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Old 09-15-2015, 08:30 AM   #1
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Greying Teak?

What can be done about teak that's starting to look old?
I prefer the original "reddish brown" color but now it's turning grey.

As always, thanks for you help!
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:12 AM   #2
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Only way is to stain and seal it often, using oil (with color or not) or natural or synthetic sealer.

Teak will always return to a weathered gray and is why it works so well on decks as the soft color is cool and does not reflect as much sun.

Clean with salt water, don't over brush or sand and let dry, is the traditional way to prevent mildew and preserve the wood.

I like it gray my wife does not.
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. rc. Keep in mind IF you seal or oil teak it instantly loses it's non-skid properties and depending on what you apply can get extremely hot on bare feet. To what extent depends on the material applied. I concur with Mr. SD. Scrub with salt water at right angles to the grain.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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there are lots of teak cleaners that will bring back the original color. Use one regularly.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:11 AM   #5
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there are lots of teak cleaners that will bring back the original color. Use one regularly.
Aren't most of the teak cleaners pretty hard on the teak? I'd be concerned about loosing the soft grain.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:17 AM   #6
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Aren't most of the teak cleaners pretty hard on the teak? I'd be concerned about loosing the soft grain.

Yes that is what I believe as well, they have some kind of mild acid and a bunch of ionic and non-ionic detergents as well. They do a good job of cleaning but with the help of a scrub brush remove a fair amount of wood fibers while dong so, use with this in mind.

It is my opinion that teak really want's to be gray, in spite of what we want.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:17 AM   #7
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there are lots of teak cleaners that will bring back the original color. Use one regularly.
Well as long as you don't use one of the harsh cleaners on a regular basis.

We use this on our teak as the regular cleaner:

YSR Teak Cleaner Concentrated/ Biodegradeable Cleaner 8 pounds : Yacht?

If fact our teak deck and steps are the ones being cleaned in one of their demonstration videos.

Their teak brightener works great as well. Without all the harsh effects of the two part strong acid based cleaners.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:22 AM   #8
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Yes that is what I believe as well, they have some kind of mild acid and a bunch of ionic and non-ionic detergents as well. They do a good job of cleaning but with the help of a scrub brush remove a fair amount of wood fibers while dong so, use with this in mind.

It is my opinion that teak really want's to be gray, in spite of what we want.
You don't use brushes to clean teak. You use Scotch Brite pads by hand and/or on a Doodle Bug pad.

Brushes remove the pith between the grain and leave your wood with ridges in it. Scotch Brite pads act more like sand paper and don't dig in between the grain and pull out the pith the way a bristle brush will.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:25 AM   #9
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You don't use brushes to clean teak. You use Scotch Brite pads by hand and/or on a Doodle Bug pad.

Brushes remove the pith between the grain and leave your wood with ridges in it. Scotch Brite pads act more like sand paper and don't dig in between the grain and pull out the pith the way a bristle brush will.
Or a holy stone if you have one, I am aware to not use brushes, only providing information. Thanks






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Old 09-15-2015, 10:30 AM   #10
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We use what the manufacturer of our teak sells and recommends.

The World's Leader in Pre-Manufactured Custom Teak Decks - Teakdecking Systems®

They also have a video on cleaning.

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Old 09-15-2015, 11:26 AM   #11
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salt water and a soft brush. clean along the grain.

Try it. It will not completly restore your teak in one cleaning, but a few times just about will. And you cause no damage to the teak. The minerals in the salt water really help it.

12 years later and we still clean ours this way.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:33 AM   #12
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I completely ruined the teak deck in my last boat through 5 years of effort to keep it looking the right color. The product that worked best was one of those two part products. The teak looked really great after its use. The problem was that over time it completely ate away the "soft" wood in between the grain of the teak. The result was an uneven surface that was increasingly difficult to keep clean.

Not wishing to repeat that mistake with my current boat, I have sought the advice of everyone I meet who has good (or bad) looking teak. Most notable have been the opinions of the professional deckhands that crew on mega yachts. Their teak always looks perfect. Their approach is to wash with saltwater and mild detergent, using a very soft brush perpendicular to the grain, every day or two. For the most part, they do not oil. Those that don't oil contend that it isn't necessary and just attracts oil. Those that do oil contend that they are only replacing teak's natural oil, and that the secret is not to over-oil. I think that is more easily said than done, especially if one is trying for a uniform appearance. The thing is that they all seem to sand the teak once a year, and replace it entirely every 3 or 4 years.

