Teak Deck Maintenance
– Quality teak decking can last for decades when properly maintained, or it can be ruined in one year with improper care. Teak deck maintenance is discussed in many places, but as with many subjects, there is a lot of bad information out there – some misguided, and some meant to cause problems.
The first thing to remember is that teak is a very sensitive natural material. It is used on decks because of its excellent properties, but natural growth generates softer and harder sections in a tree (year rings, also called grain in lumber). Softer sections of teak deck planking wear away faster than harder sections. This is why you should never scrub decks with a hard bristle brush, and absolutely never brush with the grain, as this will eat out the softer wood very quickly.
The best way to clean your teak deck is with a regular rinse of clean water. Do not spray the deck with high pressure nozzles or washers. If washing is needed, use a soap like Joy dish-washing detergent with a cotton mop, and rinse well with salt water. If you have to scrub, do it across the grain with a 3M Doodlebug or something similar, but don not scrub too much, as the top layer of the wood cells are removed with the dirt. Remember that the wood cells you scrub away are gone and will not come back.
Avoid all chemical teak restoration products. Some of these attack caulking materials, and every time the teak is “restored”, wood is taken – as these products usually remove the top layers of wood cells.
Don not oil teak decking. Teak oils can cause some caulking materials to turn to goo (not ours, but still – no!). Oil will catch and hold dirt and oily dirt does not wash off, it stays on teak and can lead to blotchy, stained wood.
*Above tips and guidelines are a result of years of experience and are found to be helpful and work in most cases. However, every deck is different and by no means can we guarantee the results on your deck, so please use your local professional if you don’t feel comfortable working on your own.