Teak Oil vs Teak Sealer: Which Is Best for Your Outdoor Teak Furniture?

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Teak Oil vs Teak Sealer for Outdoor Teak Furniture

Like most things in your backyard, outdoor teak furniture requires ongoing maintenance to look and feel its best. Teak woodwork is highly prized and luxurious, but you’ll need to take proper care of your furniture if you don’t want it to discolor or fade. 

Sealing teak furniture is a crucial part of ensuring it lasts for many decades. Unfortunately, the market is saturated with teak products that claim to be the best. How do you really know what you should use on your furniture? 

That’s what we’re here to help with. We’ve tried virtually every product on the market, and we know what works – and what doesn’t. 

In this post, we’ll dive into two kinds of teak applicants: teak oil and teak sealer. We’ll explore the benefits and limitations of each, then steer you toward the right choice for your outdoor furniture. 

Understanding Teak Wood

Maintaining teak outdoor furniture

Before we talk more about maintaining outdoor teak furniture, it’s important for you to understand what makes this material special. 

Teak is a kind of tropical hardwood sourced from South and Southeast Asia. It’s been prized over the generations for its beautiful golden color, resistance to water damage, and density.

However, the gorgeous natural hue of teak wood doesn’t last forever. As your furniture is exposed to the elements, especially sunlight, the color will begin to fade. That’s why regular care is an essential part of maintaining high-quality teak furniture pieces. 

About Teak Oils 

Teak oil

As you browse teak maintenance products, you’ll likely see some people recommend using teak oil to recover your furniture’s natural color and shine. This oil is not actually sourced from the teak tree but instead produced with linseed or tung oils, varnishes, and/or thinners. 

Applying teak oil will “feed” the wood, accentuating its grain and color almost immediately. This makes it seem like a good short-term fix, but in the long run, the oil does not protect the furniture from damaging UV rays or contaminants. The lovely golden shine will begin to fade within a week or two. 

Because you’ll need to reapply teak oil at least every month or so, the product can create a “build-up” of material on the surface of your furniture. This is never a good thing, which is why you may want to check out your second option: teak sealers. 

About Teak Sealers

Teak sealer

Sealers are different from oils. They don’t “feed” the wood with more oil, but instead seal oils in the existing wood. This helps prevent contaminants and moisture from seeping into the furniture, compromising its appearance and health. 

Most teak sealers only need to be applied once a year for adequate protection. We always recommend using a fully penetrating sealer that doesn’t form a film or coat on the furniture. Simply reapply annually to keep the teak wood’s color and shine locked in. 

Why Teak Sealer Is the Better Choice

Why teak sealer is a better choice

The bottom line is that teak oil is a temporary fix while teak sealers are a long-term investment in the maintenance of your furniture. Unless you want to reapply the oil frequently and potentially contribute to a damaging product build-up on your furniture, we recommend using teak sealers. 

Another thing to consider: some low-quality teak oils actually cause the wood to break down and deplete more rapidly. They contain solvents that can be damaging, so if you do decide to use teak oil, be sure to read the formula information. 

When we care for our clients’ teak wood furniture, we always use top-of-the-line sealers. These do more than just shine the furniture. They also help with: 

1. UV Protection

Sunlight is your teak wood furniture’s biggest enemy. Over time, the UV radiation carbonizes the oils, changing the wood’s color from a rich brown to a silvery hue. The best way to prevent this is by continuing to re-apply a teak sealer once per year. This “seals” the wood, keeping the oils in and harmful UV rays out.

2. Mildew Growth Prevention 

Unlike many kinds of wood, teak is pretty resistant to moisture-related damage, such as mold and rot. However, mildew can still accumulate on the surface of some teak outdoor furniture. By cleaning the furniture and applying a sealer, you can prevent mildew from taking root.

3. Oxidation Prevention 

As it’s exposed to air and sunlight, the oil in the outer layer of teak wood will eventually begin to evaporate and oxidize. Unless you like the soft, weathered look of gray teak furniture, you’ll want to prevent oxidization with the annual application of a good teak sealer. 

Looking for Professional Teak Furniture Care?

At Teak & Deck Professionals, we use a high-quality teak sealer to protect and care for our customers’ furniture. Furthermore, we sand down the furniture to ensure the sealer can stick and do its job correctly. 

Our team has been serving the communities of Southern California for decades, and we know how to best protect teak wood from the local elements. If you have any questions about using teak sealers or caring for your outdoor furniture, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can also contact us today to schedule an annual maintenance appointment. 

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