At first glance, teak outdoor furniture may seem similar to many of your favorite patio pieces. However, as you’ll see through this guide, teak is anything but ordinary.
If you’ve been on the fence about buying teak furniture, this is the guide for you!
So, sit back, relax, and read on as we cover everything you need to know, including why we love it so much, the different styles you can find, and how effortless it is to treat and maintain.
But first, let’s get on the same page about what teak is.
What Is Teak Outdoor Furniture?
Teak trees are native to South and Southeast Asia, particularly India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Burma.
One of the incredible characteristics of teak trees is that they can reach up to 200 feet in height. This means that a single teak tree can produce a lot of timber!
Native South and Southeast Asians used teak wood to build their homes and even create tools. As time passed and the wood started to make its way around the world, people started using it mainly for ship construction, as the wood is durable and can withstand tough conditions.
Today, teak wood is used for different purposes, including building boats, outdoor and indoor furniture, frames, carvings, and so much more.
The material’s popularity may leave you with a few questions. Why do so many people seem to prefer teak over other types of woods? What’s special about it? Let’s take a look!
Why Do People Love Teak Furniture?
Teak wood has always been special. Here’s why people can’t get enough of it.
1) It’s Long-lasting
When it comes to investing in furniture, most people want quality items that will stay in good condition for many years to come. Outdoor furniture is especially challenging because it gets exposed to all sorts of weather conditions throughout the year.
With teak, you don’t have to worry about that, as it’s one of the most durable hardwoods in the world. In fact, it’s been used as a boat-building material for over 2,000 years and is still used today for decking and interiors in luxury boat-making.
Teak's tight grain, high oil content, and high tensile strength help to give the wood its amazing weather resistance. It can withstand any weather condition, making it ideal for wherever you live!
2) Treating It Is Not Required
For most outdoor furniture, you need to do a lot of treatment and upkeep to ensure that the wood stays looking good for many years.
Teak, on the other hand, has a naturally warm honey tone. As it ages and is exposed to the sun, this gradually changes to a silvery gray patina, which is just as beautiful.
If you prefer the warm honey tone, you can use teak sealers, which should last for around a year and will protect your furniture from the sun. But many owners end up falling in love with the silvery gray patina, so you may not need to treat it at all!
3) It Adds Warmth And Luxury To Your Home
If you’ve been researching teak outdoor furniture, you’ll know that it’s on the pricier side compared to many of its competitors. Even so, it’s still very popular and loved by many outdoor furniture enthusiasts. Why is that?
Simply put, teak wood is gorgeous. Some grades have a glossy finish, which can help you add a little luxury to your patio or porch. And who doesn’t want a beautiful outdoor space?
Now that you understand what teak wood is and why people love it so much, here are eight things you need to know before deciding to purchase it.
8 Things To Know Before Buying Teak Outdoor Furniture
1) Its Natural Oils Are Special
One of the most frustrating things about outdoor furniture is how the weather affects it. While it might look great when it’s new, the more time it stays outside, the more the sun or other weather conditions quickly age it.
As we mentioned earlier, that’s not the case with teak outdoor furniture. Whether there’s harsh sunlight, rain, or snow, the wood is naturally weather-resistant.
Why? Because of its natural oils.
All woods have natural oils that help to protect the tree. When you chop most trees down and start processing the wood, they lose these oils…except for teak. Teak retains its natural oils and resins, which protect it against different weather conditions.
In addition to protection against weather, these oils and resins are also great bug repellents, meaning you can enjoy your time outside without worrying about annoying pests!
2) Cleaning Teak Wood Is Easy
If you buy teak furniture, you will enjoy the fact that you don’t have to do much to keep it clean.
A simple mild soap and water solution will help you remove the dust, dirt, or other stains on the wood. Afterward, simply rinse it with clean water.
If you’re having trouble with tough stains, such as grease, you can also use teak cleaner to help softly lift the grease stains and leave your wood looking clean and new.
3) Craftsmanship And Design Matter
Not all teak furniture is created equal. When purchasing teak, it’s essential to understand the different grades available on the market.
Firstly, you have Grade A teak. As the name suggests, this is the best quality you can find. This wood is from the center of a fully grown teak tree and has lots of natural oils, which give it a beautiful, glossy appearance.
Secondly, you have Grade B teak. The main difference between this one and the Grade A option is that it comes from the tree’s outer heartwood parts. In appearance, Grade B also tends to be a little lighter and not as glossy.
