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Old 01-27-2015, 01:39 AM   #1
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What do you put on your decks

A revamp of a well trodden discussion here!

Having spent years as a professional charter and private yacht skipper, I vowed and declared that on my boat, I would let all the teak go a weathered grey and be done with it.

However, after two years of that grey look, the need to take pride in my teak has resurfaced. Firstly reason is simple ascetics, nothing makes a boat look cleaner than well maintained teak, and second is the fact that my main decks are reaching the end of their life so this last revamp is a final push to maintain the teak for as long as possible.

In the past on crewed boats, it was always easy to maintain the teak decks with nothing more than weekly cross grain scrubbing, and an oxalic acid scrub every couple of months. But the 'crew' is the important point here.

This time around, because the crew consist of just me, I am using the products available to me in my location in an effort to reduce ongoing labor.

Welcome To Teak Wonder

Anyone ever used it?
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:50 AM   #2
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The thing to keep in mind is the only way to return teak to a golden color is to remove the weathered gray cells on top. And wood that goes away never comes back.

I was associated with a 120-foot corporate yacht for awhile. The use of the yacht required the teak decks to be maintained in the fresh teak color of golden brown at all times. To do this, the crew used several teak cleaners/restorers. Chemicals accomplish the exact same thing as sandpaper only cleaners/restorers do it chemically instead of mechanically. In each case, wood cells are removed.

The serviceable life of the decks on this yacht was ten years, at the end of which the deck planking was replaced with new at a cost of a couple hundred thousand dollars (the cost to replace the teak deck on a Grand Banks 36 is about $30,000 and that was in 2003 or so when we looked into it). The cost of replacing the yacht's deck was factored into its operating cost and was done as a matter of course.

So the question you have to ask yourself is how long do you want your teak deck to last? Because wood cells that go away will never come back, and the only way to keep that deck brown is to remove the gray cells.

That oxalic acid scrub, by the way, is one of the absolute worst things one can do to a teak deck in terms of preserving its longevity outside of flat out sanding Not only does it remove lots of wood cells, it can attack the deck seam adhesiveness and promote seam separation that is the number one cause of moisture getting under the teak and thus down into the deck core.

The teak deck on our boat is now 43 years old. It's been over-sanded by previous owners but it's still serviceable, barely. Given the cost of replacing a teak deck, we have gone to great pains to learn as much about the proper care and feeding of teak decks from expert shipwrights as well as teak deck companies including TDS, the leader in teak deck manufacturing and installation. What I have relayed above is done of what I have leaned from these folks over the years.

The only smart way to maintain a tear deck in its golden brown color is to keep it totally protected from the weather including UV light. In other words, keep it inside a dark boathouse. The flying bridge deck on our boat is under a full flying bridge cover year round, and we almost never use the flying bridge. We've had the boat 16 years so far, and the flying bridge deck is still brown-ish. Just by being under a Sunbella cover almost all the time.
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
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The only smart way to maintain a tear deck in its golden brown color is to keep it totally protected from the weather including UV light. .

Thanks for your feedback Marin and you are absolutely correct, but I use my boat year round, and don't keep it covered all the time. Even with covers on certain parts, the wood degrades, so I am looking at products I have not tried in the past to see if I can prevent UV and dirt from graying the timber.

So, 1 vote for keeping the teak covered.

Anyone else tried the product Teak Wonder?

p.s. I am referring to decks only here, not handrails etc.
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:41 AM   #4
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I used to use Teak Wonder but so long ago I would be afraid to say it was the same product.

It used to mildew down in South Florida like everything else.

I liked the color better than most oils....but it also lasted less than a few months for good protection as it really didn't build, but it did apply easily.

If it has linseed oil in it...skip it as that oil is prone to mildew.

But like I said first.....haven't used it in 25 years.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:58 AM   #5
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We've had teak decks going on ten years. We only clean them with salt water and a VERY VERY soft brush. Actually something soft without bristles to dig in is better. It'll get them back to color, after a few times, and then keep them there. No hard scrubbing! Hose them down well, before and after with nothing but salt water. We usually do this every month or two. Black water runoff is good, if it has little brownish specks, that's wood pulp, you're going too hard on the surface.

Optionally we use TSP but no more than once a year, and many we've skipped altogether.

