Can You Stain Teak Wood? (Here’s How)

Teak wood is beautiful, but the natural beauty begins to fade if you don’t stain or seal it. So, can you stain Teak wood to prevent it from fading?

Since Teak wood is hardwood, you can stain it. That’s because hardwoods have pores that absorb wood stain evenly. However, you must sand and apply sanding sealer before staining it. 

Sanding will smoothen the wood, and the sanding sealer with help the stain coating to stick better.


Teak wood accepts wood stains because it is a type of hardwood. All types of hardwoods are porous and accept stains properly and evenly. The pores of hardwood are scattered across the surface, which helps the wood absorb stains better.

However, you must sand and use sanding sealing before staining Teak wood. Sanding will remove imperfections and create a textured layer to improve the adhesion. While the sanding sealer will seal the wood’s large pores to prevent over-absorbing the wood stain.

Types of Stains To Use:

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

It’s recommended to use oil-based wood stain on Teak wood. That’s because the wood’s natural oils are compatible with the oil-based solvent, natural or synthetic oil such as linseed oil. Since they are compatible, applying a sanding sealer is optional.

You can also use water-based or gel stains, but you must seal the wood with sanding sealer. This is because the over-absorption of the water-based or gel-based stain can damage the wood or ruin the finish. Since water-based stain uses water as its solvent, having too much solvent in the wood pores can damage the wood. 

How To Stain Teak Wood?

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.

Here are the tools you need:

  • 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 Wood

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 Coat

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.

Changing The Color

You can use any stain color for Teak wood any color, but coloring it will hide the natural beauty and pattern of the wood. Instead, it’s best to use a transparent color to enhance the natural feature and wood grain. You can also use an amber or gold finish because these colors match the wood’s original color.

Teak wood has a natural light to dark brown color. The color highlights the grain pattern and curves in the wood, 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 color shade of the wood, seal the finish with polyurethane. 


  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. 

Final Words

In summary, you can stain Teak wood because it’s a hardwood type with a natural formula and large pores. However, you must seal the large pores with sanding sealer to prevent over-absorption of the stain. To improve the durability of the finish, seal it with polyurethane varnish.

Tony Adams
Tony Adams

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,

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