Teak is known for its durability and solidity, requiring little maintenance even under severe climatic conditions. It not only withstands weather and wear better than any other wood; it is also resistant to moisture, rot and insects.
Teak wood products are categorised into outdoor and indoor uses. Both indoor and outdoor teak furniture are finished in several ways, including totally natural, oiled, sealed, and varnished. As indoor teak furniture gets less abused than outdoor teak furniture, maintenance is relatively less demanding.
Before coating, teak wood needs to be completely clean. This can be done using a very soft brush/cloth with some warm mildly soapy water. Thereafter, rinse the teak with clean water. Usage of high pressure hoses is not recommended as it may damage the furniture. Also, avoid steel wool or wire brushes as any residue left in the grain will rust and discolour the wood.
It is best to avoid direct contact with hot/wet items, to prevent heat rings or water stains.
Oiling is not about protecting the teak furniture. Instead, it is used to enhance the beauty of teak wood, maintaining its warm appearance and tones. In other words, it is used to keep the furniture from weathering to a soft grey colour. In order to maintain the colour of the teak, it is only required to oil approximately three times a year.
Oiling requires multiple coats. Continue to oil the furniture, wiping away any excess until the teak wood can no longer absorb the oil. The teak furniture should have a matte finish without any shiny spots.
Note: Oiling is only necessary for varnished wood. For unvarnished pieces, oiling is not required as this may cause discolourations if not applied evenly. Simply wipe down your unvarnished piece with a damp cloth, and allow the natural teak oil to do the rest.
Sealing is a process normally applied to wood during the manufacturing process, or if you've sanded down an existing piece to give it a fresh look. Sealing the wood prevents moisture, dirt or bacteria from penetrating while sealing in natural oils and resins. Unfortunately, the oils and resins may already be lost. Therefore, the initial step in applying a sealer to old teak, is to restore the oil content with a thorough application of teak oil.
Clean and bleach the wood to an even colour, then oil it until it stops absorbing. Wait at least two weeks to let the resins dry before applying the sealer. After two weeks, wash the wood and let it dry completely. Apply the sealer after removing all surface oil as sealers need an oil free surface to attach to.
Also used as a substitute to sealing, varnish offers genuine protection for the wood. Wood coated with varnish will not dry up and split as easily, neither will it absorb moisture and rot, nor be affected by dirt and pollution, and is unstained by greasy spills.
Teak used outdoors will gradually weather into a handsome silver grey. On the contrary, teak used indoors, away from natural sunlight will gradually become a darker shade of brown over a period of time - perhaps six months to a year. These natural colour changes do not affect the quality and durability of the teak furniture.