Cleaning teak decks WITHOUT salt water...? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-19-2007
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Cleaning teak decks WITHOUT salt water...?

OK... teak decks on a freshwater lake... we're putting her away for the winter and want to clean them off. Two part cleaner? Bleach? Buy a bunch of sea salt and dilute in a few buckets of water and pour on the deck? I want to make sure we don't have mold growth under the shrinkwrap during the winter.

Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2007
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Shrinkwrap is bad for boats.
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Old 10-20-2007
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It will be well ventilated.
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Old 10-20-2007
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Shrinkwrap is bad for boats.
Sailormann, that blanket statement is akin to saying sunglasses are bad for eyes. Northern boats need to be protected from the effects of snow and freezing/expanding water . . . especially boats with teak decks like labatt's and mine.

A proper shrinkwrap job is vented. My shrinkwrapper uses at least 6-8 vents to exhaust excess moisture, which would otherwise be trapped. The boat decks stay very dry and I wouldn't be concerned with mildew on the decks with proper venting.

I wash the teak decks across the grain with soapy fresh water and rinse with fresh also - making sure they are dried throughly before covering.

I do place a mix of calcium chloride and cat litter in plastic shoebox-sixed containers in the cabins below, a trick that has worked very well for years. Never had any mildew problems.
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Should add that the washing in fresh water is done prior to layup to remove all impurites. During season, I regularly rinse the decks with sea water - which of course aids in retaining moisture, preventing shrinkage across the grain in hot sun - possibly compromising the caulking's integrity.

During winter, it's more important to not retain moisture in the decking.
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That's an extremely biased advertisement CG. Never use any chemicals on teak decks, just sea water, or fresh if sailing on lakes. Mild boat soap is all that's necessary every now and then.
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Old 10-20-2007
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Not to steal Labatt's thread but are there any adverse effects on the gel coat from shrink wrap? My neighbor with a blue hulled Benneteau was told by his rep he could not shrink wrap the boat because of effects on the hull. I have a cover from the mast on back and so don't plan to shrink wrap but was curious. The cost is too high for me also.
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I stand by my post!
If you keep up with your teak, as some of you seem to, no chemicals are needed.
But I have seen some green and gray teak from years of neglect. If you want this cleaned, it takes chemicals or some sort of mechanical removal, ie sanding big time. Teak contains alot of oil and is therefore highly resistant to rot. The sun WILL ,however, eat your teaks oil if not protected. After the oil is gone, then the wood starts to go as well. In previous posts, I've been a big promoter of oiling your teak. A good Teak Oil will replenish that which the sun has evaporated/dissolved over time. It's a proven fact, that when the sun beats down on something daily, it will destroy it. This is the reason for car wax, reguardless of clearcoat or whatever. Wax is the sacraficial anode so to speak. The site I gave you to look over had some very good info and a good point of view. I don't know the product nor care who they are. I'm not into promoting anything but what I have experienced. Since retiring from the CG in 90, I have worked at several marinas and come accross teak that was neglected for 30-40 years. I've seen the long term results. I find it disheartening to see Alex's decks so bland and gray, when some teak oil would make them so pretty as well as protected.
I think some of yuns need to come aboard into the 21st century and modify some of your beliefs. My intention is to never post anything biased... controversial maybe...I've not owned many sailboats, I don't think alot of s/netters have either...but by god, I've worked on hundreds of them...
I know my spelling sux, but it's not my fault sailnet doesn't have a spell checker...gimmee a break...
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Lighten up Chief - no one's criticizing you personally - just that biased advertisement.

The reason nothing but water should be applied to teak decks is the potentially adverse effectc to the polysulphide caulking. If the caulking degrades, so does the water resistance = leaks through subtrates with cored deck penetrations.

Applying salt water prevents drying across the grain, which creates tension, or stretching of the caulking. Eventually the wood bond is breached. Some pros (I'm not a teak pro - just know what I've read and heard from them) say teak oil may reduce the seam caulking integrity as well.
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Old 10-20-2007
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I use Don Casey's suggestion to clean my teak, find it works well for me. Here it is.
Cleaning
Before teak can be given any coating, it must be completely clean. Your expensive teak is literally dissolved by strong cleaners, so always use the mildest cleaner that does the job. A 75/25 mixture of liquid laundry detergent (such as Wisk) and chlorine bleach may be adequate, perhaps boosted with TSP (trisodium phosphate). Apply this mixture with a stiff brush, scrubbing lightly with the grain. Leave it on the wood for several minutes to give the detergent time to suspend the dirt and the bleach time to lighten the wood, then rinse the wood thoroughly, brushing it to clear the grain.
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Could be wrong, but it appears that in the article that paragraph was excerpted from, Don Casey is referring to treating brightwork teak as a prep to refinishing. Teak decks require a completely different approach due to the caulking issues. Also, I totally disagree with scrubbing "with the grain" worse thing you can do with teak.

There are hundreds of articles on this topic, simply google teak decks, or read the numerous books on the subject . . it's what I did four years ago after buying a shrine to teak deforestation.
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