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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

April, 2004

Removal of Teak Sealer Before Cleaning

Q. How can I safely (and efficiently) remove a water based "teak sealer" from outdoor furniture. Although dry (and new) when sealed, the furniture mildewed underneath. We live in Louisiana. The sealer is like a lacquer or plastic. I am using Semco's 2 step cleaner which dissolves or removes some of it (with the help of different brushes, 3m pads and anything else I can think of, but it is incredibly slow and some sealer is just ridiculously stubborn. I don't want to destoy the wood cleaning it.

A. Penetrating oil finishes can be more difficult to remove than typical lacquer and varnish finishes. The key word is penetrating. The oils will soak into the wood creating greater bonding than other type coatings. Their removal may require a more powerful chemical stripper than the Semco product.

Also, a paint scrapper will help to remove the heavier layers of the teak sealer. You may also plan to do some extra sanding starting with a course grit then finishing off with a fine grit paper.

Best regards,

Tom Burke

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