PAINTING TEAK FURNITURE, CONDITIONS, AND YEARLY UPDATES
January 22nd, 2017
We are writing this article to debunk or confirm the written facts teak can or cannot be painted. There is so much garbage out on the internet from people writing articles and claiming to be an expert. But what bothers me the most is people say, "don't paint teak", but have no supporting evidence. Sometimes I think articles on the internet are like a group of 10 people whispering information to the next person. With each passing story, the facts and opinions vary slightly. How many of you have visited one of those HOW-TO websites and said what garbage is this??
Here is a freshly painted teak wood c-grade bench. We sell the same bench on our site. We experimented with various painted colors. For our teak benches, we used a car enamel paint that was sprayed with a professional gun. Various types of paint and the technique will vary your results. For example, a brush will apply a lot more paint on the product than a spray. And since most of you will brush your teak bench, the amount of paint on the teak will be substantially more. What this means is this bench example has a thin layer of paint. It might look more professional, but the amount of paint will be lighter. If you decide to spray paint your bench from cans purchased at Depot then you will be applying the least amount of paint possible.
Dark Colors hide the yellow from the oil
Light colors seem to seep through.
The red teak bench we painted showed no color staining.
January 14th, 2018
SUMMARY : The darker stain is now a very light beige. We have some basic chipping where the wood should expand and contract with the seasons.
This is basically 12 months in the outdoor weather. Our location is in Lexington, Kentucky with 4 standard seasons of weather.
What we can observe from the 1st year is flaking of the paint around the joints and areas of movement. Remember, teak is wood and therefore expands and contracts as the seasons introduce varying degrees of moisture in the air. It is also likely that as the bench was sprayed, the paint in the corners were not heavily painted. This along with movement in joints will create flaking and fractures in the area where two pieces of wood meet.
The big observation was the fact the "oil staining" was less. It was not as visible as when we first received the bench. You can still see it in the back, but the front was nearly gone. Obviously, we assume the UV rays from the sun had an impact on lessen the oil color. The front also received additional moisture from direct rain. Either way, the point is the yellow has dissipated from 12 months earlier.
What we hope to review in future years is the area of paint where the oil was originally yellow. The idea is oil deters paint from sticking. So we want to see how the paint holds up in future years. The edges of paint flaking is normal considering it is outdoors. Brush painted edges will still fracture since the wood must shift, but the flaking might be less in the early years.
January 8th, 2019
Now 24 months later, we see the bench attacked by algae. The bench is under a shade tree and moist most of the year. I guess it is no surprise the bench is covered in green algae. We did have the rainiest season in over 100 years in 2018 and this could have contributed to the current condition.
The algae is nothing more than a thin layer easily removed with some household cleaner and a sink scrubber. In this photo, you can see the paint clearly once cleaned. There is almost no effort exerted in cleaning the algae from the seat. We will clean the algae from the bench later in spring. It is my understanding algae can stain the paint if left unchecked. But this article is about how paint is adhering to the teak itself.
For the most part, the bench is in similar shape as last year. We notice some additional flaking around the joints and we see some new flaking on the arm. It seems to us that a better effort to paint the joints would be a smart decision.
In the back of the bench, we cleaned a section from last year that still had a slight yellow hue to the paint. And from our pictures, the yellow tint is still there. So, although we saw a reduction in the yellow hue from month 1 to 12, we are not seeing much reduction in month 13-24.
The pictures look rough and dirty, but the point of this update is paint related. We suspect if this bench was not painted we would see this area heavily weathered and dark grey due to the shade and moist conditions.
We will add a year 3.5 update to showcase the cleaned bench. At this rate, the bench will need touch-up in year 5 unless a better effort is made to paint the joints. Currently, the bench looks like any other wood bench on the market covered in a protective paint shield.
April 15th, 2020
In all honesty, I'm not sure there is much difference from the previous year. At some point, we need to clean the bench and remove the algae for a clearer review of the paint. That will happen for the next review in 2021. This bench sits in a shaded and damp part of the yard and rarely, if ever, gets full sun. The yellow originally seen through the paint is non-existent. It still might be there after cleaning but is so faint it is not seen by the eye.
We still see the biggest amount of paint chips in areas where teak movement occurs. Teak is wood and therefore expands and contracts with the seasons. Wood is like a sponge and absorbs and releases water depending on the environment. The seat slats go into an adjoining frame member at each end...and the seat slats move in and out over the year. This movement is minor but any movement will break a paint joint. This releases and exposes some area where water can penetrate. From there, it starts to chip away at the paint.
A more serious review or look at this situation would be painted interior wood kitchen cabinets. The kitchen manufacture must be sure their cabinets are a solid 7-8% without case hardening or defects in drying. They need solid and reliable wood so when the door or frame members move, the joint fracture is minimal. As a former kitchen designer, this can irritate some very picky customers who view this as a defect.....and why you had more MDF thermofoil white cabinets in the past. The trend now is painted but it still poses issues with some batches of door farms (mass cabinet door production).
I really believe the next set of pictures need to involve a full cleaning. Although we are in the mist of the COVID19 time-out, we are still busy shipping. We're tired, loopy, and emotionally drained like every other person.
May 3rd, 2021
We did clean the bench for about 5-minutes. It would take a garden hose and 30-minutes to really clean this bench of all dirt and algae.
It does seem the algae is eating away the paint at some sections. Therefore, it is probably logical to clean the microbes from the bench if your location is under a tree and in damper areas. This bench never gets full sunlight and is shaded most of the time. The water from the leaves should contain tannic acid which darkens unfinished teak.
There is more chipping each year although the underling teak is not affected. The seat supports under the seat slats are completely void of paint. This is where water likely pooled.
We will actually clean this bench in 2021-2023 and possibly show what some white tough-up paint would look like. But we are passing year 5 and technically at month 65 outdoors. Although, the paint is protecting the teak, an unfinished teak bench would still be in similar shape - just grey and darker.
The white bench still "pops" color in the yard and looks fine from 50-100ft away. You can tell the bench is dirty from afar, but the visual affect is not a landscape disgrace.
I also suspect that a painted bench under full sun might delay this wear by a few years depending on location. I think the acid from the trees and moist conditions are doing more damage to the paint than a clear yard. I also assume that seawater will have a similar affect in eating away the paint.
May 10th, 2022
As we head into the 6th year, we see more chipping. The paint has separated from the joints where the wood expands and contracts. The bench doesn't seem to have any moss or lichens. Yet, we definitely see more chipping and wood color.
Again, this bench still looks fine from afar. It doesn't look new, but it doesn't like trash.
We could sand and remove the chipping and then do a touch-up paint job. And that is probably what the next step will be. We will take a sample chip to match the white and then do a quick palm sand. We will not repaint the entire bench, but just do touchup. The idea is to spend 1 hour or less in the refurb of the painted bench.....because spending a lot of time painting it again defeats the purpose.
We will detail the touch-up next.