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Outdoor Teak Furniture Oil/Wax or Leave?

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Osvaldd

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I know teak has natural oils that protects itself from the elements but it looks kinda dull and grey, I applied some paste wax on a small area and it looks lovely. Is it a good idea?
 

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Mike Jordan

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It won't last any longer than leaving it untreated but if you like the look then go for it!
 

Blackswanwood

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I don’t think it will last very long once exposed to the sun and rain.

Last year I ignored the conventional wisdom and pressure washed our table and chairs which had greyed and gone a bit grubby being careful to to “go with the grain”. After a couple of days I gave them a good coat of teak oil which I got from a chandlers (surprisingly much cheaper than B&Q) and they have stayed looking like new. The pressure washing did fluff them up a bit but a quick tickle with some 120 grit sandpaper sorted it fine.
 

custard

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You're faced with a very simple choice with outdoor furniture.

Leave it, and learn to love the silvery grey result.

Or finish it, but then you'll have to sand and scrape it every one to three years and re-finish. You'll have to do this forever, but if you subsequently decide that's too much like hard work then you'll pay a penalty. Because then you'll have a good few years where it goes black and mildew-ey, as microbes feast on the oil in the decaying finish.

So, if it's a truly precious thing that's a joy to behold then sign up for a lifetime of finishing and re-finishing. But for anything less then leave it unfinished.

However the worst outcome is the one most people choose, initial finishing but then lose their enthusiasm in subsequent years and so end up with a mouldy monstrosity.
 

Osvaldd

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@Blackswanwood are you saying teak oil would be better and last longer?
cheers
 

Osvaldd

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@custard yes, I know what you mean, I had a outdoor pine table that I finished with linseed oil, blimey, this thing turned black and mouldy in less than 6 months. Couldn’t be bothered to clean it, so binned it. This thing was ghastly.
But I suspect this was to do with linseed oil. What if you used something like mineral oil or paraffin wax?

I have successfully used decking oil on a outdoor pine bench/seat, but I wouldn't want to use that on teak.
 

custard

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Same thing, teak oil, spar varnish, it doesn't matter. Either sign up for loads of work or just leave well alone. They all end up green and horrible unless you're right on top of the maintenance.

A friend of mine keeps one of these in the marina here,
riva-aquarama.jpg


He spends hours and hours every year scraping, sanding, and varnishing. Fair enough, for a couple of days each summer the sea is flat, the sun shines, and he's in paradise. But how much effort do you want to sink into a B&Q table?
 

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Osvaldd

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This is the pine bench I was talking about earlier, I applied two coats of brown decking oil and a top coat of home-brew paraffin paste wax. It survived a year and it still looks good, imo. Not as shiny as your friends boat though.
 

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Blackswanwood

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Osvaldd":2lhxamhb said:
@Blackswanwood are you saying teak oil would be better and last longer?
cheers
I think it would but also agree with Custard’s comments. Ours went black and grubby which is why I pressure washed it. Teak oil (as wax) has many different formulations ... I suspect using a product that was designed for marine use has merely bought extra time before it needs doing again. 12 months in and it still looks okay ... fingers crossed!
 

Osvaldd

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I'm still confused.
I use home-brew paste wax(mostly paraffin based) on indoor wood and the finish just sort of fades over time, and when that happens you just apply another coat when you feel like it.
Would’t it not be the same with outdoor wood? Apply a coat of wax before the summer season to bring out the colour and leave it be until next year. Is there a downside to it? Like moisture trapped or something like that?
I know black mold was mentioned, but I think its to do with using organic oils, like BLO that are known to attract mold in damp conditions.
I done this already on my pine garden bench but if its a really bad practice I’d rather not do that to my teak furniture.
cheers.
 

custard

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Osvaldd":3ac2fixa said:
I'm still confused.
When you're dealing with indoor furniture the moisture content of the wood and the finish will almost certainly be below 12%, where as outdoors it'll probably be around 15-20%. That means mould will survive outdoors but not indoors.

If you strip off and refinish regularly then you don't have a problem. The problem comes when you get bored and just leave the finish, because the finish itself becomes food for microbes, which results in that green/black mouldy mess. And it'll then take several years for the microbes to munch through all the residual finish before you get back to the bare wood, grey/silver colour.

If you're confident that you'll have the discipline to refinish your outdoor furniture every year or two then fine, use a finish. But if you think you'll get bored and start skipping the maintenance then don't apply any finish in the first place, and just go straight to silver/grey without having to put up with several years of a mouldy mess.
 

thetyreman

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I would varnish it with le tonkinois varnish if you want the natural colour, it's good stuff, otherwise leave it to go grey over time.
 
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