Teak Furniture Care
Teak is a naturally beautiful wood with rich grain and color ranging from a honey gold to a chocolate brown. The grain and color come from the growth rings, and no two pieces will be alike in grain or color.
It is best to receive your teak furniture in its natural finish (not oiled or waxed). This way you can tell the quality of the teak, and have a choice of finishes. Some manufacturers oil or polyurethane their teak furniture. This may be done to hide blemishes, and make the furniture look more attractive.
Natural Finish (Weathering)
If Teak is left unfinished, then it will weather to a handsome silvery gray. This process is gradual and usually takes between three to twelve months, depending on sunlight exposure. Rain or water will not affect the process. However, you may get some water spots when the teak is first exposed to the elements. You may choose to clean them out with mild soap and water, or leave them be. Either way, in a few months time, the furniture will be uniformly gray.
If teak furniture is exposed to rain, its grain will lift slightly. This is a natural process as wood slightly expands and contracts with the wet and dry cycles. It will not affect the strength or durability of the wood. Teak will return to its smooth feel after the initial weathering process.
Small cracks may appear on the end grain (ends of arms, tops of backs) during the initial weathering process. This is completely natural to wood and Teak Wood, and these cracks will stabilize once the weathering process is complete.
Teak Oil Finish
Teak Oil may be applied to Teak outdoor furniture to extend the aesthetic appearance of the new teak furniture. Teak oil, or other finishes that protect from Ultraviolet Light bleaching, delay the bleaching of the wood as long as they are effective. These finishes in no way extend the life of the furniture. Teak furniture requires no treatment to protect the wood.
Teak Oil eventually evaporates in six to twelve months (based on area conditions and sun exposure). You will notice that the oil finish starts showing a few streaks of unoiled wood. At this time, you must reapply teak oil to preserve the color.
If teak oil treatment is not repeated, the furniture will eventually bleach and weather to a silvery gray.
Teak Sealer Finish
Teak Sealer products claim to seal the oils in teak wood and not add a surface layer of oil to the wood. There are some claims that Teak Sealers will deter mildew.
We do not believe there is a definitive difference between teak sealers and teak oils. However, you may need to apply teak sealers less frequently than Teak Oil.
Both products extend the aesthetic appearance of new teak furniture. Both Teak Sealers and Teak Oils will need reapplication after they evaporate. The reapplications will be less frequent over the years as there is some residual teak oil or teak sealer left on the wood from each application.
Poly Urethane is used to finish teak wood panels on boats. This is only to maintain its aesthetic color, and give it a smooth shine. Teak wood does not require any finish to preserve its strength.
The Polyurethane will eventually flake and peel. Boatyards usually apply three coats of polyurethane onto teak trim used in boats annually.
Mold and Mildew on Outdoor Teak Furniture
Teak is naturally resistant to mold and associated rot.
However, you may see dark spots on your teak products left outside (very similar to the dark spots that appear on white plastic furniture). These spots are surface mildew. This mildew occurs on fine dust, pollen and debris that accumulate on your teak wood, and allow the mildew spores to feed.
One can clean the small dark spots of mildew off any teak surface by using a mild solution of dish washing soap and water mixed with 5% (very small amount) of bleach.
If Teak Sealer or Teak Oil is applied on damp or wet teak furniture, it will trap a layer of moisture, which combined with pollen or environmental dirt and dust will create a fertile breeding ground for mildew.
Therefore – if using teak oil or teak sealer on teak wood products, please make sure that the wood surfaces are completely dry and have been dry for a couple of days.
“Mold” and Soap Scum on Teak Wood Products used in the bathroom.
If using teak bath mats or teak shower stools, please note that they will accumulate body oils and soap scum over time.
While teak wood is naturally resistant to mold, soap scum and dirt may allow mold to grow on them over time. It is recommended that Shower Benches and Stools as well as Teak Bath Mats receive a periodic cleaning with a soft bristle brush and a dish washing soap solution, perhaps at the same time as when the bath is being cleaned.
Using Outdoor Cushions on Teak
Before placing any cushions on furniture, remove any dust or dirt by wiping the furniture with a damp cloth. Your premium teak furniture has been fine sanded and there may be some fine residue even after cleaning during manufacture.
Your teak furniture naturally contains oil. Expect some of it to bleed out following the first couple of rainfalls. In order to protect your cushions, bring them in when you are expecting rain, or when the furniture is wet. Once the furniture has started weathering (changing color) it is no longer necessary to remove the cushions. Stains from the teak oils are not covered under warranty.
If your cushion gets some marks or discoloring due to saw dust or teak's natural oil as described above, the dirt and discoloration can be removed by light scrubbing with a sponge with dishwashing liquid (like Dawn) and then hosing off the surface. If stronger measures are needed, one may use a paste of dishwashing liquid and Oxyclean.
The Sunbrella Fabric covers on the cushions are water resistant. So water will bead off the surface of the cushions to a great extent. However, the seams of the cushions are not water proof. Some seepage of water into the cushions may occur in heavy rain or prolonged periods of light rain. If expecting heavy rain or a prolonged period of rain, it is recommended that the cushions be covered or brought indoors. If it is not possible to keep the cushions away from the rain, it is recommended that they be stood on their edges so that the water that enters will drain out just as quickly.