The above assumes you're starting of with new teak. If you're inheriting teak that the softer wood has been gouged out it'll work better if you sand it first. But it will still work even if you don't.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:56 AM   #6
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By the way, the two photos are after sanding the deck to remove the gouges. I have then applied a coat of Teak wonder (a few more to follow). It applies dark, and dries like there is nothing on the teak at all.

Thanks for the comment so far, I will keep you posted as to whether this stuff works.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:58 AM   #7
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My vote is for salt water and gentle scrub. I've also used in the past Teak Wonder and ugh Decksole Probable typo cause I never wanted to remember that stuff), it turns black and then you do need some type of acid wash to remove it. Teak Wonder on the other hand is some type of siicon tinted mixture that usually just weathers away.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:07 AM   #8
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I have more questions than answers, but have learned from my mistakes along the way.

On a prior boat, I kept the teak looking great with regular (quarterly?) cleaning with a two-part cleaner, followed by oiling. The deck was also washed with a gentle dishwashing soap and soft brush, across the grain. The claim was that this would keep the teak looking great and give it a 20+ year life. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. In less than 5 years, all of the soft wood, in between the grain of the harder wood, was gone, and the deck was far from smooth. The advice was to mechanically sand and start the process over again. The claim was that it could be sanded twice. So, that approach could have good looking decks for 10 to 12 years. (5 years is too long to go between sandings.)

On my current boat, I am going 100% natural, although I have oiled twice after cleaning with dish soap and a soft brush across the grain. It doesn't look great, but it is now 6 years old and looks way better than my last deck. I have been told to wash only with salt water and mostly do that. I also wet the deck before getting any fish blood on it.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:20 AM   #9
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Having had teak decks on 2 different boats since 1997, we've watched and tried to learn what works. Acids will remove the soft grain and shorten the decks life. Teak Wonder Brightener is an acid.

Our best cleaner is Cascade Liquid Dishwashing detergent and 3-M Scotch Pads, white. There is something in the cascade which gets to the mold, mildew and/or dirt and the 3-M white Scotch Pad is the least aggressive. After cleaning we apply Semco Natural Teak Sealer. It keeps the dirt out, has some UV protection and contains a mildewside (their word not mine). Our decks are 27 years old and still have lots of life in them.

On a side note, the teak deck "experts" say you should 3/8" of deck thickness left to be considered serviceable.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:40 AM   #10
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I use Teak Wonder, annually....with a dishwashing (not dishwasher!) detergent in between twice a year. Super-soft brush used cross-grain as noted above. Not sure what you mean by "applies dark, dries like there is nothing on..." though. There are three products in the Teak Wonder range...the wash itself, a "brightener" and a "sealer". I don't use either of the latter. With the wash, the deck needs to be thoroughly wet with fresh water, then the cleaner is brushed on lightly and left for 15 minutes, then it is super-soft-scrubbed off while a fresh water hose is played over the brush (a job for Admiral, Ship's Girl/Boy). It gives an excellent and long-lasting result with minimal teak removal.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:46 AM   #11
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We use the cleaners from the manufacturer of our teak, Teak Decking Systems. TDS Eco 300 normally. Reserve TDS TCL-200 for heavy stains. I always tend toward manufacturers recommendations and so use their products. They are non alkaline, an absolute key. They do not require hard scrubbing and you experience virtually no loss of thickness. They rinse off easily. teakdecking.com
We use a soft scrubbing pad and scrub across the grain to not tear soft grain out.

I've heard good things about Meguiars. Also Star Brite is non acidic. What I'd caution strongly against is products like the two part Snappy and any of the Oxalic acids.

It won't be a totally objective view but I think they'll be honest if you call Teak Decking and ask about Teak Wonder. They should at least know if it includes anything harmful to teak. I know they have given a list of products they're comfortable with other than theirs. They supply the teak for Trinity, Burger, Westport, Christensen and Delta as well as 20 production builders including Hatteras, Viking, Fountain, Hinckley, Cobalt.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Not sure what you mean by "applies dark, dries like there is nothing on..." though. .
Thanks for this info.

