After years of asking marine professionals and long term live aboards how to best maintain our teak deck, time after time we’ve been told to use Boracol. Boracol is a chemical that can be used for the management of mold, fungal growth, mildew, slime, dry rot and insect attack.
Before being a boat owner I never realized that teak decks are prone to algae and mold growth.
Algae and mold issues can disfigure a teak deck and make it slippery
After enquiring about the cost of replacing our teak deck (just out of curiosity), I first had to pick myself off the floor and then I became very eager to make sure we had a teak deck maintenance system in place. For our 56’ sailboat with full teak decking the replacement cost to remove, prepare and relay new teak came to around the $95,000 mark. I was told it’s cheaper to get a new teak deck in Thailand but I wonder just how much cheaper it would be?! I also pondered when I’d next be sailing by Thailand with the boat…
When I heard the high cost of replacement I realized the importance of teak deck maintenance
So here is our teak deck maintenance regime:
On a routine basis we hose the deck down with fresh water. When we want to give the deck a nice clean, perhaps once a month or when in a marina, we use a very soft brush and with diluted dish soap we lightly scrub the teak going across the grain as opposed to going with the grain.
We’ve always been advised to avoid pressure washers as they can damage the wood. Furthermore, professionals have indicated that scrubbing with a hard brush or going with the grain can negatively affect the teak deck.
Once a year we treat the whole deck with Boracol using the following process:
1. Check the weather. As long as it’s not going to rain for three to four days, it’s a good time to start. Light drizzle and dew will not impact the treatment. You just don’t want heavy rain to wash the Boracol off the boat before it has time to work.
2. Wash the whole deck with a light stream of hose water, soft brush and diluted dish soap. Always use the brush lightly across the grain.
3. After the deck is clean, wet down the area where you want to start and allow the teak to dry until it’s damp.
4. Working in small sections apply the Boracol with a paintbrush. You want the Boracol to be visably wet but not running off the surface.
5. Allow the teak to dry out until it’s just damp again and apply a second coat of Borocol.
6. The following day, you can spray the deck with a tiny bit of water. This will help the Boracol to penetrate into the teak.
7. After three to seven days wash the teak deck with a soft brush/sponge and diluted dish soap.
The deck might look worse before it looks better. If your deck had signs of algae and mold, after around ten days the deck should start to look better.
Some boat owners treat their deck at the beginning and end of each boating season whereas others do it once a year or as required.
Teak Deck Maintenance using Boracol Video
If you have any comments or questions, please write them below.
Also, we did try out a product called, Teak Wonder, a while back. At first we were happy with the results but the nice appearance didn’t last long. The amount of work required for such a short result wasn’t worth it (in our opinion). Article: TEAK WONDER: HOW TO MAKE THE TEAK DECK ON YOUR SAILBOAT LOOK AMAZING IN 3 STEPS