Teak wood comes from deciduous trees and it is one of the most valuable timbers on the market. It was used in India for over 2,000 years and is still used today to make chairs, hardwood, window frames, Venetian blinds, and outdoor furniture. It's known for being very durable. Temples made out of teak wood over a thousand years ago in South East and South Asia are still standing in decent condition today.
The heartwood of the tree where teak comes from is also naturally termite resistant and doesn't change colors or warp when it comes in contact with different metals, which adds to its longevity and durability. Not all woods stain the same way and since teak is a valuable wood, it's important to make sure it's ready to be stained.
Teak wood also does not return to it's original golden brown color once stained so it is best to be meticulous when staining the wood. If the teak is aged and has turned a silver-gray color it must be sanded before being stained.
Prepping the Wood
Check the wood and make sure there aren't nails or anything else sticking out that may get in the way of an even finish. After doing that, clean the wood and make sure that it's dried completely. When it's completely dry, fill in any scratches or open wood grain with a wood filler to create a smooth appearance. This step is optional and depends on how you want the finished product to look. Teak wood has a naturally smooth surface, and some people prefer to allow wood grain to show as much as possible for a more natural look.
To use a wood filler, buy one that matches the color of the unstained teak as closely as possible. Smooth it over any scratched or grainy areas with a putty knife. Sand the furniture using 120 grit sandpaper on any rough areas. Follow that with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the entire piece.
Sealing the Wood
Paint a thick layer of sanding sealer over the furniture. Allow it to soak into the teak for a few minutes before wiping off any extra sealer with a rag. The sealer will help the stain go on more evenly. Allow the sealer to dry completely before staining the teak furniture.
Brush a layer of stain onto the furniture. The stain color gets darker the longer it is allowed to sit on the furniture. Wipe off any extra stain that does not soak in, and allow the stain to dry completely. If the stained color is not dark enough, add another layer after the first one dries.
Apply a finish after staining the furniture with an oil-based or water-based stain. Stains tint the wood but do not offer much protection. A layer of finish will help hold in the stain color and prevent it from fading in high-wear spots. Oil finishes look the most natural but do not protect the wood as much as other stains. Polyurethane finishes are very strong and can withstand water. Lacquer finishes are durable and attractive, but they require several coats with sanding in between each application.
When choosing a stain type, consider the stain color and the benefits and drawbacks to different stain types. Oil-based stains do not raise the wood grain like water-based stains can, but they also have stronger fumes than water-based stains, which are more environmentally friendly but may raise the wood grain slightly as they soak into the teak.
Both of these types of stain require a coat of finish after staining. Some types of stain are really tinted finishes and do not require an additional coat of finish after staining. However, one-step stain and finish combos are more likely to show brush marks and color the wood unevenly.
Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.