We hope you guys had the most amazing long weekend filled with fun in the sun with friends and family and max relaxation! Memorial Day weekend serves as the unofficial kickoff to summer, and it’s in that spirit that we bring your today’s post all about restoring your beloved teak furniture because… outdoor living season has arrived and it’s time to take this party outside, people!
You may remember our post a few weeks ago about our makeover plan for my sister’s beat old outdoor chaise lounge chairs and her backyard patio space. To recap, we’re giving said chaise lounge chairs a much needed face lift with some beautiful new cushions courtesy of Calico Corners, but before those gorgeous new cushions come home to live with my sis, the actual teak chairs themselves needed some love, too. Some serious love, as you can see.
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So my mom and I decided to tackle restoring these teak chaise lounge chairs to their former glory, and we thought we’d walk you guys through how we did it and what we learned, so all of you outdoor teak furniture owners out there can stop crying into your rum punch every time you see the teak you poured so much of your hard-earned cash into sitting there like a stain on your happiness (pun totally intended) and finally enjoy your outdoor living space again!
Sanding & Post-Sanding
Over time, as teak is exposed to the elements it naturally changes color from that honey color you see on new teak to a silver-grey patina which is apparently an indication of finely aged outdoor teak. Pretty sweet, right? It’s one of the things a lot of people love so much about teak! That grey, driftwood-like color is so beachy and beautiful, so don’t be scuuurred of it because it doesn’t affect the durability or the integrity of the wood itself. And teak is seriously durable — one of the most durable woods on the planet to be exact which is why it’s perfect for outdoor use.
Yes, you can treat teak with teak oil about every 3 months, but that doesn’t maintain the integrity of the teak and you’re essentially just using it to maintain the honey color, but as you can see in these pics, simply cleaning the teak can actually restore some of that honey color on its own, if that’s what you’re into. But teak ages so gracefully and beautifully, we weren’t really wanting to get the teak totally back to it’s original honey color — we absolutely love the grey patina that has shown up in places on these chairs and wanted to maintain that naturally aged color in this process.
And a lot of people actually seem to recommend against using oil-based products on your teak for a few reasons, one of which is that teak already naturally contains an abundance of oils that protect it from the elements like weather of all kinds, termites and rot, so adding more oil-based “protectants” is unnecessary, which is what a lot of those oil-based products claim to be. What’s more, adding oil-based products to teak could apparently cause your teak to dry out and the wood to subsequently weaken, and it could also cause a buildup of mildew and mold. Yuck. And it’s for those reasons that we decided to stay away from any oil-based treatments while restoring these lounge chairs. To each his own, but that’s just how we decided to roll.
So what was our approach? The wood was splintering slightly in certain places, so that needed to be fixed for comfort purposes. Splinters suck! Also, in some places the wood had taken on a more black/dark greenish hue instead of that beautifully aged grey color we talked about, which didn’t look so awesome and looked especially weird in contrast with the still-honey-colored parts of the chair that had been protected by the previous cushions. The contrast was yikes, so we needed to even it all out and lift the black so that aged grey color could come through, which we’d achieve through simply cleaning the chairs with teak cleaner which I listed in the “Supplies” section below.
You’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks to see the fully updated chairs with their beautiful new cushions, but this is what the chair frames themselves look like post-restoration! Not bad, right? I have to admit, my mom really steered the ship on this one and researched… a lot… to craft our restoration approach, so shout out to Anna Miller who’s a total boss when it comes to tackling projects like this. On another family note, yes, my 3-year-old nephew Greyson who is the least camera-shy tiny human I’ve ever met totally had to get in the pictures again and obviously, I love it. He did lend a hand in moving and “sanding” the chairs so it’s appropriate that he gets to show off his handy work!
And without further ado, here are all the supplies plus the step by step process for how we restored this outdoor teak furniture!
Teak Furniture Restoration Supplies
Golden Care Teak Wood Cleaner (a water-based product)
How To to Restore Teak Furniture
1. Using your finishing sander and 150-grit sandpaper, sand your furniture in the direction of the grain. We used 150-grit because we didn’t need to get crazy with the sanding due to the fact that we aren’t refinishing the furniture. As you can see from the pics, a little sanding does so much for the color, so we sanded any areas that were rough or splintering, and sanded until the worst parts of the greenish-black color were turned to that lighter grey. Super simple!
2. Post-sanding, wipe your furniture down with a wet soft cloth to get all of the dust off. Standard operation for any sanding job. You can also spray them with a hose if you want to be quick. Normally I don’t recommend that after sanding, but you’ll see why it’s OK in the next few steps.
3. Make sure you lay a large tarp down and set your teak furniture on top. You want to protect whatever you’re cleaning these on from any surface discoloration, etc. that the cleaner could cause.
4. Completely wet the teak furniture. Yep — spray it all down with a hose.
5. While wearing your rubber gloves (and they also recommend safety glasses), shake your bottle of Golden Care Teak Wood Cleaner. It’s a water-based product so it won’t harm your wood or affect the integrity and it’s awesome. Apply your cleaner to a microfiber sponge and work it into the wood in the direction of the grain. Basically, scrub-a-dub-dub, people! The furniture needs to stay wet throughout this process so make sure you have more water close by and re-wet as needed! Let the teak cleaner set in for 3 minutes when you’re done.
6. Once your 3 minutes is up, rub the teak clean using the scouring pad provided with the teak cleaner in the direction of the grain. Some gunk may slough off of the furniture and your sponge may turn that dark green color in the process.
7. Once you’re done cleaning, rinse the furniture thoroughly with a sponge or hose until you don’t see any soapy residue and voila! We used a hose to make it a quicker job — do not use a high pressure hose. And you’re done!