How to Care for Teak Patio Furniture
Teak patio furniture is the highest quality outdoor furniture you can find. It’s also very easy to care for. Teak wood has special qualities that make it ideal for outdoor use. It requires very little care or maintenance to last decades. There are some recommended products that you can use to treat the wood in order for it to keep a beautiful color long after you buy it. But if you apply the wrong type of product, it can actually be harmful to teak wood in the long run.
Teak is a dense wood and is extremely stable and resistant to decay even when exposed to extreme weather conditions. It is not necessary to treat quality teak. Left untreated, it will weather to a silver grey colour over time. Even after many years, naturally weathered premium grade teak remains in excellent condition.
The Greying Process
The process of weathering is brought about by the action of the sun breaking down tannins in the wood which hold the colour, and then the leaching out of these colours by the rain. Unlike some other timbers, teak will not stain your decking or tiles during this process. It will take about twelve months to attain a beautiful silver grey weathered appearance. Rotate your furniture or move it around during this time to result in more even weathering. Leave extension tables fully extended as much as possible during the first twelve months to ensure even colouring of all surfaces. You will notice that after the furniture has been outside for a day or two, the timber will feel slightly rougher than when it was first delivered. This is normal. Teak has been very finely finished, but when it is exposed to rain or even dew, the fibres on the surface swell up and lift. After two or three months this grain lift settles down and the surface becomes quite smooth again. We recommend that objects are not placed on the surface for prolonged periods to avoid blackening of the area or mould from forming as the timber needs to breathe. If you choose to leave your furniture untreated, keep in mind that anything spilt on the table which has oil or fat in it can soak into the timber and leave a stain. Most of these marks will be taken care of by the sun and rain.
The job of cleaning is best tackled when the furniture is very wet – preferably after a night’s rain. Warm soapy water and a soft bristled scrubbing brush or scotchbrite pad will remove most mottled, patchy environmental and man made stains. • Don’t attempt to clean teak furniture unless it’s very wet. • Don’t attempt cleaning in direct sunlight on a hot day. • Keep the furniture as wet as possible while cleaning. • Stubborn stains can be sanded off with fine sandpaper. Weathered teak furniture which has become “too rustic” in appearance will be very clean and uniform in colour after this process. If some of the original colour of the teak is beginning to show through, don’t worry, it will weather down to that beautiful silver grey colour again quite quickly.
Retaining Teak's Natural Colour
There are a number of products available which will help retain the colour of new outdoor teak furniture and prevent the greying process. But before applying any finish, leave furniture exposed to the elements for four to six weeks. It is important that it gets wet during this pre-weathering period. If it doesn’t rain or if your outdoor area is under cover, hose the furniture down thoroughly twice weekly to remove dust and natural oil. This will also open up the grain and allow the finish to penetrate the pores of the timber more effectively. You will notice that when the timber gets wet for the first time, it will feel slightly rough when it dries again. This is called “grain lift” and is quite normal. Sand very lightly with 240 grit sandpaper before applying your finish. Always ensure that your furniture is bone dry before commencing this task and do not apply any finish to the runners of your extension table.
Restoring Aged Furniture - Removing the Grey
If you decide that the weathered look is no longer appropriate it is possible to remove the grey weathered surface completely. What we want to do here is take the process of cleaning one or two steps further and clean the grey off all together. Once again it must be emphasised, don’t attempt this job unless the timber has been well and truly soaked. If the grey weathered surface is wet enough, it becomes very soft and can be “scrubbed off” quite easily with the help of a product like Feast Watson Woodclean as per the instructions on the bottle. This job is quite easy if the timber is wet enough, but more difficult if it is too dry. After the furniture is completely dry, use sandpaper to remove any hints of grey that are left.
Recommended Finishing Products
We recommend using Feast Watson Outdoor furniture Oil - Teak. Initially apply two coats with a cloth and/or brush as per the instructions on the tin. Be sure to gently wipe off excess oil 15 minutes after applying each coat. This product will give the furniture a darker teak colour. To maintain your finish reapply the oil twice a year or as needed. You will need to use your own judgement here. Oiled furniture which is fully exposed to the sun and rain will need more frequent attention than furniture in a protected area. As with all timber finish maintenance, it is better to apply a freshen up coat more frequently than to leave for so long that serious preparation is needed before reapplying.