How To Finish Teak Wood? [Step-By-Step Guide] 

How To Finish Teak Wood

Teak wood furniture has been the rage since the 60s. It’s better than most wood furniture because of its quality, durability, and beauty. The quality indeed deteriorates over time, but what do you do to refresh the wood piece? You do that by finishing (i.e. furnishing in a different way).

Finishing teak furniture increases the lifespan of the wood. You can use a lot of things to finish teak wood furniture. It’s necessary to do so as the color of the wood turns to a silvery gray shade if left by itself—which wouldn’t look good, trust me.

Professionals can help with the oiling process, but why spend money on something that can easily be done at home? They might not even do it properly, so why bother? I wouldn’t recommend it. This is why I’ve written this article to help you finish your teak wood furniture pieces, and beautify and preserve them. Keep reading!

5 Simple Steps To Get The Perfect Finish For Teak Wood

Teak wood oils are created especially for teak wood furniture. It’s a common choice for finishing teak wood furniture because it’s cost-effective and doesn’t contain any side effects. You can also use teak sealers for extra protection. 

No matter how effective your technique is, the wood may get ruined because of one problem or the other. Hence, you should follow a step-by-step process to ensure this doesn’t happen. Given below is the process to create an even finish for your furniture.

Step-1: Gathering All Equipment

Most of these items are cheap and can be found in any local market. Don’t go for branded ones unless you have an idea of how the product works. Instead, read reviews and instructions for each item and then pay for it. Here’s a list of all the essentials you’ll need:

  • Diluted and pH neutral water;
  • Soft-bristled brush;
  • Nylon scrub brush (stiff/hard);
  • Clean towel;
  • Gloves;
  • Goggles and respirator mask;
  • Tack cloth;
  • Teakwood cleaner;
  • Teak wood bleacher/brightening agent;
  • Sandpaper (120-grit and 220-grit);
  • Teakwood oil/sealer;
  • Epoxy.

Step-2: Prepping The Furniture Piece

It’s important to prepare the wood you’ll be working on first. Only then you can go ahead and apply the oil to the exterior. Start with cleaning the surface of the wood with fresh water first. 

Hard water, if absorbed by the wood, can make the wood piece look arid and the color may fade within a few weeks. It’s better to use lukewarm clean water.

Scrub across the grain with a soft-bristled brush and dishwashing soap. Trapped dirt and grime will start coming out as you keep scrubbing. Later, rinse the wood with clear water and wipe the excess water with a dry towel. Leave it as it is for a while.

Step-3: Bleaching Teakwood

This is not necessary, but bleaching your furniture piece with a teakwood bleach product can lighten the pigment of the color you’re going to use on the exterior. This is also important if you want to lightly sand the wood. 

Anyways, if you’re going with a mediocre color, spray some of the said product on the entire piece of furniture and wait for the recommended time on the product label. While waiting, go through the instructions and precautions of the product just so you’re careful with the next steps.

After the said time is up, wipe away the excess bleach and take out your sandpaper for some grinding. Thoroughly sanding the wood may ruin it, so run the sandpaper over the furniture slowly to remove all stubborn stains and tone the wood piece. 

Step-4: Sanding

If even after all the cleaning and bleaching your teakwood piece isn’t getting rid of the gray tone, it’s time for some sanding. Sandpapers can be abrasive to the wood if used harshly. So sand gently. 

To remove the ashy surface grain, use 120-grit sandpaper and start sanding along the direction of the wood grain. For a smooth finish, switch to 220-grit sandpaper and continue sanding along the wood grain. 

This provides a satiny look to the wood and also smooths the rough grain. Remove the excess dust with a tack cloth and move the wood piece to a place with a non-humid temperature or where there isn’t any wind.

Step-5: Applying Oil

Use a soft bristle brush to lather some of the teak sealer or oil on top of the dry wood. Sealers and oils aren’t the same. Compare labels before buying any one of them. 

Add a few more thin layers to your teak wood after letting your wood soak in the product. This is if you want to enhance its luster and protect it against the elementals. Leave it to dry and apply some epoxy glue at the base of the wood to keep the moisture out of the bottoms. 

Using teak oil can enhance the wood’s texture by ten folds. It also maintains the glossy and brown base of the furniture. Set a reminder to oil the furniture every two to three months. 

