Learn the basic steps on restoring teak furniture from looking worn to looking almost new! I'm sharing with you my tips and tricks on the best way to sand that teak furniture quickly.
Teak patio furniture is absolutely gorgeous, especially outdoors. It's also a very low maintenance wood material, making it perfect for weathering the extreme weather! Teak furniture is unique because it has natural oils that makes it very low maintenance as compared to other wood species made for patio furniture.
I absolutely love teak furniture because it's a hardwood that lasts for years to come. If you can find it used, even better! Today, I'm sharing with you a tutorial on how to restore outdoor teak furniture and making the honey hue last longer in a climate like mine where mother nature is temperamental!
Why is teak furniture a favorite?
Teak is an amazing wood because it creates and produces it's on natural oils in comparison to other types of wood furniture. Teak wood is normally reserved for outdoor dining sets, outdoor lounging patio furniture, and deck patio sets!
Why is teak furniture low maintenance?
Because it requires virtually no maintenance, homeowners LOVE teak furniture because it's a wood that can be left on the deck or patio without having to do anything to it other than dusting.
Why is teak furniture so valuable and why do people like it?
Teak wood can be found in Thailand and Burma, and it is wood made from a tree from those tropical areas. It's one of the MOST VALUABLE type of timber in the world and one of the most sought after! Some of its characteristics that people love include:
- It's natural oils ensure that it isn't prone to dry rot.
- Since it is a dense wood, it is less prone to warping, bending, and splitting.
- Furniture made from teak timbers have natural resign with a rubber-like product, which acts as a repellant from bugs.
Teak has a beautiful honey tone that makes it the perfect material for outdoor patio furniture.
I wanted to share with you our experience and sanding the used teak furniture that we got off of Craigslist for under $150 and what it looks like when its sanded. As a hardwood, teak does really well with different and varying weather conditions.
When you refinish outdoor teak furniture and structures, you'll bring back a honey-brown, tropical color.
What does teak furniture weather and gray?
When teak wood is exposed to the elements, it starts to get a silvery, white, and grey color to it. This graying is called patina. I actually LOVE this look because it gives it that rustic, farmhouse vibe. I actually think it's quite beautiful. The reason why teak furniture grays is because of oxidation.
The ultra violet rays from the sun are what cause the patina to occur. If you want to preserve or restore that natural golden look of teak furniture, keep reading to find out how you can do that very easily. The graying process occurs when the protective oil evaporates from the outer surface layer of the wood.
Some homeowners actually love the patina, which is the silver gray color caused by natural aging process. Those that love that rustic, shabby chic appearance of furniture will absolutely love the silver patina that turns gradually turns teak that color.
However, some homeowners also love the original teak honey-brown hardwood color. This tutorial is going to show you how you can CLEAN and SAND your teak outdoor furniture to return it to that original honey-brown hardwood color.
Should teak restoration be done at home?
Yes! Restoring weathered, gray teak furniture is an easy project to do over a three day weekend.
Cleaning, Sanding, and Restoring Teak Furniture
Save time and effort, easy tutorial to restore outdoor teak patio and deck furniture with the quick steps below.
Step 1 | Get the right supplies to clean teak patio furniture
- Soft bristled hand brush
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Sanding block
- Tack cloth
- Warm soapy water
- Teak oil or teak protector (use a spray painter to spray on the teak oil)
Step 2 | Get the right equipment to sand teak wood patio furniture
Jitter bug sander or palm sander. This tool was the least aggressive of all the tools we used to finish our teak furniture. We actually used all three because I was too lazy to use the sanding blocks.
Oscillating tool. The oscillating tool allowed me to get into the crevices I could not reach with a sanding block or the belt power sander.
Belt power sander. The belt sander allowed me to do a great job sanding on areas with large surfaces. This is definitely a must have if you have a large table or bench that you are refinishing.
Other equipment you'll need:
- Respirator mask
Step 3 | Wash Your Teak Furniture
If you have a power washer, this is the time to get it out. Otherwise, if you have a garden hose, this is a great time to use it to wash and clean the debris from the furniture.
Disclaimer: If you have really old teak furniture, I would recommend using a garden hose first. High power washers have the potential to make your furniture have coarse grains if you don't plan on sanding it!
This includes getting the cobwebs and dust from underneath the furniture pieces, including inside the crevices that you may not have looked at!
Step 4 | Let the Teak Wood Fully Dry
After washing your wood, you'll want to make sure you let the teak wood fully dry. The reason is because you do not want to sand wet and damp wood, it would definitely not bode well. I would recommend putting it in the basement or somewhere dry. If you have a warm summer day, that might be the best place to let your teak wood bake outside in the sun.
Step 5 | Removing and Restoring the Gray Patina from Teak Furniture by Sanding
At this point, you can use your jitterbug sander, power sander, oscillating sander or belt sander to smooth and restore the color of your teak furniture! Just know that anytime you remove wood from teak by sanding, you expose a new teak resin. This prevents finishes from adhering to the wood if you try to add a sealant.
First, start sanding down areas of the teak furniture that are super weathered! I loved using the palm/orbital sander for removing top layers quickly. I then used the sanding belt for larger pieces like the teak outdoor bench and table.
