Teak (Tectona grandis) is the common name for a hardwood that grows in tropical regions of the world. It originated in places such as India, Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia and other southeast Asian islands. Because of the wet and damp environments where it grows naturally, teak offers a high oil content, tight grain and durable strength. It is because of these properties that teak became the preferred wood for shipbuilding, and why it is currently used in outdoor furniture.
When left outdoors, untreated teak will season to a silver-gray hue within about three months. The change is caused by the sun and rain, and many owners consider this look attractive, purchasing teak furniture with this end result in mind. It will take between six and nine months for the total color change to take effect.
How to Restore the Original Color
Seasoned teak can be restored to the original color by scrubbing the teak surface with soap and water after each warm season. If there are spots which are being stubborn, try sanding these spots with fine-grit sandpaper. If you have access, a pressure washer with a fitted gauge and a multi-nozzle or fan jet will work. Set the pressure washer to a setting between 900 and 1200 psi. Be sure to stay at least six inches away from the surface of the teak patio furniture when you use the power washer.
The most difficult spill or stain to remove is one where the substance contains significant amounts of fat, such as meat drippings. If you have a stain of this nature it will naturally be removed over time by the constant washing, absorption and release of moisture from rain and humidity in the atmosphere. Be patient! But if you wish to accelerate this process, try soaking up the stain with an absorbent material held to the stain for a long period of time. A light dusting with sand paper afterwards will help this process.
Cracks and small fractures will appear in all outdoor wood furniture. These are known as "checks", and should be expected in teak, though in smaller numbers and size when compared to other wood products. This happens when the wood itself seasons over time, capturing and releasing moisture from the air. These small imperfections will not change the strength of the wood, so don't worry about them. But if a large structural crack does appear, there could be a larger problem present, such as defective construction.
In general, treating teak wood patio furniture with oils and other wood preservatives is not recommended. Why? While it will not take away from the value, it does not add any value as well. Treating teak wood will only change the color or the look, and will not strengthen or lengthen the life of the furniture. Treatment of teak wood patio furniture should be embraced as a purely cosmetic endeavor.
One of the benefits of teak is the lack of maintenance required with this material, so why would you add to the long list of things you have to do? If it is not necessary, why would you want to treat your teak patio furniture with oil twice a year? It just seems like more work to me. But if you do like the brown look of unseasoned teak, you might want to consider an oil product for treatment and the following tips:
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