03 Oct 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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!