How to Restore Teak Furniture

Looking restore your weathered teak outdoor furniture? Check out this post to find out how to restore teak furniture in an afternoon!

We love a good BBQ or family gathering on our deck, thats why we built this deck and furnished it with this solid teak table around 4 years ago. However after 4 years of use (and 4 Canadian winters) the teak on the table has seen better days and is in need of a refresh. I (Russel) first dealt with restoring teak when my Dad, Brother, and I restored/fixed up a boat 2010. From that I knew there was a great marine 3 step product that worked well to really transform old weathered teak back to its beautiful golden look.

In this post we will show you how to restore those old grey weathered pieces of teak back to their former glory with a little elbow grease so they can have that beautiful golden look again.

Why is Teak Furniture Great for the Outdoors?

cleaned and oiled  wood grain on Teak table

Teak is a dense tropical hardwood that grows with natural oils infused inside it’s grain. Teak is know for its durability and water resistance. When the wood is freshly milled, the surface of the teak has golden glow from the oil which highlights the wood grain. Due to its natural oil content, teak wood is desirable for use for boat building, exterior construction, outdoor teak furniture, and wood working projects for wet environments.

grey weathered teak table

After some time, this golden colour fades and leaves the teak with a silvery-gray hue. The graying process naturally occurs when teak wood is left outdoors to the elements and is exposed to the weather, especially in severe sunlight. The change in colours is from the natural protective oil evaporating from the outer layers of the wood.

How to Maintain Teak Indoor furniture

Maintaining you indoor teak furniture is generally easier than the outdoor teak furniture. The best way to keep you teak furniture looking beautiful is to regularly (2-3 times a year depending on use) give it a coat of teak oil. This teak sealer will help keep the bright golden look and protect the wood over time.

How to Maintain Teak Wood that has been exposed to the elements for a long time

Tools to restore your teak furniture

Protective Gear

We always recommended when using cleaner products and spraying anything (like cleaner or stain/finish) to use the proper personal protective gear. We used gloves and a mask when applying and working with the cleaner products and teak oil.

Sanding

If your table has any nicks, gouges, splinters, or rough areas you may want to sand these out before started. For our piece sanding wasn’t required. The best way is to use an orbital sander, start with 80 grit sand paper / sanding discs and work your way up to a 120 grit for a nice smooth surface. It usually doesn’t take a long time to get a great finish! For the hard to get to corners and edges a sanding blocks or piece of sand paper usually works great.

We had tried previously to just use Watco Oil after a light sand however weren’t happy with the finish. See below on the best way to get the natural golden glow back to your teak.

Cleaning

Step 1 – Teak Cleaner

If your old teak furniture is grey or black in colour (ours was a dark grey colour) the first coat is to apply the Stage 1 cleaner directly to the dry wood. We used out Wagner QX5 Sprayer to apply the cleaner to get a nice even application. The sprayer works great for large surfaces as it applies the product quickly and evenly.

Star Brite teak cleaner bottles

The first step after all the surfaces were covered with the teak cleaner was to use a Soft bristle brush, stiff nylon brush, or scrub pad to go over all the faces. Let the Star Brite Premium Teak Cleaner to sit for 2-3 minutes. After 3 minutes I thoroughly rinsed the table top with clean water from a garden hose. Do not use a pressure washer as the high pressured water from the power washer may damage the wood surface and is not necessary to treat and clean the teak.

You can also apply any of the three steps with a sponge or brush, or steel wool. I just like using the sprayer, as its quick and gets great coverage.

If your teak wood is lightly stained you can first wet the surface with fresh water from a garden hose . You can then use the Wagner QX5 Sprayer to apply the cleaner to the wood to get a nice even application. Let the Teak Cleaner to sit for 2-3 minutes and thoroughly rinse away all the cleaner with a garden hose.

After you rinse the surfaces and you still notice dark areas present you can re apply the teak cleaner and re-wash those areas to ensure they area clean and ready for step 2.

Step 2 – Teak Brightener

Once we were happy with the cleaning process we could move onto the next step. We applied the Star Brite Teak Brightener to the table top. We used the Wagner QX5 Sprayer to spray on the brightener, for best results use when ambient temperatures are over 10°C (50°F). Allow the brightener to sit on the surface for 5 minutes. I used a brush to go over the table and ensure the cleaner got into all the cracks and edges of the wood. After 5 minutes I thoroughly rinsed off the brightener from all the surfaces. If you have excess brightener get onto surfaces not being treated remove immediately.

Step 3 – Teak Oil/Sealer

Teak Sealer or Teak oil isn’t actually oil from a teak tree. Teak sealer / oil is generally a mixture of Linseed oil, pure Tung oil, mineral spirits and varnish. This coating acts as a “teak protector” and helps seal the wood and give some protection from ultraviolet light and water.

Once your wood has dried from steps 1 and 2, the next step (and final) is to apply your first coat of the teak sealer / oil. To prevent oil from getting onto the painted legs we protected any of the surfaces we didn’t want to get oil on with plastic and tape. Prior to apply the oil we recommend going over the entire surface with a tack cloth for the best results.

The application of the Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil went super quick using the Wagner QX5 Sprayer. We sprayed the oil in thin coat in the direction of wood grain to maximize penetration of oil into wood. After 5 minutes I wiped the table with a clean rag to remove any excess oil. We applied a second coat to get a nice deep golden look and to ensure good coverage. For smaller areas like the arms of our chairs, we just used a brush to apply the oil.

Cleanup of Tools during and after applying Teak Oil

To clean the sprayer, brushes, etc you can use water and or lacquer thinner depending on the teak oil you use. The Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil easily cleaned up with fresh water. Review the manufactures specifications for details on the best way to clean up your product.

Be careful to the disposal of any rags used for oils or varnish, as improper disposal can cause them to combust. You should let oily rags or brushes dry out before placing in garbage or dispose of in a proper container.

Between the different stages we used used fresh water from the garden hose to rinse out the sprayer. And once we were all done we took apart the sprayer and rinsed with water and wiped it all down with a rag. The Wagner QX5 Sprayer is really easy to clean up which is a big bonus!

Maintaining your Outdoor Furniture

We didn’t do a great job of maintaining our teak furniture (we didn’t touch it for 4 years😬). But if you follow the steps bellow it can prevent you from having to go through steps 1 and 2 by maintaining your teak wood furniture with teak oil.

The best way to keep your outdoor teak furniture looking great:

  • Try to cover the wood surfaces when not in use (for example in winter months)
  • If possible keep out of severe/direct sunlight
  • Apply additional coats of teak oil at signs of weathering

The good news is even if you don’t do all of the above you can complete the refinishing process of your teak furniture easily in an afternoon with the above steps! If you follow these steps for your teak pieces you will have little maintenance in the future!

With regular maintenance you Teak should look great and have protection from water stains and weather damage!

Video of transforming our weathered table into a show stopping center piece!

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We are so happy with how the our refreshed outdoor dining table turned out. At one point we actually though of getting rid of this table because of how it looked. This easy project gave our outdoor furniture new life and looks amazing! Now to enjoy our refreshed outdoor space!

teak table on deck

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