Teak wood has been used for centuries in ship-building and outdoor furniture applications. Teak is a very dense, tropical hardwood typically found in Indonesia. Due to its high natural oil content, teak is very resistant to water and insect damage. Teak outdoor furniture is quite popular, but there are some tips that you may find useful to care for your investment:
Teak will gradually weather to a silver-gray patina if left outdoors. You will begin to notice the "graying" after 3 months or so, depending on the amount of sun and rain the furniture is subjected to. Total weathering will take about 6 to 9 months.
Once teak has weathered, the original color can be restored by an annual scrubbing with soapy water to remove accumulated dirt. Trouble spots can be gently sanded with a very fine grit sandpaper. Alternatively, you may use a pressure hose with a fan or multi-nozzle jet, where a gauge is fitted. It should be set to a pressure of 900-1200 psi. A distance of 6'-8' should be maintained between the nozzle and the surface to be cleaned. Apply a constant, gentle jet pressure using the lowest possible setting to achieve the desired result. Due to the unique properties of teakwood your furniture will need no other care or treatment and will last for decades.
Small surface cracks (known as checks) may appear. This is a characteristic of all timber and will not affect the strength or durability of the furniture. This is due to the changes in seasoning and the wood releasing or absorbing of moisture from the atmosphere. Checking is non-structural in nature and is not to be considered a concern of defect.
Marks from spills on a tabletop, especially if they contain fat, should be avoided where possible, as they can be difficult to remove. Any such marks will eventually be washed out and bleached by the elements. However, this process may be accelerated by allowing the stain to soak into any absorbent material applied to it for a time under pressure and then rubbing with sandpaper.
Treating with teak oil or other preservatives is not needed to protect teakwood and will not extend the life of your outdoor furniture, its use is purely cosmetic. If you prefer the light brown look of natural, unweathered teak, then applying teak oil regularly will maintain that look. I do not recommend oiling your furniture because it creates unnecessary maintenance, but should you prefer to retain its original color, the following guidelines will offer the best results:
Teak oil should be applied before the furniture begins to weather and change color. Ensure the furniture is dry and free of any dust or dirt and apply one light coat of oil with a clean cloth or brush, wiping off any surplus. Teak oil should not be applied over accumulated oil or dirt. This can cause the furniture to turn black over time. If necessary, remove previous oil or dirt by vigorous scrubbing or use of pressure washer. Re-oiling annually is usually sufficient.
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