PBO reader Karl Cook is unsure how best to restore his teak decking. Our resident paint expert Richard Jerram has this advice…

“Can your paint expert help me identify the coating on my boat’s flybridge deck and stairs?

“Is it likely to be just a varnish or something more specific? Can I rub the down the surface and reapply whatever this coating is?

“I don’t want to sand back to the teak just yet – for now I’d just like to restore the teak decking so it looks like it was when I bought the boat.”

– Karl Cook (by email)

PBO paint expert Richard Jerram replies: “I don’t know what the original coating would have been but imagine it was a teak treatment rather than an actual varnish – maybe the original builder might be able to shed some light on it.

“If you just want to give it some protection and to improve the appearance you might consider giving the teak a light sanding and apply two coats of a marine teak oil.

“There is another route you could take and that is to again sand the teak and remove as much of the old coating as possible and apply two to three coats of International Woodskin.

“This product is suitable for all oily woods like teak and iroko and does not flake – it’s porous and allows the wood to breath. I’ve used it and it does give a nice appearance.”

Karl Cook follows up: “You can tell Richard that he’s a genius as he got it spot on!

“I’m a very impatient person and was frantically researching everything about what boat owners have done with their teak… blogs, vlogs, reviews, articles, and I stumbled across International Woodskin a couple of weeks after emailing you.

“I spoke to our resident marine engineer who advised it might be what is already on the teak and suggested we try it out on a small test area.

“So I ordered some, prepared the surface and applied it. It seemed to blend in very much with the existing coating.

“I’d also tried to track down the boat’s previous owner and via a very circuitous route eventually heard back from him.

“He revealed he’d coated the teak with Starbright Tropical Teak Oil Sealer – a product my previous research had never even hinted at.

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“More Google searching and it seems that the Starbright performance and application is very similar to the Woodskin although I can’t confirm the ingredients are the same.

“My Woodskin test patch (now several weeks old) looked very good. So my wife and I have decided to use it (I hate to throw stuff away once bought).

“The last couple of weekends we have been washing, sanding and then more cleaning off teak. So far we have applied two coats (we’ll do three), and it looks and feels so much better.”

About the expertrichard-jerrum-headshot-bw

Richard Jerram is former UK technical manager for International Paint.

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