If you want to get confused on the internet as quickly as possible, look up “teak maintenance.” You wouldn’t think maintaining yacht flooring installation would be such a fiery topic, but it’s warfare out there. Batten the hatches (which is one good tip for keeping your flooring dry) and avoid the fight. Maintaining your yacht flooring installation is much simpler than a lot of places out there would lead you to believe.
Trust the Wood
As top South Florida boat flooring professionals, we know there’s a reason teak is used on yachts. It is an extremely dense hardwood that naturally possesses very high amounts of oil and wax. Nature’s already perfected the ideal wood for a yacht, so you don’t have to bend over backwards trying to maintain it.
Teak hardwood is resistant to rot, so you can begin by trusting the choice of teak and not feeling like you have to fawn over it or over-care for it. The natural inclination is to oil it every chance you get, but this will quickly sap the look from the wood and render it dull and featureless. If you over-oil teak, it will begin to look oddly plastic in sunlight.
Teak is also resistant to fungal growth. Now, any wood can develop fungal growth if you leave it alone long enough. That’s just what wood does, especially in humid environments. This leads us to our most important point:
Use Your Yacht
In fact, the number one way to help maintain your teak is to use your yacht regularly. It’s a chore, we know.
All the oils in the world aren’t as useful as taking the yacht out, letting it get light, moving its parts around, and letting it get good airflow as it moves across the ocean.
Dirt builds up, so when you use your yacht, give it a good sweep now and then. South Florida boat flooring is exposed to a lot of rain and humidity, so extra moisture builds up. Wipe this up. Do basic cleaning as part of your regular maintenance routine. Yet above all, get the yacht moving. Air flow alone will take care of many basic problems.
Don’t Use High Pressure Hoses
Just don’t. Teak combines a variety of grains, ranging from hard to soft. A high pressure hose will blast away those soft grains. Additionally, you’ll get ugly little pits and lines very quickly in your deck.
If you have used a high pressure hose and you don’t know what to do because the deck’s already looking worse for the wear, relax, take a breath, and get someone who knows what they’re doing to sand that deck down again. This will level the surface back out, and the deck can be refinished from here.
For the same reason, stick to brushes with soft bristles when cleaning. Brushes with hard bristles will pick those soft grains out just like a high pressure hose will.
Be careful with acid-based cleaners as well. Always follow instructions, and preferably consult someone who’s dealt with yacht flooring installation before.
Cover Your Deck
The worst effects of weather can be mitigated by covering your deck. Don’t let it be an afterthought. A hard rain can cause many problems if the deck is directly exposed to it. Covering can sometimes feel like a hassle in the moment, but it can save you a much bigger problem down the road.
Similarly, sun can do a lot of damage to wood over time. Exposure to sun begins to fade the color of wood, and your finish will lose its luster this way. Rain or shine, cover your deck.
Wipe Up Food and Wine
Part of the appeal of yachts is how much fun you can have onboard. This said, splashed wine is one of the quickest ways to discolor a patch of wood. Oily and greasy foods will also make marks that are surprisingly difficult to eliminate, and organic matter (like the sandwich crust a messy guest leaves behind) is the quickest way to introduce mold into the environment. Make sure the remnants of any outing are promptly cleaned.
But, remember, you don’t have to obsess over these things. A spill won’t ruin the wood in minutes. Just make sure at the end of the day that these things are cleaned off instead of left to sit there until the next time you take the yacht out. They cause problems over time, but won’t damage anything immediately.
Saltwater is Fine
Teak does well with salt water because of how the salinity discourages the growth of mold. You can use the deck hose to wash off the teak quickly. This is one more element that makes teak pretty easy to maintain.
Don’t Overdo It
Once more we’ll stress that a regularly used, well-cared for teak deck won’t need oil, sealants, or cleaners with an acid base. Teak can be allowed to age naturally and it will look beautiful with time.
This said, if you like the look of oils, the protection of sealants, or the effectiveness of acid based cleaners, you don’t have to avoid them. Everyone has their preference. Just make sure you follow the directions carefully. Consulting someone with experience is highly recommended. Above all, don’t overuse any of these products. Trust the wood. It took a long time growing to look so beautiful, and it will give you years of pleasure if you treat it right.