The Care & Maintenance of Teak Garden Furniture
Teak is a naturally dense, oily wood, and those natural oils are perfect for keeping out termites, fungi and rot. This makes teak the ideal choice for garden furniture because you can leave it outside year-round in the sunshine, the wind, the frost, and the rain without needing to worry about its condition or longevity. Well-made Grade A teak patio furniture will last a lifetime, and properly cared for can become a family heirloom.
Teak Oil: Yes or No?
There's a lot of discussion about the use of teak oil. Much of the received wisdom seems to suggest that you should use it annually--and, of course, a lot of that advice comes from teak oil manufacturers. Many teak furniture specialists, however, recommend not using teak oil to treat your garden furniture. The oil sold under that name is not actually identical to the oils naturally occurring in teak wood and tends to mostly be made of up linseed oil and various solvents; over time, it will gradually deplete the natural oils inside your furniture, which were already sufficient to protect it from damage. You'll find yourself needing to oil your furniture repeatedly just to get it back to the beautiful lustre it has when it's freshly done, and over time, oil stuck on the surface of your furniture will encourage the growth of moulds and mildew.
Is Teak Sealer A Good Alternative?
Fine-sanded teak garden furniture doesn't actually need to be treated at all; its own oils will see to that naturally. Over time, however, it will fade to a silvery-grey colour that--while distinctive and quite beautiful--isn't to everyone's taste and doesn't match every garden. If you'd like to preserve the colour of the wood without risking damage to it, teak sealer is a water-based product that only needs annual applications to keep your furniture from fading. It's not a difficult process, and it will make a huge difference to the condition of your garden furniture.
Cleaning Your Teak
Whether you're treating your furniture or not, you're going to need to clean it annually to keep it looking good and mould-free. It's a good idea to do this on one of the first sunny days of the year, so that your patio furniture is ready for the warmer weather, and the sun is out to help it dry more quickly. A bucket of warm, soapy water and a few non-metallic scrubbing brushes are all you need, though if you've neglected your furniture for a few years, you might want to look into buying a specialised teak cleaning solution. Don't scrub too hard, or you risk damaging the wood. Use a couple of buckets of clean water (or your hosepipe, if you have one) to rinse everything off afterwards, and if you're then going to apply a teak sealer, leave your furniture to dry completely first.