For previous installments about our boat renovation, please see:
- Our Boat Renovation Begins
- Boat Renovation: Choosing Teak Cleaner and Finish
- Boat Renovation: Cleaning Teak
Teak Guard Finish is extremely easy to apply, a major advantage over varnish or Cetol.
You will need:
- Teak Guard Finish (company website)
- Blue painter’s tape
- Foam brushes
- Rubbing alcohol
- White scrubbies
- Drop cloths or trash bags to use as drop cloths
- Rags or paper towels
- Cup to put small quantity of Teak Guard Finish in that brush can be easily dipped in
- Water for clean up (not a large quantity)
This guide assumes that you have already cleaned the teak and let it dry. Read the instructions book that comes with TeakGuard for more details on application.
Teak Guard Finish is actually designed for exterior applications, but there is no reason you can’t use it on the interior of the boat, as I did.
The Finish should be applied within 24 hours of when an area is cleaned. If life happens and you don’t get the first coat on within 24 hours, do another light cleaning before applying Finish.
While taping off the surrounding area and using drop cloths (in my case, several trash bags that I used over and over as they were a better size than any true “drop cloth”) is highly recommended, drips and spills are relatively easy to clean up. If still wet, a damp rag will clean up the spill on most hard surfaces. If semi-dry, rubbing alcohol on a rag will do it. And if dry, you may need to use a white scrubby with rubbing alcohol. White scrubbies are gentler than the more common green scrubbies and can be found at most hardware and home improvement stores, or on Amazon.
Shake the Teak Guard Finish well — there should be no thick reddish-brown splotches on the inside of the container.
Pour a small amount in a clean cup that your brush will easily fit in. I generally only poured about a half inch at a time so that it wouldn’t settle too much as it used it up. Be sure to re-shake the Finish every time you go to pour some out.
Use a foam brush, keep it fairly dry and apply a thin coat of the Finish. If it runs or puddles, use a rag or paper towel to gently blot the excess. It’s fine to apply in bright sunlight and warm temps. I don’t think it was ever below 90 degrees F. when I was applying the Finish.
Let the first coat dry. Depending on the temperature and humidity, this can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Apply a second coat. Let dry overnight.
If a very smooth finish is desired, rub with bronze wool before applying additional coats. I did not do this as I was looking for a more casual appearance.
IMPORTANT: If using Teak Guard Finish on any surface that will be walked on, do not try for a “very smooth finish.” You need a rougher surface so that you do not slip on it. With the Teak Guard Finish on our floorboards, the standard finish provides very good footing, even for the few times a year that I wear socks. It has also eliminated slipping problems for the dog (yes, we had previously put down carpets so she could walk without sliding).
I applied two coats a day with a minimum of six coats on any area. High-touch areas such as door frames and hand holds got 10 coats. Handles for sliding locker doors got 12 coats. Areas around the stove, where there are a lot of grease spatters and had previously been just black with mold as a result, also got 8 to 10 coats.
I literally did no prep work between coats as I was applying Finish on consecutive days. No sanding is required or even recommended. If you go longer than a day, wipe the surface off with a very slightly damp rag to remove any salt or dust. You do not have to allow the surface to fully dry before applying more Finish.
I left the tape in place between coats, removing it only after the final coat. I waited at least two days to apply tape to any just-finished teak, so I skipped around the boat a bit rather than work on immediately adjacent areas. Also I used the “delicate surfaces” tape on any areas I’d just applied Finish to. (See Scotch Delicate Surfaces Painter’s Tape on Amazon.)
Unused sealant in your cup can be poured back into the jug of Finish for future use. Rinse the cup out and let dry; eventually, some residue will remain but it was never a problem for reusing the container.
Rinse the foam brush out and allow to dry for reuse another day. The Finish is non-toxic.
VERY IMPORTANT: Do not allow the bottles or jugs of TeakGuard finish to freeze. Do not store them in an unheated place in the winter if freezing temperatures are possible.
We had to remove and replace some of our teak pieces after they’d been covered in Finish, and this meant removing bungs and then replacing them with unfinished bungs. After putting them in place and trimming to the height of the wood around them, I simply applied several coats of TeakGuard Finish — 2 coats per day — and feathered it into the surrounding area so there wasn’t an obvious line. I applied coats until the bungs blended as well as I could hope for. New bungs will never blend as well as original bungs which are cut from the same wood as the primary piece, so there is always a bit of color difference.
My method of working was to clean a section each day and then apply Finish to the sections I’d cleaned over the last several days, so that I was applying the first two coats to one area, the second two to another, the third two to still another. I found it helpful to write what coat number had been applied on the tape next to an area. Without that, I quickly lost track of what coat number I was on!
Every year or so, I’ll need to add a maintenance boat of Teak Guard Finish. It will probably be less often since this is all interior, but the way to tell that it needs a coat is if the finish is starting to show a bit of haze. For the maintenance coat, simply wash with soap and water, rinse, let dry, tape and apply the Finish. There is no sanding!
Before and after: