Your House is Your Haven: Don't Neglect the Interior

Tips And Techniques For Maintaining Your Teak (Outdoor Furniture, That Is)

by Cherly King

One of the most popular materials for outdoor furniture is a hardwood known as teak. Teak outdoor furniture should last for many years, as it is extremely durable and suitable for most outdoor environments. Although outdoor teak furniture requires minimal maintenance, there are some measures you should take to keep it in optimal condition and aesthetically pleasing. You may maintain your teak wood patio furniture with store-bought products specially made for teak, or you can make your own solution with ordinary household cleaners.

Why Teak is Unique

Unlike some other woods, the high quality teak is ideal for outdoor use, as it is naturally resistant against insect damage, warping and mold and mildew. With its naturally occurring oils, teak will also repel moisture better than soft woods such as cedar or pine. Because of its distinctive qualities, teak is considered to be low maintenance.

To Oil or Not to Oil?

Although teak is an oily wood, these oils tend to evaporate over time, especially when exposed to the sun. After a period of a few months, you may notice the honey-brown color has grayed after some of the oils have dissolved. This is a natural process unique to this type of wood, and it will not effect the longevity or quality. While the silver-gray color is aesthetically pleasing to many, some prefer the original honey luster of teak.

You might use some teak oil for restoration of color, although this may not be the best option, as it will require repeat applications every few months. Also, by oiling outdoor teak furniture, you may subject the wood to discoloration, resulting in yellow or brown patches throughout. Mildew growth is more likely in oiled outdoor teak furniture as well. For a better option, simply clean the wood.

To Clean and Restore

If you wish to restore the original golden teak color, it is not very difficult to do with simple cleaning and sealing. For stubborn stains, hose down your patio furniture before you scrub it. Use a garden hose with a gentle stream of water, as the use of a power washer may degrade the wood.

For your cleaning solution, simply mix together equal parts of water, bleach and mild dish detergent, then scrub the wood with a soft bristled brush to avoid scratching. Alternatively, you may use a store bought teak cleaner for the same purpose. This will rid the wood of dirt and grime that may also discolor the wood.

The application of a honey-tone sealant will help retain the natural color and keep your teak looking new. Be sure the sealant is made primarily for outdoor teak, and that it contains ultraviolet (UV) inhibitors to protect against fading from the sun. You may need to reapply a sealant on a yearly basis. A quality sealant will not require re-stripping with every yearly application.

Other Maintenance Tips

As an added precaution, keep these few tips in mind for maintaining your outdoor teak furniture:

  • Between cleanings, you should dust the teak wood periodically. This is especially important if you live in a dusty climate, such as near the beach or in the desert. Regular dusting with a dry cloth will make routine cleaning easier.

  • Be sure to rinse away soaps and detergents after cleaning your teak. A thorough rinsing will wash away residue that can make the wood look dull or accelerate fading.

  • Always dry the wood after scrubbing and cleaning. Simply wipe it dry using an absorbent towel. This will provide added protection against moisture damage.

  • Consider purchasing patio furniture covers. Covering your outdoor teak furniture when not in use, particularly if you live in a storm-prone area, may provide protection. Choose a heavy-duty, waterproof material with added UV protection. Air vents will help prevent condensation.

For more ideas on how to maintain your outdoor furniture, check with companies like Modern Home 2 Go.