To answer the quote, I am only using the sealer because my teak is so far gone that I need to sand it and start again.
The sealer applies like a regular oil, darkening the wood, but after a few hours it has dried and looks like nothing is on the wood at all. However, once wet, the water does bead slightly indicating that the teak wonder has left its 'wonder' behind!
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:05 PM   #13
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BTW, the reason for washing a teak deck with salt water has nothing to do with the teak. Teak couldn't give a rat's a*s what kind of water is used to wash it. The reason for using salt water is in case there are some separated deck seams or some other problems that allow moisture to get down under the deck planks where it could migrate down into the subdeck core, salt water is less condusive to the formation of dry rot than fresh water.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:54 PM   #14
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BTW, the reason for washing a teak deck with salt water has nothing to do with the teak. Teak couldn't give a rat's a*s what kind of water is used to wash it. The reason for using salt water is in case there are some separated deck seams or some other problems that allow moisture to get down under the deck planks where it could migrate down into the subdeck core, salt water is less condusive to the formation of dry rot than fresh water.
You're right but when using salt water in the situation described, you can have more problems later. Salt is a hygroscopic substance. It attracts and holds moisture. If repairs are done later, the salt residue can cause a host of issues.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:56 PM   #15
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BTW, the reason for washing a teak deck with salt water has nothing to do with the teak. Teak couldn't give a rat's a*s what kind of water is used to wash it. The reason for using salt water is in case there are some separated deck seams or some other problems that allow moisture to get down under the deck planks where it could migrate down into the subdeck core, salt water is less condusive to the formation of dry rot than fresh water.
I was always taught by the old timers that washing teak and rinsing teak with salt water was good for the wood itself. And prevented mildew and mold from growing in it.

"Wash your teak deck every week with clean salt water. After washing the teak deck with salt water, the deck can be washed with fresh water to prevent contamination because of the salt. Salt water in combination with UV light from the sun is a natural bleaching agent. Washing the deck with salt water also deposits a small amount of salt onto it that will absorb moisture from the air and help to stop the wood from drying out. Moreover, salt water reduces mildew, mould and algae growth. Fresh water is better than no water, but salt water is certainly preferred."
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:16 PM   #16
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Teak Decking has some good videos regarding care and repair. Obviously a good bit of self promotion in the videos, but we as users aren't the ones picking the teak supplier.

The World's Leader in Pre-Manufactured Custom Teak Decks - Teakdecking Systems®
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:48 PM   #17
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And prevented mildew and mold from growing in it.
This can be an advantage, as well.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:13 PM   #18
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I think washing wood decks w sea water reduces mould (black) and other stuff from growing (mostly green) and this in turn preserves the wood.

For those of you w black teak don't despair. My wife Chris brought our cap rail back from black to standard teal color. I'll post some pics tonight when we get home.

I suspect that the best deck coatings will allow moisture underneath to escape upwards as there is (usually) no escape below. Using CPES or other sealers may trap moisture below. My home made oil coating may be better this way but would require re coating every 60 days or so depending on weather ect. Pure Tung oil would probably be better and a Tung oil product was talked about in the past and perhaps be "searched up".
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:02 PM   #19
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I've used cascade in the past also and can vouch that it'll work. My concern with it was that it's still a detergent and I'm not looking to get the oils out of the wood. Thats why we abandoned it and reverted (years ago) to just salt water.

In the end there is no product That I know of which will clean and keep the teak from wearing. no matter what, the teak will wear. I think keeping the natural oils (not using cleaners) in the wood as long as possible and not removing the softer wood pulp with hard bristles are your best best for natural teak.
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:23 PM   #20
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Being careful and doing small sections at a time Chris used the following.

1. Baking soda
2. Apple cider vinegar.
3. Hydrogen peroxide.

First put the soda into the vinegar. Some foaming will result. Then the HP.
Let it set for a few minutes (2-4) and scrape gently w a putty knife. Follow up w a small sponge w Scotch Bright on one side. Wipe and rinse as needed.

These photos show her results but more drying and sanding improved the looks of the teak and then 2 or 3 coats of a Tung oil varnish brings the teak back to the appearance we've been accustomed to. That of course may not be up to your standards but the black mold is not permanent at all.

Although we used oil based varnish many other coatings will probably work just as good or better. She thinned the first coat w 75% turpentine, the 2nd w 50% turp and the third w 25% turp.

For better breathing on deck teak I'd be inclined to try an oil finish first. It may be too sticky. Then, if that is found unacceptable I'd go to an oil based varnish or other harder Finnish. Oil based varnishes vary quite a bit in hardness. My favorite is very soft and would not be good for decks. A fairly hard varnish (obviously better for decks) may be found in a varnish w Phenolic Resin in it's ingredients.
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