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Old 01-22-2022, 01:30 PM   #1
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Teak Re-Varnishing

We have just had a 12-coat re-work on the perimeter teak rails. Nice job, but they did not remove the sealant at joints and handrail supports, just varnished over the existing sealant. I question if this is proper, thinking it better to remove the sealant, varnish down the sides of the wood, then seal the varnish-to-varnish joints and varnish-to-handrail support joints with new sealant.

Very interested in any advice, and thanks,

Scott & Nancy
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Old 01-22-2022, 02:35 PM   #2
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I donít think that is proper. The varnish will probably fail at the junction of the sealer since the wood and sealer will likely expand and contract at different rates. I would have removed the sealant, varnished and then recaulked. That way the varnish wonít crack and let water in under the varnish. Once you get water under the varnish it will keep moving along the grain and maybe even darken the teak there. Our last boat had a lot of exterior teak and I got tired of redoing it so I stripped it back to bare teak and painted white. Loved how it looked and the maintenance was gone.
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Old 01-22-2022, 07:18 PM   #3
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We have just had a 12-coat re-work on the perimeter teak rails. Nice job, but they did not remove the sealant at joints and handrail supports, just varnished over the existing sealant. I question if this is proper, thinking it better to remove the sealant, varnish down the sides of the wood, then seal the varnish-to-varnish joints and varnish-to-handrail support joints with new sealant.

Very interested in any advice, and thanks,

Scott & Nancy
Absolutely do not pay that bill. The proper way is to remove all caulking, varnish, then caulk. Otherwise water will get in between and ruin in no time. I saw someone pay $12k for a varnish job of their cap rails and that is exactly what happened a year later.

Also, look into awlwood, instead of varnish.

I have made it a habit to require anyone working on my boat present their insurance before touching it. I verify it.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:16 PM   #4
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They did the right thing.
Your boat was finished at the factory; bare wood , sealant, then varnish over the sealed joints etc.
Sealant needs to bond to bare wood for proper expansion and contraction and movement. Varnish is brittle and goes over top of this.
Sealant won’t bond to wood coated with varnish.
It will allow more water intrusion and cause problems.

Alwood is a good idea. Great stuff . I use Epifanes clear varnish. Works well.
Bottom line , great varnish always needs TLC .
I put a yearly coat on mine .
Joints are always problematic. you will find some joints are worse than others for some reason.
Bottom line , they did the right thing.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:36 PM   #5
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They did the right thing.
Your boat was finished at the factory; bare wood , sealant, then varnish over the sealed joints etc.
Sealant needs to bond to bare wood for proper expansion and contraction and movement. Varnish is brittle and goes over top of this.
Sealant won’t bond to wood coated with varnish.
It will allow more water intrusion and cause problems.

Alwood is a good idea. Great stuff . I use Epifanes clear varnish. Works well.
Bottom line , great varnish always needs TLC .
I put a yearly coat on mine .
Joints are always problematic. you will find some joints are worse than others for some reason.
Bottom line , they did the right thing.
Interesting. Beneteau doesn't varnish at the factory AFAIK. Further Akzonobel who makes Awlwood specifically told me caulk gets removed, everything gets painted, once done fresh caulk gets added.

So who is right? You are saying the maker of Awlwood is providing bad instructions?
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Old 01-22-2022, 11:33 PM   #6
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So the OPs Boat , varnish in question was painted at the factory?
Then someone decided to strip all the paint and varnish it?
Sounds like it’s got varnish now.
I highly doubt that it was painted stripped and then varnished.
Evidently this one came with varnished teak trim.

Boat builders do all kinds of stuff overtime on their various builds.


I am not an Alwood user but will be one day once I completely stripped all my one part varnish off the boat. I like what I’ve heard about it.
I have read their instructions doesn’t talk about removing all sealent out of the wood that I remember just the old varnish that was applied.
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Old 01-23-2022, 12:28 AM   #7
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So the OPs Boat , varnish in question was painted at the factory?
Then someone decided to strip all the paint and varnish it?
Sounds like itís got varnish now.
I highly doubt that it was painted stripped and then varnished.
Evidently this one came with varnished teak trim.

Boat builders do all kinds of stuff overtime on their various builds.


I am not an Alwood user but will be one day once I completely stripped all my one part varnish off the boat. I like what Iíve heard about it.
I have read their instructions doesnít talk about removing all sealent out of the wood that I remember just the old varnish that was applied.
Again, I dont think Beneteau varnishes at the factory.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:56 AM   #8
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If there was nothing wrong with the existing sealant why would you remove? If the sealant has had reasonable UV protection via existing paint or varnish probably nothing wrong with it. Especially at 8 years old.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:57 AM   #9
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I would tape off the joint and put a coat of black urethane over it.

