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What is an older teak deck “supposed” to look like?


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As I’ve mused in other threads I am generally loath to consider teak decks for the usual reasons. 

But the more excited I get about this Hinckley the more I wonder what it was supposed to look like. Should you allow it to grey, or are you supposed to keep it clean enough that it stays “teak brown”? I know about washing with saltwater and going across the grain and not using stiff brushes, but what color is it supposed to be?

Two shots below of the same boat. Which one is the “correct” look? Personally whichever I went with I think I’d put a finish or at least oil the trim around the boat (e.g. dorade boxes and the coamings). 

Edit: the boat in question is a 1970 with original decks

1BAB8DF0-D9B9-428C-BB78-3155C27E2CA7.jpeg.979eaf4c27c72007929b1039e5833720.jpeg

A41B0F93-6567-4114-B94D-77119740A624.jpeg.19b862289f9f8c8be7f6cc8f6a26dcd7.jpeg

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Some more better pedigreed boats i sailed on let horizontal surfaces go mostly grey  and varnished vertical surfaces. 

On a teak deck that is old, (if it's not been replaced), it's probably keeping up with broken bungs and caulk.  Sanding and scrubbing lead to premature death. 

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That bottom pic is gorgeous but is probably a freshly refinished deck. Pretty well impossible to keep it looking like that without prematurely wearing it out.

I was taught to sluice them down with seawater - daily is best - and to brush then across the grain.

Never use chemicals and sanding is only a last resort for a deck in bad shape.

As Elegua said - keeping up with failed seams and plugs popping out from being too thin will probably be enough maintenance for you.

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Plantation Teak usually has pretty fat grain and will wear alot quicker.  Pretty much any new and alot of production boats all have and it's fairly obvious.  Older growth teak has much tighter grain and is about as horrible to work with as angelic or purple heart.

The quickest way to check a deck is to hose it down. The death of a deck as above is lots of chemical abuse or straight up neglect.  Once water gets in the seams or plugs it's a loosing battle. Once wet and letting it dry a deck will show you in short order it's integrity.  Also look at hard to get to transitions, along winch bases etc to see the original thickness and how much is gone.

If there is no sign of leaking and the grain is not super pronounced and it has not been taken down to nothing from original thickness then it's probably ok.  As long as the plugs and seams are all intact cleaning with soap and water and letting grey is the way to go.  The best money you can spend for a boat like that is a full boat cover.  It's the at the dock at rain grime etc that kill it.

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I'll given you my two cents worth.  Bought my boat in 2012.  She is a 1991.  Original teak decks.  Not very well cared for by the previous owner.  After rebunging and reseaming the decks, I used this coating (Teak Guard) that was suppose to protect the deck and let it keep the deep brown hue it had after getting cleaned.  Waste of money.  All the shit that is suppose to protect your deck is a waste of time and money (expect for a cover!!).  But I thought I knew better and did it not once but fucking twice!!!  

Here is the deck with the Teak Guard on it.  Awesome, right?

2013-03-09_17-49-26_968.thumb.jpg.0a3e5064c4865fffb743c9338d9026c8.jpg

Here is a shitty pic but you get the idea.  Deep brown.  The problem was is that the coating was kind of plastic in nature.  Made the deck a bit slick unless it was wet.

TeakGuard2.thumb.jpg.c14b39a579b93e85e2137c31692e75a3.jpg

Here we are going to SF from Seattle and you can see the nice coloring.  But once we hit this gale, the coating started to peel off.  Teak Guard said it was, of course, applied wrong.  I didn't clean the teak well enough.  Etc, etc.  So I put it on once more once we got to SF.  Sailed down to San Diego and it was peeling again.  Okay.  So no more coatings.

1233294250_TGtoSF.thumb.jpg.dfb848f2d357fd53f54d914fb6776e06.jpg

Once back to Seattle after a year in Mexico (2014), I would lightly scrub the boat every spring.  Very lightly.  No soap.  Across the grain.  Covered the boat during the Seattle winters.  Sluiced the decks in the summer with salt water or, if lucky, rail in the water whilst sailing.

