Most Boat and Yacht flooring is usually Teak and Holly sole which takes a lot of abuse in foot traffic. It has a great look, and enhances the interior. On some boats or yachts, it is an option, but some boats come with the teak and holly sole as standard. Whether you have a Powerboat or Sailboat, the problems are what to do when it wears out, and how do you know it is time to do something. Here is what to do…
I have to tell you, not only did I dread to do this, but feared how it would come out. I did not want it to look worst after a fix, I wanted it to look better. I heard all kinds of stories from Boat owners, and some looked to sell their boats or yachts instead of repairing the teak and holly sole. You could not do just part of the flooring like a hatchway, it would stick out…You would have to do all of the flooring, once you started. With determination after looking at what new Teak and Holly looked like, I decided to take the plunge. The supplies are very inexpensive, and the results even after the first brush stroke is amazing!
The main Boat supplies are sandpaper (220 grit) and varnish. You will have to decide if you want a satin or gloss finish on your yacht or boat. Read the labels including the precautions, applications and techniques. Other supplies would be masking tape, brushes, rags, and thinner.
There are different wear points on the teak and holly sole to talk about first. If you have just worn down teak and holly with no bare spots, that’s good. If you have a few bare spots, which means you’re down to the wood itself, you will have a few extra steps. Also look at the back of your boats’ hatchways or removable sections to see if the wood behind has splintered or split. Also see if there is too much flex as you step on it when they are in place. Now is the time to repair this before or after redoing the finish on the teak and holly sole.
Refinishing your boat or yacht floor:
Basically it is just sanding and you can do this with a light power sander or by hand with a sanding block. I did a hatchway first and moved it to a comfortable area to do the work. Making sure there is no grit or dirt on the surface, I sanded by hand with 220 grit sandpaper, giving the teak and holly sole a dull even finish. If you have bare spots, sand the wood lightly to get the gray out and feather slightly the finish around it to the bare spots. Take a rag slightly damp with thinner and clean off the surface area to get all sanding dust off. Do this each time after sanding or before varnishing. Thin the varnish by 20% and give a coat over just the bare spots. I waited until dry or 24hrs to add the next coat. Sanding the area I just coated first. This time I thinned the varnish 10% and coated all of the hatchway. Waiting the drying time again, I sanded (220 grit) again and coated this time with the varnish full strength. I found the varnish likes to be warm along with the surface I am putting it on. It flows and lays better, making your sanding easier in between coats. If I had deep gouges, I would apply a little extra varnish in that area or give it an extra coat or two bringing the surface even with the rest. Of course sanding in between and feathering the edges. You will now see a nice build-up of coats and great luster on your boats’ teak and holly sole!
How many coats? It is up to you, but having at least 4 or 5 is minimum. Having 6 to 8 is better, especially in high traffic areas and you can do more! After I did the first hatchway, and seeing it come out great, I felt comfortable doing more in larger sections. I did the outer areas in the cabin first, and slowly worked my way out. You can do as large of an area that you feel comfortable with. On some of the boat hatches and sections that were split, soft or cracked, I found that fiberglassing the underneath was the answer. It stopped the splitting, cracking and softness/flex. You may just need a good coat of resin thinned out to soak in, to a few layers of fiberglass to hold things together and take out the flexing.
This is easy and the varnish hides and makes everything on your boat look great. Just don’t have a bunch of sanding dust flying around while varnishing. Try to keep the area as dust free as possible. The dust that sticks to the varnish sands out, and on the last coat, what sticks won’t really be seen on the floor. What will be seen is the great new finish and luster! It’s easy, and Why not?!
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