Lastly, you can also find Grade C teak. This wood is from the outer parts of a teak tree and also tends to be more affordable than Grade A and Grade B. It will generally need more maintenance, too.
At Outer, all our teak furniture is Grade A, meaning we provide you with the best of the best. We also care about the environment, so we only source from responsibly managed teak fields. This means that for every tree we harvest, the farm plants three more in its place.
In addition to understanding the different grades, it’s also essential to avoid furniture that’s patched with other materials. For example, some manufacturers add pine or oak around the edges of the furniture.
Remember that teak is naturally a great, long-lasting wood. You don’t need it mixed with anything else to enjoy its beauty.
Lastly, it’s essential to think about the general style of your home when purchasing teak outdoor furniture.
Do you love luxury, a rustic feel, or a minimalist style? What are the colors and patterns you have from your indoor furniture that you would like to extend to your outside furniture?
These are important questions to ask, and thankfully, teak furniture comes in all different styles. All you have to do is choose the right look for you and your home!
4) Teak Outdoor Furniture Is An Investment
There are many reasons why teak is one of the most loved woods for outdoor furniture. Besides the quality, luxurious look and feel, and how it easily handles different weather conditions, teak furniture is well worth the investment.
Many of its peers will give you a few good years in the beginning...until the weather and other factors start to age the furniture. But with teak, some grades can last up to 30 years. This means that you can pass it on to your kids and maybe even your grandchildren!
5) The Color Will Change Over Time
As we mentioned earlier in this article, the color of your teak outdoor furniture will change from the natural warm honey tone of new wood to a silvery gray as it ages.
There’s very little you can do to completely prevent this from happening, but you can preserve the original color longer by occasionally treating the surface of the wood with an oil or sealer.
6) Preserving The Color Involves Oil Or Sealer
If you want to preserve the original color of your teak outdoor furniture, you’ll need to apply a teak oil or teak sealer.
Teak oil is almost always a mix of linseed oil, mineral spirits, and varnish. It will give you almost immediate results and bring tired-looking wood back to its original warm golden glow.
The problem with teak oil, however, is that its effects wear off in a month or two. That means you’ll have to apply teak oil fairly frequently throughout the summer to keep your furniture looking new.
Plus, the mineral spirits and solvents in the oil cause the wood to degrade faster than if you’d done nothing in the first place.
A better solution for keeping your teak outdoor furniture looking like new is to apply a teak sealer once a year, preferably after cleaning.
Teak sealer prevents the moisture and color from evaporating out of the wood and discourages the growth of any fungus, mold, or mildew on the surface.
7) Overcleaning Is Possible
Believe it or not, it is possible to overclean your teak outdoor furniture and damage the wood’s natural beauty.
Depending on the climate where you live, we recommend cleaning your furniture once a year either at the end of fall or at the beginning of spring.
However, if you live in a very dusty or humid climate, you may choose to clean your teak wood more often to ensure that the exposed surfaces stay mildew-free.
To help you in this regard, we’ve provided a handy, step-by-step guide to the best way to clean teak outdoor furniture later on in this article.
8) Teak Outdoor Furniture Should Be Covered Or Stored In The Winter
While teak outdoor furniture can stay outdoors during the winter months without risk of damage to the wood itself, allowing snow to pile up on the surface could encourage mildew growth.
If you live in a climate where significant snowfall is a regular occurrence, it’s best to either cover the furniture toward the end of fall or store it indoors until the weather changes.
If you live in a climate where significant snowfall doesn’t happen very often and it stays warm enough to sit outside year-round, you can skip the work and leave your teak outdoor furniture where it is.
The Best Way To Clean Teak Outdoor Furniture
As we’ve mentioned, teak outdoor furniture doesn’t need a lot of upkeep to maintain a fresh and beautiful appearance.
Cleaning your teak outdoor furniture once a year — preferably at the end of the season right before you cover or store it or at the beginning of the season when you get it out of storage — is all it takes to keep your teak tables and chairs in tip-top shape.
And if you really want to preserve the new look of your teak outdoor furniture, you can treat each piece with an oil or sealer after you’re done cleaning. This step is optional, but it will slow the transition from golden brown to gray that is characteristic of all teak wood.
Whether you choose to treat your teak pieces is completely up to you, but you will want to clean them at least once throughout the year to maintain their beauty.
Here’s the best way to clean teak outdoor furniture to keep it pristine.
