Using TeakGuard Index
Cleaning and Surface Preparation
Proper Cleaning of Teak and Other Oily Woods is Essential
Let me start by stating that I have personally cleaned and applied TeakGuard
Finish to 50 or 60 of the nastiest Smith Hawkin benches you are likely to have
ever seen. I have also cleaned and finished 6 or so swim steps and platforms
and no, I have not actually refinished the deck on a boat but I have guided
many who have done so very successfully. That is how I learned what you are
about to read. The first thing I personally learned was that hard oily woods
are not like any other wood I have ever worked with bar none. So if you are
a pine or walnut expert, be prepared for information that flies in the face
of what you know about those woods. They are not the same and are do not respond
the same as hard oily woods like teak and IPE or iron wood.
Using TeakGuard Products on any hard oily wood
including teak, mahogany, cedar, cypress, iron wood, etc., the procedures described below
will work just fine if you substitute the name of your wood for teak.
In order for TeakGuard Finish to bond with the surface of
the wood must be free of mold, dead wood, sanding dust and the naturally occurring
oil or resin that saturates the wood and protects it from many naturally occurring
If the wood's surface has deteriorated to the point that it must be
sanded to produce the look you want, wet sand it to produce
the finish you seek before you start the cleaning process. Sand with
60 to 80 (120 for very fine finish) grit bonded belt sanding material
and pressing only hard enough to make contact with the wood. Dry sanding
generates heat that melts the naturally occurring teak oil. This oil
and wood dust mix to form a hard paste that loads the sand paper and
fills the grain of the wood, preventing
TeakGuard Finish from effectively bonding with the
wood. If your sand paper is loading with sanding dust (and
oil), the wood is loading as well. This loading of the wood must be
removed before applying TeakGuard Finish. Wet sanding
belt sanding material (as used on floor sanders and cut to fit your sander)
works better than anything else we have tried.
Sanding smoothes the surface of the wood and removes much of the mold,
dead wood and oxidized oil from the surface, but it does not clean the
wood in the manner necessary to apply TeakGuard Finish!
Every time you remove some wood by sanding or buffing with bronze wool
new fresh teak oil is exposed and smeared around the wood. It needs to
be removed before finishing.
New and Old Teak Cleaning
Whether your teak is brand new, freshly sanded, freshly pressure washed
or just gray with oxidized teak oil, it all needs to be cleaned with a
product designed specifically to remove the naturally occurring teak oil
that saturates the wood from the surface of the wood.
Teak Cleaning Products
Household products including chlorine bleach and diluted chlorine pool
shock will lighten your teak but are ineffective at removing teak oil.
Some of the teak cleaners available at local marinas are made of sodium
hydroxide. Both chlorine bleaching products and sodium hydroxide products
are very difficult to remove completely, and over time their residue
will weaken the bonding fibers that hold the main wood fibers together.
This often results in the finish peeling off with the damaged wood fibers
stuck to the back of the peeled off finish. This generally only happens
once in any specific area of cleaner damaged wood, but may occur later
in other areas of the finished wood.
Since 1982, TeakGuard products have been on the market. During that
time TeakGuard's oxalic acid cleaner has produced the best overall results
of the cleaners available from a number of aspects including:
- Relatively safe
- Very effective
- Environmentally friendly
- Does not damage the wood
But it requires a fair amount of that very hard to find material "elbow
grease" and can streak (clean) fiber glass and Gel Coat. It must also
be rinsed thoroughly from any metal work.
In 2003 TeakGuard Products developed a new cleaner that is:
- Very Safe
- Easy to use
- Fast acting
- Requires much less material
- Requires much less work
- Is very effective
- Is pH neutral
- Very safe
- Environmentally very friendly
- Will not damage deck calking, fiber glass finishes, or metal work.
But costs more per ounce!
As a result, TeakGuard Products' offers two cleaners. Our old stand
by TeakGuard Cleaner contains oxalic acid and our new product, TeakGuard
Super Cleaner. Super Cleaner is much faster and easier to use. It is more
costly on a per ounce basis but not on a per square foot cleaned basis.
IE Considering the cost of the cleaner used per square foot of wood being
cleaned and the cost of your time and effort required to produce the desired
result, the Super Cleaner wins hands down!
Using TeakGuard Super Cleaner
The TeakGuard Super Cleaner is applied with the included mist sprayer.
For large areas, it can be diluted up to 1 part cleaner 2 parts water
and applied with a trigger sprayer. This will provide more water, allowing
the area being cleaned to stay wet longer. In either case the cleaner
needs to be damp for 60 to 90 seconds in order to soften the material
being removed from your teak with minimal effort.
TeakGuard Super Cleaner is in the de-greaser class of cleaners. It dissolves
the teak resin and it will dissolve the oil in your skin as well. Wear
rubber gloves when using TeakGuard Super Cleaner.
Using a small, short polypropylene bristled scrub brush, brush along
the grain with about the same pressure you would use to clean your fingernails
with the same brush. (We have done extensive research on which brush works
the best and found that the Libman #15 (or #18 for tight places) brush
works the best and lasts the longest. It is available at many grocery
stores this web site and is included with all 3 TeakGuard Kits. Add a
small amount of water as you brush, then rinse the entire area. Before
spraying the next area to be cleaned, wipe the excess water away. Limit
your cleaning area to no more than 2 square feet.
