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Boat teak maintenance and restoration

Updated on August 16, 2013

Most marine wood is teak for good reason - teak is a very hard, resilient wood.

Any boat owner with even a sliver of teak wood on aboard will want to make sure that the teak wood is properly maintained and, if needed, restored. Teak is one of the most beautiful and forgiving woods in the world which is why it's an idea wood for boats. Properly maintained, marine teak is weather resistant, insect resistant, and will last for generations.

Teak is one of the hardest woods in the world and is a perfect material for outdoor uses. A lot of benches, tables and chairs are made of teak wood. A simple teak cleaning and teak oiling once a year will keep outdoor teak in perfect order.

Even unstained marine teak wood is gorgeous - teak turns a beautiful silver color as it ages - but every boat deserves some shining teak wood.. And, a gorgeous, well sanded, polished and oiled teak really makes a statement about how a boat is cared for.

The teak swim platform shown in the picture is the "after" picture - the boat is my boyfriend's 28' Formula that he bought earlier this year (2012). John has already set about restoring this 1989 boat and its teak wood to a high gloss gleam, and it sure shows. That means a lot of teak sanding, teak polishing, and teak maintenance to keep the wood looking stellar.

Clean your teak wood

The first step to either maintaining teak or restoring teak is to give it a thorough cleaning to remove any stains or mars. The easiest way to clean a boat's teak wood is to use a heavy duty brush and teak cleaner. Scrub in the direction of the grain; never go against the teak as you might end up with splinters, even from this very hard wood.

Make sure to wear old clothes as you work on your teak as the teak cleaner can very well leave stains on clothing. And, while you're at it, if you're working on teak wood which is by the upholstery of the boat, make sure to cover the seats or any upholstery with a cloth.


Travaco Labs/Marine Tex Te-Ka Teak Cleaner

Nautical Tech Teak Cleaner, 16-Ounce

Star Brite Teak Cleaner

Star brite Sea Safe Teak Cleaner / Brightener - 32 oz
Star brite Sea Safe Teak Cleaner / Brightener - 32 oz

I like this teak cleaner as it's fully biodegradable making it perfect to use if your boat is in the water and there will be runoff as you wash the teak wood.


There is NOTHING--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

- Kenneth Grahame

Stiff scrub brushes will whisk away the teak wood dirt

Applying teak cleaner with a stiff scrub brush will make cleaning marine teak wood a breeze. Just remember to go with the grain as you scrub the teak - never ever go against the grain.

The before photo - This teak swim platform needed to have the old wood finish sanded off

The before photo - This teak swim platform needed to have the old wood finish sanded off
The before photo - This teak swim platform needed to have the old wood finish sanded off

Protect the teak wood on the side of the boat with this boat bumper

Even if your boat doesn't have teak wood to protect on the sides, this mermaid boat bumper will keep your boat safe from bumping into docks, sea walls or other boats when rafting up. Plus, I think she's just cute as all get out...

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

- William A. Ward

Teak restoration videos - on YouTube

I love learning how to do things off of videos and there's no better place to learn how to refinish marine teak wood than to view a few videos. Click on any of the images below to be taken to step-by-step teak restoration videos.

Teak oil - will keep your marine teak wood shine and last longer

It's pretty easy to maintain marine teak wood once you get it to cleaned, sanded, and oiled. Just rub a bit of teak oil over the teak every other week or so. That's all you have to do to make your boat's teak wood glisten in the sunlight.

Please leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by.

Ahoy Matey!

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    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      I also have teak furniture but no boat yet!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I have a lot of teak furniture that I have to oil now and then. Our boat is all fiberglass, I'm afraid.

    • PristeamDetail LM profile image

      PristeamDetail LM 5 years ago

      I'm wondering if this would be a good addition to add to my auto detailing business. (I live in San Diego and there are thousands of boats down here). Any tips? Advice? .....And I give you a big squid like for this! Check out one of my Lenses if you get a minute and let me know if you have any friendly constructive feedback..Thanks!