How to Identify and Restore Teak Wood

How to Identify and Restore Teak Wood

Since our last post/flip, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about teak wood. Mainly how to identify and restore teak wood. I am sure it has sparked an interest in many because the ROI on this teak patio set was 2,500%! We spent $100 on a set of 4 chairs, a love seat, 4 bar stools and a table that we found on Offer Up. That probably sounds so low for all of that furniture, but check out the condition it was in when I went to go look at it.

restore teak wood

It was not much to look at, and looked like it was rotten wood on it’s last life.  But once I saw this listing I wondered if it was teak wood, so I had to check it out.

restore teak wood

Why did it matter if it was teak or not? Because teak wood is basically a weather-proof wood. Water doesn’t hurt and damage it like it does other wood over time, and for that reason it’s used in a lot of boats. I am a boat guy, which is how I was familiar with this wood. I knew I could restore the set nicely if it was indeed teak, and when I got there – it was!

How to Identify Teak Wood

There are several things that sets teak wood apart from other kinds of wood. Two of the biggest identifiers are how dense it is and how heavy it is.

When you first walk up to a piece of teak furniture, it looks like it’s going to be light to pick up because it’s fairly porous, but that isn’t the case. It is very dense and very heavy.

Check out this detailed article from the wood database with all the specifications of what make up teak wood.

I recently found a piece of furniture on Offer Up that I thought might be teak (a different one than the one pictured above), and when I arrived it was very light and easy to pick up so I knew it wasn’t the teak I was looking for. It can be hard to tell in pictures alone, but in person you should be able to tell the difference.

How to Restore Teak Wood

I really enjoyed this past flip because it’s a lot of fun to see something go from worn out looking  to fresh and new with a little elbow grease. This project didn’t take a ton of time, and it’s fairly simple to restore teak wood.

Step 1. Pressure Wash

If you find a piece that looks old and faded like these pieces, the first thing you want to do it pressure wash it. This will remove all the mold and grime on the furniture, which will leave you with a nice clean piece of wood. Here is an example of the chair when I was in the middle of pressure washing it. restore teak wood

Look at the difference in the wood! You are getting all that old junk off and it’s like new underneath it.

Check out these two bar stools- one is pressure washed and one isn’t yet.

restore teak wood

Just slightly different right?? It’s amazing how hardy this wood is.

An alternative to pressure washing is to use a teak cleaner and a teak scrubber. If you don’t have a pressure washer, or access to one, then this is another option. It will take a little more time and work, but it will clean the mold and grime off too, and leave you with the nice wood to work with.

Once your piece is pressure washed/cleaned it’s ready for the next step.

Step 2. Use Teak Oil

In the pictures above, it almost looks like the furniture pieces don’t even need oil. They look great how they are after the washing. But, they are still wet in the pictures and once they dry they don’t have the vibrant color anymore. They are a brown color instead of a grey, just not as deep of a brown as they would be if they were oiled. So we oiled them using teak oil.  At first, Melissa bought a stain that was horrible to use. It was so sticky! Stick to the oil, that’s all you should really need to liven it up.

Here are the 4 bar stools after they are oiled:

restore teak wood


Step 3. Repeat Step 2 as Many Times as Necessary

The teak wood will absorb the oil fairly quickly if it has been sitting for a long time with no care. You may need to use 3-4 coats in some cases.

This picture below was after 2 coats of oil, we added one more coat after this one.

restore teak wood

Whether you are looking to restore teak wood furniture for yourself, or restoring it to flip, the process is fairly simple. The toughest part is moving it around as it’s pretty heavy like we discussed. Be sure to have help moving it if you get any large pieces. 🙂

If you are here because you love flipping furniture, then teak is always a great one to look for. It’s an expensive wood because it’s so durable. We bought this entire set for $100 from offer up and sold it all for $2,200! (Which is still half of what it’s worth).  I quoted $400 for shipping and since the buyer lived only 2 hours away, I drove it to him myself for about $100 in gas. So I made another $300 for my time to deliver it.

Here is a pic’ of me packaging it up to ship out.

restore teak wood

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We Want to Hear From YOU!

Have you ever taken on a project to restore teak wood? How did it turn out? Did you keep it or resell it? Comment below!

Related Posts

How We Made $2,100 from one $50 Offer Up purchase

How We made $4,729 Profit From One Month of Flipping Flea Market Items

How to Package and Ship Large Items for eBay



Rob Stephenson
[email protected]

I grew up in Central Florida and have lived here my whole life. I first got into buying and selling items when I was 16 years old, and have been hooked ever since. It has mostly been a hobby that makes some extra cash, but sometimes it serves as my main income as well. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I find too many fun toys for my family (or myself), and just love the whole process.

  • Jim Ryan
    Posted at 03:54h, 16 December Reply

    What an awesome find and flip!
    It really is amazing how teak can come back to life with a little cleaning and treatment.
    It’s too bad more people don’t know about this (but I guess good for you since they didn’t realize how much their old stuff was worth).

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 22:26h, 20 December Reply

      You are right Jim! It looks so beaten down when it sits for awhile. But there is a lot of life in it once you can make it pretty again. 🙂

  • Paul S
    Posted at 14:37h, 22 October Reply

    Loving these posts, Rob. Inspiring me to want to try this kind of thing!

    I know of course one can small and scale up, but looks like you’ve got a lot of tools at your disposal now. For the shipping part – is that a forklift you have in the background? And do you have a really big truck already, or did you rent a big U-Haul or something?

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 09:59h, 31 October Reply

      Hey Paul! I do have a forklift and a truck now. But I don’t use the forklift for shipping most things freight. And I definitely didn’t start with these! Just picture buying a nordic track machine and fitting it into a mustang convertible…. that is how I started. haha! When people want top scale up a small 4 x 8 trailer is all you really need for some of the larger things. No need to buy a truck for it when you are starting with large items.

  • John
    Posted at 06:46h, 13 August Reply

    I can’t believe the transformation that those pieces of furniture had, I know I’ll be tackling my furniture in the garden to see if I can find any hidden gems.

    Do you suggest a certain power range for a pressure washer to get these types of results? or will any old pressure washer do, I have one which I use to wash my car, hopefully that’ll do the job!

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 20:48h, 13 August Reply

      That should probably work! The one we used was 1725 PSI. You don’t want to use too much because it can damage the wood.

  • Filip
    Posted at 05:25h, 13 June Reply

    Hi great project. Love the outcome. Is using a sanding paper recommended if some moldy spots don’t come off? or it can damage the furniture? Thanks

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 22:23h, 19 June Reply

      Hi Filip! Usually a pressure washer will take most of the mold off. Sanding should be ok on spots too. It’s a very course wood so it won’t cause damage to it.

  • living room Eastern Pennsylvania
    Posted at 07:04h, 02 December Reply

    That’s pretty awesome. I really love rustic style furniture.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher
    Posted at 11:18h, 05 October Reply

    I had no idea about teak restoration; thanks for sharing these tips! Gotta keep my eyes peeled for teak now…

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 07:59h, 06 October Reply

      You’re welcome! Happy to help! 🙂 It really is a great wood to find.

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