Teak Oil Advantages and Disadvantages

Ever wondered if teak oil is right for your wooden treasures? Dive in to uncover its hidden pros and cons!

Teak Oil Advantages and Disadvantages

Teak oil is one of the most popular finishing oils that is used for finishing outdoor furniture and boats.

Teak oil is made of either tung oil or linseed oil with some extra ingredients.

The composition of Teak oil is hard to define and depends on the manufacturer.

If you’re interested in Teak oil finish, it’s worth doing a bit of digging to know, Teak oil Advantages and Disadvantages.

Provide UV protectionNot waterproofing
Does not Crack or peelDarkens the wood
Prevent graying and water stainsNeed regular maintenance
Easy to applyNot food safe
Great for both indoor and outdoor furnitureTime-consuming
Does not splinterThis can only apply to bare woods
Improves wood appearance 

But that’s a quick snapshot.

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    So, let’s discuss Teak oil advantages and disadvantages by taking each one of them separately.

    Furniture and woodwork finished with Teak oil
    Furniture and woodwork finished with Teak oil

    Advantages Of Teak Oil

    1. Provide UV Protection

    Teak oil contains UV filters that help to protect wood furniture and other woodwork from UV rays in sunlight.

    Teak oil absorbs UV light and prevents it from penetrating the wood surface which can cause fading.

    So, Teak oil prevents wood from fading by protecting it from UV light. This is so important for outdoor furniture under direct sunlight.

    UV filters in Teak oil minimize fading from direct sunlight and protect wood furniture.

    Teak oils have different types of ingredients that help to protect against UV light. Some are UV pigments, and some are UV absorbers.

    I recommend you buy Teak oil with UV absorbers because Teak oil with UV pigments may change the color of the wood.

    Many other finishing oils do not provide UV protection like Teak oil does. Because of being a combination of linseed oil and tung oil, Teak oil has excellent properties of both finishes.

    Because of providing UV protection, Teak oil can be used for garden furniture, garden beds, outdoor cabinets, and more.

    Did you know fact about Teak oil
    Did you know fact about Teak oil

    2. Resists Cracking and Peeling

    Teak oil protects wood from cracks and peeling. Extreme weather conditions and high wear and shear forces can result in wood cracking or peeling.

    But Teak oil has good weather resistance and is able to tolerate wear and shear forces. That’s how it protects wood from cracking or peeling.

    Because of having high resistance against cracking and peeling, Teak oil able to barefoot traffic as well. This is important in flooring.

    Even under direct sunlight and or in contact with water, Teak oil prevents wood from cracking and warping.

    Therefore, Teak oil is mostly used to finish wood flooring. It can bare against foot traffic, dog scratches, and other impacts.

    Cupboard finished with teak oil
    Cupboard finished with teak oil

    3. Prevent Graying and Water Stains

    Teak oil prevents wood from graying and forming water stains. Generally, Teak oil helps to slow down the graying process by 50% of outdoor furniture and woodwork.

    Teak oil reduces wood aging and is able to keep wood furniture and woodwork fresh as new for a long time.

    For example, if you’re outdoor furniture generally turns grey within 12 months, with Teak oil it will delay for around 18 months.

    Make sure to apply Teak oil after a good scrubbing and cleaning of dust, dirt, and grime with a soft brush and soapy water for a better finish.

    Teak oil will eliminate watermarks and deep-water stains in the wood.

    With Teak oil you can remove watermarks on wood surfaces. You just have to pour a little amount of Teak oil into a clean rag and wipe down the surface to remove leftovers.

    You can refinish wood and give a new look by treating it with Teak oil.

    Dos and Donts when using Teak oil
    Dos and Donts when using Teak oil

    4. Easy To Apply

    Applying Teak oil is so much easy. It produces a durable finish with simple steps that are easy to follow even for a beginner.

    Apply Teak oil using a bristle brush or lint-free cloth along the direction of the wood grain for better absorption and to avoid getting surface blotches and streaks.

