Teak Deck Maintenance

Teak is a wonder wood that has been prized aboard ships for centuries. It wears like iron and develops a unique non-skid property underfoot, even when wet. It is highly rot resistant and rarely warps or cracks. Best of all, it radiates colors ranging from a warm golden glow to a practical silver-gray that enhances the look of any boat.

Given consistent, caring attention, teak decks will last for decades. Abused, they will fail - often leading to water leaks that are nearly impossible to trace, the rotting of wood framing and widespread interior finish damage.

Teak is perfect for yacht decks because it is strong and elastic and once seasoned, it holds its shape. As it weathers, new teak decking gradually turns gray or silver.


The cleaning of teak decks is often the easiest job on a spring "to do" list. Simply wash teak with a mild soap (liquid Tide), scrubbing lightly with a gentle nylon pad or an ultra soft brush to lift accumulated dirt from the silvery-gray decking. Scrub the Tide into the teak lightly with a nylon pad. The 3M white pad is the least abrasive. Work the scrubber across the grain, in figure eights or circles, but avoid scrubbing with the grain because that wears away the softer elements of the wood. Hose off the deck with salt or fresh water. That's it, job done.

Finished the teak remains gray - but it's clean. Rinse the deck often during the summer and maybe a little soap to keep it clean.

To get the rich colour of fresh teak consider sanding the deck on an annual basis with a light grit to remove the top layer. This will result in a terrific job. Never power wash and never add oils or treatments!

Teak decks thrive on "benign" neglect. They don't need chemicals, varnish or oil. Water, a little soap or other cleaner and a gentle scrubbing provide all necessary care.