Caring for Teak

Caring for Teak –

Teak does not need to be protected. It is truly a unique wood that if left in its natural state, is virtually maintenance-free. Teak can be left outside year round, surviving even the most extreme weather conditions. There really is no other wood that has the same unique set of properties as teak, making it the gold standard for outdoor furniture (as well as sailboats).

Over time untreated Teak furniture which is exposed to the sun will patina and turn a beautiful silvery, grey color. This process is purely cosmetic and does not harm the strength or quality of the wood in any way. Many people prefer to leave their teak furniture “bare” and let it age gracefully. There is nothing wrong with this choice; in fact the graying is actually a protective skin on top of the wood. If you decide to go this route, it is not a permanent decision. You can always decide later to remove the gray by cleaning your teak furniture with SEMCO Teak Cleaners.

However, If your goal is to preserve the natural honey color of your teak furniture or to darken the color of the wood, we recommend using a SEMCO Teak Sealer. Semco Teak Sealers contains UV protection to inhibit the sun from graying the furniture as well as a mildewcide to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the surface of your furniture. Semco Teak Sealers can be applied to new teak or old teak furniture after it has been cleaned with Semco Teak Cleaner.

Applying the preservative couldn’t be simpler. On the first application, allow the wood to stand in the sun for a week or two to allow the wood grain to open. Spray on a coat of teak sealer and rub it in with a rag. Apply two coats in this manner, getting all surfaces, top, bottom, sides and between any slats. Be sure to protect the area underneath the furniture with a drop cloth or newsprint. After the first application, reapply teak sealer every year by cleaning the wood with mild detergent and water and spraying and rubbing in a coat only on the surfaces that get sun.

After your furniture is sealed, very little care is needed to preserve the finish. Occasional washing with soap and water will remove normal soil. Oils from foods, wine, coffee and some condiments will penetrate the Sealer and may leave a stain. If you discover that this is a problem with your furniture, you may wish to add SEMCO Clear Coat to the table top to improve stain resistance.

Regency Teak does not recommend using a varnish or water sealer on any Teak furniture. Products such as varnish and polyurethane will peel and chip and are all but impossible to remove without vigorous sanding. Teak is protected by its own natural oils that migrate to the surface of the wood and make the wood virtually impervious to water.

Regency Teak does not recommend oiling teak furniture. First off, the wood already has all the natural oil it needs in the wood. But more importantly, oiling your teak will not prevent the wood from graying, unless you continue to sand and re-apply the oil every season, thereby creating lots of unnecessary maintenance and hassle. Adding oil to teak will also very often result in mold and mildew growing on your furniture (which looks like black spots) that will require washing your furniture with bleach and soap followed by a rigorous sanding to remove.

To preserve the natural honey color of the wood, and protect the teak from weathering and stains follow the steps outlined in the “How do I apply Semco Teak Sealers?”

To clean weathered teak, we offer SEMCO Two Part Teak Cleaner. This product is easy to use and will produce dramatic results. To clean the teak with SEMCO simply remove the piece from any finished surface or remove any items that might be affected by the cleaning process. SEMCO teak cleaner will not hurt the lawn or fiberglass but it may damage painted surfaces or stain a patio, always wear rubber gloves and goggles when using this cleaner. Using a hose, wet the wood thoroughly and be sure to allow plenty of water to flow where the rinse water will run. Open the applicator lid of the Red Part 1 cleaner and squirt onto a small area. It is best to work on a small area at a time, overlapping each area and working from top to bottom, not allowing the cleaner to dry on the wood. Scrub the Part 1 with a Scotch Brite pad or a soft bristle brush, the wood will turn a deep brown color. Rinse thoroughly, then apply the Green Part 2 to the same area and scrub in the same fashion, the wood will then turn much lighter. Finally rinse the area thoroughly with water, the teak should appear obviously lighter and cleaner, if any stains remain repeat the process. The wood will lighten further as it dries.SEMCO Two Part Teak Cleaner will remove teak oils, food stains, the residue of varnish, and SEMCO Teak Sealer. Any solid surface coating like varnish must be removed before using Two Part Cleaner. Never use a brass brush or a pressure washer to clean teak, these methods will scour the soft grain of the wood causing a rough and splintery surface. Never use steel wool to clean teak because it will produce rust spots in the wood. Brass wool is acceptable but a Scotch Brite Pad is the best tool to clean teak.

Some common Questions about caring for your Teak furniture are addressed below:

How do I clean my Teak Furniture?
Occasional washing with soap and water will remove normal soil.
Oils from foods, wine, coffee and some condiments will penetrate the wood and even sealer and may leave a stain that will require the use of SEMCO Teak Cleaners. If you discover that this is a problem with your furniture, you may wish to add SEMCO Clear Coat to the table tops to improve stain resistance.

