Can You Stain Teak Wood Fences and Furniture?

Share this Article
can you stain teak wood furnitures and fences

Teak is an extremely popular choice for furniture and things around the house, including decks, patio furniture, and fences. This hardwood is naturally golden to medium brown that matches virtually any décor. Teak wood is dried out for up to 2 years before it can be used, which helps to increase its natural strength and durability.

Teak wood is derived from deciduous trees and has been highly valued in the market for centuries. Its origin of usage can be traced back to India close to 2 millennia ago, and it remains one of the most beloved materials.

Teak wood was incredibly common throughout Europe, particularly in Danish designs. After World War II, it peaked in popularity in the US as Americans stationed overseas brought back teak items to decorate with. It became a staple for Mid-Century Modern furniture and architecture, but we still see it in designs to this day!

Teak is incredibly versatile and is used for both interior and exterior designs. Teak may be used for virtually any structure inside the home, from hardwood floors to window frames. But perhaps the most common use for teak is outdoor furniture and fences.

The main reason for this is that teak wood is known to be highly durable and resistant to water. Most untreated woods will soon rot if it absorbs too much moisture, and the color will soon fade if it is exposed to consistent sunlight. But teak wood is naturally water-resistant and requires minimal upkeep!

While teak wood is far more resistant to the elements, you can stain teak wood to enhance its natural properties even more.

In this article, we will explain further why you should stain teak wood furniture and fences and how to do it properly.

1. What’s the Difference Between Painting vs Staining vs Sealing?

If you go to the wood care section of any hardware store, you will see three main items: wood stains, sealants, and paint. These products help nourish the wood, protect it from damage, and alter the wood’s natural color. 

But can you use these products on teak? 

First, let’s explain the differences between stains, sealants, and wood paint.

Wood Stain

Staining teak wood

Wood stain is technically a type of paint that dyes the wood to change its color. This can be a subtle change or a more dramatic alteration. However, stains do not cover up the natural texture and pattern of the wood, resulting in a natural-looking finish.

Wood Sealing 

Waterproof wood sealant

Sealants sit on the surface and create a protective layer that prevents moisture from seeping into the wood. This may be clear, glossy, or have a slight tint of color. This is used to waterproof wood so it can be left outdoors.

Wood Paint 

Painting teak wood

Wood paint can be made from an acrylic or oil base, and it is applied to the surface. Wood paint is opaque, so it will cover up both the color and texture of the wood.

Can You Paint, Seal, or Stain Teak Wood?

One of the best properties of teak wood is that it contains a lot of natural oils that prevent the wood from rotting and being damaged by water. For this reason, wood sealant is not always necessary, but it is recommended for outdoor furniture and structures.

However, there are some types of sealant specifically designed for teak wood. This uses a water-based sealer rather than oil like most sealants. This helps to protect teak wood from UV damage and prevents mildew growth. But you likely only need to apply this to older teak or wooden structures in harsh environments.

You can also paint teak wood if you’d like. However, the natural oil in teak makes painting over it a very difficult process. The oils prevent the paint from adhering to the surface of the wood. As such, painting over teak is not the smartest idea. On the other hand, once you have properly applied teak sealer on your fence and sanded it sufficiently, you will be able to stain it to successfully give it a more appealing visual.

So, is wood stain safe to use on teak? The answer here is: Yes! 

2. Can You Use Stain Teak on Wood?

Wooden deck maintenance apply stain on decking

If you want to change the color of your teak wood fence or outdoor furniture, using a stain is your best bet. There are countless benefits from adding a stain to teak wood fences and furniture, particularly items that are exposed to rain, sunshine, and temperature changes.

Protection from the Elements

Homeowners are highly encouraged to stain teak wood fences since they are constantly exposed to the harsh elements of nature. Constant contact with dirt, wind, rain, and UV rays can start to fade the wood’s natural tone, resulting in a dingy grey. Further, air pollution and pollen from nearby plants may build up on the teak. This can clog up the pores of the fence and cause the colors to fade as well.

Hence, when you invest in professional teak cleaning and staining, you stand to protect your teak fence from these elements. Staining and sealing your teak fence will ensure that it looks brand new again regardless of how weathered it currently looks.

The same goes for outdoor furniture made from teak. This wood is fantastic for patio chairs and tables since it isn’t as affected by moisture as other types. But you should maintain your outdoor teak furniture by adding a bit of stain to prevent it from fading.

Teak Stain is Versatile 

For most homeowners, relaxing in their backyard is the best part of their day. In fact, the latest research concluded that people with outdoor spaces spend 14 hours a week on their patios, porches, and backyards! It is simply the optimal location to host guests or calm down with a bottle of wine to unwind from the day’s stresses.

As such, making sure that your teak fence and furniture are visually appealing and matches your style is very important. Staining your teak fence will allow you to refinish it in a way that will match any new furniture or style that you want to adopt for your home.

Prolong the Life of Your Teak Fence and Furniture

We all appreciate the time that we can spend with their family in a fenced yard. People with pets and small children also appreciate the peace of mind a solid fence offers – so keeping the wood in tip-top shape needs to be a priority.