Benefits Of Using Finish Teak Wood Furniture:

Let’s discuss the benefits of using finished teak wood for furniture. It’s a standardized version of regular wood. They’re used mostly for making yachts, boats, millwork, and exotic outdoor furniture. Carpenters make use of their fine woodworking skills to make these teak wood furniture pieces. 

But why is teak wood considered one of the most expensive lumbers? And why do carpenters hail their existence? Teak trees take about 50 years to mature and because of the high demand, manufacturers have to flood their acres with teak trees. 

Doing so, the demand hasn’t lessened over the years, nor has the cost of teak wood. Who wouldn’t want a luxurious piece of furniture like this? Given below are the common reasons why you should invest in finished teak wood furniture.

  • Decay-resistant wood: Teak wood consists of resin that allows it to naturally resist water damage, splitting, warping, or rotting. These characteristics make teak wood more durable than most lumber. 
  • Environment-friendly: This type of wood fits well in any environment, that is if the weather corresponds to the wood. Burning it doesn’t count though!
  • Strong and dense: The dense characteristic comes from the natural oils present in teak wood. It also has a high concentration of silica that doesn’t corrode metals and makes it an impermeable material. Go away, pesky ants!
  • Easy to style: Carpenters and furnishing experts have said that it’s easier to work with teak wood than regular wood because of the glide and smoothness of the wood. It’s best used for outdoor furniture.
  • The beauty: Teak wood provides a golden-brown finish that is enough to spice up any room instantly. The color may not be that vibrant if the furniture is used outdoors. 


5 Things To Keep In Mind When Finishing Teakwood Furniture

A lot of professionals won’t give you these tips. Make sure you read and understand them all before starting with the oiling process. You got this!

1. Never Oil Outdoor Teak Furniture:

You shouldn’t oil outdoor teak furniture as that could promote mildew growth. If it’s necessary to do monthly cleanings, use regular soap and water to wash the wood and apply a moderate amount of sealant to the wood. 

For indoor furniture, finishing and cleaning should be done on the patio outside or in the backyard of your house. You don’t want your house to feel greasy, do you?

2. Avoid Harsh Sanding:

Using sandpapers with different grits may remove stubborn stains, but it’ll also create a slightly deep dent. Don’t be too harsh with the paper when sanding teak wood.

Handheld orbital sanders can be used for sanding large areas. However, using an orbital sander for smoothing down the rough grain may be aggressive for the teakwood, eventually ruining the surface. 

If you can’t buy one nor can you put in the time and effort to sand the wood, then take it to a professional to reduce labor and get rid of the faded wood. 

3. Wear A Pair Of Gloves:

Wearing gloves and a respirator mask when working with teakwood oil is important. This is because the stench from the product can make you nauseous and the dust can irritate your skin. 

4. Invest In Quality Teak Oil:

Buying a teak oil product that comes with UV protection (For ex: Tribu Teak Sealer) will help with the premature aging of the teakwood. But keep in mind that it isn’t just the high-quality oil that keeps your furniture intact for years.

Even the weather plays a great role in outshining your teak wood furniture pieces. Forget teak wood oil, even the occasional scrubbing with soap and water won’t stop the large timber from decaying if kept in under-the-weather conditions. 

5. Think Twice Before Using Normal Oils:

Common oils like coconut, mustard, sunflower, or olive oil would do the trick but they won’t reek the same benefits. What you shouldn’t do is lather the furniture with lacquer or any kind of paint. 

Don’t use varnish or polyurethane either. The grainy texture of teak wood can cause the varnish to peel off after a few weeks. It may even cause your furniture to smell. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Oil To Use On Teak Wood?

Linseed oil is one of the best wood oils. It penetrates the wood layers very well because of its absorbent qualities. It’ll also provide your teak wood with rich brown color and work as a natural finish for the wood piece.

How To Use Dish Soap To Clean Teak Wood?

Dish soap can be an affordable option to clean teak wood furniture. They’re mild enough to not damage the wood but also strong enough to clean every grime and dirt from the wood. For every two cups of water, mix about six drops of dishwashing liquid. 

