Teak oil is a product designed for treating and restoring teak wood, a tropical hardwood that is popular for outdoor furniture, decks and boats. Without regular treatment, teak naturally weathers from a rich brown color to a grayish hue. Although some people find the weathered look desirable, most prefer the dark brown shade of new teak. Teak oil can also be applied to other kinds of wood to impart the shade of new teak.
What is Teak Oil?
Teak oil is a product for treating wood and is usually associated with outdoor furniture. Although it has "teak" in the name, it is not made from teak wood and can be used on other types of wood, in addition to teak. The main ingredient in teak oil is a penetrating oil like linseed, rosewood or tung oil. Some teak oil contains special ultraviolet absorbers to reduce the weathering effects of sunlight on wood. It does not form a protective layer over the wood, but soaks into it, meaning repeated applications are necessary to maintain the finish.
Treating teak with teak oil means it needs to be sanded less often than untreated teak to maintain a rich brown color. A treatment every three or four months should keep most teak furniture looking good, but you can treat indoor furniture less often. Teak oil cannot be absorbed by wood that is stained, as the stain forms an impenetrable coating over the grain of the wood. If you want to apply teak oil to stained wood, you must first remove the stain by sanding it.
Tools and Techniques
Before applying teak oil, clean the wood with hot, soapy water and a sponge or cloth to remove surface dirt and debris. When the wood is completely dry, apply the teak oil. For very weathered wood, go over it with fine sandpaper first. The teak oil can be applied using a soft, dry rag or a paintbrush. Use overlapping strokes and cover the entire surface evenly. Start with a small amount of teak oil and only add more to the rag or brush as needed. Wipe away excess oil with another rag. You may need to apply multiple coats of teak oil, depending on how weathered the wood is. Allow the previous layer to dry fully before applying the next.
Teak Oil Tips
When using teak oil, work in a well-ventilated area. If you can't work outside, open windows and turn on a fan to circulate the air in the room as much as possible and blow away noxious fumes from the teak oil. Teak oil will stain anything it comes in contact with, so cover all surfaces except the wood you are treating with newspaper or old sheets. Wear old clothes and rubber gloves while you work with the teak oil. Apply the teak oil over all surfaces, including ones that you can't see easily. This prevents the wood from weathering unevenly and warping. Keep teak oil out of the reach of children, away from any flames or cigarettes, and follow all the manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging.
Teak Maintenance Tips
There are several ways to keep teak furniture looking new, prevent weathering and extend the time between teak oil treatments. In winter months, either bring teak furniture inside for the season, or use special weather-proof covers. Don't allow puddles of water to sit on your furniture, and don't let the furniture sit in puddles either. For a teak deck, it may help to sweep excess water away after a heavy rainstorm.