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How to Restore Teak Wood on a Boat? The Most Detailed Guide

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

Teak wood is one of the materials that are trusted when making furniture. So it is no surprise to see that teak wood became popular among homeowners and boaters alike because of its durability and long-lasting performance.

How to Restore Teak Wood on a Boat

However, you should be taking care of this material. Otherwise, you will see dull teak wood on your boat. And if you are still looking for how to restore teak wood on a boat, you can find the instructions right here. I’ve failed several times before leaving this complete guide.

You will get complete details about methods and relevant tips in teak wood restoration with what you need to prepare to ensure a better cleaning result.


The Durability of Teak Wood


Teak’s resiliency goes a long way. Just handle it with care and it can serve you for 10 to 15 years. It may even go as long as 20 years. The durability of the teak wood will depend on the following things:

  • The quality of the main installation
  • The consistency of maintenance
  • How you use your boat

You should know that what can damage teak wood the most is the wrong way of cleaning. It refers to inappropriate sanding and using harsh cleaning products. If you’re not careful, you just shorten the teak’s life.

It can’t be avoided that 1mm of teak is deduced yearly whenever you clean or sand it. So take note of this possible erosion. You should also know that the thickness of the teak ranges from 7 to 18 mm.

Things that You Need in Restoring Teak Wood

Teak restoration will take a day or two as dictated by things or cleaning materials that you choose. The time that you need will also be according to the teak’s condition.

If the teak is badly worn out, you’ll have to repeat the essential process several times. Before you get started, make a list of the things that you need, just like the following:

  • Cleaning Gloves

One or two pairs of cleaning gloves will protect your hands from any harsh chemical added to the solution. Of course, you’re free to handle it with bare hands, but it’s best to prevent allergies or other kinds of harm.

  • Common Powdered Soap

The initial cleaning can be accomplished by a common powdered soap. It refers to the usual laundry soap. The amount of soap that you’ll administer depends on the area that is composed of teak wood.

  • Scrub

The scrub that you need in cleaning teak wood is not that special as the one you use at home is fine. It’s efficient in removing dirt that got stuck in the floor for a long period as well as mildew.

Secure 3 to 4 scrubs until you finish the job. You may need more if you have more teak wood in your boat.

  • One-Part Cleaner

You will find many teak wood cleaners and they are distinct from each other. The majority of them dissolve in water, while others are in liquid form. They’re formulated for teak wood so discoloration is not something you have to worry about.

The ingredients that you will likely find in them are oxalic and phosphoric acid. These substances are known for their ability in eliminating accumulated dirt.

  • Two-Part Cleaner

If you fail to give the teak wood attention for a long time, it’s best to use the two-part cleaner. However, you don’t need to utilize this if you’re satisfied with the effects of the one-part cleaner.

Thus, you have to examine the teak wood to know its condition. This two-part cleaner is tough and can be hard on the teak. But it can excellently wipe out discoloration or mottling.

  • Sander

This thing works on leveling the teak after the cleaning process is done. There are two kinds for you to choose from. They are the belt sander and the high-speed sander. You can also utilize 120-grit sandpaper.

  • Brush or Broom?

You need either a brush or broom when dusting off after polishing the teak. The broom you use at home can do the job, but you can opt for a brush instead.

  • Teak Oil or Glossy Varnish?

The last coat on the teak is from teak oil or glossy varnish. You have to be mindful of the color of the teak before purchasing a certain product. Make a smart choice so the teak won’t turn dark.

After selecting the appropriate final coat, you have to determine the quantity that can cover the whole teak area in your boat. You need to have enough cans or bottles to not delay the job.

  • Foam Brush or Varnish Applicator

You may need 2 to 3 foam brushes when applying the final coating. This brush ensures the desired result as it allows the teak wood to absorb the oil well.

Guide on Restoring Teak Wood on Boat


Step 1: Begin the initial cleaning on the floor made of teak wood. Wet the area first, then directly apply the regular powdered soap or the laundry soap. After that, thoroughly scrub the surface to practice an outstanding way of cleaning.

Step 2: Next, you can use the one-part teak cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions which are written on its label. Or you can find some cleaners in liquid form that can be applied directly.

More so, some are powdered and they need to be dissolved in water following the recommended ratio for efficacy.

Step 3: If the one-part cleaner could not deal with discolored areas or mottling sections, you have to resort to the two-part teak cleaner.

Step 4: The multiple scrubbing will leave the teak uneven. Some grains tend to stick due to the weathering that occurred over time. To level out the marks of thorough cleaning or some mistakes, use the sander to even out the surface.

Always remember to sand every after scrubbing. Before doing it, the cleaner should be completely dry.

Sanding is always essential for teak wood that is severely worn out. Also, this process is required if the cleaning formula has left residue. However, you won’t be obliged in some situations so it’s fine to let go of this step.

Step 5: After sanding and the level surface comes out, another cleaning should be done. It’s the sweeping off the dust and dirt that still adhere on the wood. You have the liberty to use a brush instead of a broom.

Step 6: You have to finalize the restoration with teak oil or teak coat since you make a coat that will protect the teak from the elements. However, some cleaners with useful chemicals dry out in a matter of days so you have to be patient.

Until then, you have to wait before you apply the last protective coating. For application, it can be done by utilizing a foam brush or varnish applicator.

The number of layers depends on the finish that you prefer. Re-apply as needed to achieve what visual concept you want for your boat. The previous coating of teak oil should be dried first before applying another layer.

Read instructions first before application. At present, teak coating for long-lasting shine is not yet available. Apply it every month to meet your desire to have a lustrous teak wood in your boat.

Making Teak Cleaner at Home

If you’re conscious about the ingredients in teak cleaners sold in the market, you can make one at home. Mix 75% detergent and 25% chlorine to create a teak cleaner.

It’s not bad if you’re picky in choosing the substance, just like when picking chlorine bleach with trisodium phosphate. It’s for gaining extra punch when you’re looking for a strong effect.

Knowing More About Teak Oil

What you can gain from using teak oil is not just protection but beautification as well. It brings out the teak’s natural beauty and pattern as well as the oil in it.

Teak oils are made from various kinds of oil. But most of them are from linseed and tung oil. Linseed is affordable and it gives the teak a darker shade. The one with tung is more expensive, but it has resistance against water.

Manufacturers treat teak oils for mildew fighters, UV filters, and other additives that promote protection. Thus, you get numerous benefits from applying it.

Up for Teak Restoration!

Teak wood, just like the other parts of your boat, is exposed to marine pollutants. But the good news is that you can still restore it. There may be several processes and necessary things but it’s worth investing in it.

With this simplified guide on how to restore teak wood on a boat, things became clear to you. Even so, the information helps you better understand the proper handling of teak wood to not further damage its appearance.

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