Learn the best tips and tricks on how to pressure wash your teak outdoor patio furniture and restore it to it's natural beauty!
Teak is a gorgeous wood that is great for using outdoors that has a beautiful honey tone when taken care of. However, if it weathers the elements without any type of oil treatment, a silver patina can develop over time, causing it to have an old driftwood look to it.
Teak furniture can cost upwards of $2,500 for a complete set. So teak is definitely expensive, so you'll want to make sure you take care to at least treat it to ensure that you keep the honey tone that teak is known for.
We purchased a patio set from Craigslist about four years ago and finally were able to get it out to refinish it as a project. The Craiglisted patio furniture was from this brand, we got a $2,500 patio set for under $200. Not a bad find. However, we knew we would need to do some serious work in order to get it back to shape. Teak is expensive because it has high oil content, a tight grain, and known for it's durability. It's the preferred wood for shipbuilding and the reason why it's often used for outdoor furniture (especially around pools).
While many people like the silver-gray hue that teak develops due to sun and rain when left untreated, I personally prefer the golden-yellow color that original teak is known for.
We tried multiple ways to refinish based on some tutorials we found, but I wanted to share with you my favorite way to refinish teak outdoor patio sets: pressure washing and/or patio wash teak furniture. Initially, when we tried just sanding, it took so much effort that I just gave up. However, after we purchased a pressure washer (below is the one we got from Harbor Freight), it made all the difference in the world. I could literally see the dirty layer come off.
Can you power wash teak patio furniture?
Outdoor patio furniture made of teak can be pressure and power washed in order to remove the silver patina that developers to to exposure to the elements.
Pressure washing and power washing outdoor patio furniture will remove both the silver patina and natural oil of the wood, so it is recommended to add in teak or tung oil in order to replace the natural oils that were washed away during pressure and power washing.
While pressure washing teak should be reserved for dirt that cannot be removed through conventional cleaning methods because of it's ability to strip natural oils, care must be taken when using a pressure washer to remove the silver patina from aged teak.
Why does teak turn gray?
Teak turns gray when continued exposure to harsh sun light causes the natural honey color to appear aged and weathered. Teak generally does not need any other protection from mother nature beyond it's own natural oils that it produces. Cleaning and oil treatments will maintain its original yellow-brown color.
After pressure washing and restored, it takes approximately a year for it to turn gray again if it does not receive any oil treatment of any kind.
What can be used to remove problem stains not removed from pressure washing?
After pressure and power washing teak outdoor patio, there may be remnant problem stains, referred to as tannin stains, visible on the outdoor patio furniture. To remove these tannin stains, use a solution of wood bleach containing water and oxalic acid to create a strong teak cleaner. To neutralize the bleach once it clears stain, use a mixture of baking soda and water on the section.
Should you use an orbital sander on teak patio furniture?
Palm-sized orbital sanders will make small, circular scratch marks on teak, and therefore not recommended to be used on teak outdoor patio furniture. However, these can be easily removed by adding another step of handsanding with the fine 150-grit sandpaper. It is recommended to use a belt sander in order to avoid the circular scratch marks that are often caused by orbital hand sanders.
Initially, we used this for the table, but realized how many small scratch marks came up. I would highly recommend using an orbital sander if it all possible.
How should I treat teak furniture after pressure washing?
Well maintained teak patio furniture to keep looking great does require at least an annual upkeep. It can be confusing to know what types of teak finishing solution to use after pressure washing. Here are the options available.
Teak Oil vs. Tung Oil vs. Teak Sealer
Teak oil combines linseed oil and solvents. The benefit of teak oil is that it will immediately provide an attractive, honey glow to your patio furniture. The downside is that it will dry out your furniture and cause a faded exterior if the furniture is not consistenly treated.
Tung oil is free of additives and distillates which means that it doesn't create a glossy or heavy finish because it provides a beautiful protective finish. The downside is that it must be renewed every 3 to 6 months to maintain the appearance and protection.
Teak sealers seal in the resin and oils that the existing wood contains while also preventing contaminants and moisture from the elements. Sealer does not need to be reapplied as often as oil, but it is recommended to apply teak sealer on wood every year.
Before and After for Pressure Washing Teak Furniture
I wanted to share with you some photos of before and afters as we pressure washed our patio set. As you can see in my screenshot below, this is the layer of dirt that teak furniture can remove. It is quite amazing.
