Finishing Teak

Teak is a "greasy" wood that can pose finishing challenges. Here, finishers suggest formulas and approaches that have worked for them. April 30, 2006

I just landed the first teak job that I have to finish. It has a light stain. I usually use Valspar's Valtech and seal with a thinned out version of the same. Teak is really greasy wood. Is there anything I should keep in mind while prepping/finishing it?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
Give it a good sanding, blow off the sawdust, and then wash it down with lacquer thinners.

From contributor D:
From everything I have seen and the jobs I have done, teak has always been left a natural color without stain. For interior pieces, you just have to get some teak oil or similar finish and rub it in. Then the customer will about twice a year wipe it down with more teak oil and it will turn a beautiful color with age.

From contributor M:
I agree, but there are some finishes that don't go that way. Chances are the questioner has his reasons for staining and coating.

From contributor R:
I found a product called exotic wood sealer. Did an entire center island in teak. Beautiful.

From contributor S:
The sealer contributor R mentions most likely is a polyurethane barrier coat. Using such a sealer will prevent the oils from migrating to the surface, then you can topcoat with the coating of choice. Washing will not prevent this from occurring.

From contributor R:
The sealer I mentioned is from ML Campbell and its product number is c117049. After you apply two coats within the recommended window, do a light sand and topcoat with the new Euro product or Krystal. Also, just used their new self-leveling product for a full fill over cherry cabinets for a European style. What a great look. Those big boxes don't have a chance at taking a customer away from our shop!

From contributor S:
Not familiar with that product - is it Magnasand? If so, that wouldn't prevent the oils from surfacing and I wouldn't put a 2pk urethane over that. Does the sealer have a hardener and a short pot life?

From contributor R:
This product is pretty new, maybe 6 months. Magnasand is C115049 product and no, that doesn't work for teak. The Exotic Wood Sealer C117049 is made just for these cases and is pretty rubbery, so it doesn't sand well. The rep told me just to apply to 3-4 mil wet and let dry and repeat. Then apply a topcoat.

From contributor P:
I used a product from Fuhr, #260. I did an entire kitchen made with teak 1 year ago. Call Fuhr and ask for their recommendations as to how and with what to prep with.