Teak is a sustainably harvested hardwood that has many unique properties. It is commonly used for outdoor furniture because it is very durable and highly resistant to the elements. Teak furniture can last for decades or even a century with regular cleaning and care. This is possible because the wood contains a large amount of natural oil that helps to fight mold and mildew. It also makes the wood resistant to pests and even moisture to some degree. Anyone who owns outdoor teak furniture will want to take several steps to ensure it remains in good condition throughout the year. Teak Furniture in Lexington, Massachusetts is an excellent resource for this.
Many people allow teak outdoor furniture to age naturally without any stains, oils or treatments on the surface. This course of action requires the least amount of maintenance. The teak will slowly turn a natural silver color as the oils in the wood dissipate. The only maintenance the furniture will need is an occasional cleaning and some common sense care to prevent damage from moisture and temperature changes. Thoroughly cleaning teak should occur at least once every two to three months during active use.
Part of maintaining outdoor teak furniture involves cleaning the wood on a regular basis. The furniture can be quickly cleaned during the week with nothing more than water from a hose or bucket. A more thorough cleaning involves using clean water mixed with a small amount of bleach or dishwashing liquid. The surfaces of the furniture should be scrubbed with a soft towel, a non-abrasive sponge or a soft brush. This will remove debris and any patches of mold or mildew that might have developed. Stains can be sanded away with fine sandpaper. Debris like sap that is stuck to the surface can be removed with fine steel wool and a light touch.
Oiling teak does not improve the durability of the wood although it can maintain the original warm brown color. Oiling the outdoor furniture has to be done every year in order to keep the color. Oiling furniture involves cleaning the surface and then applying tung oil or teak oil to the wood. The oil should be allowed to rest for a time to soak into the wood. The next step is to apply a sealant to protect the furniture. Some people will even apply an ultraviolet-resistant top coating to prevent fading from the sun throughout the year. If the oil and finish is allowed to fade away after a year, then the teak will start to fade and turn silver.
Although outdoor teak furniture is very strong and resistant to damage, it is still vulnerable to some seasonal conditions. Maintaining outdoor teak furniture means keeping the wood out of areas where there is a large amount of water. Excessive standing water or days of heavy rain could allow mildew to develop in the grain. Very damp areas could cause the wood to rot over time. Extreme temperature changes will cause the wood to expand and contract. This could result in cracking. The furniture should be protected from large temperature changes between seasons and moved away from areas containing excessive moisture.