Teak Oil vs. Teak Sealer

Perhaps you’re considering buying some teak furniture or have already done so. Now, after admiring it enough, you probably want to know how to preserve its naturally beautiful look. If you’ve heard of teak oil and teak sealer, but aren’t sure which to go with, let’s learn a little about each so that you can make an informed decision. But for this, you need to understand why teak wood is so special and what teak oil and sealer are.

An introduction to teak trees

A tropical hardwood, teak wood grows in tropical countries like India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. This highly prized wood has special characteristics, for instance its finest variety comes from extremely dense wood belonging to the heartwood of very mature trees. These mature teak trees are blessed with copious amounts of natural oil that protect the wood from decay and damage due to fungus, insects, adverse weather, rot and water. The oil gives teak furniture a golden, lovely and rich sheen. You can read more about teak wood here.

How to maintain your teak furniture

Once you expose the oil in teak wood’s outer layer to the sun and air, it will evaporate and oxidize. Its natural honey tone will give way to a pale yellow. Over time, if left as it is outdoors, the color of teak furniture will fade away and develop a silver-grey sheen. People who like this silver-grey look will be happy to keep it this way, but for those who want to have its rich dark look, teak oil or sealer will have to be used.

To maintain your teak furniture, clean it thoroughly once a year with teak cleaner and give your furniture its natural sheen. By cleaning it periodically, you will keep dust, dirt and moss from building up on your furniture. It will also give an even look to the faded look of your teak furniture. Read how to clean your teak outdoor furniture.

However, if the golden look is what you prefer, you’ll have to use either teak oil or sealer. Let’s find out which one would suit your furniture and why.

Teak oil

The first thing to know is that teak oil that’s sold in stores isn’t oil extracted from teak trees. On the contrary, it is made from tung oil or linseed oil and is mixed with a few thinners and some varnish. It is sold as teak oil because it is meant to be used on teak furniture.

Once you apply teak oil on your furniture, it will glow. It will look absolutely dazzling for two weeks or so and then the color will begin to fade. This happens because the teak oil evaporates and makes the wood turn dry, often drier than before. Teak oil that is applied externally does not help to prolong the life of your furniture. For this, its content of natural oil is good enough to protect it from inclement weather and from the marauding effect of pests.

Teak oil is, therefore, only a temporary measure to beautify your furniture. However, despite this, if you persist in using it, you will have to do this every few months if only for some temporary relief. Besides, teak oil contains solvents that cause a breakdown of the natural oil in teak wood at a much faster rate than if you didn’t use it on your furniture. Teak oil is also known to provide a breeding ground to certain kinds of fungi. This is manifest as black spots that you might discover on your recently oiled teak furniture.

Is teak sealer better?

Teak sealer provides teak furniture with a layer of UV protection. It is also inherently endowed with mildew protection. It also prevents your furniture from being oxidized so that it doesn’t turn gray. Unlike teak oil, this needs to be applied once a year. Its ease of application and high durability make it very popular with owners of teak furniture. It is important to use an oil-based teak sealer which will replenish the wood’s natural oils and provide the necessary protection against dirt and moisture.

Remember to clean your teak furniture before applying teak sealer. Now, let it dry naturally and then apply a coat of sealer with a sponge or a hand-held pressure sprayer. After an hour’s interval, apply a second thin coat and when it dries after two hours, you can use your teak furniture as before.

So, if you don’t want your furniture to weather naturally, opt for teak sealer and protect it for as long as you can.

Author: John Clax

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