Our teak furniture, with its natural finish, never needs sealing or protecting, although it does require some maintenance. When left outdoors and exposed to the sun, teak weathers to a beautiful silver color. Although a teak sealer or wax is not necessary to extend the life of the furniture, it may be applied to achieve a distinctive brownish, un-weathered color. We do not suggest the use of teak oil on our high quality teak wood. Although you may have heard that teak oil is good for your furniture, it will not make your furniture last any longer.
We recently began recommending the application of “Teak Shield” especially on table top surfaces. Once the table surface has been cleaned, let the table sit outside for one week. Or, if you have recently purchased a table from Munder-Skiles, we recommend that you let your table sit outside for one week. After a week outside, clean off any dust or dirt residue and according to the labeled directions, apply “Teak Shield” to the wood. According to the Golden Care’s website information “Teak Shield” is designed to provide an almost invisible layer of protection on the surface of the wood that helps to prevent food stains such as coffee, ketchup, red wine and olive oil from penetrating into the wood. It also protects teak against moisture and adhesion of dirt and mildew growth. You must also keep in mind that whatever stains are on the table prior to using a “sealer” will remain underneath the finish that is applied. According to the manufacturer you should apply “Teak Shield” on a regular basis. This layer of protection will not stop the wood from turning a silver, weathered color.
First, start with Dry Brushing as that might be all you need. Teak furniture can be washed and cleaned by using a mixture of “Simple Green” (Environmentally friendly cleanser available at Home Depot, Lowe’s etc.), bleach and water. In a one gallon bucket combine 1 part “Simple Green” to 2 parts water and 1 cup of bleach. Using a medium bristle brush (no wire bristles), apply pressure to the wood and the same way you would if you were washing a luxury car. If there are darker stains or rings, these areas may need to be lightly sanded (Scotch Brite Pads also work well) to diminish their appearance. Once you have scrubbed the wood with the solution, rinse the furniture with water. Warning, do not power wash your furniture… a simple garden hose rinsing is best.
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Checking is a normal occurrence on teak furniture. It happens on exposed end grain, as this part of the wood is “open” to the environment. The end grain is actually a cross section of the ‘veins’ that transport water up and down the trunk of a tree. When new teak is exposed to the environment, the end grain continues to absorb and lose water depending on the temperature of the surrounding area. This causes the wood to expand and contract, which results in ‘checking’- small cracks or fissures in the surface of the wood.
Checking can change during the course of one day- in the morning when there is dew on the ground or after rainfall, the cracks may close. Later on in the day- if the weather is hot and dry- the cracks may open up again.
If the area you live in is experiencing a prolonged period of hot and dry weather, we recommend using a garden hose to get your new teak furniture thoroughly wet. This process should be repeated several times over the course of several days. This should help prevent checking.
If minor checking has already occurred on your furniture, you can choose to leave it as-is. After several months, the wood will settle and the checking should stabilize.
Should you wish to treat the checking, we suggest applying a completely inert (safe) wax called Anchorseal. This can be applied with a small paint brush on the exposed end grain. It is best to apply the wax in the morning, or after the furniture has been washed off well with a garden hose. The wax will keep moisture from escaping from the ends of boards. Simply leave the wax to dry on the wood; over time it will break down and wear off.