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Caring For Teak Furniture

brushing stain on teak boards

Teak is a beautiful, natural-looking wood that’s often used for outdoor furniture. It’s durability allows it to withstand weather, including snow and rain, without warping or twisting. Although teak requires very little maintenance, properly caring for the wood will prevent your furniture from becoming discolored, forming mildew, or drying out prematurely.


When teak is unfinished, it will eventually “patina,” or turn from a light golden color to a silver-gray tone. Many people find this darker color attractive, and allowing your teak to patina will cut down on maintenance even further. During this weathering period, which could take around 9 months, you may notice some minor cracks in the wood. This is temporary as the wood is expanding and contracting – once it’s fully weathered, it will return to its smooth finish.  Letting the teak patina won’t affect the strength or quality of the wood.

If you prefer the honey-gold color of new teak furniture, you can prevent patina by regularly oiling the wood or sanding and sealing. Before starting these maintenance processes, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your furniture.


In addition to cleaning your teak before oiling or sanding and sealing, you should occasionally clean it to remove mildew or mold that may have formed on the surface. To clean this wood, mix together a mild solution of soapy water (dish soap or a mixture of vinegar and water work well). Then, rinse the furniture with water. Once it’s fully saturated, gently scrub the surface of the furniture with a soft sponge or cloth and allow the soap to sit on the surface for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry.  Repeat this process whenever your furniture looks like it needs it.


Using teak protectant or oil every few months will help the wood maintain it’s natural light color.  However, oiling is not a long-term solution to retaining the wood’s color since you’ll need to oil the wood every few months to prevent it from becoming gray. Additionally, over time, oiling can dry out the wood’s natural oil and cause it to deteriorate more quickly.

To oil your teak, first clean your furniture and allow it to dry. Then, apply specialized teak oil with a soft, lint-free cloth or bristle brush and wipe off any excess oil. Allow the oil to dry completely before adding more coats. Continue this process until the wood no longer absorbs the oil.

Sanding & Sealing

Sanding and sealing allows you to seal in teak’s natural light color while keeping the wood strong and durable. Plus, teak sealers can add an additional layer of protection to your furniture since they’re specially formulated to protect against moisture, ultraviolet light, and mold. Sealant should be reapplied every 6-12 months to retain the natural color of the wood.

To start the sanding and sealing process, clean your furniture thoroughly and leave it exposed for two weeks. This allows the grain in the wood to open, which will help you properly adhere the sealant. After the two weeks have passed, gently sand the top layer of wood or until the golden color is exposed underneath the gray. Using a soft cloth or foam brush, apply the sealant. Once it’s completely dry, you can add the second coat.


Teak furniture is so durable it can be left outside, uncovered, all year round. However, if you want to cover your furniture during the winter months, choose a breathable material and avoid storing the wood in a hot area, since prolonged heat can cause the wood to dry out and crack.

When properly maintained, teak furniture can last decades. If you are interested in buying teak, or have additional questions about to care for this kind of wood, contact the experts atForest Plywood.