removing mildew from teak toerails - SailNet Community

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Old 04-21-2009
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removing mildew from teak toerails

Hi all,
I have small teak toerails which have over the last couple of years have become marked by mildew/mold. Prior to that I had a similar problem on my teak decks. On the decks I tried everything I could think of, all the standard teak cleaners, bleach, oxalic acid, machine dish detergent etcetc. All on small test areas and while the surrounding areas cleaned up great the green/black spot where the mildew was remained unaffected. Generally the mildew was pretty much invisible when dry but jumped out at you when wet. In the end I used the 2 part A & B cleaner which worked great.

However I dont want to risk that right next to the gel coat on the hull. Also the geometry of the toerail is 2 vertical sides and one flat top. This of course means that the liquiddy type cleaners just run off, onto the hull!

I have kept the rails under Cetol for about 10 years now and the Cetol does not seem to provide much protection against mildew. I have just stripped and sanded the rails again and am about to try and get rid of the mildew again!!
If any has any words of wisdom they would be much appreciated
Oh yes I am located in Vancouver BC where it is a touch damp!!

Chris
ps Sorry for the epistle!!
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Old 04-21-2009
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We just did this on Carolena this past weekend. Last year we sanded off all the old Cetol from the PO, then decided to try and use teak oil rather than refinishing. Unfortunately, the oil looked horible after the first year. So this year we went back and bleached the toe rails with the two part cleaner. I then gave the rails a very light sand with 220 grit, followed by seven coats of Poly varnish. It came out amazing! We followed the directions for the two-part cleaner with no adverse impact on the 20 yr. old gel coat. Just make sure you wet the area down first, including the side of the hull, and keep it damp while you wait for the cleaner to work. Then give it a good rinse before appying a new protective coat. The cleaner is very harsh on the teak, but if you keep up with the varnish, cetol, etc., you should be able to go a long time before doing it again.
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Thanks for the feed back. I am still very nervous about using the A&B cleaner however. I used to use varnish(Schooner) but could not stop the water from getting underneath it so it only lasted a couple of years regardless of the 2 new coats a year, so went to Cetol because of the reduced amount of work(read sanding!!) involved. I am in the process of testing stuff called "30 SECONDS" as it works great on everything from boat canvas, decks, concrete and on and on and on. It sounds to be too good to be true!!, but the pros are using it up here to clean canvas and it does work like magic so I am told, for whatever that's worth.

Chris
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Old 04-21-2009
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I use teak oil on all my teak - outside and inside. I find a good cleaning each spring with household cleanser and a brush does a good job of getting the dirt out of the wood pores and killing any mildew. Teak oil on outside wood does require periodic applications during the sailing season to maintain a nice color, but it doesn't take long at all.

If you are concerned about the teak cleaner getting on the gelcoat, consider masking around the base of the toerail.
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Old 04-21-2009
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pressure washing is amazing for cleaning the black out of teak. I know everyone says it's bad but I've not seen any adverse affects from the PW. Don't think you should do it every week though!
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Old 04-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brerterrapin View Post
I used to use varnish(Schooner) but could not stop the water from getting underneath it
Just curious, did you thin the first sealer coat? Ours suggested thining the first coat. We did so and it really soaked into the wood. After the first three coats, we gave a very light sand with 220 grit, then did the final coats with un-thined. I don't mind a light sand and a couple of maintenance coats each season, I just hope the water doesn't find its way under the finish. Again, we had no problems with the two-part cleaner, but you really do need to keep the gelcoat wet.

When we used oil, we did add a coat about once a month, but the teak still looked awful by the end of the season. I think one problem is that we are on fresh to slightly brackish water, so mold is a real probelm. I understand that salt water is good for teak.
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