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Old 23-07-2011, 17:18   #1
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Teak Maintenance

I couldn't find a thread on teak maintenance and wanted to ask a couple questions about teak that have been driving me nuts.

1.) What is the best way to scrub/clean teak?
I have been told to use a mild laundry detergent plus bleach or two part teak cleaner, or the store bought cleaner (some brand name sorta thing). Been rotating through and haven't formed an opinion what works the best or is the most economical.

2.) What are the advantages and disadvantages of teak oil, sealant or just not oiling or sealing at all?

From what I have read, teak oils soak into the wood, helping to replenish the natural oil. The sealants don't soak in so you may need to apply teak oil as well and then reapply sealant after two week and then every couple months after that. But the sealant will protect better from dirt, grim and all the things I despise.

3.) If you choose to oil or seal, how often do you have to? Once there is visible issues? Once every three months? Every season?

So far, I have been going with the "well, it looks good, but maybe I should coat it in oil..."

4.) I've been scrubbing and oiling all day in the hot hawaiian sun and may be delusional at this point... maybe time for a cold drink....

Thanks and kind regards,
- Nick

Edit: Forgot this link. It has been helpful.
http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/29.htm
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Old 23-07-2011, 18:12   #2
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Re: Teak Maintenance

This question is like bottom paint: it will have different answers for different locations and different lifestyles/budgets/purposes. And I am not an expert, just a(n opinionated) boat owner.

1. Scrub gently. Use the softest scrub brush you have. scrub across the grain, not with it. If you're bringing back some badly damaged, free of varnish teak, consider scraping and oxalic acid.

2. Advantages of oil/sealant/varnish/paint: reduced sun damage, and it makes the teak look pretty. Advantages of going without: not fussing with your teak. (Some of the 'grime' is actually your weathered teak. It's not picking up dirt, it's organically deteriorating and *becoming* dirt.)

3. How often if you choose to seal/oil/etc? depends on the product, exposure to sun/weather, and so on. Read the manufacturer's advice.

4. Have a cold drink. And before you get back to work, rig a shade. As soon as you finish cleaning a section, apply your finish treatment if any. There's no point in doing the work if you're going to let it immediately start getting sunburnt... and the shade will help a bit with the heat. Not much though. Have another cold drink.
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Old 23-07-2011, 18:19   #3
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Re: Teak Maintenance

sea water and a 3m pad. cleans teak better than anything else does.
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Old 23-07-2011, 18:26   #4
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Re: Teak Maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
sea water and a 3m pad. cleans teak better than anything else does.
A WHITE 3M pad. If you use a cleaner, use the Teak Decking Systems cleaner.
General Products

Do not use the deck destroying two part cleaner/brightener or bleach. Yes, those products will clean your deck, but destroy it in the process.
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Old 23-07-2011, 18:29   #5
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Re: Teak Maintenance

i said i use sea water and a green 3m pad. it doesnt remove any teak andit cleans it. i have been doing htis many yeas now. thankyou. you use a white one. ii do not use any chemicals on my teak--is unnecessary.
i do this to 110 ft of teakwood rail, as well as to my house teak. i have a LOT of teak. when i am done i OIL it and i spend only 6 hours on my millions of feet of teakwood every year.
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Old 23-07-2011, 18:38   #6
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Re: Teak Maintenance

I've not seen oil to be of much use personally. Scrub the teak with water and dishsoap, It's a mazing how dirty the water will be! as noted above a flat pad of some kind...but not a brush. If you intend to leave it unfinished, douse it with saltwater every day or two. keeps a nice patina on it.
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Old 23-07-2011, 19:05   #7
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Re: Teak Maintenance

1. Caution using bleach with any other product as Bleach and Ammonia is a Very deadly cocktail that makes Chlorine gas. It will really clean your throat and lungs.

2. Leaving teak natural was always a favored approach. Scrubed daily with sea water was the prefered best practice. It prevents splitting and looks sea worthy. Sea water help it retain moisture and actually cleans quite well. The problem today is all the teak on newer boats isn't really teak. The original teak is Asian Teak and only grows in old growth forests in SE Asia - period. The modern "teak" is grown commercially using sustainable forestry practices. It has about 1/3rd the presevative oil of Asian Teak. It's not really teak either. If a very light sand paper yields a fire engine red saw dust just below the surface of weathered wood then you know you have the real Asian Teak.

What you apply has several implications. First it has to be maintained on some cycle. For glossy products nothing beats AlwBrite (the AwlGrip folks) a three part gloss product that holds up well and lasts a long time. It is also expensive. The rest come down in price but they all need constant tending else you have to remove them to bare wood. It is the removal part that is the killer with ALL hard finishes.

Most applied finishes need several coats and as many as 5 or more. If you want Cetol the newer "natural" color looks the best and not as Orange as the original. Over real Asian Teak the original looks pretty nice but on modern wood it's far too orange looking.

Some products are easy like teak oil and should be applied about every 3 weeks because it just won't hold up and should be washed a few times per year too. There is the other extreme.

The small electric power washers work pretty good for cleaning. If you use a more powerful washer it will damage the wood surface. The small electric ones are nice for nonskid and cleaning teak. The work well on a car and your deck at home too. You need to pay attention. Spot removal with a teak cleaner after is not a bad place to start. A light sanding helps a little on older wood. It should look pretty clean before you do a first application of anything.

