You may be wondering how to restore teak outdoor furniture if you've recently picked up a secondhand piece. Or, maybe you've had a teak table or chair for ages that's started to look a little worse for wear.
Teak is a great choice when it comes to patio furniture: it oozes aesthetic appeal yet is totally timeless, and super durable. As Tina Mahony, the owner of Go Modern (opens in new tab) says, it's 'quite simply a super-hero material and one our customers still love. It's a material that's probably been associated with garden furniture longer than any other.
'As well as looking beautiful and natural in a garden setting, teak furniture can be left outside all year round and survive the worst of weathers,' Tina continues.
However, over time, natural teak will turn a silvery-gray hue – which some people like and some people don't. Whatever your preference, 'it's important to know that the change is purely cosmetic,' says Tina. 'This aged, weathered look doesn't harm the strength or quality of the wood.' There are steps, however, that will get it back to its warm, honey-colored tone and looking as good as new again.
How to restore teak outdoor furniture in 8 steps
The golden-like glow of teak comes from the natural, protective oil within the hardwood, explains Michael Rolland, DIY expert and MD of online and trade paint retailer The Paint Shed (opens in new tab). 'Over time, while exposed to the elements, this protective oil evaporates from the outer layer of the wood, causing the glow to fade out.' As a result, it takes on a grayish color.
'Of course, there is the option to paint the furniture using a suitable outdoor wood paint,' he says, 'but if what you are after is the restoration of that glow, then paint, or even varnish, won't do the trick.'
Instead, you'll need to sand away the gray patina and apply a dedicated teak restorer – usually an oil or a sealer – to transform your best wooden furniture back to its former glory. Look for teak 'care kits' (available from Amazon) (opens in new tab) that will both clean and protect the wood. 'Along with restoring the original teak color, they will also make it water and stain-repellent,' says Tina.
James Crauford Taylor, General Manager of Go Modern, has recently spent time sprucing up his own teak outdoor setup. He shares his advice on how to restore teak outdoor furniture below, with the help of tips from Tribù and Manutti – both world-renowned experts in the design and manufacture of garden furniture.
- Clean your teak furniture with a specialist cleaner (a pH-neutral soap) and a damp microfiber cloth. There are more tips for cleaning wooden outdoor furniture in our guide.
- Using a light sandpaper or scrubbing pad (supplied with cleaning kits), gently sand in the direction of the grain.
- Clean the surfaces again with a soft brush or small vacuum and a clean, damp cloth.
- Leave to dry completely.
- Apply your specialist teak oil or sealer (you can use a microfiber cloth or synthetic sponge for ease), then wipe away any excess.
- Leave to dry for approximately one hour (check the instructions on your chosen product).
- Apply a second coat of sealer or oil, and again, wipe away any excess.
- Again, leave to dry for approximately one hour. Your furniture will be ready to use the following day and look as beautiful as the day you bought it.
There are plenty of suitable products available, but when it comes to restoring this material for outdoor furniture, 'never buy anything with linseed oil, as teak really doesn't like it,' says James. 'Also, never be tempted to varnish teak furniture, as it will very quickly peel and look unsightly.'
After you've finished restoring your teak, you can help keep it looking its best for longer by investing in outdoor furniture covers and installing them during harsh winter weather, James adds.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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