If your teak garden furniture is looking a bit weathered and dull, it might be time to spruce it up a little. Teak has a naturally occurring oil that gives it a distinctive colour which fades over time in the sunlight, often being replaced by a grey colour. And if you’re unlucky, with patches of mould and mildew that thrive under the UV rays of the sun.
While the silver hue that teak takes on over time does not affect its functionality and is mainly a cosmetic issue, you may prefer restoring it to its original honey-coloured glory. Learn how to properly maintain it by following three simple steps.
What you’ll need
- Warm water (mix with either: washing up liquid, vinegar) OR teak cleaner
- A sponge
- A bristle brush
- A hose
- Sand paper (not too coarse, we recommend using two types: one medium and one fine)
- A damp cloth
- Teak protector/sealer/finishing product
- A clean rag/cloth (or a large paintbrush)
Step One: Cleaning
The first step is to clean any built-up residue and remove any mildew/mould growing on your furniture.
How to clean your teak garden furniture
- If using a teak cleaner, skip this step. If using warm water with either washing up liquid or vinegar, mix up the correct quantities (we recommend one cup of vinegar for every 4L of water).
- Start applying the mixture all over the surface of the wood with a sponge or something similar to moisten the teak. If using the teak cleaner, first moisten the teak with plain warm water before applying the cleaner.
- Start scrubbing gently with a soft bristle brush in the direction of the wood grain so as to not damage the surface.
- Continue scrubbing slowly until the grime is removed – repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed before hosing down the teak to remove all the dirt.
Step Two: Sanding
This step helps even out the texture of the teak after scrubbing, as well as removing more stubborn patches of black/dark grime. It’s important to wait for the teak to fully dry before this step.
Some people prefer giving their furniture a quick sand first, before the cleaning process. But it is always worth giving it a quick go-over afterwards too to make sure it’s as smooth as it can be.
How to sand your teak garden furniture
- Begin sanding with the more coarse sanding paper gently. Sand along the grain to open it up and avoid disturbing the wood’s surface, and remove any excess old wood fragments in the process.
- Switch to the finer sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish.
- Make sure the surface of the wood is fully clean of any dust and debris from sanding by wiping gently with a damp cloth and then letting the teak dry.
Step Three: Sealing/Protecting
This step is optional, but ensures that the teak stays looking cleaner for longer so that you don’t need to maintain it as often. The teak should be dry before beginning this step.
How to seal your teak garden furniture
- Using a clean rag/cloth or large paintbrush, dip into the sealer/finishing product and swipe along the grains of the wood all over the piece of furniture to ensure an even coat.
- You may wish to add a second layer, but first ensure that the first layer is fully dry.
How to keep your furniture fresher for longer
- Invest in some furniture covers that you can cover your furniture with when not in use to avoid further sun damage.
- Get some other form of shade/covering if you aren’t keen on furniture covers, such as parasols, sail shades, awnings or verandas, to keep your furniture protected come rain or shine.
Things we don’t recommend
- Using teak oil – often teak oil being sold is not actually teak oil but a combination of linseed oil and other substances which could interfere with the teak’s natural oil and promote growth of mildew/mould when placed outside. Oiled teak doesn’t allow for the timber to breathe so it can be much harder to restore. You may wish to apply teak oil to indoor teak furniture instead.
- Using a pressure washer – this can lead to damaging your teak furniture. Despite some people having success on the lowest setting, it’s safer to use a hose.
- Painting teak furniture – it may look good at first, but over time the naturally occurring oil in the teak will cause the paint to chip, bubble or fade.
- Using steel wool or steel wire brushes – this will damage the surface of the wood.
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If teak garden furniture isn’t for you or you’re looking for an upgrade, we have plenty of other wooden garden furniture that looks just as fantastic as teak.