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Teak Oil vs Teak Sealer: Which Is the Best for Your Outdoor Furniture?


Your new teak furniture looks great! Its rich, golden color makes a beautiful addition to your patio or backyard. However, it needs a little help from you to stay this way. A common question from teak owners, when they reach this step, is whether they should be using oil or sealer to finish their furniture. It is important to understand what each does before choosing one for your teak. We’ve laid out all you need to know below.

What is Teak Wood?

Teak is a tropical hardwood tree species that is best known for its impressive durability and water resistance. It has a high natural oil content, primarily silica, which provides its strength and decay resistance as well as its stunning color. Because of this, teak can be left untouched and still remain uniquely beautiful. If exposed to sunlight, it will become weathered and will turn a beautiful silver-gray color over time. Though some teak owners prefer this rugged look, if you’re not one of these people, you’ll want to apply a finish.

Read on to learn more about oil vs sealer and which one you should be using to finish your teak furniture. (Spoiler alert, it’s oil!)

watco teak oil
We recommend Watco Teak Oil to all our clients!

Teak Oil

A common misconception is that the teak oil sold in stores is oil that has been extracted from teak trees. It is actually made up of a combination of linseed oils, tung oils, varnishes, and/or thinners. It’s referred to as teak oil because it's meant to be used on teak furniture.

Applying an oil finish to your teak furniture will “feed” the wood, giving it a dazzling golden glow. This will protect your wood from any stains and give it another layer of protection.

Teak Oil is a great way to add another layer of protection to your furniture and bring out the figure in the wood. It can be a great option for many!


This brings us to what seems like the obvious choice: sealer. Unlike oils, sealers don’t “feed” the teak wood, but rather they seal in its existing oil. Besides providing your wood with a healthy-looking finish and a tint of your choosing—clear, natural, honey, gold, or brown—sealers offer the following benefits:

UV Protection

UV radiation from the sun carbonizes teak’s natural oils over time. This is what leads to the silver-gray color. Finishing your teak with sealer prevents this.

Mildew Protection

Though teak is more resistant to water damage than other kinds of wood, mildew can still accumulate on its surface. The sealer prevents mildew from growing on your teak.

Oxidation Protection

Exposure to air and sunlight will cause the oil in your teak furniture to evaporate and oxidize. Again, if you want the gray weathered look, do not apply a sealer and allow the teak to age naturally.

How to Apply Oil

  1. Leave your teak furniture exposed to direct sunlight for 2 weeks. This opens up the grain of the wood, allowing the oil to stick better when applied.

  2. Clean your teak. This can be done with a soft bristle brush and soapy water or a teak cleaning product. Let dry naturally before completing the next step.

  3. Apply Oil with a sponge, lint-free cloth, or hand-held pressure sprayer.

  4. Apply a second coat after the first has dried.

teak oil finish


As a reminder, teak sealer protects your furniture against UV, mildew, and oxidation. It also proves to be less maintenance while upholding and enhancing the beautiful color of your teak. Though oil will give your furniture a beautiful glow, it will not last, and its upkeep can become a pain. Overall, Oil is a great option for finishing your teak.

If you’re in the business for some new teak or have any questions about the wood, keep Diamond Tropical Hardwoods in mind! All of our beautiful teak is sustainably sourced from Costa Rica and 100% FSC certified. Read more here.


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