    Apply a minimum of 2 coats of Teak oil for a better finish. Make sure to let the wood dry completely between each coat for nearly 2 -4 hours before applying another coat.

    Plus let the final coat dry and cure for around 24 hours.

    Once you feel the surface is smooth, nice looking, and well-finished let it dry in a well-ventilated area.

    How to Apply Teak Oil on Wood?

    Here’re the steps for applying Teak oil effectively and easily without causing any trouble,

    1. Place the wooden surface, furniture, or woodwork in a well-ventilated area
    2. Clean the surface and eliminate dust, dirt, and grime.
    3. Sand the entire surface with 220 grit sandpaper with even pressure along the direction of the wood grain until you get a nice and smooth surface.
    4. Apply the first coat of Teak oil along the wood grain with a bristle brush or wipe with a lint-free cloth without missing any spots.
    5. Let it dry for 2 – 3 hours.
    6. Once the wood is completely dry and able to touch with a finger without leaving a smear, lightly rub the surface with 660 grit sandpaper after dripping it in Teak oil for better absorbance
    7. Apply a second coat of Teak oil
    8. Let it dry for several hours and apply another coat once it is fully dried and absorbed to the surface.
    9. Repeat the above procedure until you get the color and the protection you want. A higher number of coats means deeper color and better protection. But drying time can be increased.

    Note: Drying time can be differed due to environmental humidity, temperature variations, and many other factors.

    Therefore, better to check the surface yourself rather than depending on the theoretical values.

    How to apply teak oil on wood
    How to apply teak oil on wood

    5. Great For Both Indoor and Outdoor Furniture

    Teak oil is an excellent finish for both interior and exterior furniture and woodwork.

    It protects wood from environmental elements such as UV light, insect attacks, temperature variations, and harsh weather conditions, which provides a beautiful, enhanced appearance.

    Teak oil gives rich brown to silver-grey color to your woods that add a unique look to your home and garden.

    It has some ingredients that change the wood color which may useful if you love to see a rich look on your furniture.

    Some finishing oils can be applied only on indoor furniture because they do not have enough tolerance to resist harsh weather conditions.

    But with Teak oil, it hardens well and dries quickly upon exposure to the air and makes a protective layer which can be applied on any wood.

    Patio furniture finished with teak oil
    Patio furniture finished with teak oil

    6. Does Not Splinter

    Teak oil does not splinter woods. Generally, wood gets splintered due to direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and scratches.

    Teak oil absorbs deep into the wood fibers and makes them soaked. This will make the wood soft and prevent it from splintering.

    Teak oil increases the resistivity and durability of the wood and resists wood splintering. With regular maintenance, you’ll be able to keep Teak oil applied furniture over decades without any splinters and cracks.

    As you can see, Teak oil lubricates the wood and make a protective layer which can stand against cracks, splinters, peel offs with no issues.

    Main Properies of Teak oil
    Main Properies of Teak oil

    7. Non-Toxic

    Teak oil is a completely non-toxic finish. You can apply Teak oil on children’s toys or any other household furniture without any problem.

    Teak oil is safe to use for babies’ toys and accessories.

    Teak oil doesn’t contain VOCs. It doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients and better to wait until Teak oil is fully cured for better safe.

    Because wood finishes can be toxic in an uncured state.

    Teak oil has good resistance against insects and pests. Therefore, they can’t make habitats or grow on Teak oil surfaces.

    Therefore, Teak oil has no harmful effects on our health and safety.

    Teak oil oxidize and dries upon exposure to the air.

    This can produce hydrocarbons and aldehydes which can be harmful to animals with small bodies not to people and pets.

    Kitchen cabinet finished with teak oil
    Kitchen cabinet finished with teak oil

    8. Improves Wood Appearance

    Teak oil has a beautiful looking nice golden color that appears on wood surface after a few months from the application.

    Teak oil gives rich dark color with a high gloss finish to wood that fresh look to your furniture.