For an oiled look Semco is nice and comes in colors. The clear has the lowest protection value however. Water beads up on it and I don't find it slippery and I like it on my cockpit. It's the only place we have teak decking and seats. For outside rails I like Teaqua. It's a water based product and goes on fast, cleans up easy and two trips around the rail and I'm done. For me rails are a PITA to maintain and they take the most abuse. Teaqua darkens over time but comes off easily. For some of the more fancy things I use Cetol with 3 coats then 2 of gloss. Most everything I use Cetol on has covers from the sun. It does not come off easily once the finish fails.

Anything easy to apply won't last long and anything that lasts long won't come off once it start to look like crap. There really is no magic solution so find a look you like and can maintain to have the best looking boat you can be happy about.
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Old 23-07-2011, 20:03   #8
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Re: Teak Maintenance

Paul has the right idea. WE leave the toe rail (saves the knees) and the cockpit cover boards ' natural' and just wash it. That makes the coverboards less slippery. We Varnish the easy stuff. Hand rails, eyebrow strip, dorade covers. Varnish- If you have the fortitude to lay on 6 or 8 coats on the little stuff it is easy to maintain with a few coats a year.
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Old 24-07-2011, 07:24   #9
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Re: Teak Maintenance

Teak oil looks great when you apply it, but (here in the East Coast) oxidizes and turns black within 2 weeks. I clean my teak with Wisk, which works great and isn't too caustic. No problem rubbing hard. I follow that by applying Teak Guard (AllGuard Products) in the spring using a foam brush. It doesn't look quite as nice as teak oil, but isn't dull like Cetol either. The Teak Guard lasts an entire year.
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Old 24-07-2011, 07:27   #10
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Re: Teak Maintenance

teak oilonly turns black when laid on DIRT. is fine--i use it andd have brown teak, as it should be, always wash the teak before placing the oil or the look will be black. is not the oil , is the DIRTY wood.
mine is fine for YEAR. i spend 6 hours per YEAR on my teak--- ovwr 110 ft of rail, and house wood-- using sea water to wash, with a green 3m pad, and then, when visibly dry, placing teak oil on it. 6 hours per year. looks goooood and repels fresh water for 12 months.
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Old 24-07-2011, 07:40   #11
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Re: Teak Maintenance

After much trial and error, ok mostly error, I have come to using Tide with a cap of bleach if the teak is really bad and a soft scrub brush. And a toothbrush for the cracks and where the handrails meet the deck. We have tons of teak. 47 feet worth of toe rails, hand rails, cockpit combings, hatch trims, dorade boxes...

For the finish, I decided to go with AwlBrite after applying several coats of varnish over the course of 6 months and hating the amount of work it took to keep it up in the South Texas elements. If I had it to do all over again I would go with the Semco. A friend has it in the same marina and only applies 2 coats once a year. Or better yet, buy a boat without so much teak!
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Old 24-07-2011, 09:40   #12
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Re: Teak Maintenance

I think oiling teak is a crime, it looks godawful in my opinion. Leave it bare or varnish at least twelve coats. We usually do 16 coats on real Burma teak, since it takes about twelve to fill the grain. The extra four are for depth. Don't even mention the c word. It's hideous.
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Old 24-07-2011, 10:00   #13
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Re: Teak Maintenance

I think I love the brightwork threads even more than a rousting good anchor thread! I use spar varnish, on clean teak. Lots of work, a pain to keep up while lounging in the cockpit. I've been procrastinating on the teak on the new boat, so it is currently grey. Grey is a teak color too. And now, back to the "maintainence" part of the thread......
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Old 24-07-2011, 10:43   #14
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Re: Teak Maintenance

Algae, fungi, bacteria etc love oil, (yes your diesel oil too!) my understanding is that the black stuff that occurrs in some climates after oiling is these critters....?
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Old 24-07-2011, 11:17   #15
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Re: Teak Maintenance

th eblack stuff is DIRT from not cleaning it properly BEFORE applying oil. oil is not a bad thing. the inexperience and ignorance of those who try to use it without knowledge is a bad thing. sorry --oil is the traditional way of teak maintenance. has been proven for centuries. have fun.
as i said--i do mine once every year for 6 hours. i have a formosa--if you do not know what a formosa is--is a boat heavy in teak. i SAIL mine. teak loves sea water. teak does not love fresh water. teak cleans right up in sea water. doesnt need chemicals to ruin it. oil is awesome on it as it repels fresh water for a year or slightly longer and the wood stays nice and brown wood color when done properly. have to clean the DIRT or it WILL be black. BLACKIS not OXIDIZATION. SILVER GREY IS OXIDIZATION. the silver grey will turn oil black--needs to be removed. is powdered teak and silicone, which is in the wood. clean with sea water and a 3m pad of your choice of color. i use green.
such an easy job and so much is made of it. keep it simple if you wish to sail it.
if you only wish to varnish and spend time making a non-blonde wood into a blonde wood-- have fun and varnish your heart out. will take you all your life and you will not have time to sail the boat.
as i said earlier-- oil does NOT hurt teak. teak is oil. LOL.
smooth sailing.
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