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Teak Oil: What is it and how do I use it?

Well-maintained teak furniture is highly prized, so it would benefit you to take good care of this material. With so many teak maintenance products on the market, you may not know which ones to use. Using teak oil is one suggestion. However, many people are confused about what it is and why you need it, especially since the wood already has an oily texture. If you need help maintaining your teak furniture, here’s a guide to learn more about teak oil, how to use it, and why it’s necessary for your teak furniture.

What Is Teak Oil?

The composition of teak oil is essentially unknown since most manufacturers only list the ingredients as “solvents” in their disclosures. However, you can only produce two true finishing oils naturally, and neither one is teak oil. Linseed oil, which comes from flaxseed, and tung oil, which comes from the nuts of a tung tree, are the only two that occur naturally. To use these oils, apply them at full strength. They will soak into the wood and harden in the grain, protecting your wood from water and other elements. Certain manufacturers will combine these oils with solvents, resulting in teak oil.

It may come as a surprise, but teak oil does not come from teak wood. It’s generally a tougher, more resistant oil with a consistency similar to varnish. Because of its thicker consistency, teak oil provides a strong protective coating on the wood.

Teak oil feeds the wood by accentuating the color and grain. When you apply teak oil, it gives the wood a rich and warm appearance. Many people opt to use teak oil to give their furniture back its beauty from when they first purchased it. It’s important to note that teak oil is extremely high maintenance. The oil doesn’t protect the wood; instead, it recovers the lush appearance of the teak. Sunlight and UV rays will carbonize the oil and cause the teak to turn gray over time.

Why Is Teak Oil Important?

Fancy Outdoor Dining Set Up for Fourth of July

Image via Pixabay by rhyslud


Since teak is naturally a long-lived wood, you want to do everything you can to make it last. This type of wood contains a large amount of natural oils and rubber, which helps protect it from insects, water, rot, and heavy outdoor use. Even though it can withstand all of these elements, it still requires proper care and maintenance. Using teak oil is one approach you can use to preserve your teak furniture.

Even though wood is a porous material that contains natural oils, these oils eventually dry out, leaving the wood susceptible to cracks and damage. Teak oil is one of the solutions you need to help restore the wood’s natural appeal. It’s important to note that using teak oil on wood doesn’t necessarily prolong the life of your teak furniture. It does, however, restore the teak’s color and bring out the grain. When you purchased your brand-new teak furniture, you most likely noticed its golden-brown color. But if your furniture usually remains outdoors, the teak’s exposure to the elements will naturally cause it to weather into a silver-gray color.

If left untreated, the teak color will diminish and ultimately change to a dark gray or greenish hue. However, using teak oil can restore the wood to its original color and protect it from additional graying. If you decide to use teak oil, it’s best to reapply it every three months for it to be the most effective.


How Do You Use Teak Oil?

Technically, teak oil doesn’t function like a finishing oil. Instead, it works best as a wiping varnish. For the proper use of teak oil on your teak furniture, try the following steps:

  1. Clean the surface. Whenever you apply any finish to wood, make sure the wood is clean. You might also want to sand the area right before using the oil since this removes deteriorated wood cells and opens up the grain.
  2. Remove any existing finish. You don’t want the wood to have any chemical solvents or strippers. Use sandpaper to remove the residue and prepare the wood for finishing. The final sanding should go with the wood’s grain.
  3. Use a rag or paintbrush to apply the teak oil. Use strokes that are parallel to the grain, and let the oil soak into the wood. Wait about two hours, and apply more oil.
  4. Wipe the surface dry after about 15 minutes. Let the wood dry for up to 10 hours.
  5. Apply another coat if you want the smoothest surface possible. You can repeat the process as many times as you want to achieve the desired finish. It’s best to apply three or four coats for a brighter, more natural look.

What’s the Difference Between Teak Sealer vs. Teak Oil?

Another option instead of teak oil is to use a teak sealer. A sealer is different than oil because it doesn’t feed the teak with additional resins or oils. Instead, the sealer keeps in the oils and resins already found within the teak and prevents moisture and other contaminants from destroying the wood. Teak sealers are tougher and last much longer than oils.

A benefit of using a teak sealer is that you don’t need to apply the sealer as often as the oil. Reapplying once a year should suffice. However, you need to remove the old finish from the teak before applying a fresh coat of sealant. The focus on a teak sealer is more on protection than preserving. You can use a sealer over the teak oil to get added protection and looks.

You’re likely aware of how expensive teak furniture is, so you want to do everything you can to keep it looking as pristine as possible, especially if you want it to last for many years. Using teak oil is a recommended way of preserving the wood’s appearance. At Teak Master, we know how important it is to maintain outdoor teak furniture. Contact us today, and we can make your teak furniture look as good as new.


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