Articles from Atlanta Teak, Teak Furniture

Teak Oil: When to use on Outdoor Teak

oiled teak furniture

Should I use teak oil on my outdoor furniture?

We often get asked if it is necessary to apply teak oil to outdoor teak furniture.

In order to answer this, we need to understand why teak wood is the premier wood for outdoor furniture in the first place.  It is the unique combination of the density of the teak wood and the natural oils and resins that grow in tree.  No other wood has this combination of high density and high oil content.  Certainly, there are other hardwoods, but they don’t have the high oil content.  And vice-versa.

Premium teak furniture should be unfinished when brand new.  Don’t fall for “finishes”, “pre-finishing”,
“sealed”, “protected”, “stained” or any other applied products.  These are just ways to hide inferior raw materials.  The amount of natural teak oil in the furniture will determine the color.  The more natural oil, the darker the wood will be.

teak oil applied to outdoor furniture

From Top: Natural; Scrubbed with Soap and water; Sanded; Cleaned and Teak Oil applied

Over time, all teak wood will turn gray.  This is natural and is due to UV light and wind drying the surface.  For many, this gray patina is desirable.  In that case, no real maintenance is necessary.  Just wipe down your outdoor teak furniture and keep it clean.  This gray color is not an indication of quality, etc.  In most cases, it is purely cosmetic.   Read our other blogs to learn more about how raw materials, age of tree, craftsmanship, etc., play a role in quality outdoor teak furniture.

If you want to preserve the original honey brown color, this is where teak oil comes in.  If you apply teak oil to your outdoor furniture, this will slow down the graying process.  It won’t stop it, but will typically slow it down by about 50%.  So if your teak furniture would have been fully gray in 12 months, adding teak oil will slow it down to about 18 months.  Make sure you give your teak a good scrubbing first, to remove all the dirt and grime.

When looking for teak oil, try to find one with no pigmentation or colors added.  When applying teak oil, start with a small spot underneath a table or similar to make sure you like the color and look.

If you want to keep the original color as long as possible, then apply teak oil to your furniture when you first get it.  If you just want to “refresh” the color every few seasons, then add the teak oil periodically when there is too much gray for your taste.

In conclusion, add teak oil to your furniture to maintain the original color as often enough to suit your tastes.  It is mostly for cosmetic reasons and won’t make the products last any longer.


Read our other blogs and visit our teak furniture website to learn why teak from Thailand is the best and how not all teak furniture is created equally.

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