Teak that's gray, weathered or in otherwise poor condition can be restored to its natural, warm appearance, then sealed to protect it - in just a few simple steps.
REMOVE PREVIOUS COATINGS: First, if there are any varnishes or coatings, the coating needs to be removed. Chemical paint and varnish strippers such as TotalBoat TotalStrip and Back to Nature Ready-Strip Marine, are commonly used for this, or the coatings can be removed by simply sanding. Take care when sanding not to remove too much of the teak.
CLEAN: Use a teak cleaning product such as Semco Teak Cleaner, Amazon Teak Cleaner, TotalBoat 2-Part Teak Cleaner, or Marine-Tex TE-KA Teak Wood Cleaner to restore the teak to its natural appearance and remove any stains or foreign material from the grain. There are 1- and 2-step teak cleaners available. Each one has its own advantages. When using teak cleaners, it is very important to have lots of fresh water, and wear appropriate gloves, skin, face and eye protection. When scrubbing, always go across the grain to avoid working the dirt and grime back into the grain. Always wait at least a few days after performing a teak cleaning process for the teak to completely dry before applying any sealers, varnish or oils. If water is trapped in the teak, it may cause varnish products to blister or compromise the effectiveness of wood sealers.
SAND & SEAL: The final step is to seal the teak. However, performing a teak cleaning process can raise the grain of the wood as the water evaporates. Before applying any sealer products, sand the teak, in the direction of the grain, until the surface is smooth and ready to be sealed. There are a few different directions you can go to seal your teak, ranging from oils and teak sealers, to varnishes. Oils and teak sealers are designed to protect the wood, repel water, and preserve the beauty of the wood, with a natural, lower sheen finish. These product can be applied with a clean cotton cloth or rag, foam brush, or pad-type applicator. After applying each coat of oil or sealer, always wipe up any extra product sitting on the surface 10-20 minutes after applying, before it dries. In most cases, 1-2 coats are sufficient. Varnishes and other film-forming marine wood finishes such as Sikkens Cetol and TotalBoat Marine Wood Finish, can also be used to seal and protect teak. These products form a coating over the teak, preserving the wood from the elements, while giving the wood any range of finishes from high-gloss to matte and rubbed effect finishes. Many of these products specify thinning the material on the first coat, to allow maximum penetration. Varnishes and marine wood finishes commonly require 3-6 coats or more to fill the grain and provide sufficient protection.