A teak deck that is maintained well will easily last the lifetime of the boat. It needs to be caulked with proper materials and the timber should be taped off to avoid any damage and the need for cleaning the teak boards. Teak that has not been sanded or varnished maintains a non-slip quality. So just keep the boards clean and you won’t have any problems.
Tips for cleaning and caulking
- seams need to be dry and clean. All old material needs to be scraped out
- caulk undercover so timber and seams stay dry
- ambient temperature needs to be 40 to 90°F for best results
- remove old material and sand the timber on each side of the seam
- vacuum or blow away any dust
- using a bond breaker tape gives the best results
- clean and remove any oil from timber with alcohol or acetone
When seams have been prepared select your caulking compound and trim end of nozzle to fit inside the seam. Fill the seam to the top then in a smooth jerk-free motion pull caulking gun back along the seam.
- draw a flexible knife, such as a putty knife, over the caulking compound
- any trapped air will ‘pop’ from caulking
- remove the excess caulking compound from deck
- allow at least 48 hours for the caulking to cure
- after curing time you are able to sand any excess from the decking boards with 80 grit sanding paper
- the best sealant is a 2-part poly-sulphide mix, substitutes don’t work anywhere near as good
Complications that may arise
- if you use a stop start action the caulking will not flow evenly and air will get into the seam
- to avoid making depressions on the decking boards hold the sander flat against the boards
- any foreign materials or contaminants such as the caulking compound, may cause a ‘fish eye’ effect in paint if it is not removed from the decking boards
- to avoid needing to sand your teak deck always mask off the boards
- every time you sand back the teak boards the caulking seam gets shallower
- using chemical cleaners on a teak deck will just remove any natural oil from the boards and you will need to clean more frequently
So by taking your time and doing the job properly with the right product, you will achieve the best results and your teak decks will come up looking great and lasting for years.