oiled finish vs. natural teak wood: what’s the difference?

Growing up, we always saw mom and dad, right as spring hit, applying all sorts of oil, varnish and sealers to the wood furniture outside.  However, that practice is unnecessary with teak.  As one of the most durable woods in the world, teak is the perfect material for outdoor furniture because of its ability to withstand the elements.  So the tradition of prepping your outdoor furniture can stop with you!

Anderson Bahama Teak Folding Table - Teakwoodcentral

Outdoor Teak Furniture in Its Natural Honey Tone


Keeping Teak Natural

The reason why teak makes great, long-lasting outdoor furniture is its high content of natural oils.  The natural oils serve as a protective barrier against the elements as well as against termites and other pests.  As many of our customers have found, when you leave teak furniture outside for a long period of time, even uncovered, you’ll find that the warm honey color evolves over time to an attractive silvery-gray.  The oil starts to migrate towards the surface over time and eventually evaporates, a process that over time turns the teak from a honey color to a silvery gray. Though the color changes, the integrity of the wood does not!

Oiled Teak Table - Teakwoodcentral

Oiled Teak Wood is Best for Indoor Furniture


Oiling Teak

Again, because of the natural oil content of teak furniture, it is not necessary to treat the wood with more oil.  Teak experts everywhere will give you the following reasons for keeping your teak natural versus oiled:

- Oiled teak furniture is more susceptible to mildew and rotting.

- As the wood ages, coloring is more uneven over the years.

- Oiling teak requires routine, annual maintenance.

- Additional oil disrupts the process of evaporation that naturally occurs with the native oil in teak, drying out the wood more rapidly and requiring more and more oil.

However, we cannot deny the beauty of fresh teak wood, and many people prefer it.  So if you choose to oil your furniture, we highly recommend using it mostly on indoor teak.  Teak bath mats or tiles look fantastic and feel great when oiled, for example.  If you decide you’d like that honey tone back, simply clean your teak wood with special teak wood cleaners available at your local hardware store. 

Oiled Teak Wood Mat - Teakwoodcentral

Oiled Teak Mat

If you just have to oil your outdoor teak, it’s a good habit to cover or bring in your outdoor furniture when not in routine use.  A leader in teak oil treatment is Infinita Tropical Hardwood Oil made especially for teak, acacia, and other tropical hardwoods.   Since the application temperature is between 40 degrees and 95 degrees, oiling teak is recommended in either the spring, to prepare for summer, and fall, to protect from winter elements. 

No matter what you decide, with proper care and maintenance, you can be assured that your teak furniture will last you years and years to come. 

Coco Meyer
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