As for myself, I have come to love the natural grey look. I clean with saltwater, brushed perpendicular to the grain, usually with a very mild detergent. No oil, no "teak cleaners". It looks good, but not like new. My teak is thick enough that it can be sanded three times over its life. Having owned the boat for 6 years now, I am thinking about sanding it for the first time.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
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We use what the manufacturer of our teak sells and recommends.

The World's Leader in Pre-Manufactured Custom Teak Decks - Teakdecking Systems®

They also have a video on cleaning.

All of your advice is great, thank you.
I especially learned a lot watching the video, sent by BandB, on Teakdecking Systems.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:42 AM   #14
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Oil every month and a half or varnish.

Ya want a yacht .. ya do the work.

Another option is plastic .. like UHMW.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:54 AM   #15
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You don't use brushes to clean teak. You use Scotch Brite pads by hand and/or on a Doodle Bug pad...
We use the white Scotch pads with Liquid Cascade Dishwashing Detergent about twice per year. The white pads, I think are the least aggressive of the Scotch pads and the liquid Cascade seems to lift the dirt and/or mold out of the teak.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:04 PM   #16
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Teak cleaners/restorers are a real bad idea. They work by removing the grey wood cells and exposing the fresh, brown cells underneath. These cells immediately start turning gray so the cleaner has to be used again.

Gray cells are not magically turned brown again unless you stain them, and the stain will weather away fairly quickly.

There is no such thing as a "safe" teak cleaner. They all work by removing wood cells. In other words, they are chemical sandpaper albeit not as harsh as actual sandpaper.

Wood that goes away never comes back.

I was associated with a 120' corporate yacht for awhile. The way the boat was used mandated that the decks look new at all times. The crew used teak cleaner on a regular basis, knowing full well what it was doing to the teak. The huge cost of teak replacement was factored into the operating cost of the yacht.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:08 PM   #17
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After keeping up my teak decks for 21 years, I can tell you what I have done, and how well it has worked.
When new to me, the decks were 14 years old. they are 3/8" thick ( I know this because I had to replace a lazarette hatch as its plywood base was rotten).
When new to me they were filthy and did not respond to mild cleaners, so I used the Base/Acid that took out every bit of dirt, oil, soft wood. After seeing how hard that cleaner was on the wood, it was forever banished from my boat (along with silicone sealants). In the early years, my son heard me talk about how traditionalists would have varnished the outside board and the inside board and let the rest go grey, so for my birthday he started the varnishing. Moral: be careful what you say in front of a 12 yr old.

20 yrs later, there is a very little bit of wear showing. There is one small area that I will need to sand to level wood this year or next, but the rest is in great shape. There is no measurable difference in thickness between the varnished outside boards and the rest.

I never use cleaners, only salt water and a soft brush. If a spill happens, I will rub the area more vigorously, maybe use a scotch-brite, or when the spill was paint, a chisel (with great care). My decks may not look as good as those on professionally maintained mega yachts, but mine are now 35 yrs old and have lots of life left in them. I still like the varnished outer boards and grey inside.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:09 PM   #18
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We have a lot of teak. The trim and rails we varnish the decks we seal with Daily's Sea Fin which goes on thin to penetrate the wood and cracks. Both the varnish bright and sealed teak is some every year. Shoot it color my grey boar so I do not let the teak wood.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:22 PM   #19
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Read #s 12 and 16, and enjoy the gray!
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:29 PM   #20
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We use the white Scotch pads with Liquid Cascade Dishwashing Detergent about twice per year. The white pads, I think are the least aggressive of the Scotch pads and the liquid Cascade seems to lift the dirt and/or mold out of the teak.
Yeah Cascade works pretty well.

It also works very well as an engine fresh water coolant system flush. Cleans out the coolant passages and coolers very well. And creates no suds to flush out when rinsing out the system.
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