Should you oil your new teak furniture?

We sell quite a few pieces of garden furniture that are made from teak, or have some part of them from teak. Many of our customers ask us if they should treat the wood in any way. We have done a bit of research into this, so here is what we have learned.

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Outdoors, teak will become silver with time. This has no effect on its life span, as the wood is preserved by its density, and high concentration of natural oils. Teak can be outside all year round, but if you have a garage or shed that is ventilated and dry, of course it will protect it from the elements for the wettest months of the year, and this will have some effect on its appearance and the duration of its life. However, outdoors it will last many years, and various factors such as humidity, sunlight etc will have some effect on it too.

If you prefer the rich golden colour, you may want to consider treating the wood with teak oil, which will need to be done before the wood has much chance to weather outdoors. The downside of this is that this job will need to be done each year, and the surface will need to be sanded before applying each year. 

Basically, the world seems divided about whether or not to treat teak furniture. If you google the term 'caring for teak' you will get both sides of the argument, with no conclusion. Personally, Howbert & Mays have left their teak furniture untreated outdoors, 365 days per year, because we like the silver colour and the beautiful texture it develops.... and we don't want to be locked into a cycle of annual maintenance. But we leave the ultimate decision to our customers. The one bit of advice we are sure about: if you do choose to treat teak, then go to a good paint shop where you will get proper advice and come home with the right product.