Outdoor furniture is a beautiful addition to put in your garden.
It’ll give you the space to sit and admire the beautiful flowers and crops of your garden as they blossom. Who wouldn’t enjoy that experience?
Of course, you must maintain your outdoor garden furniture every so often.
The outdoor weather conditions, such as the wind, rain, and sun, will increase the wear and tear of the wooden material.
That is why you must use a special finishing oil to protect the wood from deterioration due to these outdoor elements.
And that is the real core of this article!
Here I will be discussing teak oil, what it is, what it is good for, why & how you should use it for protecting your outdoor garden furniture.
What is Teak Oil?
Teak oil is a type of wood finish that typically contains a mix of mineral oil, tung oil, and linseed oil.
Some brands of teak oil may add other ingredients and solvents too, such as petroleum distillate that are used for thinning the paint.
Teak oil can get applied as a finish to the wood surfaces of common outdoor structures, such as patio furniture, garden furniture, decks, and porches.
The mixture of these oil ingredients will add weather-resistant properties to the surfaces of the structures.
Teak wood is recommended the most for a teak oil application. After all, that is why it is called “teak oil” in the first place.
However, the thing to note here is teak oil does not get extracted from a teak wood tree. It is a common myth that is not true.
Teak oil is only a blend of other oils and is used on teak wood surfaces as a protective layer.
Properly cleaning the furniture is important before you apply the teak oil, so let’s get into the details of the cleaning process first.
How to Clean Teak Furniture Before Oiling?
Teak furniture is beautiful and convenient because it won’t rot or decay.
However, it will still attract some unappealing mold and mildew onto its surface area.
It will be easy to detect the mold and mildew because you’ll notice a strange black or white substance on the surface that should not be there.
If you want to remove the mildew areas on the teak furniture before refinishing, then you need to know how to clean it away correctly.
Below are the steps of the cleaning process…
Gather the materials that you need to perform the cleaning process.
These materials include a bucket, one cup of bleach, one gallon of water, dish detergent, and a soft brush.
Prepare the space where you will be cleaning your teak furniture.
Clear out all other objects that are in the way of the furniture. And then put the furniture in a highly ventilated location if it is not there already.
Take your garden hose and spray the furniture with a light mist of water to rinse it off.
Don’t use an aggressive spray setting. Keep it light and simple.
Apply a teak cleaning solution to the furniture and scrub it gently with a soft brush.
Alternatively, you can make your own solution by mixing 1 cup of bleach, 1 gallon of water, and a ¼ cup of dish detergent.
It might be better to use your own cleaning solution because the commercial teak cleaners from the store contain a lot of added chemicals.
These are chemicals that could potentially damage the teakwood of your furniture.
On the other hand, commercial teak cleaners do a better job of removing stain residue that is deep within the pores of the wood.
After you’ve scrubbed the furniture, leave it for 15 minutes or so.
Then take your garden hose and rinse off the furniture again with a light amount of water. Make sure all the residue is washed off.
Leave the furniture again to dry off completely for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then place the outdoor furniture in an area of your yard where the sun can shine down on it.
Mould and mildew do not like the heat from the sun, so putting your furniture in this location will reduce the formation of them.
How to Apply Teak Oil to Outdoor Garden Furniture?
There is a process that must be followed when applying teak oil to outdoor garden furniture.
Below are the steps involved in the process.
Gather the materials needed for the teak oil application process.
These materials include a bristle brush, teak oil solution, sandpaper, and a clean cloth (lint-free).
The teak oil should contain linseed oil and/or tung oil and possibly some solvents too.
Look for specific teak oil products which offer mildew resistance and UV resistance properties.
Use the sandpaper to remove any previous finishing treatments that were applied to the surface before.
Use your bristle brush to apply a teak oil coat to the surface of the furniture.
The cloth can also be used as an alternative application device to treat the cervices and small corners.
With another clean cloth (lint-free), remove any excess teak oil after it has been applied.
Then leave the furniture alone to dry for two hours. That is usually how long it takes for the drying process to complete.
Repeat the teak oil application after the first coating is dried completely.
