Daily salt water rinse on teak deck?

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GrandWood

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Jul 16, 2022
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Have a sailor telling me to rinse the teak decks every morning with salt water to keep um in good condition. Fresh water is their enemy.

Seems you would want to keep as much water, fresh or salt, off your decks.

Anyone heard of such a thing
 
I don't know if it is true, but I have been told that plenty of times. I do know that keeping the deck wet (with salt water) provides a lot of protection against fish blood soaking in. It seems that fish blood coagulates from exposure to salt water.
 
Back in olden times it was SOP. Salt water kills the fungus that causes wood rot, fresh water promotes it. So salt water is actually good for wood even though it's bad for pretty much everything else on a boat.
 
Go to Google and look up teak decks on battleships or old Navy ships in general.

I believe a saltwater washdown and scrubbing with holystone kept it clean and swelled up.

https://www.eugeneleeslover.com/VIDEOS/USS_Missouri_holystoning.html

Not the one to the left but a couple of WWII Icebreakers I served on still had teak on some of their decks.

When in San Pedro to board a cruise ship in 2020, I toured the USS Iowa. Some of the original teak decks remained, but as they wore out they were not being renewed. As a museum, the budget was not what it had once been.
 
I lived for a while in my youth on a large wooden sailboat with teak decks. One of my jobs was to give them a salt water rinse every day.

I think it was mostly to keep the deck seams tight.
 
In my current location, my objective is to keep the teak "swelled up". Does it really make any difference whether salt or fresh water is used for this? Is there something about salt water that causes the wood to swell more than with fresh?
 
My Grand Banks 42 was wooden, and for 29 years the saltwater wash kept the decks in excellent condition. After any rain or a sudsy washdown of the boat, the decks got a few buckets of saltwater - never scrub with the grain.
 
In my current location, my objective is to keep the teak "swelled up". Does it really make any difference whether salt or fresh water is used for this? Is there something about salt water that causes the wood to swell more than with fresh?

No, but salt helps prevent rot
 
No, but salt helps prevent rot

And any rain water that's gotten in there will get displaced or at least diluted by the salt water. Wood boats in salt water rot mostly from rain water, not seawater.
 
I've seen mahogany and plenty of other woods rot, but have yet to see teak rot. Does it?
 
I've seen mahogany and plenty of other woods rot, but have yet to see teak rot. Does it?

Let me tell you about the acres of teak decking on US battleships and how when we went to recommission the one I was assigned to we found lots of it in low places had disintegrated while the ship slept in decommissioned status for 26 years.
 
I've seen mahogany and plenty of other woods rot, but have yet to see teak rot. Does it?

Eventually, it just takes a lot longer than other species. More of a concern is the plywood under it if the teak planks aren't absolutely tight. Keeping them swelled up with salt water prevents that.
 
Sailor friends in the tropics wet their teak decks in the heat of the day and said it made a huge temperature difference belowdecks
 
Have a sailor telling me to rinse the teak decks every morning with salt water to keep um in good condition. Fresh water is their enemy.



Seems you would want to keep as much water, fresh or salt, off your decks.



Anyone heard of such a thing



As the salt water dries, it leaves salt on the deck, which attracts water and keeps the wood moisturized. I spray the decks w salt water to avoid the organisms that come from sea water, especially when we are inland. Not sure it matters though.
Spray half the deck w salt water then check in the morning if it is humid and the sprayed area will be damp.
 
Pretty much what I did also when I had my Albin. A salt water rinse whenever I could.
 
An old salt

I had 4 wooden sailboats in my younger years, and hung out with wooden boat folks. It was commonly understood that saltwater inhibits rot, so the standard practice was root out anywhere freshwater could leak in or be trapped, and give everything a good salty rinse every few days just in case. As far as keeping seams tight, any water will swell the wood and tighten seams, but fresh will encourage rot formation.
 
If my deck needs washing, I do it with seawater and a white 3m pad on a block across the grain.

If I get freshwater on it while aboard, I rinse w/ seawater.


Oil, diesel, suntan lotion: K2R from grocery store.


My deck, 25yo, looks as good as the day I put it on.
 
. . .so never buy a teak deck boat that's lived in the Great Lakes?:confused:
 
You are half right; the first half.
 
Make your own saltwater if you boat in freshwater.
 
In my current location, my objective is to keep the teak "swelled up". Does it really make any difference whether salt or fresh water is used for this? Is there something about salt water that causes the wood to swell more than with fresh?
Yes. Salt. Osmotic effect.
 
Keeping decks moist swells the wood, which is good, although teak, together with mahogany, are amongst the most dimensionally-stable of woods.

But I wonder if seawater really helps teak from drying and shrinking as salt will draw water away from the wood.

I have seen one case of teak rotting but I think it is very rare.

So, if one is to water the decks every day then seawater is probably better than fresh to avoid rot. But I think leaving dry salt on the decks over long periods of time might be counter-productive as the salt will draw moisture from the wood. (Think of salted cod ...)
 
I have read where fresh water in teak will cause rotting. I then washed decks with salt water on the GB
 
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