Outdoor furniture made of teak is durable enough to withstand the elements, but it will lose its luster over time. Applying a teak oil can intensify the natural golden color and rich grain of teak, preventing it from turning a drab silver gray as it ages. You may also notice that scuffs and scratches are less noticeable after applying teak oil. Depending on its formulation, teak oil may also make your outdoor furniture more weather resistant.
If you’ve never used teak oil before, you’re probably wondering how to use this product. The tips and tricks from our team at Teak Master in Los Angeles, California, will help you maintain your outdoor teak furniture with teak oil.
Choose a Pigmentless Teak Oil
Look for a teak oil that doesn’t have any pigments. Some teak oil products are pigmented, which colors the furniture and detracts from its natural beauty. A pigmentless teak oil is best for showcasing your teak furniture.
Sand and Clean the Furniture’s Surface
Before splashing around teak oil, you’ll want to prepare the furniture. Sanding your furniture smooths its surface and removes deteriorated wood cells. Opening up the wood’s grain helps the teak oil penetrate the furniture better. Rough-sand your pieces with 100-grit sandpaper, then fine-sand with 120- and 150-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. Follow the wood’s grain for the best results.
Use a soft-bristled brush to remove the sanding dust and any other debris, such as cobwebs or dirt, from your furniture’s surface. Sweeping against the grain helps you effectively clean it while maintaining the wood’s integrity. Then follow these steps to clean your furniture:
- Pour ¾ cup of laundry detergent and ¼ cup of oxygen bleach powder into a 1-gallon bucket.
- Fill the bucket with warm water and mix your cleaning solution until the powder dissolves.
- Wearing rubber gloves, saturate a scouring pad with your cleaning solution.
- Lightly rub the scouring pad across the wood’s grain until your furniture is completely covered in the solution.
- Leave the furniture for five minutes so that the solution can start lifting the dirt.
- Lightly rub the furniture with a clean scouring pad to lift more dirt.
- Thoroughly but gently hose down your furniture to rinse it.
- Apply a solution of 1 cup oxalic acid to 1 quart of warm water in order to remove any stubborn stains.
- Leave the acid solution for five to 10 minutes.
- Following the wood’s grain, scrub the stained areas with a scouring pad.
- Rinse off the acid solution.
- Blot the furniture’s surface with old towels to remove excess water.
- Leave your furniture to air-dry for at least 24 hours before applying the teak oil.
Place a Drop Sheet Under Your Furniture
A drop sheet placed underneath your furniture can catch any dripping oil and prevent staining of your outdoor spaces. You can use old towels or bedsheets as drop sheets. Even old newspapers will work for this purpose.
Choose a Suitable Outdoor Space
Teak oil is a chemical, so it’s important to choose a suitable outdoor working space. While the oil isn’t very toxic, it’s still important to choose a well-ventilated space to prevent any health issues. As teak oil can be highly flammable, you’ll also want to work away from any heat sources, such as fire pits or outdoor heaters.
Test Your Teak Oil
While teak oil can make outdoor furniture look quite beautiful, not everyone likes the looks. Results also vary from brand to brand. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to test your teak oil before you start applying it in full. Apply it to a section that’s hidden, such as the underside of a chair, to confirm you’re happy.
Apply Oil With a Rag or Brush
You can apply teak oil with a lint-free cloth or a natural bristle brush, depending on your preference. You may like to use a combination of these tools, as brushes are very effective for large areas, while cloths can access small corners and crevices more easily. Make sure you use a cloth or brush designed for oil-based products. You can buy suitable cloths and brushes from any home improvement store.
Apply the oil liberally, using strokes that are parallel to the grain of your teak. Remove the excess oil with a lint-free cloth, then leave the furniture for two hours before applying a second coat. It may take three to five coats before the furniture stops absorbing the teak oil.
Strive for Consistency
Try to apply the teak oil as evenly as you can. A consistent coat, without thin spots or heavy patches, will look best and ensure your furniture weathers evenly. Achieving an even coat can be challenging if you’ve never stained or painted wood before, but don’t stress too much. If your furniture is weathering unevenly, you can simply sand, clean, and reapply the teak oil.
Sand Before the Final Coat for Smoothness
Sanding your furniture just before the final coat of teak oil can make the surface smoother. Use a 220-grit sandpaper and work with the grain. You can then use a damp rag to clean away the sanding dust before applying your final coat of teak oil.
Reapply the Teak Oil Regularly
Since teak oil doesn’t form a coating over your furniture as paint does, it won’t flake or chip. However, the effects of teak oil fade over time, so you’ll need to reapply this product regularly if you want to continue enjoying the like-new look it provides. If your furniture gets exposed to the elements, expect to reapply teak oil every six months. During periods of heavy rain, you may notice graying that warrants a new application of teak oil after just two or three months. If your furniture is covered, you may be able to wait 12 months between reapplications.
While teak oil can rejuvenate teak outdoor furniture, some pieces need some extra care. If you’re unhappy with the finish teak oil provides, contact Teak Master. Our teak furniture cleaning and teak restoration services can give your outdoor chairs, tables, and other wooden pieces a new lease on life. Contact us online to arrange an appointment in the Los Angeles, California, area.