    Teak oil restores the natural beauty of the wood. by applying Teak oil, you can turn old, aged wood to look like a new one.

    Teak oil makes dark woods even darker. Therefore, better to apply Teak oil on dark woods than lighter ones. Teak oil enhances the wood’s appearance by highlighting the wood grain.

    The glossy, and shiny appearance of Teak oil do not last more than a year.

    Therefore, better to reapply when you begin to feel its dullness. Teak oil brings the beauty of the wood with user satisfaction.

    Wooden deck finished with teak oil
    Wooden deck finished with teak oil

    9. Elasticity

    Teak oil is able to understand its movements and make length adjustments according to that. Surprising right?

    Generally, all the wood types, contract and expand due to various reasons.

    Such as temperature variations, humidity variations, extreme weather conditions, and much more. Teak oil has a surprising ability to stretch along with wood movements.

    The main reason for the elastic behavior of Teak oil is its polymerized state once fully cured.

    Once it is applied to any wood, it can expand and contract along with the wood without affecting the finish.

    It does not change the color of the finish or reduce the protection. All the aspects of Teak oil remain the same.

    If you live in an area that changes humidity or temperatures often, Teak oil is one of the best finishing oils you should go with. Especially for outdoor furniture and woodwork.

    Because of having good elasticity, it has a low tendency of cracking and peeling. Being flexible is an added advantage of Teak oil.

    Wooden spoons finished with teak oil
    Wooden spoons finished with teak oil

    Disadvantages Of Teak Oil

    1. Not Waterproofing

    Teak oil doesn’t have waterproofing ability. But it has natural protection against water damage. Not like Danish oil or tung oil, Teak oil has poor water resistance.

    Therefore, better not to apply Teak oil on kitchen utensils, bathroom shelves, and furniture which can cause wood to rot in high moisture conditions.

    Teak oil is only able to repel water. Under extremely high moisture conditions, water molecules will easily penetrate through Teak oil layers and get into the wood surface.

    This can result in wood rotting internally.

    Make sure to completely cover up or take your Teak oil finished wood furniture during rainy days to protect them from environmental elements.

    Because of having no waterproof, Teak oil may cause mold growth. Environmental high moisture content combines with Teak oil and encourages the growth of mildew and mold.

    Mold and mildew can damage your loving furniture and hard to recover.

    Tip for finishing with Teak oil
    Tip for finishing with Teak oil

    2. Darkens The Wood

    This is one of the significant disadvantages of using Teak oil. It significantly darkens the wood color.

    When Teak oil is applied on darker it makes the wood darker, but when Teak oil applies on lighter wood, it may ruin its beautiful natural appearance.

    Never apply Teak oil on light-colored furniture because of the resulting unpleasant appearance.

    Therefore, better to apply Teak oil by knowing its darkening behavior.

    Teak oil changes the wood color to dark brown color as it dries and cures.

    If you want to apply a darker stain on wood, better to replace the stain with Teak oil because it turns wood darker with extra protection from the environment.

    Teak oil is great for dark woods such as mahogany or walnut due to increasing their darkness by adding a nice rich look.

    But for lighter woods like Birch, Teak oil is not the best option.

    3. Need Regular Maintenance

    Careful and consistent maintenance is an essential task for Teak oil. This is one of the major drawbacks of Teak oil because reapplication, restoration, and cleaning take a lot of time and money.

    Teak oil finish usually lasts for two years. Therefore, apply Teak oil at least once per year to maintain the glossy, fresh look of your furniture.

    Because of being an oily finish, Teak oil attacks dust and dirt which are so hard to remove. They sit on top of the Teak oil finish and give a dull unpleasant look.

    This will reduce the wood sheen eventually. Therefore, regular maintenance is a must to keep wood appearance forever.

    To clean the Teak oil finish, use the polish of a shammy cloth and wipe the dull area. To repair cracks and scratches, reapply Teak oil after a light sanding.

