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Caring for Teak

Teak does not need to be protected. It is truly a unique wood that if left in its natural state, is virtually maintenance-free.   Teak can be left outside year round, surviving even the most extreme weather conditions.  There really is no other wood that has the same unique set of properties as teak, making it the gold standard for outdoor furniture (as well as sailboats).

Over time untreated Teak furniture which is exposed to the sun will patina and turn a beautiful silvery, grey color. This process is purely cosmetic and does not harm the strength or quality of the wood in any way.  Many people prefer to leave their teak furniture "bare" and let it age gracefully. There is nothing wrong with this choice. If you decide to go this route, it is not a permanent decision.  You can always decide later to remove the gray by power washing and sanding the teak back to the original natural teak finish.

However, If your goal is to preserve the natural honey color of your teak furniture or to darken the color of the wood, we recommend using Messmer's Hardwood Teak Sealer, which contains UV protection to inhibit the sun from graying the furniture as well as a mildewcide to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the surface of your furniture.

Applying the preservative couldn't be simpler. On the first application, allow the wood to stand in the sun for a week or two to allow the wood grain to open. Wipe on a coat of teak sealer with a stain sponge and rub it in with a rag. Apply one coat in this manner, getting all surfaces, top, bottom, sides and between any slats. Be sure to protect the area underneath the furniture with a drop cloth or cardboard. After the first application, reapply teak sealer every year by cleaning the wood with mild detergent and water and applying in a coat only on the surfaces that get sun.

After your furniture is sealed, very little care is needed to preserve the finish.   Occasional washing with soap and water will remove normal soil.  Oils from foods, wine, coffee and some condiments will penetrate the Sealer and may leave a stain. If you discover that this is a problem with your furniture, you may wish to add SEMCO Clear Coat to the table top to improve stain resistance.

Blue Sky Outdoor does not recommend using a varnish or water sealer on any Teak furniture.
Products such as varnish and polyurethane will peel and chip and are all but impossible to remove without vigorous sanding. Teak is protected by its own natural oils that migrate to the surface of the wood and make the wood virtually impervious to water.  

Blue Sky Outdoor does not recommend oiling teak furniture.   First off, the wood already has all the natural oil it needs in the wood.   But more importantly, oiling your teak will not prevent the wood from graying, unless you continue to sand and re-apply the oil every season, thereby creating lots of unnecessary maintenance and hassle.   Adding oil to teak will also very often result in mold and mildew growing on your furniture (which looks like black spots) that will require washing your furniture with bleach and soap followed by a rigorous sanding to remove.  

Some common Questions about caring for your Teak furniture are addressed below:

How do I clean my Teak Furniture?
Occasional washing with soap and water will remove normal soil.
Oils from foods, wine, coffee and some condiments will penetrate the wood and even sealer and may leave a stain that will require the use of SEMCO Teak Cleaners.  If you discover that this is a problem with your furniture, you may wish to add SEMCO Clear Coat to the table tops to improve stain resistance.

Cleaning General Soil

  1. Use a mild detergent such as dish soap and a sponge or soft scrub brush to wash the furniture as needed.
  2. Never use a pressure washer or steel wool on teak furniture. These items will damage or discolor the surface of the wood.
  3. Food stains or other soil or stains that are not removed by this process can be removed by using SEMCO Teak Cleaner as described in the Restoring section.

How do you apply Messmer's Teak Sealers?

Applying a sealer is not difficult, but it is time-consuming, especially the first time you do it.   If it's new furniture it should ideally be left outdoors for two weeks to allow the grain to open and the sawdust to blow away.
We recommend two coats for the first application of sealer.   You'll need to cover every area and between all the slats.  This is what takes the time but then annual or semi-annual maintenance is much quicker because you only need to apply the sealer in the areas exposed directly to the sun, and you can put it right on top of the old sealer. Don't forget to thoroughly clean the furniture before sealing it.
To re-apply a sealer on teak furniture, clean with soap and water, let dry and apply sealer right over the old preservative.   You can even spray it on and wipe it smooth with a cloth.
If your furniture is already weathered and gray you'll first need to power wash and sand the Teeak to get back to the natural wood.

Enjoy your furniture, knowing that is protected by the finest teak protection available.

If I choose to use a Messmer's Teak Sealer, what do I need to do to maintain it?

Previously sealed teak should be resealed on an occasional basis to compensate for traffic and environmental wear and tear.   The length of time that the finish lasts is more a function of wear and tear than of time.  Typically once or twice a year is sufficient for residential applications away from salt air.  When the color fades and water dashed on the surface soaks right in, it is time to recoat.
Here's how:

  1. Clean the teak with mild detergent to remove and soil.
  2. Wet the wood with a hose.
  3. Use a Scotch Brite pad or a soft scrub brush to gently clean the surface of the wood with a mild detergent such as dish soap.

What about Clear Coat?
To (re)apply Clear Coat, sand lightly and then apply a light coat with a brush or rag.   Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second light coat.  Allow to dry completely before placing back in service.

How do I restore Teak that has aged and turned gray or is badly stained?
If your furniture has been allowed to weather or is stained by food or other marks or if you wish to remove the Teak Sealer and start again, SEMCO Teak Cleaner will restore the wood to like new condition.
When teak is exposed to the elements without finish, has been oiled or is stained with food or other stains the surface becomes dirty gray and mildew often develops.  SEMCO Two-Part Teak Cleaner removes the effects of mildew, weathering and food and water stains.
Clean at any time during the life of the furniture when cleaning back to the original unfinished wood is desired.  It is not recommended that this type of cleaning be employed on a regular basis as it may contribute to the wood becoming rougher over time.
Here's how...

    1. Wet the wood with a hose and keep the wood wet during the entire process.
    2. Apply Part 1 Cleaner to a small area at a time.
    3. Use a Scotch Brite pad or soft scrub brush to scrub the area.
    4. Rinse if necessary to remove debris and keep wet.
    5. Apply the Part 2 Cleaner to the same area and scrub lightly with a soft brush or clean Scotch Brite pad.
    6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 on the next small area. Work on a small area at a time working from top to bottom. Larger areas can be worked by using a garden type sprayer to apply the cleaners.
    7. Rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat the process on any stubborn stains. The wood will lighten as it dries.
    8. Read and follow complete directions on the Cleaner bottles.