- A bucket of warm water
- Gentle soap or detergent (Woolite or Dawn dishwashing liquid works well)
- A soft bristle brush
- A garden hose
- A pair of gloves
- A towel
- Bleach (optional)
- 220 grit sandpaper (optional)
- A tarp to protect surrounding areas (optional)
- Before you begin cleaning your teak outdoor furniture, spread a tarp over your workspace to protect surfaces and vegetation, particularly if you’ll be using bleach as part of the process.
- Fill a bucket with warm water and add a few drops of detergent and, if you’ve noticed any tough stains on your furniture, a small amount of bleach.
- We recommend putting on a pair of gloves to protect your skin while you scrub.
- Dip your brush into the bucket of water and gently begin scrubbing.
- Start at the top of the piece of furniture and work your way to the bottom.
- Be sure to change the water as needed to prevent dirt and debris from building up on your furniture while you scrub.
- Use a gentle setting on your hose (no pressure washing!) to rinse your furniture.
- Make sure all suds and bleach have been washed off completely.
- Towel off any excess water and let your furniture air dry.
- If you notice any rough areas on your teak wood furniture after drying, use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out (be sure to sand WITH the grain rather than against it to help avoid scratching the surface of the teak).
- That’s it. You’re all done!
Now you can get back to relaxing. Or you can go the extra mile and treat your teak outdoor furniture with an oil or sealer.
If you’re like us, you opt for the former rather than the latter. That’s one of the many benefits of choosing teak over other outdoor furniture materials — you can do more relaxing in it than working on it.
Teak Outdoor Furniture: Form Follows Function
Before buying teak outdoor furniture, it’s always a good idea to keep this rule of thumb in mind: form follows function.
What does that mean for you as you shop? It means that you should settle on a function first before you start to think about shape, size, and design.
To help you in that regard, here are some questions to ask when shopping for teak furniture.
- What will you use the furniture for?
- Where will the furniture sit?
- How many people do you want to accommodate?
- What shape and design do you prefer?
Let’s walk through that list of questions to see how it can help you choose the right teak outdoor furniture.
1) What Will You Use The Furniture For?
The first thing you need to decide on is function. Will you be using the furniture for dining? For lounging? As a rest stop in a garden tour? Around a fire pit?
This will help you narrow your focus to the type of teak furniture that suits your needs.
If eating with friends is the main function, give your attention to dining sets. If relaxing outdoors is in your future, look for adjustable sectionals or sofas. And if you’re shopping for seating around a fire pit, we recommend loveseats or individual chairs.
2) Where Will The Furniture Sit?
While you could certainly outfit a pool deck with Adirondack chairs or surround your fire pit with chaise lounges, the form doesn’t really match the function.
If you’re poolside, at some point, you’re going to want to recline and even lie on your stomach to get an even tan. You can’t do that with an Adirondack chair.
Similarly, if you’re sitting around a fire at night, you don’t really have any reason to lie down or lie on your stomach. You actually want to stay upright so you can talk with your friends. Chaise lounges are less than ideal for this purpose.
But switch up where each piece of teak outdoor furniture sits — Adirondack chairs around the fire and chaise lounges around the pool — and the form perfectly matches the function.
3) How Many People Do You Want To Accommodate?
This is especially useful when deciding on the size of a teak dinette set or the number of chairs to purchase.
If you’re going to be entertaining often, you may want to shop for a six or eight-person dining table and chairs. If you entertain with a lot of people, you could even opt for a 10 or 12-person set.
On the other hand, if it’s going to be just your family most of the time, you can keep it simple with a four, five, or six-person set and still have room for a few guests.
4) What Shape And Design Do You Prefer?
Once you’ve answered the previous questions, you can start looking at the shape and design of your new outdoor furniture.
For example, do you prefer a square dining table? A circle? An oval? Do you like the look of square-back chairs or round? Do you keep coming back to the oversized Adirondack chair, or are you more attracted to the standard size?
Answering these questions will help you pick the perfect teak outdoor furniture for every space and occasion.
Your Outdoor Space Will Never Be The Same
Now that you understand how incredible teak outdoor furniture is, it’s going to be hard to think about buying anything else. It’s easy to maintain, lasts a long time, and adds instant luxury to your outdoor space. What’s not to love?
If this article has inspired you to switch up your backyard by adding some teak outdoor furniture, then check out our full teak collection. From teak tables to sofas, sectionals, and chairs, there’s something for everyone!