How To Best Paint A Teak Bench


A teak bench, or indeed any other piece of teak furniture, is a great investment and will look fantastic indoors, outdoors, or wherever some extra seating is needed. The Class 1 hardwood is extremely durable and long-lasting, while its color can range from a light straw to richer, deeper hues. That being said, almost anyone you ask will tell you the same thing: Do not paint a teak bench. However, sometimes if the wood is old, scratched up or has fallen into disrepair, painting is the best and only option left. If you do decide to break out the brush, make sure you do it right. A botched paint job will have wood looking worse than when you started with it.

In addition to covering up the natural grain and tone of the wood, painting teak benches is discouraged because teak is one type of wood that is notoriously difficult to paint. That is because the wood produces a natural oil, which on the one hand preserves and protects it from splitting, fungus and insects, but on the other hand makes it hard for paint and stains to stick to the exterior.

If you’re starting out with a surface that is already finished, clean the wood off using mineral spirits to remove any grease, wax or residue. If, on the other hand, you decide to strip the wood of its finish, you will have to clean the wood with acetone to remove the teak’s natural oils; otherwise primers and paints will not adhere correctly. Next, use a scotchbrite pad or light sandpaper to smooth the surface. After the wood is clean and even, apply a primer, like Zinsser 123. Allow the primer to set, usually for about a day, and then proceed to the paint. Stick with certified outdoor latex paints like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore for best results. Semi-gloss or gloss paints work especially well to repel dirt. Apply one even coat to teak benches. Once that has dried, apply a second layer. Applying less than two coats will result in weaker color, and depending how much of the second coat is absorbed by the wood, you may be able to get away with a third coat.

Even if you follow all of the necessary precautions, the results of painting a teak bench can be disappointing. Because of the high oil content, the paint you apply, no matter how conscientiously, could eventually lead to peeling and scarring of the wood. Before making a go of it, it would be wise to consult a specialist at your local furniture or outdoors store who can best recommend the right products.

If you are lucky, painting a teak bench can breathe new life into otherwise old and dilapidated furniture. There is also the added benefit with paint of being able to match furniture pieces to your décor and color scheme. In conclusion, the question of “to paint or not to paint” depends on your furniture. New teak furniture really should not be painted. You are already paying more for the specific type of wood, and its grain and color are two of its main selling points. For new furniture, simply use a sealant once to twice a year. Because of its natural oils, a teak bench will continue to look great on its own with little maintenance.

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Source by Tonya Kerniva