This year, I scrubbed the deck with Daley's teak cleaner.  The picture below is the filth coming off the boat.  Again, light scrubbing, taking my time, and across the grain.

cleaning.thumb.jpg.e8afcbabebd2ba169bbc3ab3fd31ff24.jpg

I was amazed at the dirt.  Amazed I tells you!  I knew it was time to do a "deep" clean when the deck would get wet and you could see the mold on the wood.  You will know when it has to get cleaned with more than just salt water.

 

 

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Here is the deck after the scrubbing with Daley's.  People would stop and ask what I used, the deck looked so much better.  I really should have taken a before photo.

scrub3.thumb.jpg.8983d1d968d5c9a5622caf422e78206a.jpg

Here is a crap "before" photo.  You can't make out the mold and shit.  That really shows up when the deck is wet.  Very splotchy.  White spots with just ugly wood.  That stain on my anchor locker is Dungeness crab juice.  Freaking kid of mine used the toerail to split that fucker open up there.  That happened two month before this picture.

notscrub.thumb.jpg.72b7c45be6749ee8cd7d770c0c411027.jpg

More scrubbed photos

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scrub2.thumb.jpg.68225e3ca4a6c6692d1cdcf49ab25669.jpg543352015_Freshscrub1.thumb.jpg.73e5f632b66c6986812d8544910705c8.jpg

It really "pops" when the deck gets wet.

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So I have been sluicing the deck with sea water once a week and will cover it this winter.  But eventually it will go gray which is fine.  It is all the mold and stuff that we get up in Seattle that messes it up.  Down in Mexico the deck was this lovely silver color and it stayed that way.  The silver got very white and helped reflect the heat.  The deck was not nearly as hot as some of the darker colored fiberglass decks I was on in Mexico.  That black genny track though...that fucker got hot!!!!

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The Hinckley like most modern teak decks is a teak veneer over a glass deck. Here's a new  veneer deck on a W-Class I shot a while back: 

918736748_Nashuaforedeck(1of1).thumb.jpg.91ec7f3790584c83749d2123503b0d15.jpg

 

And here is a shot of a W-Class veneer deck that is (was at the time) 25 years old. 

281712898_MustangWclassdeck(1of1).thumb.jpg.8a7540d29d4120a98987eb1413e2d5c5.jpg

 

Here's a crop. There's no getting around the fact that a teak deck is sacrificial. It wears from foot traffic and brutal weather, especially the sun which bakes it like a solar panel. It's going to wear and get thinner. This veneer is likely less than 1/2" and was set in a bed of epoxy. The wooden plugs are solid - epoxied - in the veneer as the screws were removed once the epoxy dried. So technically the veneer can wear quite thin as the plugs will wear with it. 

 

1502710881_MustangWclassdeckcrop(1of1).thumb.jpg.504682cd96ad83eb0f0644c63bc51a9d.jpg

How long? Hard to say but if the teak decks on the Hinckley are mechanically fastened to the glass deck below the life is only as long as wear makes the plugs unusable to replace (pilot holes too shallow). 

 

Here's a real teak deck. This one came off the Schooner Brilliant and was 75 years old. Plugs and the caulking recess are too thin to service. 

 

941099199_Brillaint75yearolddeck(1of1).thumb.jpg.ad9f1dcbb30d4e5c0599972ae4af7692.jpg

 

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Teak decks are the "other" rod rigging but 10 times worse IMHO. Unless they are epoxied on vs. screwed on, sooner or later you are looking at a repair that is probably 25%-150% of the value of the boat. I am pretty sure Baltic epoxies the teak on, I am not sure who else does.

Which sucks, because I love the look and the feel and the traction. One guy infamously got his teak deck trawler sprayed with truck bed liner when he heard the price to redo it

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With a lot experience renewing teak, the best method is to clean it with a 2 part teak cleaner one time if there is black mold or oil stains. The acid part one opens the pores to allow the dirt and oils to be removed with a gentle cross grain brushing with a soft bristle brush.
 

Then the application of part 2, a base neutralizes the acid and helps lift the dirt out of the pores with another gentle scrub. Wash down with fresh water and a gentle hose to remover all the dirty residue and allow to dry before pouring salt water over the surface to fill and protect the pores from fresh water. 
 