Cleaning General Soil
1. Use a mild detergent such as dish soap and a sponge or soft scrub brush to wash the furniture as needed.
2. Never use a pressure washer or steel wool on teak furniture. These items will damage or discolor the surface of the wood.
3. Food stains or other soil or stains that are not removed by this process can be removed by using SEMCO Teak Cleaner as described in the Restoring section.

How do you apply Semco Teak Sealers?

Applying a sealer is not difficult, but it is time-consuming, especially the first time you do it. If it’s new furniture it should ideally be left outdoors for two weeks to allow the grain to open and the sawdust to blow away.
We recommend two coats for the first application of sealer. You’ll need to cover every area and between all the slats. This is what takes the time but then annual or semi-annual maintenance is much quicker because you only need to apply the sealer in the areas exposed directly to the sun, and you can put it right on top of the old sealer. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean the furniture before sealing it.
To re-apply a sealer on teak furniture, clean with soap and water, let dry and apply sealer right over the old preservative. You can even spray it on and wipe it smooth with a cloth.
If your furniture is already weathered and gray you’ll first need to use SEMCO Cleaner to get back to the natural wood.
Specific steps to applying Semco Teak Sealer:
1. Be sure the wood has weathered two weeks or has been washed and is completely dry before sealing. (See the can label for complete directions.) It is okay for the wood to get wet and be outdoors during this period.
2. Apply the sealer using a plastic spray bottle, foam brush or rag. Apply liberally and wipe off the excess with a rag. SEMCO Teak Sealer is not a sticky finish and can be applied at almost any temperature. There is no need to be concerned about brush strokes or lap marks. The first coat will dry in under an hour.
3. Apply a second coat when the first coat is completely dry. Be sure to apply both coats in the same day. The furniture will be dry to the touch in a few hours and can be placed in service the next day. Two coats are all that are recommended for new or restored furniture.

Enjoy your furniture, knowing that is protected by the finest teak protection available.

If I choose to use a Semco Teak Sealer, what do I need to do to maintain it?

Previously sealed teak should be resealed on an occasional basis to compensate for traffic and environmental wear and tear. The length of time that the finish lasts is more a function of wear and tear than of time. Typically once or twice a year is sufficient for residential applications away from salt air. When the color fades and water dashed on the surface soaks right in, it is time to recoat.
Here’s how:
1. Clean the teak with mild detergent to remove and soil.
2. Wet the wood with a hose.
3. Use a Scotch Brite pad or a soft scrub brush to gently clean the surface of the wood with a mild detergent such as dish soap.

Never use a pressure washer or steel wool on teak furniture. These items will damage or discolor the surface of the wood.
If any stains or soil remain, sand lightly with fine sandpaper to remove the mark. If this method does not remove a stain you may have to use the Semco Cleaner (link to-How do I restore Teak?)
Ensure that the wood is completely dry before applying the Sealer.
Apply a single coat of sealer using a plastic spray bottle, foam brush or rag. Apply liberally and wipe off the excess with a rag. One coat should be sufficient to recoat most applications.

What about Clear Coat?
To (re)apply Clear Coat, sand lightly and then apply a light coat with a brush or rag. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second light coat. Allow to dry completely before placing back in service.

How do I restore Teak that has aged and turned gray or is badly stained?
If your furniture has been allowed to weather or is stained by food or other marks or if you wish to remove the Teak Sealer and start again, SEMCO Teak Cleaner will restore the wood to like new condition.
When teak is exposed to the elements without finish, has been oiled or is stained with food or other stains the surface becomes dirty gray and mildew often develops. SEMCO Two-Part Teak Cleaner removes the effects of mildew, weathering and food and water stains.
Clean at any time during the life of the furniture when cleaning back to the original unfinished wood is desired. It is not recommended that this type of cleaning be employed on a regular basis as it may contribute to the wood becoming rougher over time.
Here’s how…
1. Wet the wood with a hose and keep the wood wet during the entire process.
2. Apply Part 1 Cleaner to a small area at a time.
3. Use a Scotch Brite pad or soft scrub brush to scrub the area.
4. Rinse if necessary to remove debris and keep wet.
5. Apply the Part 2 Cleaner to the same area and scrub lightly with a soft brush or clean Scotch Brite pad.
6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 on the next small area. Work on a small area at a time working from top to bottom. Larger areas can be worked by using a garden type sprayer to apply the cleaners.
7. Rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat the process on any stubborn stains. The wood will lighten as it dries.
8. Read and follow complete directions on the Cleaner bottles.

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