Teak Deck Strip & Refinish ~ Complete July 2015

Few people these days want boats with a large amount of teak, a section of handrail or some instrument panel trim is often enough. We had previously owned a Hunter sailboat which had no external wood. Like many other people when we saw a boat with teak decks and usually a classic Hull / Bowsprit design we salivated. So we bought Rua Fiola.

When you start to refinish teak deck the choices are broad. Classic refinishing with varnishes, Cetol and derivatives, AWLwood an AWLgrip 2-part product for wood, Plastic Teak replacement or no teak at all. We would not make any decision untill all the prior finishes had been removed. 30+ years of refinishing were removed, mostly with a rotary wire brush and orbital sander starting with 50 grit and working back to 180 grit. When we had done this all the teak looked intact but the black caulking between the teak seams was missing / severely cracked in about 30% of the deck seam joints. We ground chisels down to the 1/4" width and dug out all the effected caulking. We took 1" blue painters tape and striped along the seam edges so that the caulking could be troweled down flat after a bead from a power caulking gun had beeen applied. The BoatLIFE sealant cures out in 24 - 36 hours at which time the blue tape + overspread can be peeled away.

At this point we wondered whether any other coatings were available for the teak as we did not fancy the prospect of having to spend another 80+ hours refinishing a Cetol or Varnish finish 2 or 3 years down the road. We decided on using a product that no one in our boating community had ever heard of. It is called TeakGaurd. It is water based Acrylic with ability of the coating(s) to "breathe" allowing moisture (water vapor) to escape while at the same time sealing in the woods' natural oils protecting them from oxidization. It also seals out mold spores. TeakGuard's polymer resin does not support mold or mildew growth. It is water thin an is applied with a foam brush. Rua Fiola takes 2 people 4 hours to apply TeakGaurd to all deck, gunwale cap and cockpit teak. The initial coat is a TeakGuard super cleaner and then 3 to 4 coats of TeakGaurd should be applied over an 8 to 10 day period for a preliminary set-up. After that it is recommended to apply a freshening coat at least every year

We have refreshed the TeakGuard coating every 6 months as the Coastal Georgia and Florida sun is very intense. But at a time, to apply of 8 man-hours with no sanding or masking required we are pleased with the result. One aspect that might not suit many boat owners is that sand and grit underfoot will grind away the finish, how different this is to Cetol say, is something for which we have no answer or experience. High wear areas can be recoated with TeakGuard in 5 minutes and are tack free in less than an hour.