Teak Sealer Vs. Oil: Which Is Best For Your Furniture?

Teak is a luxurious, durable hardwood commonly used to construct outdoor furniture. As with any material, facing the elements can prove damaging over time. So, how do you best protect your teak furniture? We've researched the benefits of teak sealer versus teak oil to help you determine which strategy works best to maintain teak furniture. 

Although teak oil will replenish teak's natural properties, preventing excess drying and enriching the color, oil does not provide additional protection against outdoor elements such as UV rays and moisture. For a barrier against UV damage and moisture penetration, applying a teak sealer will provide adequate coverage for approximately one year. Both methods require re-application and annual maintenance routines to ensure teak furniture retains its beauty for many years.

Now that you know the basic properties of teak oil and teak sealer, we'll delve into choosing the right product for your furniture. We'll discuss how each affects the color, water-resistance, and longevity of your teak wood --including sharing examples of high-quality sealers. If you've wondered whether paint or stain can protect teak, we've covered that too. Please keep reading to learn how to best maintain outdoor teak furniture. 

Contemporary dining room with teak furnitures, Teak Sealer Vs. Oil: Which Is Best For Your Furniture?

Teak Sealer Vs. Teak Oil - What To Consider For Outdoor Furniture

Teak wood furniture stand on the terrace

Teak Oil

Teak oil is typically applied to bare wood, often lightly sanded first or without any preparation. The purpose of teak oil is to replenish the wood's natural oils and to enrich the original color and grain patterns, and keep wood pliable to resist cracking or splintering as it expands and contracts.

Teak oil does not protect the wood from UV damage or mildew infiltration, so teak furniture can still discolor over time even if oiled. In fact, using teak oil can be quite labor-intensive as several coats should be re-applied once or twice per year. 

Is teak oil made from teak?

Contrary to what the name implies, teak oil is not sourced from teak trees. Most commercial teak oils are actually a blend of tung oil and linseed oil.

Exactly how the oils for those blends have been processed, boiled or raw, is difficult to determine from product labels, which explains why the finish and coloration can vary depending on which manufacturer of teak oil you choose. Teak oil can be used on interior and outdoor furniture and other teak surfaces such as decking, shower/sauna seats, and trim.

Teak Sealer

Sealing teak not only protects against harmful UV rays but also deters mildew and excess moisture from penetrating the wood. It will lock-in teak's natural oils and coloring to ensure pliability and lushness.

Teak sealers should be re-applied annually to clean, dry teak. Most teak sealers are clear, however, you can select from hues such as honey brown, gold, classic teak, and brown --particularly helpful for restoring weathered, grey teak.

Does new teak furniture need to be sealed?

It is best not to apply teak oil or teak sealer to newly purchased teak wood furniture. Allow the teak some time to acclimate to the climate, at least one week of drying, as it will likely have a sheen and be somewhat oily. Of course, if you do not want the furniture to discolor, you can use a cover to protect it from UV rays while not in use.

Determine which method, sealer versus oil, might work best for your furniture's maintenance schedule. Apply either product to dried teak by following the manufacturer's directions. 

Types of Teak Sealers

Just Teak Sealer

Just Teak provides the entire package, from cleaner to brightener to sealer. Apply the sealer to clean, sanded (dust-free) teak using a cloth or brush. It is recommended to use one to two generous coats for a water-beading, lustrious marine-grade finish.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Semco Teak Sealer

Get an eco-friendly seal using Semco's water-based formula on your teak furniture. Select from clear or pigmented colors of natural, gold, honey, and brown. Apply two coats each year to clean, dry teak for best results.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Star Brite Teak Sealer

Star Brite has a unique gel formula that makes for ease of application without any drips or spills, no matter your furniture orientation. It provides a marine-grade seal with just one coat. Select from natural light, classic teak, or clear finish hues. 

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Can you put teak sealer over teak oil?

You can apply a teak sealer to oiled teak. However, it is best not to apply the sealer over freshly oiled teak. Instead, allow the teak to dry for one to two weeks by sitting in an outdoor or well-ventilated and sunny area. After drying, you can apply the teak sealer according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

What color is teak wood?

One of teak wood's many alluring features to use for furniture is the tawny, golden hue. Teak furniture adds a warm tone to any scene, with the color varying from dark amber to light honey shades.

Over time, however, teak's vibrancy fades. With exposure to UV rays, teak's glowing disposition fades to a silvery grey. Protecting the teak by sealing or outright covering is the best way to ensure the golden color will last for several years. 

Click here for a waterproof table and chairs cover on Amazon.

Can you paint or stain teak?

Scandinavian style, cabinet, shelfs, drawers, teak wood, teak venner, retro styl

While you will often see that paint and stain are not recommended for teak, applying either is possible. Most teak enthusiasts do not want to hinder the wood's natural coloring by covering it with paint or pigmented stains.

Generally, neither paint nor stain provides additional moisture or UV protection to teak; the wood's natural oils are better at keeping it preserved from the elements. However, if you want to freshen up your aged teak furniture, you'll want to understand the challenges of using paint or stain --so let's have a closer look at each used on teak wood.

Painting Teak

It is possible to paint teak using latex or oil-based paints, although the natural oils in this wood make it difficult for paint to adhere to cover the original coloring completely.

Teak also expands and contracts over time due to exposure to the elements and temperature fluctuations. So, you might notice paint begins to crack or chip on the areas where the wood has flexed or been penetrated by moisture. For best results, apply a primer first onto clean, sanded teak, and then paint several coats. 

Staining Teak

Oil-based, semi-transparent stains such as polyurethane are recommended for teak. These types of stains will not hide or discolor teak's natural hue while providing coverage that does not damage the wood.

Staining can provide additional water-repelling properties but must be reapplied to protect the teak from UV exposure, as the polyurethane will break-down over time. Maintaining stain can be labor-intensive, requiring sanding to prepare the wood and applying several thin coats for adequate coverage.

Final Thoughts

Contemporary dining room with teak furnitures, Teak Sealer Vs. Oil: Which Is Best For Your Furniture?

Teak wood naturally resists decay, yet over time sun and water can damage and discolor teak. For added protection of your outdoor teak furniture, applying a teak sealer can help the wood withstand harmful UV rays and moisture build-up. To best protect your teak, cover furniture when not in use. 

If you found this information helpful, check out our related articles: 

How Long Does Teak Wood Last In Shower?

18 Front Porch Furniture Ideas

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