After you have finished the entire area or piece of furniture, hose off
the area with a fresh water and a nozzle. Allow the area to dry until
it becomes light brown and start the TeakGuard Finish process. Do not
wait until the next day to apply the first coat of TeakGuard Finish.
Super Cleaner will not remove TeakGuard Finish or other finishes unless
they were applied on top of teak oil. It will not remove mold that is
growing directly on the wood either. Mold can be easily removed by wiping
the area with course bronze wool and then cleaning with Super Cleaner and
Once an area is cleaned, do not sand or use bronze wool on the area because
you will be exposing new teak oil/resin that will need to be removed.
Using TeakGuard Oxalic Acid Cleaner
As mentioned above, cleaners containing sodium hydroxide and chlorine
bleach will weaken the surface of your teak among other unpleasant
Using TeakGuard Oxalic acid cleaner is effective but labor intensive.
Apply the oxalic acid cleaner to the area being cleaned. Let it stand
for 3 to 5 minutes and then buff the area with bronze wool and/or a stiff
plastic bristled brush until the wood turns brown. Add water and continue
brushing until the run off is clear. After the wood has dried, there should
be a fuzz or grain rise everywhere on the wood except on the end-grain.
If there are areas that did not achieve a grain raise, there is still
teak oil on the surface that must be removed. TeakGuard Finish
finish can not penetrate the teak oil to bond with the surface of the
wood. The cleaning and rinsing process should be repeated in the area
where the grain rise did not occur. When a complete grain rise has occurred,
you can start applying TeakGuard Finish.
Failing to remove all the teak oil will cause the finish to come off
in the areas that the teak oil was not removed.
There are cases where a grain rise can not be achieved as in the case
where the wood has been wet sanded with 120 grit paper. If the entire
area does not achieve a grain rise, and the pores of the wood appears
to be free debris, you are probably good to go. The cost of being wrong
is; the finish will come off after 3 to 6 months in the sun.
Things You Should Never Do To Your Teak
Never ever use regular steel wool on or around your teak, because it
leaves fragments of steel that will rust and discolor your teak. Once
steel wool fragments are imbedded in teak, they are very difficult to
Never ever use a steel bristled brush on your teak. They leave fragments
that rust too.
Never use brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, motor oil, ammonia,
sodium hydroxide, chlorine bleach, or acids stronger than oxalic acid
on your teak!
Belt sanders are really great tools for grinding away lots of wood. Don't
use them on your teak. They are just too hard to control. Palm sanders
(electric) and jitter bug sanders (air driven) work great. Dry sanding
works poorly regardless of the type of sander used.
teakguard case studies
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difference between teakguard and everyone else
frequently asked questions
using teakguard on teak furniture
general notes on teakguard finish and cleaner
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links to good products
long term care of your teak
removing and preventing mold on your teak
things you should never do to your teak
things not to do to your teak wood
getting answers to teakguard questions
safe use of teakguard cleaners and finish
why sealers fail so quickly
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TeakGuard is a revolutionary long lasting finish for teak, cedar, epay, mahogany and other oily woods. It gives teak outdoor furniture, teak patio furniture, teak garden furniture, teak decks, bright work, and cabinets a new and practically unlimited lease on life!
TeakGuard stands alone in that it allows moisture (water vapor) to escape by "breathing", while at the same time sealing in the woods natural oils and protecting them from mold, mildew, oxidization and UV light.
TeakGuard's combination of UV absorbers and reflectors, provide a high degree of protection from ultraviolet rays, to further extend the life of both the TeakGuard finish and the wood. 4 coats reject up to 95% of the UV light TeakGuard's polymer resin do not support mold or mildew growth, but if mold is left on the wood during the cleaning and preparation process, it will continue to grow on the wood under the TeakGuard.
TeakGuard is guaranteed for one year, in any weather, not to: CHIP, PEEL, or FADE
TeakGuard Super cleaner is a new approach to cleaning teak. It is pH neutral. It contains no acid or base and requires almost no scrubbing. Spray it on, let it work for 1 minute and brush the gray teak oil, and most other debris off you teak. What the brushing does not remove, a light buffing with bronze wool will remove easily. Rinse and let dry, then
apply you TeakGuard Finish in thin coats. Traditional TeakGuard Cleaner is a specially formulated cleaner containing oxalic acid that is designed to reduce the cleaning effort required to prepare the surface of teak furniture, teak bright work and decking for a long lasting TeakGuard finish. For years the only finish recommended by westminster teak USA. Better that any oil product, and lasts longer that any teak sealer product.
I want to thank the chemist who developed TeaQua. I've always been a fan of oils that are IN not ON the wood and the ease of application, water clean up and the look are outstanding.
I heard about TeakGuard from a fellow sailor on one of the forums I visit. I tried it out on teak patio furniture and a red oak bench I built. From that experience I deemed it worthy of being applied to the teak on my Cape Dory 25D, Seraph. What an understatement. I spent 4 weekends removing the Cetol and 1/2 day applying TeaQua. I didn't use one piece of masking tape. I simply cut it in like a trim painter and came behind with a wet rag to wipe up any teakguard that got on the gelcoat. Couldn't have been easier unless done by someone else. Teakguard has caused quite a stir at my marina. Everyone is watching and taking bets on how long it will last. Having watched my patio furniture for 6 months I'm very optimistic.
There may be a few varnish types at my marina throwing in the brush and converting to Teakguard. Thanks again for a fine product. R d Austin Tx.
Semco, Cetol, Teak Wonder, TeakGuard, Watco, Danish Teak Oil, Gold Teak Oil.
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