    Tip for using Teak oil
    Tip for using Teak oil

    4. Not Food Safe

    Teak oil is not food safe since it contains toxic harmful chemicals such as turpentine, mineral spirits, and varnish.

    Never apply Teak oil on kitchen utensils such as cutting boards, bowls, and spoons because its harmful chemical ingredients can mix and blend with foods.

    Better not to keep Teak oil in areas, that have regular contact with foods. Teak oil is a health hazard.

    Even though tung oil and linseed oil are food safe once they are fully cured, Teak oil is not because of having extra ingredients of turpentine, varnish, and mineral spirits.

    Teak oil is bad for cutting boards, butcher blocks, kitchen countertops, knife handles, bowls, spoons, and all kinds of food-related products.

    Plus, never use Teak oil for your food-related woodworking and woodcarving projects.

    5. Time-Consuming

    Patience is the key when it comes to working with Teak oil. When applying Teak oil in a humid environment it can take more than 2 -3 days to dry and you’ll probably have to wait for over a week before applying another coat of Teak oil.

    This takes lots of time and is so difficult for a person with a busy schedule.

    The drying time of Teak oil depends on environmental humidity, temperature levels, wood type, and the purpose of the project.

    Plus, Teak oil cannot be finished with a single coat, you need to apply a minimum of 3 coats which is time-consuming and need lots of patience.

    Repairing and reapplying Teak oil also takes a lot of time and you may need to hire a professional woodworker to avoid happening mistakes as a result of using shortcuts when applying Teak oil.

    6. This can only Apply to Bare Woods

    Teak oil works great on bare, untreated new woods than treated, painted, or stained wood surfaces.

    Once you apply Teak oil on a wooden surface, it will quickly penetrate into wood fibers and make them saturated.

    But with treated woods, Teak oil particles are unable to go deep into the wood and make a protective coating over the surface.

    Teak oil doesn’t hold well, and it takes so many days to dry when applied over stained or painted wooden surfaces.

    Therefore, I highly recommend you apply Teak oil or any other oil finish only over bare woods to get the exact results you wish with enhanced appearance and extra protection.

    Now you know almost every advantage and disadvantage of Teak oil in detail and how to avoid its disadvantages and get the best out of its benefits as well.

    Pros and Cons of Teak oil

    What Is Teak Oil Use For?

    Teak oil can be used for almost any kind of woodwork or furniture.

    Teak oil is commonly used for,

    • Cabinets
    • Cupboards
    • Window panels
    • Doors
    • Desks and chairs
    • Bed frames
    • Outdoor garden beds
    • Patio
    • Boxes and crates

    It dries hard and gives better protection and an excellent rich dark appearance than many other finishes available in the stores.

    How Many Coats of Teak Oil Should You Use?

    Apply a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 coats of Teak oil until you get the best output from wood furniture.

    But this can depend on the type of wood you’re going to use and the type of manufacturer of Teak oil because its composition varies with manufacturers.

    When you apply more coats of Teak oil the finish will get even darker and difficult to dry.

    Therefore, better planning to achieve the maximum outcome within a maximum of 4 coats.

    Can You Apply Teak Oil on Cedar?

    Yes, Teak oil works great on Cedar. It gives an enhanced natural look to cedar wood with an excellent protective coating that protects cedar wood furniture and woodwork from environmental elements such as UV light, climate changes, water damage, and much more.

    Apply Teak oil on sanded cedar wood surface along the direction of the wood grain using lint free rag or bristle brush.

    Let the Teak oil coatings dry completely on Cedar before using it. Apply 2 – 4 Teak oil coats on cedar wood to get an awesome protective finish.

    Can You Apply Teak Oil on Pine?

    Never apply Teak oil on pine since pine is a porous wood that soaks up a high amount of Teak oil.

    Pine is a softwood that requires more than 7 coats of Teak oil or even more to get a good finish.

    Therefore, using Teak oil on pine is not cost-effective and waste of time and money.

