Restoring Teak Furniture vs. Maintaining Teak Furniture

Maintaining Teak Furniture

Restoring teak furniture is somewhat different than maintaining it.  We’ve written quite a bit about how to maintain your teak furniture.   This is when you periodically take care of your teak under normal conditions.  If your furniture is a little dirty or has turned gray and you would like to get some brown color back, please review our other entries:

Restoring Teak Furniture

The above information is great if you have been taking care of your teak furniture every year or so.  But what if you have neglected your teak for a very long time?  Then, you will need to take more time in restoring teak furniture.

Recently, a customer contacted us with a table they purchased from us 8 years ago and essentially abandoned under a pecan tree.  They wanted to know how to restore it to its original beauty.  After seeing the state this table was in, we accepted the challenge to restore this table.

This is an extreme example and will illustrate the benefits of teak for outdoor furniture.

When we got this table, it looked like this:

restoring teak furniture

neglected teak table

As you can see, this teak table was covered in many layers of dirt, pollen and various other filth.

Getting your teak furniture clean

The first step we took was to pressure wash this table.  We generally don’t recommend pressure washing outdoor teak furniture, because if you are not careful, you can make matters worse.  Please review our information on pressure washing teak furniture here.

In this case, we knew we would end up needing to sand this piece anyway, so we went ahead with the pressure washing, trying to be as careful as possible.

Here, you can see the results of the pressure washing.  The bulk of the dirt and grime is removed and it is starting to look like a teak table again.  The surface is clean, but not yet as smooth as it could be.

Restoring Teak Furniture - pressure washing

Teak table being pressure washed

Fantastically, none of the mold or mildew penetrated the teak beyond this layer. This is a tribute to the density of this wood and the high oil content. If you get to this step and still see some black or green mold or mildew, follow our instructions here.

Next, we proceeded to scrub the table with dish soap and water with a Scotchbrite sponge.  This is to remove any remaining dirt, help get into some crevices and begin to smooth out the surface.

cleaning teak table

Teak table being cleaned

Sanding your teak furniture

Once the table was cleaned, it looked like the photo below and was ready for sanding.

Restoring Teak Furniture - Sanding

clean teak table

In this case, we started with a very rough sandpaper (80 grit) because it was still necessary to get a very small layer of the surface off.  Then, we went over the table again, two more times, with increasingly finer sandpaper.

Then, of course, we followed the same steps with the base of the table.

table base

table base

Finally, our table is good as new!  The surface is smooth and you can see the rich color and texture of the teak wood.

restored teak table

restored teak table


This is a great example of why it is important to get the best teak in the market.  (See why Atlanta Teak Furniture is the best here)  A lower quality raw material would not have lasted through this neglect.  This was an extreme case and we don’t recommend letting your teak furniture get this bad.  However, this case illustrates how premium, grade A teak from Thailand will last for a very long time with just a little care.