If you used Awlwood, the urethane will adhere very well and seal the joint water tight. Looks good too.

I saw this done on a brand new Flemming.
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Old 01-23-2022, 09:35 AM   #10
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Any tips/tricks to remove the black caulking/sealing?
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Old 01-23-2022, 09:42 AM   #11
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Any tips/tricks to remove the black caulking/sealing?
sandpaper?
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Old 01-23-2022, 11:35 AM   #12
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Since starting the varnish project on my boat in 1994, I have tried many things.
Varnish over sealant v sealant over varnish is one I have tried. some success both ways, some failures both ways. The failures seem to occur when the two pieces of wood move wrt each other, regardless of sealant status. Where the wood is stable, success.
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Old 01-23-2022, 03:31 PM   #13
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It kinda depends on the sealant used. The Last time I redid our teak in the joints and corners I filled them with GX6 West system epoxy. Then I cover over it with honey teak unfortunately its no longer made this has lasted about 20 years. Be careful when paying for your teak to be done. I know of a contractor that does teak and they thin down their varnish to the point the bright work has to be redone every 4 to 6 months. They used to do our teak till they got mad and refused to talk to us when we changed over to honey teak. This same person brags about how they have made their living off of several boats at the marina.
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Old 01-23-2022, 06:07 PM   #14
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OK, a lot of pros and cons both ways, good but still in limbo here. I can't help but think if the multiple coats of varnish go down the two sides of the joints (between wood and wood which is common on ST44s) that integrity is consistent to well below the top surface, then the sealant engages to that surface on a longer dimension, i.e. from the top down a good ways. Alternative is the top of sealant (existing) and wood (sanded down) are eqaul, then the varnish goes over both. The dimension between the edge of the wood and the sealant is miniscule, i.e. not multiple layers of varnish but next to none. The weak joint is between the top of the wood, the top of the sealant (existing), and the varnish going over both. Seems the varnish over the sealant will be expanding and contracting too much, and fail.
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Old 01-23-2022, 06:20 PM   #15
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OK, a lot of pros and cons both ways, good but still in limbo here. I can't help but think if the multiple coats of varnish go down the two sides of the joints (between wood and wood which is common on ST44s) that integrity is consistent to well below the top surface, then the sealant engages to that surface on a longer dimension, i.e. from the top down a good ways. Alternative is the top of sealant (existing) and wood (sanded down) are eqaul, then the varnish goes over both. The dimension between the edge of the wood and the sealant is miniscule, i.e. not multiple layers of varnish but next to none. The weak joint is between the top of the wood, the top of the sealant (existing), and the varnish going over both. Seems the varnish over the sealant will be expanding and contracting too much, and fail.
yes, the expanding and contracting would not help. again, i posted right from the manufacturers of awlwood how they say to do it. i dont know why varnish would be done any different than awlwood. i watch workers at my marina constantly varnishing the same boats and perhaps if it was just done correctly from the get go it would last longer.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:31 AM   #16
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Interesting. Beneteau doesn't varnish at the factory AFAIK. Further Akzonobel who makes Awlwood specifically told me caulk gets removed, everything gets painted, once done fresh caulk gets added.

So who is right? You are saying the maker of Awlwood is providing bad instructions?
They told you, great, is this in writing anywhere? I cannot find anything about the sealant joints in the installation instructions which are published online. Finding such would be helpful in our 'dispute'.
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:28 AM   #17
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They told you, great, is this in writing anywhere? I cannot find anything about the sealant joints in the installation instructions which are published online. Finding such would be helpful in our 'dispute'.
They emailed me it as a response. I will PM you a contact.
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Old 01-24-2022, 12:12 PM   #18
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response from AwlGrip

"The ideal situation would be to remove the sealant in the joints prior to application, and reapply the sealant/caulking after the varnish has cured.

Removing the stainless steel stanchion bases is also the best practice.

This allows the varnish system to attach to the wood and any holes in the varnish (for fasteners etc) are under the fitting and sealed up."

This settles it for me ...
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Old 01-24-2022, 12:25 PM   #19
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"The ideal situation would be to remove the sealant in the joints prior to application, and reapply the sealant/caulking after the varnish has cured.

Removing the stainless steel stanchion bases is also the best practice.

This allows the varnish system to attach to the wood and any holes in the varnish (for fasteners etc) are under the fitting and sealed up."

This settles it for me ...
yes, for awlwood, which can last a very long time.

i dont know anything about varnish, but no reason to believe varnish application would be any different from awl wood? the concept is the same, right?
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:04 PM   #20
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Also this quote from Epifanes:

"Yes, it is best to remove sealants when redoing varnish. If you are just doing maintenance coats then it is not necessary."

Seems we have consensus.
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