What is the best way to restore outdoor teak furniture to the original or better looking color? Teak is so beautiful when it has not been weathered. But after a few years in the rain and sun, it just turns grey and gets very rough. The wood is still in very good shape, not damaged at all, just weathered in color and texture. You can see in the second picture on the base of the table, the original color as it is not exposed to the elements.

I suppose the best thing to do is sand it all down, and then apply teak oil to it. But that would be very time consuming to sand between each piece of wood for the style we have. Do you think power washing it would give it a light sand? What about staining it to just get it to a nice color, even if it is not the natural color? Anything other than this ugly grey would be good.

Basically, I am trying to balance the time and energy it would take with what it will take to make it look a little better. Any other options to make it look and feel a little better?

In hind sight, i would never buy teak again. We spent all this money to have basically maintenance free composite decking, and now we have to deal with!

UPDATE: After the answer below and some other research, I have come to the realization that short of a good sanding, you can't get it back to the original color. Rather than restoring it to the original looks, could we stain (and then seal it) to a dark color to make it look better? Would I just use a typical deck stain, or something special for harder woods?

teak chair teak table with original color

4 Answers 4


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no magic solution you can spray on and restore the original beauty. As an owner or an older Carver with lots of teak, the only solution is to sand it down. We solved the every year restoral ritual by using Seatrol medium sealer by Sikens. (found in marine stores) Couple of coats of this stuff and your teak will look good for years.

  • thats what i was afraid of. Rather than restoring it to the original looks, could we stain (and then seal it) to a dark color to make it look better? Would I just use a typical deck stain, or something special for harder woods?
    – mohlsen
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 11:32
  • 1
    problem is that any color stain over dark gray would not come out true as the color of the stain. Paints don't stick to teak well at all. You could use any good oil based stain and an outdoor sealer. But you may still want to look at the Seatrol I mentioned in original answer. very expensive, but works great on teak. Comes in light and dark, color and a nice semi-gloss finish in one step. Commented May 23, 2011 at 13:32
  • I forgot to mention, if you are going to go the stain or Seatrol route, you can lighten the dark gray with a mixture of bleach, TSP, and water. This will bleach out most of the gray and give you a lighter starting base for your new stain color. Spray or sponge it on, let it set for a few minutes (don't let it dry), then scrub it down with a stiff brush and rinse well. You can repeat this procedure until you have lightened the teak . Experiment on the bottom or place that isn't seen easily, so you have a good idea how the rest will react. Then let it dry out well and go for the restain. Commented May 23, 2011 at 13:42

I used a palm sander to take down the grey and smooth the grain on my outdoor table. Then I brushed on a teak oil. It came out beautifully.


I use a 2 step wood wash which I spray on after getting the bench damp with a fast mist.I let it sit for about 15 minutes and then work over the area with a medium bristle boat brush which scrubs the top grey layer right off,leaving the original lighter colour.A very good rinse and a good overnight rest to dry out the bench leaves it ready to accept stain in the morning.I prefer the "Min-Wax" brand found in Home Depot & Rona etc. I apply liberally with a brush and then work it in with a thick rag. I usually repeat this a couple times with 2-3 hours between applications. The bench should "rest" for a couple days before being brought into use. I have also applied a top coat of varathane or aerosol "liquid plastic@ to seal for high traffic pedestrian-intense areas such as parks and apartment complexes.Just make sure the sealer product you use has some UV protection,or you'll be sanding and top-coating annually! There will be "character" sections in your benches that accept less stain...usually on heavy grain and knotty areas,but that's part of the natural beauty of the material. 😎👍


I have power washed my teak and it takes off the gray, putting teak oil on after it looks great. however I did not take the next step and seal it and the gray came back. Next time I will muster the energy and patience to seal it as well

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.