Here's another comparison:
Below is what the teak furniture looked like prior:
Here's what it looks like after, only 12 hours of drying. I'm going to be adding on Teak Oil on this. You can use Tung Oil or even Teak Sealant.
I also wanted to show you how I positioned our patio set initially when washing. I then turned them and wash the sides, then washed the back, and lastly the front.
Best Way to Pressure and Power Wash Patio Furniture
I wanted to share with you the steps I took to pressure and power wash our teak furniture to making it look great!
Tools for Pressure Washing Outdoor Deck Furniture
- Water Source
- Pressure or Power Washing Machine with Wide Nozzle (this is the exact gas powered one we have)
- Air Compressor
- Belt Sander
- 150-Grit Sandpaper
- Safety Goggles
Materials for Pressure Washing Outdoor Deck Furniture
Instructions on How to Pressure Wash Patio Furniture
- Set up your patio furniture with the bottom up first. This will allow you to get an understanding on how much pressure is needed for your patio furniture to start with. In addition, it will allow you to clean the dirt from the bottom up first, then when it's flipped right side up, the dirt will blast to the bottom of the furniture, allowing any remaining debri to be removed from the top.
- Adjust the PSI of the pressure washer to the lowest amount to start. Use a wide nozzle to ensure balanced cleaning power (usually with a 40-degree angle).
- Hold the tip of the pressure washer about 6 inches from the furniture.
- Using gentle, even strokes, spray along the grain of the wood, allowing the sprayer to wash sections of the gray wood. Dirty parts of the gray wood will start peeling off. Avoid streaks by moving the tip along the grain of the wood and maintaining a uniform distance and speed as you go with the grain of the wood. (Note: quick, short strokes will only cause the dirt to move around, requiring you to pass over the surface more times resulting in too much strippage of the wood).
- Remove problem stains by using a wood bleach solution that contains oxalic acid and water. Use a sponge to add the activated bleach solution in the tannin stained sections, and allow it to soak until the stain disappears.
- Neutralize the bleach by washing it off with clear water and 1/2 cup of baking soda per gallon of water.
- Leave the patio furniture to air dry for at least 48 hours prior to sanding it.
- Use an air compressor to remove any debris from the wood.
- Once the wood is dry, sand by hand or use a belt sander to go with the grain to remove the final layer.
- Replace the natural oils stripped by pressure washing by using a rag to apply teak or tung oil by quickly spreading it over a small section of furniture. Add two coats, allow about 45 minutes between coats.
- Apply teak oil, tung oil, or teak sealer treatment once a year to maintain it's natural hue.
- Wait 48 hours for the teak oil to soak in before adding on cushions.
- Annual power washing, sanding, and oil treatment will keep teak patio furniture looking it's best.
A pressure washer force can have the ability to damage your teak furniture unless you use precautions. For example, do not use anything greater than a 2000 PSI. Use a nozzle with a wide spray pattern.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pressure Washing Teak Patio Furniture
What should I do about the cracks and small fractures in my outdoor teak furniture?
Overtime, cracks and small fractures known as checks will appear in outdoor teak furniture. However, compared to other wood products, teak fractures appear in smaller numbers. The checks happen when the wood seasons over a period of time, contracting and expanding moisture from the air. These small imperfections will not change the durability of the wood, so there should not be a concern for them. Concern should only happen when there is a large, structural crack, which means that there is a defect in the construction of the piece. You'll need to consult a furniture maker for this type of issue.
Should I use teak oil or tung oil for teak outdoor furniture?
Teak oil is a combination of linseed oil and solvents, which will give your teak furniture an immediate, attractive color. Another alternative to teak oil is using teak sealer, which is water-based and avoids the oxidation and evaaporation of the oils that teak oil is known to do.
How do you remove mildew from teak wood that has been sitting outdoors?
You can use regular soap and water with a sponge to remove mildew. If that doesn't remove it, you can try using a mixture of oxalic acid and water (ensuring that you neutralize the solution on the section once the stain is removed). Finally, you can try using a pressure washer to remove it as well.
Summary About Power Washing Teak Furniture
If you have teak furniture, you know that it is expensive. It's one of the most expensive wood for furniture in the world. Teak is celebrated for it's durability, honey yellow tone, and ability to resistant decay due to its natural oils. While harsh pressure can strip all of the wood's natural oils, when done right and with care, refinishing silver-patina teak furniture to it's former glory is a worthwhile endeavor if you yearn for the honey-yellow color teak is known for.
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