Teak outdoor furniture is beautiful, durable and practical. It can be left out in the weather without becoming twisted or warped. And you can rest assured that your a-grade teak patio furniture will not crack (outside of normal checking), splinter, or be a home to termites! With proper care, teak will maintain it’s attractive and durable qualities.
New pieces of teak wood furniture will be in a honey/brown color, teak’s natural state. They can often appear to be polished. The polished appearance comes from oil occurring naturally in the wood. The oil on the surface will evaporate after a few days outdoors. It is the oil below the surface that gives the wood its durability. Left to age naturally outside, teak outdoor furniture will turn a handsome silver gray color. This process will take approximately 9 to 12 months, depending on the amount of ultraviolet light and the rain the teak is exposed to. This graying process in no way affects the integrity of the teak. Teak’s aged character suits any type of garden setting. It is popular among many because it is natural and virtually maintenance free.
Teak is a natural material. As such, it may see fine cracks appear in the end grain of components and then disappear when atmospheric conditions change. Such fine cracks are normal, especially in heavier components like arms and legs. They will not affect the life or durability of your teak outdoor furniture.
While teak is resistant to water and rot, mildew and dirt accumulation can occur, and your furniture should be cleaned as needed. It is very important that you use a cleaner made specifically for teak. For a homemade cleaning solution, mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water.
Before cleaning, dampen the surface with clean water. Any cleaning solution should be applied evenly using a soft cloth or sponge and allowed to soak into the wood for 10–15 minutes. Clean the surface using a sponge, scrubbing in-line with the grain of the wood. Avoid using any metal scrubbing pads, metal brushes, or rough sponges which can scratch or splinter the wood’s surface. When finished, lightly rinse the furniture with clean water. Pressure washers should never be used on teak, as it will damage the wood and cause discoloration.
To remove stains, a plastic-bristled brush can be used if needed. For tougher stains, adding a little bleach or oxalic acid to the mix may be necessary. If a stain cannot be removed with a cleaning mixture, you may resort to lightly sanding away the affected area with a fine-grit sandpaper. Keep in mind that sanding will remove any sealer or patina on the wood’s surface. If you plan to apply a sealer or a teak protectant, allow the teak to dry completely before applying.
Many people choose to preserve the golden-honey pigment by applying a teak sealer. Doing so will not affect the durability or longevity of the wood but will help to preserve its color by slowing down the patina process. A proper teak sealer will protect the wood from the sun’s UV rays, and inhibits the growth of mildew. If you choose to seal your furniture, be sure that you use a sealer that is environmentally friendly and designed specifically for teak. Before sealing, clean the surface with a teak cleaning agent. Apply the sealer with a soft cloth; using a brush is not recommended.
Oiling teak is not a method that can be used to protect the wood and is generally not necessary. Since teak naturally produces its own oils, manufacturers typically do not recommend adding processed solvents into the mix. Applying a teak oil to your furniture will help to restore its original finish, however, it will quickly revert to its weathered look if the oil is not applied every couple of months. Over time, the teak will become reliant on the manual oil application and slow its own natural oiling process, which will weaken the wood’s durability if left unmaintained.