How to Weatherproof Your Outdoor Furniture

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How to Weatherproof Your Outdoor Furniture

Teak is an ideal material for outdoor furniture – especially in temperate places like Southern California. While teak is known to be reasonably weather resistant, we still recommend taking certain steps to protect your outdoor furniture from sun exposure and excessive moisture.

Teak has been used as furniture for a long time. If cared for properly, these items will last for many years. This is because teak oil – which is infused in the wood – is a natural preservative providing exceptional resistance to rot. 

However, this does not mean Teak is immune to aging or water damage. 

Fortunately, Southern California does not experience the harsh cold or wet conditions that many other areas do – and protecting outdoor furniture isn’t as cumbersome as it is in some places. 

Still, even with the area’s famously mild weather, there are plenty of precautions to help ensure your teak items stay durable, comfortable, and visually appealing. 

In this post, we want to discuss five easy tactics for waterproofing outdoor teak furniture in Southern California’s weather. 

1. Clean Your Furniture Regularly

Continue to clean teak furniture

Your outdoor furniture likely sees heavy use in the summer months and therefore gets cleaned more regularly. Once the rainier or cooler seasons roll in, and you’re not spending as much time outside, you might find that neglecting regular cleaning becomes easier. 

Remember that your cleaning process is the first line of defense in protecting your teak furniture against the weather and elements. The good news is it’s super easy to clean teak outdoor furniture in a matter of minutes.

If you commit to a regular schedule, you will only need a simple mixture of soap and water. There are plenty of special teak cleaning products on the market – but soap and water will mostly give you the same results.   

Start by moving your teak outdoor furniture away from direct sunlight to make sure the cleaning solution doesn’t dry out too quickly. Next, apply the soapy water with a brush to all the surfaces and hose off the suds when you’re done. 

How often should you clean teak furniture in the off-season? 

Generally, we recommend cleaning your teak furniture at least once per season – maybe three or four times per year if you want to maintain the pristine look. If some months bring a lot of rain, clean your items as needed to ensure loose dirt and debris don’t build up. 

2. Apply Teak Sealer Annually 

Apply teak sealer before winter

This is a key aspect of maintaining teak furniture. The teak sealer provides a thin waterproof layer to the wood that keeps rain and moisture from entering through tiny openings. 

In addition to safeguarding your furniture from water, sealer maintains the teak’s natural color. Most sealants contain a UV blocker to prevent sun bleaching and discoloring.  

Fortunately, applying teak sealer is a relatively easy process. Here are some steps you can follow to apply your product carefully and evenly while waterproofing outdoor furniture. 

Step One: Sanding

For starters, give the surface of the teak a light sanding. This provides the sealant with some traction to grab onto. We recommend using 80-grit sandpaper. You don’t want to sand away too much of the wood, so use light pressure to avoid damage. 

Step Two: Cleaning

From here, you’ll need to lightly spray off the wood to clear tiny bits of sawdust created from the sanding process. You may also want to scrub it off with soapy water and a brush. Let the teak furniture dry completely before taking the next step. 

Step Three: Apply the Sealer

Apply a thin coat of teak wood sealant using a sponge, cloth, or brush. If you have a paint sprayer, you can use this, too. Make sure the coat is applied evenly on all surfaces – then let the furniture dry for a few hours. You may need to apply additional coats if the wood is badly weathered. 

Keep in mind that some sealers might change the color of the wood, while others will not. The tinted sealers are intended to bring out the wood’s natural color. However, these are not as easy to apply – as they need to be applied perfectly evenly. 

If you want to restore the wood’s natural color, we recommend having a professional do it.

To break it down, here are some key “dos” and “do-nots” when applying sealer to your teak outdoor furniture:

  • Do: Put newspaper or plastic down on the floor in your work area before applying sealant. 
  • Do: Sand and clean the wood before applying the sealant. 
  • Do: Make sure the sealant is applied evenly. 
  • Do Not: Rush through the sanding process. 
  • Do Not: Neglect to let the wood dry completely before applying teak sealant. 
  • Do Not: Apply tinted sealer without conducting proper research. 

For any questions about sealing your teak furniture, don’t hesitate to reach out to Teak and Deck. We’re happy to point you in the right direction. 

