How to Restore Teak Outdoor Furniture


Teak furniture – whether it’s teak garden furniture, teak patio furniture, or any other teak outdoor furniture – provides a great addition to outdoor spaces. Not only is teak wood durable and able to withstand outdoor elements, but it is low maintenance as well. Coupled by its gorgeous honey colored appearance, this quickly becomes a favorite among homeowners. Yet sometimes even the hardiest furniture may require restoration. We teach how to restore teak outdoor furniture.

Unfortunately, despite its robust properties, teak may exhibit signs of wear and tear after several years. Rain and sun can fade the natural color of the material. Grime and dirt can also mar its beautiful surface if it isn’t properly cared for. 

However, even if your teak furniture is showing signs of aging, with a concentrated effort and some teak cleaner or teak shield, it can be refinished and restored to its previous, glowing beauty. We walk you through the entire process with step-by-step instructions, which will allow you to maintain the items for many years.

Required Items

Before beginning the restoration process, you will need these supplies:

  • Scrub brush or rag
  • Fine and medium grit sandpaper
  • Garden hose
  • Teak sealer (do not use products containing teak oil)
  • Teak cleaning solution

Be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves during the restoration process. It will aid in avoiding potential accidents. It will also protect your eyes and hands from chemicals found in teak cleaning solutions such as teak protectors.

Teak professional restoration services can alternatively accomplish the restoration process if you’re not a DIYer.

How to Restore Teak Outdoor Furniture

Yellow garden hose with spray head on wooden deck

Begin by completely cleaning the teak furniture. If the dirt and grime buildup are not properly removed, the piece will be difficult to successfully refinish. If it is properly cleaned, the result will be an even, smooth finish.

Do not use a power washer to clean the furniture. It can damage your teak wood furniture and strip away the weathered teak’s natural oils. Using a soft bristled brush along with mild soapy water works best when cleaning your furniture. Teak cleaning products can also be used to clean it without causing any damage.

Begin by rinsing the furniture with a garden hose to remove loose dirt. Apply the cleaning solution to a rag or soft brush to scrub the surface of the furniture. Work in small sections until the entire item is cleaned. 

Once you are done scrubbing the outdoor teak furniture, rinse it off using clean water, which will remove the soap residue. If all the soap isn’t completely removed, it can wear down the surface or interfere with the restoration process of your clean teak furniture.

After it is properly rinsed, the furniture needs to be completely air dried before proceeding. This may take only a few hours or a whole day. The time taken depends on your weather conditions.

Step One: Repair or Replace Problems

Once dry, examine your furniture for damages requiring repair. While the wood is moisture-resistant and strong, it is not entirely destructible. Over time, teak can wear from sun and element exposure. No matter what signs of wear it displays, it needs to be addressed prior to sanding and sealing the wood.

If there is minor damage, you may use teak wood filler to repair it. Simply apply it to the area and permit it to dry. Once dried, sand the aged teak until it is smooth. For major damage, you may need to completely replace the damaged wood to restore teak furniture. Replacement slats/lets can be located at many hardware stores. Make sure you have the right type of wood and size so that it blends properly when you’re cleaning teak furniture.

Step Two: Sand Rough Grey Places

The next step in this process is to sand the furniture. Sun and rain exposure may cause the furniture to become rough and grey. If the refinishing is to be successful, the outer grey area needs to be removed prior to proceeding to the next steps. 

To sand it, use a coarse-grit or medium sandpaper. Begin with a low number and increase if needed. Do not use power sanders since they are too aggressive and can damage the wood.

After the grey is removed, you will begin to see the original honey color of the teak. If it is still rough, use a finer grit of sandpaper until smooth. Once sanded, utilize a handheld vacuum or brush to remove dust. Then, clean your wood and allow it to fully dry once more.

Step Three: Protect the Wood Using a Sealer

Applying wood sealer on wooden chair

Once the wood is sanded and clean, you can seal it. This protects the wood from the elements, sun, and rain. It preserves the teak’s natural color as well.

Avoid using products containing teak oil. Although they promise to protect and refinish teak furniture, they are more harmful than beneficial. It can cause the wood to split and crack because it breaks down natural oils. Sometimes it even leads to rotting. 

Teak oil contains low-quality ingredients that are not found in real teak. They become absorbed by the wood and break it down.

Step Four: Repeat Maintenance as Required

Refinishing teak furniture may seem like a great deal of work. However, the process is important to repeat and regular maintenance is needed. Since teak is generally outdoors, it will always experience exposure to elements. After time, they begin to take their toll on the furniture. 

If the wood isn’t adequately maintained, it will erode. Mildew, mold, and discoloration are issues you can expect to experience with inadequate care. Splitting and cracking may additionally occur in teak.

Teak needs to be cared for annually to maintain its natural beauty. Caring for it expands its lifespan by a significant amount. 

Final Words

If you find that your teak furniture is showing signs of aging, the restoration process is simple. When it comes to how to restore teak outdoor furniture, all you need to do are repairs, clean it, sand it to remove the grey color and make it smooth, apply a sealer, then follow through with regular maintenance. Doing these steps will enhance the lifespan of the wood and keep it in mint condition.