You may need to apply up to three-four coats of teak oil before the teakwood stops absorbing the oil.
You’ll probably have to repeat this whole process every 2 to 3 months. That is about how long it takes for the discoloration to start up again.
How to Seal Your Teak Furniture for Enhanced Longevity?
The natural oils of teak wood are what keep it durable and resistant to outdoor weather conditions.
But they cannot do much to prevent discoloration.
If you don’t want to apply teak oil, you can apply a teak sealer as an alternative solution to preserving the color of the wood.
Teak sealers are a bit different from teak oils as they do not nourish the wood with more oils or resins than needed.
Rather, teak sealers will work by sealing the oils that the existing wood contains.
Here are the steps of how to do that.
You will only need to gather three materials for the teak sealing job.
The materials are a clean cloth (lint-free), sandpaper, and a teak sealer solution.
Use a garden hose to lightly spray the furniture until it is clean. Let the furniture dry completely.
Then let the furniture get sun exposure for 14 days so that its grains can expand and open.
Use sandpaper to sand the surface of the furniture.
It should remove the greyness so that you can see the honey color underneath.
Next, use the soft cloth to apply the teak sealer to the furniture’s surface.
Let the teak sealer solution dry on the surface for around 60 minutes.
And then add another coat of teak sealer to the surface. Allow that to dry as well.
The teak sealer usually needs to be reapplied every new season. Hence every three months or so, repeat all of these steps.
Why is Teak Oil Recommended for Teakwood Furniture?
Teak wood is a popular type of hardwood that has been used for centuries in South Asian countries like India, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.
In fact, the tropical hardwood teak trees are native to this region of the world.
People love to make their furniture out of teak wood because it is naturally resistant to fungus, insects, and decay. It even has a natural resistance to UV rays, saltwater, and rain.
That makes teak wood the perfect type of hardwood to use for outdoor garden furniture.
Unfortunately, the teakwood cannot resist discoloration after exposure to rain or sun.
One of the benefits of applying teak oil finish to teak wood is that it can help restore the wood’s natural color.
Perhaps this is another reason why teak oil got its name. It can make teak wood look healthy again.
How to Find the Best Teak Oil Product on The Market?
You may get confused when you walk into a home improvement store and see all the different teak oil products on the shelves.
The packaging on these products might state different things, such as “100% virgin linseed oil,” “100% tung oil,” or “boiled linseed oil.”
The linseed oil, teak oil, and tung oil will all dry quickly when they’re applied individually.
The oils will also dry quickly when they’re applied together as a mixture.
You might therefore want to consider using the teak oil that comes with a blend of different oils.
This could prove to be a more robust finish with the same amount of drying time.
A few brands that I have tried before are Rust-Oleum, AquaTeak, Star Brite, Behlen, Watco, and TotalBoat.
If you want you can choose the product from these manufacturers or can do your own research online before buying.
Depending on the product and manufacturer you may also get different types of warranties such as limited or lifetime warranty, refunds, or replacements.
So, do not forget to check that.
Can You Make Your Own Teak Oil at Home?
Many times, people ask me if they can prepare a homemade teak oil to feed their boats or furniture with.
The good news is you can. But the bad news is, end results may not be as effective.
Anyways if you want to make it, you may choose a type of oil like linseed oil, tung oil, or other mineral oil.
Mix some petroleum distillate or naphtha in the oil (in the same ratio).
If you want, you can add a bit of varnish to the blend which will offer additional protection to the teak oil product you just created.
The bottom line
If you want to prevent wear and tear because of age, rain, cold winter air, snow, wind, or the UV rays of the sun, then teak oil is the perfect finish to add to your outdoor wood surfaces.
What’s even better is that you won’t need to perform maintenance on them as often either.
The only maintenance requirements include basic cleanings each week to prevent discoloration.
Remember, even though the teak oil finish is weather-resistant, that doesn’t mean it won’t develop a mildew problem.
Molds and discoloration can still form on wood surfaces that have teak oil finishing if you leave the furniture uncleaned.
So, you must clean your surfaces whenever you notice even a little trace of mildew.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.