Can You Stain Teak Wood? (Here’s How)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Teak wood is derived from the teak tree (known as Tectona grandis). It’s a tropical hardwood and is considered one of the finest woods. So, can you stain it?

You can stain Teak wood because it’s a type of hardwood that accepts wood stain evenly because of its pores and porous texture.

It’s recommended to use an oil-based stain over Teak wood as its solvent (natural or synthetic oil) is compatible with the wood’s natural oils.

You must apply a sanding sealer as an undercoat to prevent over-absorption of the stain.

Does Teak Wood Accept Wood Stain?

Teak wood does accept wood stain because it’s a type of hardwood. All types of hardwood accept wood stain evenly because they have a porous texture and their pores and scattered across the surface, which helps for an even absorption.

You must sand and apply sanding sealer before staining Teak wood. Sanding will remove imperfections from the surface and create a more textured layer to improve adhesion. Sanding sealer will seal large pores of the surface and prevent over-absorption.

Which Types of Wood Stain Can You Use on Teak Wood?

What Kind Of Stain Do You Need To Use On Teak Wood?

You can use oil-based wood stain on Teak wood because its solvent (oil) is compatible with the natural oils of the wood. Since they are compatible, applying a sanding sealer is optional.

You can use water-based or gel stain too, but you must seal the surface with sanding sealer. An over-absorption of water-based wood stain or gel stain will damage the Teak wood or ruin the finish.

Water-based wood stain uses water as its solvent, and having too much solvent on the surface can damage the wood.

How To Stain Teak Wood?

To stain Teak wood, do the following things.

  1. Prep the Teak Wood.
  2. Sand the Surface.
  3. Apply Sanding Sealer.
  4. Apply the Stain.

Staining Teak wood is easy because it has large pores that accept finishes easily. However, you must prep it properly to prevent over-absorption, which can lead to a blotchy finish or damaged wood.

The tools you need for this project are listed below.

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wood filler
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Sanding sealer
  • Polyurethane varnish
  • A paint bucket
  • A drop sheet
  • Paint stripper or acetone
  • A vacuum or duster

1. Prep the Teak Wood

Prep The Teak Wood

First, clean the wood surface. Cleaning will remove dust and dirt that can prevent the stain from sticking. To clean it, damp a rag with soapy water and wipe the dust off the surface.

If the Teak wood is painted or sealed, remove the existing finish. Stain is a penetrating finish that needs to penetrate the wood pores to stick. But, if the wood pores are filled with paint or sealant, the stain won’t stick since it can’t penetrate it. To remove an existing finish, use a paint stripper compound.

2. Sand the Surface

Sand The Teak Wood

Sanding will remove imperfections from the surface, even (flat) the wood, and make it smooth.

To sand Teak wood, use 180-grit sandpaper. But, if the surface is rough or patchy, use 120-grit sandpaper. After removing imperfections from the wood, finish it with 220-grit sandpaper. For large surfaces, use a power sander. After you are done, remove the dust.

3. Apply Sanding Sealer

Apply Sanding Sealer Coat

Since Teak wood has large pores, you must apply a sanding sealer to prevent over-absorption of the stain. The sanding sealer will limit/regulate the absorption of the stain and help the wood to absorb it evenly.

To apply sanding sealer:

  1. Use a paintbrush.
  2. Apply light coats as you want to limit the stain absorption and not block it.
  3. After applying it, wipe off the excess sealer from the wood and wait for it to dry.
  4. Once it dries, sand it with fine-grit sandpaper and remove the dust.

Related Read: Can You Apply Stain Over Sanding Sealer?

4. Apply the Stain

Apply The Stain

It’s recommended to use oil-based stain over Teak wood. That’s because the natural oils of the wood and the solvent (oil) of the stain are compatible.

To apply it:

  1. Use a brush or a rag.
  2. If you use a rag, rub the stain on the surface in circular motions.
  3. Apply 3 light coats of wood stain. Each coat will make the wood darker.
  4. Wait until one coat dries before you apply the next one.
  5. Wipe off the excess.
  6. Wait 24 hours for the final coat to dry before sealing it. You can use polyurethane varnish to seal it.

Can You Stain Teak Wood Any Color?

You can stain Teak wood any color, but using a colored finish will hide its natural beauty and its patterns. It’s recommended to use a transparent finish to enhance its natural features and grain.

You can use an amber (or gold-like) color finish because they match the wood’s original color.

Teak wood has a natural light-to-dark brown color. The color highlights the grain pattern and curves on the surface, creating a beautiful natural appearance. This natural appearance is why most homeowners use it in their homes.

You can also choose to darken the Teak wood. To do so, apply extra coats of gel stain or seal the finish with wax. If you want to lighten the wood color shade, seal the finish with polyurethane.

What are The Benefits of Staining Teak Wood?

The benefits of staining teak wood are as follows. 

  1. It beautifies the wood.
  2. Improves scratch, dent, and moisture resistance.
  3. Helps the wood last longer.
  4. Highlights the curves and patterns of the wood grain.
  5. Exterior wood stain protects the wood from weather elements.
  6. You can get a mirrored finish.
  7. You can change the finish anytime.
  8. It’s an affordable finish.
Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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