Sanding blocks and sanding wedges help get into areas that are hard to reach, like corners and where the teak wood pieces meet.
You'll want to use 320 grit sand paper on teak wood. Make sure that you only move the direction of the grain because if you cross grain sand the teak, it may leave marks on the wood. To prevent this, you can test out a small area underneath the patio furniture that is typically not seen to see how sanding it will look.
Super weathered teak furniture might take a little elbow grease to get the job done.
Step 6 | Remove Hard Stains from Teak Wood
Water stains and water marks from Teak Furniture
Watermarks on teak furniture is a pain! Especially if you use teak patio furniture for outdoor entertaining, where guests are bound to put cups and drinks on the newly refinished teak table!
You can use the iron trick, where the heat from the iron tries to dissipate the wood's extra moisture that caused the water stain. Lay a dry towel over the water stain. Set your iron to a low or medium setting to prevent any new damage. Iron over the towel slowly and carefully. Check on your progress by removing the towel to see if the stain is removed.
Grease Stains on Teak
Grease stains are one of the harder stains to remove from teak furniture. You can remove these by lightly sanding away those areas with fine-grit sandpaper. You'll then need a commercial grade cleaner that will get those grease stains out.
Mold Spots on Teak
Mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of warm water. Use a scour pad along with a bristle brush to kill mold spores and allow the furniture to dry in the sun to minimize future mold issues.
You can clean the surface with a oxalic acid cleaner or TeakGuard Super Cleaner, which may be an easier route for all of these stains if you are okay with using chemicals!
Step 7 | Wipe Excess Dust
Using a tack cloth, wipe excess dust off from sanding. If you use tack cloth, make sure you remove any gritty residue from it.
Step 8 | Rinse Teak Wood
While not required, I would recommend rinsing the teak wood again to rinse of the last remaining residue and let it dry for at least 36 hours. You may find that you need to remove another layer to get it to the color you want it to be!
Use bristle brush
To keep your teak furniture looking brand new, make sure you put it under a covered or protected patio if possible. In the best world, you should bring in your teak patio set during colder months to limit the amount of wear and tear to your furniture.
Teak oil should be sealed with a marine grade sealer. You need to make sure that you do not let it harden on the wood. Oil will help protect your teak furniture and prevent against premature silver patina and aging of the wood.
Step 9 | Prevent Teak Patio Wood from Splitting
Moving furniture from one extreme temperature to another may cause wood to split. Wood obviously expands and contracts, so if you make the shift to quickly, it will make teak wood more prone to splitting. My recommendation is to potentially move it from outdoors, to a staging area, like your garage for a few days, then to your basement or wherever your storage area is.
Step 10 | Add and Apply Teak Oil
Once you've finished the sanding process, you're going to then seal the wood to preserve the beautiful honey golden hue.
Note that teak oil is not to be confused with the natural oils from the teak wood itself. It is actually a linseed oil compoud. It will allow the color of the golden hue to last longer.
If you put oil on the teak wood, the goal of it is to maintain the color. It doesn't help maintain the life of the patio furniture, it just maintains the color.
You'll read a lot of places that they don't recommend oil. The only reason why they don't recommend it is because people think that it increases the life of teak.
All it does is enhance the color and prevent grease stains and mold spots from seeping into the wood grain, which is pretty prevalent on tables. You also have the option to use a teak protector that may be a better option than teak oil.
You'll need to apply the teak wood oil every 3 months in order to not only maintain the color, but also how often you'll need to sand it.
Normally, it will take about two coats to get the teak the golden hue that it's known for.
When you first apply the oil, use a small amount before increasing the amount! It is easier to add additional teak oil than it is to remove it! Just remember how long it took you to sand.
If you wanted to go one step further, you could use a paint sprayer like this one to spray on evenly. If you take care to do this additional step, it will really save you time and you'll absolutely love how evenly the teak oil or protector goes on.
If you do go this route, use trash bags to create a spray shelter to protect the paint area from over spray (set it up similar to a camping tent).
Step 10 | Leave it to Dry
Once you apply sealer to teak, your deck and patio set will hold that color that you have at the time that you seal it. it will not age to the silver-gray color.
As you can see, a little elbow grease makes the gray wood beautiful once again! In this photo, I did not apply any oil or protector. Look how beautiful that golden hue of teak looks!
Refinishing teak furniture doesn't have to be hard.
Maintenance of Teak Outdoor Furniture Care
General Maintenance of Teak
While teak is low maintenance, you'll want to keep it up by removing cushions and spraying it down with water to keep it clean and free of cobwebs, dirt and debri!
Regular Maintenance to Make Teak Look Great
If you don't want your teak furniture to age and look dirty, you'll want to use a bristle brush and warm, soapy water. It will ensure that your teak will have the longevity of an amazing piece of furniture.
Depending on the type of weather in your region, you'll probably only need to do this annual maintenance every couple of years. I would recommend every early spring, freshen it up to keep your furniture look great for a long time!
I hope these tips help you on your journey of how to refinish old teak furniture! Do you have tips on how to restore a weathered, gray teak outdoor patio set into a beautiful, refreshed piece of wood?
If you read my restoring teak furniture tutorial, and feel like just pitching it, here's a few new teak sets that you might love!
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