Never power wash- it will remove the soft wood and then require sanding to re-smooth the surface, which will reduce the lifespan of the wood and require unnecessary labor...

Teak sealer can be used on the verticals surfaces and toe rails to have a “brightwork” appearance. Never ever use teak oil, it turns the teak an ugly color and attracts black mold due to the fact that it is just oil and doesn’t dry in the wood. Teak sealer dries quickly, contains a small amount of colorant to provide an even tone appearance and does not interfere with the natural non-skid properties of the wood. 
 

If the bungs are suspect and you think you have to replace 20 of them, you need to replace hundreds of them. You are young and will have plenty of time to play with boat, lucky bastard!

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23 hours ago, Kris Cringle said:

The Hinckley like most modern teak decks is a teak veneer over a glass deck. Here's a new  veneer deck on a W-Class I shot a while back: 

918736748_Nashuaforedeck(1of1).thumb.jpg.91ec7f3790584c83749d2123503b0d15.jpg

 

And here is a shot of a W-Class veneer deck that is (was at the time) 25 years old. 

281712898_MustangWclassdeck(1of1).thumb.jpg.8a7540d29d4120a98987eb1413e2d5c5.jpg

 

Here's a crop. There's no getting around the fact that a teak deck is sacrificial. It wears from foot traffic and brutal weather, especially the sun which bakes it like a solar panel. It's going to wear and get thinner. This veneer is likely less than 1/2" and was set in a bed of epoxy. The wooden plugs are solid - epoxied - in the veneer as the screws were removed once the epoxy dried. So technically the veneer can wear quite thin as the plugs will wear with it. 

 

1502710881_MustangWclassdeckcrop(1of1).thumb.jpg.504682cd96ad83eb0f0644c63bc51a9d.jpg

How long? Hard to say but if the teak decks on the Hinckley are mechanically fastened to the glass deck below the life is only as long as wear makes the plugs unusable to replace (pilot holes too shallow). 

 

Here's a real teak deck. This one came off the Schooner Brilliant and was 75 years old. Plugs and the caulking recess are too thin to service. 

 

941099199_Brillaint75yearolddeck(1of1).thumb.jpg.ad9f1dcbb30d4e5c0599972ae4af7692.jpg

 

That W deck was/is original, as the refit didn’t include a new deck. They did sand the crap out of it though. 

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My new used boat had a really dirty shitty teak deck that I just had reconditioned.  Nothing aggressive.   Sudsy Ammonia with some light scrubbing, followed by white vinegar rinse with freshwater, and then a splash of salt water to seal her up.  Looks WAAAAYYYY better....

IMG_6538.thumb.JPG.c5d1ef6eca6db3f89b2bf684c11e45d2.JPG

Had to replace one board that had damage.

IMG_6561.thumb.JPG.cb89f3c79776536eba673a58f2adbbc5.JPG

 

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Wow.  That looks like the Swan 53 that was in the slip next to me for a few years.  Boat was named "Escape".  It broke my heart every day I saw.  The Swan 53 was one of my favorite Swans of all time.  The owner almost never showed up, never took her out.  Such a mess.

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7 minutes ago, MauiPunter said:

Wow.  That looks like the Swan 53 that was in the slip next to me for a few years.  Boat was named "Escape".  It broke my heart every day I saw.  The Swan 53 was one of my favorite Swans of all time.  The owner almost never showed up, never took her out.  Such a mess.

I don't know the name of that one, but it was in Sausalito. It must have been a beauty at one point, but it sure was a mess there.

KpmsFE-LH_T3qPGFBF5XMEXSy9-tmHWXDg6Ql2UT

 

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There is a Grand Banks 36 for sale that the owner has "preserved" the teak decks by painting over them according to the broker. He apparently did this more than once and it looks about due for another coat. A buddy sent me the link and wanted my opinion. My first thought was the deck is wrecked, but maybe not? Granted the paint probably doesn't stay smooth for long, but if you sanded it all off would the teak still be good under there or totally hosed?

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In most other contexts, paint does a pretty good job of protecting the wood underneath. I don't see why this would be any different. The bigger question is probably whether the deck was in decent shape before the paint went on. 

