 cents worth.
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Old 07-10-2014, 15:06   #12
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Your boat and you have to live with it but I wouldn't paint over teak.

And if you do but don't like the results you will be
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Old 07-10-2014, 15:18   #13
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

Looking at your pictures, I am not sure how much brighter you are expecting your cabin to be...

You have a lot of 'white' exposed gelcoat and a pretty bright cabin already.

If the white vinegar does not get it where you want it to be, try murphy's or one of those citrus products.

If you decided to paint, you would either have to pull the ports (re-bedding is a pain) or cut around them which never seems to look very good.

I love Seattle so... send me a plane ticket and I will come consult in person!

:P

-steve
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Old 07-10-2014, 15:45   #14
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

You already have a lot of white in there and just enough teak to add warmth. I would suck it up and clean and oil/varnish the teak.

Another way to look at it, teak is a disappearing resource. There won't always be teak so maybe taking care of it to last for another 40 years is just good stewardship. Think about it this way- a tree died for that.
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Old 07-10-2014, 15:45   #15
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Re: Painting interior teak; sacrilege?

You bring up a great point ssanzone, I just removed, cleaned up, and rebedded all the ports last summer. Good God what a PIA that was. No WAY I"m pulling those ports out again!

... and let's negotiate on this offer to fly up here to help me. Tell you what, I'll pay your round trip airfare if you clean, sand and oil all my teak, inside and out, and redo all the anti-skid on the decks. And maybe throw in an oil change and acid flush of the A-4 too. Deal?
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