3. Use Teak Furniture Covers

Outdoor furniture covers
Source: Amazon

If you don’t typically use outdoor furniture during certain months, use a covering to protect the wood. This is what many Californians do from fall to spring to avoid the need for more frequent cleanings and preserve teak items. 

Furniture covers may be a sizeable investment, but they protect your outdoor furniture from a plethora of hazards. In addition to rain and moisture, these covers protect your teak furniture from flying objects – like branches, pinecones, and other debris – that may be kicked up on windy days. 

Now, it’s important to make sure the covers offer some breathability. While you need the covers to shield your furniture from water, they shouldn’t be 100% watertight. Providing a small bit of breathability is important to make sure mold or mildew does not build up over time. 

Most furniture covers are around 95% watertight. Be sure to check the label before you buy. 

4. Clear Standing Moisture Quickly

Clear standing moisture on outdoor furniture

If you take one thing away from this blog post, remember that standing water and teak furniture do not mix well. 

When teak materials are exposed to high levels of moisture for long periods, they can absorb the water, resulting in warping, cracking, or even splitting. Additionally, teak can eventually develop mold and mildew growth, even though it is relatively resistant to both. 

Moisture left on outdoor furniture can also lead to water stains and discoloring on the wood. This is why people are so insistent on using coasters when you set a cold drink down on a wooden surface. 

Even if you use a teak sealer for your outdoor furniture, clear any standing moisture as soon as possible to prevent discoloration. 

It’s not always easy to clear moisture, especially if your teak furniture sits unattended for months. The good news is you can clear water stains pretty easily. You’ll come across two types of stains: light water stains and dark water stains. 

Light water stains are newer stains in which the moisture hasn’t had time to penetrate past the surface layer of the wood. Light stains will eventually turn into dark stains if left untreated. Dark stains happen when the moisture penetrates deeply into the wood and starts to grow mold. 

Light stains are easy to remove. The best approach is to apply a combination of water, lemon juice, or vinegar – then scrub lightly. Dark stains, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated. You need to remove both the moisture and the mold growth. The most effective way to do this is sanding. It’s recommended to use 150-grit sandpaper to sand back the surface of the wood. Or, take the wood furniture to a professional. 

5. Move Your Teak Furniture Inside

Move your teak furniture inside

Those with a garage, attic, or spare room may choose to keep their teak items inside. This is the easiest and most effective way to protect your outdoor furniture when it’s not being used. 

Of course, in Southern California, many people use their outdoor furniture year-round – and storing it for months may not be an option. 

If you’re serious about protecting your furniture from the weather, there are a few things to keep in mind when storing it indoors. 

We recommend using an unheated room to store your outdoor teak furniture, like a garage or covered porch. The items will get all the protection they need without the shock of fast temperature shifts and humidity changes that occur when you move wood from outside to a heated room. 

You may also want to consider disassembling larger pieces for storage to help save space and make things more manageable. If possible, try to keep the furniture in an accessible location where you can still check on it now and then and make any necessary adjustments to its storage environment. 

The bottom line: don’t just toss your teak furniture in a storage shed without making preparations and monitoring it. You want to preserve the items’ beauty and integrity for years to come, and that requires careful planning and attention to detail. 

Over to You

Teak is one of the most attractive and durable types of wood to use for furniture. You want to do everything you can to weatherproof it – no matter how mild SoCal’s weather might be. 

At Teak and Deck, we specialize in helping owners of teak furniture, decks, and other home components prevent deterioration. We’re happy to assist you with waterproofing, wood cleanup, and everything else to keep your teak items looking pristine throughout the year. 

For questions about teak weatherproofing, refinishing, or restoration, please feel free to reach out to our specialists. We’re happy to assist in any way we can. 

First published: Nov 7, 2022

Updated: Jan 22, 2024

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Drew Isaacman

Drew Isaacman is the owner and founder of Teak & Deck Professionals, a leading restoration company specializing in teak, exotic wood, concrete, and stone. With a passion for preserving outdoor assets, Drew has built a team of skilled professionals dedicated to providing exceptional service to clients in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. His expertise in wood restoration and refinishing, combined with his commitment to customer satisfaction, has earned Teak & Deck Professionals a reputation for excellence in the industry. Drew's dedication to protecting and revitalizing outdoor spaces ensures that clients can enjoy their valuable assets for years to come.