Usually, most homeowners will only consider staining a teak fence once it starts to look noticeably faded and used after years of exposure to the outdoors. But if you wait too long to stain your teak wood, it may not do much good. The grey faded tone results from evaporated oil caused by exposure to UV rays. This means that the wood is less moisture-resistant and weaker.

Although stain is not as protective as wood sealant, it can help to prevent your teak from fading. Stain absorbs into the wood grain, stopping it from drying out as quickly.

3. How Do You Stain Teak Wood?

Why oiling outdoor teak furniture harmful

Staining a teak wood fence or furniture can be quite an arduous task, depending on the scope of your project. You will need to prep the wood, protect the surrounding area, and apply several coats of stain, which can take several days to complete.

First, you will need to prep your fence or furniture by cleaning it properly. You can use mild dish soap and water along with a soft bristle brush to wash away any dirt and debris on the surface.

If the teak wood has been stained to sealed before, you will want to sand the surface once the wood is completely dried lightly. A 120-grit sandpaper or foam block is best, and it is recommended you do this lightly by hand or with a handheld orbital sander.

A sanding sealer should then be applied to help create a smooth, even surface. This can be tricky, as you’ll want to wipe off any excess just a few minutes after application. Otherwise, the sealer may start to pool and dry unevenly.

Next, you’ll want to test your stain before applying it to the entire area. Make sure that you like the color after it is completely dried, as it might look different in person.

You can use a typical paintbrush to apply a thin layer over the fence or piece of furniture. Be sure to dry off any uneven areas or drops before they dry. Depending on the brand of stain you use, you may want to apply several coats for a deeper, richer color. 

While it is a fairly common DIY project for homeowners, many choose to hire professionals to get the job done instead. But you need to make sure that you’re hiring a team that has a lot of experience and will get the job done right.

Unfortunately, many businesses offering fence and wood painting services do not hire staff with much experience. If they do not use the right type of stain or apply it as directed, the results will be quite unsatisfactory.

When you hire a professional stainer, you should be advised on the best products and methods that should be undertaken based on the type of fence you have and its condition. Re-staining your fence can be a tedious and cumbersome process to deal with yourself, so hiring a professional is a much better option.

4. FAQs About Staining Teak Wood Fences and Furniture

Oil based teak wood stain

Staining your teak wood fence or furniture can help to enhance its look and even change the style completely. But you want to make sure you’re doing it right – otherwise, you could risk ruining the wood or getting a stain color you don’t like. 

At Teak & Deck Professionals, we know all about teak and how to stain, seal, and restore this type of wood the right way. Here are some of the most common questions we get from our clients and the advice we offer: 

What is the Best Stain for Teak Wood?

First and foremost, you should only use wood stains that are specifically designed for teak wood. These may be water-based or oil-based – both will work on teak wood. However, oil-based stains tend to last longer, while water-based stains are more vibrant.

Make sure that you go with a color that enhances your teak wood’s current tone. If it has started to fade slightly, consider going with a stain that will return it to the more natural golden-brown hue. Lighter colors are also best if the wood furniture or fence is in direct sunlight, as it won’t absorb heat as much as dark tones.

How Often Should You Stain Teak Wood?

If applied correctly, wood stains can last for years and years. Darker pigments tend to hold their color the best, lasting for up to 7 years on outdoor furniture and fences! However, some types are designed to wear off faster.

Clear toner stain, for instance, must be reapplied every year. This is designed to prevent the teak wood from fading merely; it adds no color to the wood.

Solid color and semitransparent stains let some of the natural wood grain pattern through for a more natural-looking result. Since these stains have a thinner base, it needs to be redone every 2 to 5 years in most cases. 

Should You Oil Teak Outdoor Furniture?

Teak wood will eventually lose its natural oil content if it is unprotected and left in harsh weather conditions. One misconception about teak is that adding oil back into the wood will help to reverse this damage. 

Teak oil can be quite harmful to outdoor furniture and fences for several reasons. Teak oil can actually make the wood more brittle, and it will not reverse the effects of weathering. In some cases, teak oil also encourages mold and mildew growth since it interferes with the wood’s natural moisture-resistant properties. 

It is best to avoid oiling your teak wood altogether and instead opt for staining and sealing for the ultimate protection. 

Need Help Tackling Your Teak Wood Staining Project? 

While you can stain teak wood on your own, you do run the risk of ruining your furniture or fence with a poor application. Wood stain must be applied evenly and smoothly, or you’ll get a blotchy result that won’t enhance your outdoor property at all. 

If you’re looking for a team of professionals you can trust with staining your teak wood, reach out to Teak & Deck Professionals. We provide outdoor wood restoration, refinishing, and staining services to the Southern California area. We’d be more than happy to provide you with a quote and make your teak furniture and fencing look brand new again! 


Published on: Dec 10, 2020

Updated: Dec 22, 2021


Share this Article
Posted in