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How to Protect Teak Outdoors

Updated February 21, 2017

Teak, a tropical hardwood, contains high levels of oil and resin, making it highly resistant to rain, wind and harsh sun rays. The natural golden/brown colour of new teak wood weathers to a smooth silver/grey after a few months outdoors, but the discolouration does not affect the structural integrity of the wood. However, because teak is expensive, it pays to take steps to protect and prolong the life of your outdoor teak furniture.

Remove surface discolouration by sanding. Only the top layer of teak greys, and you can restore the look of new teak wood by sanding it with 100-grit sandpaper or a foam sanding block once or twice a year.

Clean your teak before applying teak oil. Mix liquid washing powder at the ratio of 3 parts detergent to 1 part water. Scrub the teak with the solution and a stiff nylon brush to remove dirt and grime or body oils. Rinse with a garden hose and let the wood dry completely.

Keep teak looking fresh longer by applying semi-annual coats of teak oil. This penetrating oil, applied evenly with a brush and left to soak in, temporarily seals the wood grain. Reapply after a light sanding when the wood begins to grey.

Tarp your teak outdoor furniture over cold winter months, or store it in a shed or a garage. Although the natural oils in teak resist weathering, moisture that freezes and expands in the surface of the wood can shorten the life of the teak furniture.

Tip

Protect nearby items when applying teak oil, which can stain your home's siding or concrete sidewalk. Choose a teak oil that contains UV filters for the best protection against discolouration from the sun's rays.

Warning

Do not use steel wool to scrub teak, or it may leave rust "freckles" on the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Liquid washing powder
  • Stiff nylon brush
  • Teak oil
  • Natural-bristle brush
  • Tarp
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About the Author

Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.