Teak Wars!

We live on a boat with an extraordinary amount of teak. My advice to you is not to do that!

At first, we were very careful and prompt with maintenance coats. We’d fix up small scratches immediately. Over time, we just couldn’t keep up with it. There is so much teak, that by the time we finished, it was time to start over. Our boat has teak toe-rails, teak decks, teak window frames, teak cabin top, teak doors, teak grab-rails, teak bow pulpit, teak swim platform – teak teak teak teak teak –

We had to do something to minimize our work load, so we decided to strip the decks bare and just leave them naked.


At the bottom you see what we started with. The middle section has been stripped. The top portion has been sanded and is the finished product. It wont’ stay blonde for long. Weather will turn it a silver-gray color. We’re okay with that.


The finished foredeck.

As you can see, we have still kept up with the rails an assorted fixtures. We used Sikkens Cetol Natural, and coated it with gloss, which has UV protectors. It will last about one year before needing maintenance coats.


We are currently redoing the port-side window frames. Stripped, sanded, and this shows four coats of Cetol. When finished, it will have five coats of Natural, and two coats of Gloss.

Our swim platform is almost bare on its own, through sun, salt and wear. I’ll strip it completely and leave it gray like the decks. One less piece to maintain.

As with many issues discussed by boaters, ask ten people a question, expect ten different answers. What do you use on your teak, and why? What do you like on bare teak? Do you oil it? Do you wash it regularly? Let’s hear it. What’s the best thing/product/method to use on teak?

7 thoughts on “Teak Wars!

  1. s/v Black Diamond

    Wash regularily with a teak wash & then brighten with a teak brightener or your natural teak will get dirt stains on it. If it gets too dirty you’ll need to light wet sand with a 220 grit sand paper. I use oil different oils on the market. I like Penafin Marine oil. Lasts longest and has some natural lifht stain to darken it up slightly, still fades naturally, it also has some UV inhibitors.

  2. Carolyn Shearlock

    Semco was our answer. It’s like Thompson’s WaterSeal but for teak in a saltwater environment. Spent a LOT less time, and it protects the teak. (Our previous boat was a Tayana 37 with oodles of teak. You’ll note that our current boat has not one square inch of external teak. Coincidence? I think not!)

  3. jeff

    After being a team slave for too many years I decided to do the unthinkable….. I painted some of it. I have painted teak handrails, rub rails, and even toe rails. If you use a good paint like Brightside it will last 3-5 years before repainting is needed. In most cases it actually improved the look of the boat and certainly reduced the maintenance. Just beware there are plenty of people out there that will criticize you if they see you doing it!!!

  4. Mark Roope

    We too have teak and although it looks good it is a pain to maintain. In the sun I feel like someone walking across a fire pit of burning coals it can get so hot.
    We have found the best way to look after it is to do as little as possible to it and wash it as little as possible. That way it lasts longer.


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