Take a soft-bristled brush and dip it into the liquid before scrubbing the furniture piece well. Target the hard-to-remove gunk spots. After scrubbing, clean the wood with fresh water and let it air dry for 24 hours. Keep it tilted so that the excess water slips off of the furniture. 

How Do You Preserve Your Teak Wood Furniture?

To preserve your teak wood, you should use teak oil or teak sealer. Each of the products helps maintain the color and look of the wood piece. Find one that best suits your criteria and lather the product all over the teak wood following the given process above.

Teak wood furniture also can be left unfinished as the characteristics of the wood allows it to withstand any weather condition. Humidity is the bad guy here as it can cause the wood to either get too moist or too dry, both of them potentially damaging the teak wood.

How Do You Make DIY Teak Oil?

Mix equal parts of any occlusive oil like coconut, mustard, or olive oil and petroleum distillate. You can also add some varnish for extra protection. Choose one that will blend well with the oil you’re using. Apply the solution over your teak wood furniture and see how it helps glisten the wood surface. 

You can’t depend on DIY Teak Oil to finish your teak furniture. It may not have the needed amount of ingredients to stick to the teak wood nor can it lengthen its lifespan. But it’s enough to preserve your wood piece for a long time. 

Is It Okay To Pressure Wash Teak Furniture?

Not even the professionals would recommend pressure washing teak wood furniture. This is because the high pressure of the water stream can create slight dents on the surface of the teak wood. The texture may convert from smooth and shiny to this bumpy and pitted.

In case that happens, take 120-grit sandpaper and sand the whole teak furniture to return the wood to its natural lean state. Keep in mind that doing so will decrease the width of the wood and you may have a tough time finishing the surface again.

How Many Coats Of Teak Oil Should You Apply For A Proper Finish?

Two coats of oil work great for most teak wood furniture. Some may take a bit longer to dry or they may have been left out in a humid temperature. In these cases, you’ll have to add an extra thin layer to prevent the wood from crusting anytime soon. 

Fresh, washed, scrubbed, and sanded teak wood furniture needs just one thick coat of teak oil. If the wood is to be renewed, then apply 3-4 very thin layers of teak oil to rejuvenate the teak wood. Always wait at least 12 hours before recoating. 

Can You Varnish Over Teak Oil Finish?

You can apply varnish over teak oil finish only if it’s completely curated. There’s a difference between dry and cure. Teak wood oil takes up to 6 hours to dry. This is when a soft film-like texture can be seen on top of the wood. 

Now, cured means the teak wood has turned into a hard resin furniture piece. Let your teak dry for 12 hours and then apply a thin coat of varnish throughout. If the varnish dries too quickly and gives off a satiny look then apply another layer after a few hours.

Does teak sealer go over teak oil?

Teak oil needs to be completely dry before sealing it with a sealer. Teak oil takes about 4-6 hours to fully dry depending on the brand and the number of layers applied. It is recommended to seal teak furniture after it has dried for a week or two outdoors first.

Teak sealer, as the term suggests, seals the moisture and prevents the oil from stripping off. So, using a branded sealant as a barrier will be better than applying numerous layers of teak oil. 

How To Achieve Gray Teak Wood Furniture?

Natural wood exposed to direct sun will help you obtain that grayish look you desire. The teak surface dries and turns gray because of overexposure to the sun. Just leave your fresh and non-oiled teak furniture outdoors for a few hours and admire the beautiful weathered look it gives.

What Happens If You Bleach Teak Wood?

Bleaching teak wood makes it look whiter than snow white’s skin. Not many people want a white table but if that’s what you’re opting for then invest in chlorine bleach. The harsh chemicals of the bleach will get rid of the pigments from the teak surface. 

Chlorine bleach for wood can be a bit hard to find. This is why it’s better to use certified oxygen bleach products. Oxygen bleach can be found online and in most stores. This bleach is strong yet mild enough to whiten your teak furniture. 

Final Verdict

The fame for teak wood furniture will continue to increase over the years because of the benefits mentioned above. Even though many have come up with various techniques to increase the lifespan of the wood, finishing it with teak oil or a teak sealer has been the only mention-worthy process so far. 

I’ve always refinished my furniture at home, without any help at all. I just made sure to buy the correct products. I also did my fair share of research before writing down the tips and tricks for you. Hope this article helps you out too with the same things. 

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