    Danish oil, tung oil, and linseed oil work well on pine. Therefore, better to use those oil finishes instead of Teak oil.

    Teak oil may turn pine wood into a grey color and destroy its natural look. Therefore, Teak oil can be the worst option when it comes to pine wood finishing.

    Can You Use Teak Oil on Acacia Wood?

    Teak oil works well on acacia wood. Teak oil penetrates well into acacia wood fibers and makes a walnut-colored finish with excellent protection from UV light, moisture, and other elements.

    Even though Teak oil doesn’t waterproof acacia wood, it makes the wood water resistant and prevents wood from water damage.

    This is useful for indoor and outdoor acacia wood furniture and woodwork.

    Can You Use Teak Oil Over Stain?

    Yes, you can use Teak oil over the stain, but Teak oil works better on bare untreated or unstained wood.

    Teak oil penetrates through wood fibers better on untreated woods and stained wood may block Teak oil penetration resulting in a less protective coating.

    Therefore, sand down the stained surface first and then apply Teak oil. With Teak oil you can get a darker color and with additional protection rather than using wood stain to make the wood darker.

    Can You Wax Over Teak Oil?

    Yes, you can apply wax over Teak oil but wait for at least 72 hours until the Teak oil coat is dry. Wax protects wood from rotting and aging.

    But generally, I don’t recommend applying wax over Teak oil since wax attracts dust and reduces the Teak oil finish appearance.

    Plus, wax doesn’t hold well on Teak oil and you’ll have to wait for so long until the Teak oil surface is completely dry to apply wax.

    Dining table finished with teak oil
    Dining table finished with teak oil

    So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.


    What is teak oil?

    Teak oil is a blend of oils, often linseed and tung, designed to penetrate, protect, and beautify hard and dense woods, particularly teak. It’s frequently used for outdoor furniture, boat decks, and other items exposed to the elements.

    How often should I reapply teak oil?

    Depending on exposure conditions, teak oil generally needs reapplication every few months to a year, ensuring the wood remains protected and maintains its aesthetic appeal.

    Can teak oil be used on woods other than teak?

    Absolutely! Though formulated for teak, it’s effective on other hard and dense woods, imbuing them with a rich, warm glow and protection.

    Does teak oil act as a wood sealer?

    While teak oil does penetrate and offer some protection against moisture, it’s not a complete sealer, and wood treated with it can still absorb water if submerged or exposed to prolonged moisture.

    Are there any health concerns associated with teak oil?

    Teak oil can emit fumes that are potentially harmful if inhaled in large amounts; it’s crucial to use it in well-ventilated areas and to avoid direct skin contact.

    How does teak oil fare against synthetic finishes?

    While synthetic finishes might offer greater durability and protection against certain elements, teak oil provides a more natural look and feel, letting the wood’s true character shine through.

    Does teak oil protect against termites and pests?

    Teak oil is primarily for aesthetic and moisture protection; it doesn’t offer significant protection against wood-boring pests or termites.

    What is the ideal method of applying teak oil?

    For best results, apply teak oil with a clean cloth, rubbing in the direction of the grain, ensuring even coverage; after it soaks in, wipe away excess and allow ample time for drying.

    Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Teak Oil Advantages and Disadvantages

    In this article, I’ve deeply discussed Teak oil advantages and disadvantages in detail by taking each topic to the stage.

    Most of the disadvantages can be minimized by following the correct methods of applying and keeping your Teak oil finished furniture in safer areas during harsh weather conditions.

    Teak oil enhances the wood’s appearance by preserving its natural color and grain. It provides protection against moisture and UV rays. However, it requires frequent reapplication, may darken wood over time, and doesn’t offer complete sealing or significant protection against pests.

    Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about Teak oil as well.

    Hope you have gained good knowledge about Teak oil advantages and disadvantages in detail.

    Apply Teak oil on your next woodworking project and see how it makes a difference.

    Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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