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33 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

There is a Grand Banks 36 for sale that the owner has "preserved" the teak decks by painting over them according to the broker. He apparently did this more than once and it looks about due for another coat. A buddy sent me the link and wanted my opinion. My first thought was the deck is wrecked, but maybe not? Granted the paint probably doesn't stay smooth for long, but if you sanded it all off would the teak still be good under there or totally hosed?

If it was sealed really well before paint with a clear coat, penetrating epoxy or varnished etc should be fine.  If not the paint will have gotten pretty deep into the grain and will require alot of material to go to bring back to bare wood.  This is regardless of the condition prior to paint.

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41 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

If it was sealed really well before paint with a clear coat, penetrating epoxy or varnished etc should be fine.  If not the paint will have gotten pretty deep into the grain and will require alot of material to go to bring back to bare wood.  This is regardless of the condition prior to paint.

True, but it would be easy to determine just how much with a test sanding in some inconspicuous area. 

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7 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

There is a Grand Banks 36 for sale that the owner has "preserved" the teak decks by painting over them according to the broker. He apparently did this more than once and it looks about due for another coat. A buddy sent me the link and wanted my opinion. My first thought was the deck is wrecked, but maybe not? Granted the paint probably doesn't stay smooth for long, but if you sanded it all off would the teak still be good under there or totally hosed?

The most wonderful thing about teak is that it is always good under whatever the top surface is - sand to new wood and you've GOT new wood.

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I have a Beneteau with teak inserts mechanically fastened with small brads nailed into the deck. Two of the sister ships at my club sanded the teak to the point where the brads poked up through the surface. One owner had it all replaced at a great expense, I'm sure, and the other just lives with it. Although mine has considerably raised grain from previous owners who scrubbed it lengthwise, sanding it smooth is obviously out. I used Teak Wonder, a one part cleaner that gets out all the mold, which is what turns it that grimy grey. Then I applied Semco, a non oily sealer that you can buy with or without pigments. The sealer keeps the mold from coming back and I have to say the whole process works pretty well. I did this over three years ago and just renew the sealer with two rubbed in coats, two to three times a year. I use the tinted stuff which protects against UV a little better, but there is a natural clear version that darkens the teak to a wet look, if that's preferred. I mix two parts of the Gold with one part of the Honey (darker) to get a look that, if not totally natural, at least looks way better than before.

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17 hours ago, MauiPunter said:

My new used boat had a really dirty shitty teak deck that I just had reconditioned.  Nothing aggressive.   Sudsy Ammonia with some light scrubbing, followed by white vinegar rinse with freshwater, and then a splash of salt water to seal her up.  Looks WAAAAYYYY better....

IMG_6538.thumb.JPG.c5d1ef6eca6db3f89b2bf684c11e45d2.JPG

Had to replace one board that had damage.

IMG_6561.thumb.JPG.cb89f3c79776536eba673a58f2adbbc5.JPG

 

So that looks nice. What is it? Watcha gonna do wid it? 

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41 minutes ago, Elegua said:

So that looks nice. What is it? Watcha gonna do wid it? 

Hanse 505.  Just bought it.  Gonna freshen it up a bit, make it my own.  The previous owner I don't think cleaned the boat once in the couple years he owned it and it mostly sat it seems.  It's at Pilots Point right now, and Sail4Beer sailed it for me to there from Glen Cove NY.  They are supposed to wrap things up before Oct 1, and then I am going to sail it up to Boston.   I sold my Nelson Marek 45 over the summer.  Time for an upgrade as we needed more room in the accomodations.

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8 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

There is a Grand Banks 36 for sale that the owner has "preserved" the teak decks by painting over them according to the broker. He apparently did this more than once and it looks about due for another coat. A buddy sent me the link and wanted my opinion. My first thought was the deck is wrecked, but maybe not? Granted the paint probably doesn't stay smooth for long, but if you sanded it all off would the teak still be good under there or totally hosed?

If he thought painting the teak deck was a good idea then who knows wtf else he thought was a good idea.

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2 hours ago, longy said:

Not as strange as it sounds, as school cruisers would paint all their varnish over with latex paint before a long crossing. Take it off on arrival

Yes, but...they varnished before the latex paint. Skipping the varnish meant lotsa pigment in the grain afterwards.

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