A Real-Life Lesson About Teak Furniture Maintenance

There’s nothing like rewarding yourself with a beautiful set of teak outdoor furniture. It’s gorgeous, and it lasts forever.  However, there’s one real-life lesson about teak furniture maintenance that every teak owner learns – sooner than they expect.  We hear it from our customers all the time. And it goes like this:

“In the back of our minds, we knew that old teak furniture can turn gray. But we thought that was something that happens many years from now.  And when ours started “going gray” at the end of just one season outside, we were caught completely off guard!”

Now it’s true that teak furniture can last for many years – several decades at least. And it’s all due to the unique properties of teak oil.  This miraculous elixir prevents rot, defies water damage, protects against mildew, and more.  Even more amazing is the fact that your teak furniture will continue to produce this oil internally on its own.  That’s right – when it comes to teak furniture maintenance, this part is on auto pilot.

However, the teak oil itself creates a need for a different kind of maintenance.  That’s because this beneficial oil makes it impossible to paint teak furniture.  All that oil won’t let the paint set; it just bubbles and peels off.  And, like any unpainted wood, this leaves the pores of teak wood open to the air.  In the case of teak, the combination of the sun’s UV rays, the air, the oil, and the wood itself all get mixed up in a chemical reaction that causes a gray patina to grow on the surface of the wood.  What surprises most people is that the silvery gray color we associate with “aged” teak can actually cover an entire piece of furniture in just 9-12 months!

Many people love that “weathered” look.  But left unchecked, that patina will darken to an almost charcoal black, eventually developing dark green patches.  And that’s a look that is not very popular – at least not with anyone we know.

Fortunately, this entire process can be prevented.  You can use oils, stains, or special sealers to treat your teak so that the patina growth is slowed almost to a standstill.  Depending on the method you choose, you will need to take care of your teak anywhere from once a year to every few months.  The first step is to give your furniture a thorough cleaning with stiff brush and special teak cleansing solution.  Then you’ll use an old rag to rub in the oil, stain, or sealer of your choice. If you follow a regular program of teak furniture maintenance in this way, your furniture will not only last forever, it will also always look good as new.

And if your furniture has already “turned”?  Good news!  It can be restored.  Remember, this color change is due to a surface patina.  This patina is not very thick and can be sanded off or stripped by a professional.  With the patina gone, you be enjoying that golden glow of new teak once again.

The real-life lesson for you – as you consider your own indulgence in the beauty of a teak outdoor set – is simply this.  Don’t confuse longevity with low maintenance.  That teak oil is so powerful, your furniture will definitely outlast you — even if you do nothing.  You just might not be so happy with the color, especially once the gray goes past silver to charcoal green.  So, do yourself a favor and educate yourself as to the options.  Oil, stain, or sealer – each has its own advantages.  It only takes a few minutes to find out what they are, and which program of teak furniture maintenance will give you the kind of outdoor furniture that you’ve always dreamed of having.