Last Updated on January 12, 2023 by Heenan
If you have recently bought a few teak pieces of furniture for your home, you may be thinking about how to conserve the beautiful finishes of your new teak furniture.
Teak wood is extracted from the highly valued teak tree, often found in the tropical regions of India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia.
It has unique characteristics compared to other woods, with its inbuilt resistance to fungus, insects, and other elements of nature.
So, now you’re stuck choosing between teak oil and teak sealer for a beautiful varnish to preserve your teak wood.
However, before we make a choice easier for you, let’s look at each of these and their advantages and disadvantages in this Teak sealer vs. Teak oil Guide.
Teak Oil vs. Teak Sealer
What Is Teak Oil?
For several years, teak oil/teak cleaner has been primarily used for boats and teak furniture.
Teak oils have this signature dark and rich look after their application to teak furniture.
Extracted from the tropical forests, linseed and tung oil are mixed with a few additional preservatives to create teak oil.
Natural teak oil is beautiful. There’s no going around it.
After applying, it takes pride in the beautiful finish that teak wood provides.
It gets into the micro-cracks and crevices of the teak wood and amplifies the texture it is famous for.
However, teak oil does have its disadvantages, even with so many people loving it so much.
First of all, teak oil provides no protection.
It only amplifies the rich look that it provides with a dark varnish.
But no tangible protection from the elements is provided to the teak wood.
Thus if you are looking into teak oil for teak furniture exposed to these elements, it is the wrong choice.
Teak oil also requires high maintenance, which means the beautiful coat often does not last long.
Long exposure to UV rays from sunlight carbonizes the oil.
Over time, this removes the dark rich coating and makes the polish look grey.
Without proper protection, such as keeping the polished teakwood away from sunlight and periodically reapplying, you’d eventually lose the beautiful dark finish teak oil is famous for.
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Teak Oil Uses
With teak oil, the primary use is for polishing the teak wood, giving it a dark, beautiful varnish.
It is usually ideal for dense woods such as mahogany, rosewood, and teak.
You can use the oil in almost all the wooden pieces, usually indoors or away from sunlight, as the UV rays can carbonize the particles of the teak oil.
The most common usage of teak oils is furniture varnish.
How to Apply Teak Oil?
Using teak is quite simple.
You don’t need a brush or other tools except for a clean cloth and the oil for the application, making it a favorite for any home project and professionals.
Step 1: Sanding and Cleaning
If you see the teak wood surface is not smooth enough, sand the surface with either sandpaper by hand or a sander.
You can use sandpaper to smooth and level the crooks and crevices you cannot reach appropriately with a machine.
After that, clean the surface with a damp wipe to clean off the grains and any contaminations.
Step 2: The First Coat
Shake the bottle of teak oil and pour the oil onto a cloth.
Teak oil is not brushed but rather wiped on the surface.
Initially, start with a wet wipe and then move your way through the process.
As soon as you make the first wipe, you will see the beautiful signature natural color that the teak oil gives to the wood.
After you finish the first heavy coat, let it dry for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Even It Out
After 10 minutes, check the teak wood and look for dull spots.
Reapply again with a medium coat. If you have any excess sitting on the surface, wipe it away and even it out. After that, let it rest for 30 more minutes.
Step 4: The Finishing Touches
A clean, dry cloth gives the teak wood an extra shine by buffing it out.
And with that, you are finished applying the teak oil.
You can give it a third coat, but at this point forward, it’s a matter of preference.
What Is Teak Sealer?
The second coating you can choose is a teak sealer.
Compared to natural oils, they do not get absorbed into the woods but rather seal the oils and resins of the wood to provide protection.
As a result, compared to teak oil, they are more durable and sustainable.
Teak sealers also do not require periodic reapplication, unlike teak oils, as once annually is more than enough.
It is also suitable for woods exposed to sunlight as it provides protection from the sun and its UV rays.
Usually, oil-based teak sealers are preferred as they seal and protect and nourish the wood underneath.
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Teak Sealer Uses
Teak sealer ensures a beautiful polished finish that protects your wood from UV rays and saves it from turning grey.
Due to this, you can use a teak sealer on wooden surfaces that are more exposed to the elements of nature.
Like teak oil, teak sealer can be used on teak, mahogany, and rosewood, among other wood variants.
Teak Oil or Teak Sealer
So the question is teak oil or teak sealer?
Compared to teak oil, the teak sealer offers UV-protected teak furniture, which naturally makes the wood safe from mildew.
It also preserves your teak outdoor furniture so it does not turn grey and can sustain with one application annually, unlike teak oil, which can fade away with exposure to sunlight.
An oil-based teak sealer must refill natural oils and protect them against dirt and moisture.
It is simple and long-lasting, making it very popular with teak furniture owners who want a lasting non-fragile solution.
Even though teak oil provides a beautiful dark finish, it cannot be sustainable over time and needs multiple reapplying.
Before using teak sealers, note to disinfect your teak furniture.
Make sure to let it dry naturally, and then add a sealer cover with a sponge or a pressurizer held by hand.
After an hour, add a second thin layer, and you can use your teak meat as before if it dries after two hours.
Both teak sealers and teak oils have advantages and disadvantages in their usage. Still, in terms of having more practical use, teak sealer is tipping the balance in its favor.
Thus when the debate of teak oil vs. teak sealer comes up, in our mind, the latter is the apparent winner.
In the end, it also depends on the needs of the consumer themselves and how they intend to use that piece of woodware.