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Old 30-08-2007, 10:02   #1
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The teak dilemna

Hi All, I've read with great interest the threads on treatment (or non treatment) of teak decks and topsides, but am still uncertain as to my own best course of action. I've recently purchased a teak decked steel Van de Stadt, whose decks have gone beyond the soft brushing across the grain treatment, and have elements of black and green staining. I've investigated products like the Onward Trading teak renewal 3 pack which is an acid/neutraliser/sealer, looked at Lignol teak oil and Deks Olje and I've seen some teak oils create the need for constant maintenance (not lasting a season before being back to square one or beyond) - the deck teak is three quarter inch thick and could stand some sanding/brushing, but would that open the loose fibres of the wood and cause more trouble eventually? Personally, I'd be in favour of regular soft brushing across the grain to keep the pink/white dry effect you see on superyachts, but that doesn't get red of the present stainings. Any advice greatly appreciated! Fair winds!
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Old 30-08-2007, 10:58   #2
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If you have 3/4" thickness you have a lot to work with. Without seeing it, sounds like you could do a sanding and then take a more gentle approach to maintenance.

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Old 30-08-2007, 13:21   #3
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For what its worth, my last boat was a Hallberg-Rassy 352 with teak decks. Here’s what I found:

Early on I lightly sanded a dark area of the teak deck. It looked great, but very quickly darkened again (1 week); even with some light scrubbing in between. I feel that sanding removed too much material. It isn’t worth the cost to remove dirt and did nothing to kill or prevent growth. I also tried teak cleaners in a few small areas. Don’t remember if they are acid or alkaline based, but either way they also resulted in removing much material and causing a raised grain.

An old salt gruffly said to me, “here’s what you do, son” – make a solution of 1 part Joy dish soap and 1 part bleach (I used non chlorine bleach to be a little easier on sea critters). Get the decks wet and then spread the solution with a scrub brush (lightly). Then go away. I don’t know why Joy was specified, but…

Pollution and growth (mold or mildew or ??) are the bane of teak deck aesthetics. The idea is that the soap thickens up the mix and works on the dirt, while the bleach kills the green stuff. No doubt, once the potion has been on for a day or 2 you will need to put some serious elbow grease into a moderate scrub with something like a 3M scrub pad (well short of sand paper though). Keep the water flowing so the scrubbed up dirt doesn’t dry further down the deck.

If you live in a place with an “off-season”, I would put a wash of the solution on to prevent growth (we’re in Puget Sound where mold has been known to carry away small children). Keeping the pollution off the teak is near to impossible. I’ve sailed on mega yachts that had full deck covers; maybe that’s a solution? A more practical way is to spray the deck with salt water as near to everyday as possible. Doing so doesn’t allow the pollution to settle into the wood grain as much. The salt residue left on the deck absorbs moisture so that the teak doesn’t dry and shrink as much.

And no I’ve never arrived at my boat to find the decks frothy with soap bubbles (I’ve been asked). Teak decks either look grungy, take a hell of a lot of work to keep reasonable, or cost a fortune because they were aggressively maintained and wore thin. In the end you will find equilibrium between deck maintenance and the truly therapeutic value of actually sailing your boat; or madness.
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Old 30-08-2007, 13:25   #4
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They're beautiful when newly laid but seem to be like enormous work to keep up and that may not even be possible.

I'd rather be sailing on my boat and admire YOUR teak decks.

jef
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Old 30-08-2007, 15:52   #5
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Other concerns...

I would be much more concerned about what is going on under the teak.

Any area under the teak that is salt water damp, never dries fully and has access to oxygen is going to corrode very quickly.

I would strongly recommend checking under the deck where the fastenings for the teak come through.
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Old 31-08-2007, 02:44   #6
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Thanks for the info guys! Met a man this morning that was varnishing his brightwork - seasons end here with winter approaching - when I asked why, he said "Any cracks in the wood from summer sun will be sealed today to prevent them expanding with winter frost." He had been renowned for having the best brightwork on the marina - I suddenly realised why - sort of like tipping the waiter before the meal not after, to ensure best service! Thanks again!
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Old 31-08-2007, 06:59   #7
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I have had an HR 40 for about a year and a half. I talked at length with the factory and the local broker as well as other owners about deck care.

I hose the decks down regularly. Sea water is preferred, but here in the middle Chesapeake I use fresh water to avoid pumping dirt onto my decks.

About once a month I swab (literally) the decks with a TSP solution and
hose it off.

This Fall I'll apply Boracol, a factory-recommended mildewcide. I haven't used it yet, but it does seem to have consistently good evaluations from users. Application is generally once a year.

The best looking decks I have seen avoid all "treatments" and "preservatives", particularly oils.
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Old 04-09-2007, 22:12   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
I would be much more concerned about what is going on under the teak.

Any area under the teak that is salt water damp, never dries fully and has access to oxygen is going to corrode very quickly.

I would strongly recommend checking under the deck where the fastenings for the teak come through.
Dead right. Teak over steel......... ughhhhh, been there, done that. Best way to treat the teak is to remove it from the boat and use it for kindling. Here is what you can look forward to if you keep teak on steel -
The saving of WhiteBird
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