Boxhill’s Guide to the Care and Maintenance of Outdoor Teak Furniture — Boxhill & Co., LLC
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Boxhill’s Guide to the Care and Maintenance of Outdoor Teak Furniture

At Boxhill, we believe that the beauty of teak furniture is in its natural journey and resilience. Caring for your teak furniture is not just about maintenance; it's about embracing its living character and the changes it undergoes. Whether you prefer the weathered silver-grey patina or the original golden honey color, teak offers flexibility in care. Here's a simple guide:

1. Embracing the Patina: Minimal Maintenance

When it comes to the natural aging of teak furniture, one of the most notable transformations is the development of a patina. Over time, the original golden-brown color of teak gracefully matures into a distinguished silver-gray hue, known as patina. This change is not just a color shift but a sign of teak's enduring interaction with the elements. Patina is a mark of authenticity and character; it tells a story of exposure to sun, air, and moisture, reflecting the passage of time. Embracing this patina means appreciating the wood's natural life cycle, which adds depth and history to your outdoor spaces with minimal maintenance needed.

Embracing the Patina: Minimal Maintenance Steps
  • Annual Cleaning: Keep your teak furniture in top condition with a yearly cleaning. A gentle scrub with a soft bristle brush using a solution of mild dish soap and water is often enough.

  • Using Teak Cleaners: For an even more effortless approach, consider using specially formulated teak cleaners once a year.

2. Preserving the Golden Honey Color

For those who cherish the rich, golden hue that teak furniture boasts when new, maintaining this vibrant color requires a bit more attention. This original golden color, a hallmark of fresh teak, embodies the wood's natural elegance and warmth. Preserving this hue allows the furniture to retain a look of newness and polished grace. It involves an annual treatment routine that not only enhances the wood's visual appeal but also protects its natural oils and texture. This proactive approach to teak care ensures that your furniture remains as strikingly beautiful as the day you first brought it into your outdoor space.

Preserving the Golden Holey Color: Maintenance Steps
  • Annual Treatment: If you're inclined towards maintaining the original golden hue, an annual sealing routine is recommended.

  • Cleaning and Preparation: Wash your teak furniture thoroughly and let it dry in the sun for two weeks. This process helps open up the wood's grain, preparing it for treatment.

  • Applying Teak Sealant: Apply a quality teak sealant to preserve the current color. Remember, the sealant will lock in the shade that the teak displays at the time of application.

3. Application of Teak Sealant: A Simple Ritual

  • Preparation: Clean the furniture with a solution of dish soap and water. Let the furniture dry and bask in the sun for two weeks.

  • Sealant Application: Generously spray the teak sealant over the furniture. Use a lint-free cloth to evenly rub the sealant into the wood.

  • Color Preservation: To maintain a specific shade, apply the sealant when your teak reaches the desired color. For an antique look, allow the teak to age slightly before applying the sealant.

4. Stain Removal and Winter Care: The Final Touches

  • Dealing with Stains: Most stains can be handled with a teak cleaner or a mix of unscented soap and water. For more stubborn stains, gentle sanding with fine-grain sandpaper may be required.

  • Winter Protection: Though teak is robust against the elements, consider covering it or bringing it indoors during harsh winter months. This helps maintain its condition and prolongs its lifespan.

  • Prevent Water Pooling: Ensure that no water accumulates on or under the furniture to extend its durability.

A Note on Natural Changes

  • Accepting Changes: Understand that teak's natural color change, checking (small cracks), and expansion or contraction are part of its organic life. These characteristics do not compromise the wood’s strength or durability.

  • A Living Material: Teak is a living material that reflects the dynamic nature of the outdoor environment. By choosing teak, you're embracing a piece of nature that grows and changes with time.

If you’re curious to learn more about the exceptional qualities of teak and why we love it for outdoor furniture, check out our blog “The Teak Advantage: Elegance and Endurance in Outdoor Living.”

A Note on Teak Oil vs Teak Sealant

There is a debate about whether to oil teak furniture vs. seal it. We tend to go the sealant route but we have outlined some pros and cons of each method here for you to make the best call for yourself and your lifestyle. Ultimately, the choice between teak oil, teak sealer, and tung oil depends on various factors, including the desired level of protection, the frequency of maintenance you're comfortable with, and the aesthetics you prefer for your teak furniture.

Teak Oil: Teak oil enhances the natural beauty but requires more maintenance.
  • Pros of Teak Oil: Teak oil penetrates deeply into the wood, enhancing its natural beauty and color. It's easy to apply and offers some level of protection against water and UV rays.

  • Cons of Teak Oil: Teak oil requires frequent reapplication, as often as every few months, to maintain its protective properties. It can attract dirt and dust, making the furniture look dirty over time, and it's not as durable as a sealer. It may also darken the wood over time.

Teak Sealer: Teak sealer offers longer-lasting protection with less frequent reapplication but can alter the appearance of the wood.
  • Pros of Teak Sealer: Teak sealer provides more durable protection than teak oil, lasting longer and requiring less maintenance. It repels water and protects against UV rays, helping to prevent fading and discoloration.

  • Cons of Teak Sealer: Teak sealer can alter the wood's appearance, making it look less natural. It's more difficult to apply compared to teak oil and can be more expensive.

Tung Oil: Tung oil is a durable and eco-friendly option but may not be as protective as teak oil in harsh conditions​.
  • Pros of Tung Oil: Tung oil is known for its durability and eco-friendly nature, as it contains no harmful chemicals. It's easy to apply and can be used on various wood species, including teak. Tung oil is resistant to water and moisture, making it ideal for outdoor use.

  • Cons of Tung Oil: Tung oil takes longer to dry and can become sticky if applied too thickly, attracting dirt and dust. It may not be as durable as teak oil in harsh outdoor conditions and may not provide as much UV protection.

Caring for your teak furniture is a testament to your appreciation for natural beauty and enduring quality. At Boxhill, we encourage you to enjoy this journey, recognizing these care practices as part of your outdoor space’s story. If you have questions about caring for your specific Boxhill teak piece, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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