Teak Oil vs Tung Oil (What’s The Difference?)

When it comes to oil finishes for furniture and wood floors, Tung oil and Teak oil are usually at the top of the list. But what’s the difference between both types of wood oil?

The main difference between Teak oil and Tung oil is that Tung oil is a natural wood oil gotten from the seeds of the Tung tree while Teak oil is a hybrid wood oil that is made by mixing several additives and wood oil together including Teak oil.

Due to the blend of oils in Teak oil, the wood oil is more protective and moisture-resistant than Tung oil. However, Tung oil is considered safer since it doesn’t contain other additives and oils.

This post explains more about the differences between Tung oil and Teak oil including tips to help you decide which of the two you need for your task. So, let’s dive in.

What is Teak Oil?

What is Teak Oil?

Teak oil is a hybrid oil gotten from a blend of other wood oils including Tung oil and linseed oil. The wood oil is also designed with additives and polymers that improve the features of the finish.

Teak oil dries to form a very hard and glossy finish when used on wood. The finish is great at protecting the wood from dents, scratches, and water damage.

The presence of additives and polymer in the Teak oil formula makes the wood oil weather friendly. Teak oil can withstand UV rays, rainfall, and dust making it okay for outdoor furniture. So what is Teak oil used for? Let’s find out.

What is Teak Oil Used For?

  1. Teak oil is used on outdoor furniture and wood floors since the wood oil is weather-friendly
  2. Teak oil helps to protect the wood from moisture or water damage
  3. The wood oil offers a glossy finish to wood
  4. Teak oil is used on high-traffic areas to prevent scratch marks on the wood
  5. Teak oil can be used on bare or finished wood with enough preparation

What is Tung Oil?

What is Tung Oil?

Tung oil is also known as Chinese wood oil because the wood oil is native to China. Tung oil is a natural wood oil gotten from the extracts of the Chinese Tung tree. The wood oil doesn’t contain any additives, resins, or other wood oils making it 100% natural.

Unlike several other types of wood oil, Tung oil doesn’t penetrate deeply into the wood fibers. The wood oil when dry sets a light sheen on the wood that protects it from light use and friction. Tung oil is considered one of the safest wood oils out there due to its 100% natural formula.

However, you should know that Tung oil isn’t very durable as the finish wears off quickly. So you’ll need to reapply the wood oil at least once a year.

So what is Tung oil used for? Let’s find out.

What is Tung Oil Used For?

  1. Tung oil is commonly used on areas affected by mold as the wood oil prevents mold growth
  2. Tung oil is used on indoor furniture and objects
  3. The wood oil can be used on kitchen equipment and slabs since it’s natural and considered safe
  4. Tung oil is used to protect wooden surfaces from pest infestation and dents
  5. Tung oil is used to achieve a glossy finish on wood
  6. Tung oil is commonly used on wood décor and furniture with detail as the wood oil will help to highlight the detail on the wood

So is Tung oil better than Teak oil? Let’s find out by comparing both types of wood oil finishes.

Teak Oil vs Tung Oil

To compare both types of wood oil, we’ll use the features of both finishes and see which stands out.

Here is a table that shows the main differences between Tung oil and Teak oil:

 Tung OilTeak Oil
Wood ProtectionGoodBetter
DurabilityPoorVery Good
Moisture ResistanceGoodBetter
ColorTung oil gives a slight amber-like tone on woodTeak oil is known to yellow over time
ToxicityVery lowAverage
StrengthGoodGreat
VersatilityVery GoodAverage

Next, let’s check out these differences in detail.

Strength

In terms of strength, Teak oil is stronger than Tung oil. The reason for this is that Teak oil has polymers and additives in its formula that make the wood oil withstand dents and heavy impacts better than Tung oil. Since Tung oil is a natural wood finish, it’s not as hard as Teak oil and as such can’t withstand heavy impacts and dents as well as Teak oil.

Wood Protection

Teak oil protects wood better than Tung oil. This is because Teak oil is stronger and can withstand heavy traffic and high impact on the wood better than Tung oil. Also, Teak oil is reinforced with additives and polymer that make the finish harder and more resistant to damage. Tung oil will also protect the wood but the finish is more suited to low traffic areas.

The Dry Time

Teak oil dries faster than Tung oil. This is due to the additives in the Tung oil that are designed to make each coat dry fast. Also, Teak oil is not as thick as Tung oil, and painting 101 teaches that the thicker the coat, the longer it will take to dry. So automatically, Teak oil will dry faster than Tung oil.

On average, Teak oil dries between 3 and 5 hours and it takes about 12 hours to cure. Tung oil on the other hand can take up to 24 hours to fully dry. Raw Tung oil dry time is even higher.

Toxicity

Teak oil is considered to be more toxic than Tung oil. This is due to the extra additives and polymer in the Teak oil formula.

Tung oil on the other hand has no additive, resin, or synthetic polymer so the wood oil is considered to be safe and not toxic. In fact, Tung oil can be used on kitchen equipment since it’s 100% natural.

Versatility

In terms of versatility, Tung oil edges over Teak oil. The natural formula of Tung oil makes it applicable for just about any type of surface. Since Tung oil is considered safe, you can use it on kitchen equipment, indoor furniture, baby furniture, and so on. This makes the Tung oil very versatile.

Teak oil on the other hand isn’t as versatile. With Teak oil, you have a limited choice of surfaces to put the wood oil on. For instance, Teak oil can’t be used on baby furniture since the finish is considered mildly toxic. You can’t use Teak oil on chopping boards or kitchen slabs either since the wood oil is not food safe.

Moisture Resistance

Though both finishes are considered to be moisture-resistant, Tung oil offers superior moisture-resistance to Teak oil. This is because Tung oil is a natural oil meaning that the particles in the Tung oil are closely packed and naturally compact. So it’s very difficult for moisture to penetrate a Tung oil coating.

Teak oil on the other hand is reinforced with other additives. These additives have different chemical makeup and feature meaning that the particles will not be as compact as those in Tung oil. So moisture can eventually seep into the Teak oil coat.

However, you should know that this will still take a long time. Though Teak oil is not as moisture-resistant as Tung oil, the Teak oil will still withstand water for long periods before it starts to give way.

Durability

In terms of durability, this is a clear win for Teak oil. Teak oil coating when properly applied can last well over 10 years on wood. On high traffic and busy surfaces, Teak oil will still last over 5 years before you start to notice signs of damage on the wood oil finish. The reason for this superior durability is the polymers, chemicals, and additives in the Teak oil that make the wood oil super strong.

Tung oil on the other hand lacks durability. This is because the finish is known to fade off after a while especially if used on a busy surface. On average, you’ll need to reapply the Tung oil finish at least once a year due to the lack of durability.

Application

Both wood finishes are applied using clean lint-free cloths or rags. However, you’ll need to lay more coats of Tung oil than Teak oil because Teak oil offers superior coverage on the wood surface. On average, you’ll need 3-4 coats of Teak oil while Tung oil will require at least 5-6 coats on the wood.

Because Tung oil dries slowly, you’ll have to wait a while to apply up to 6 coats of the wood oil. So in a way, it’s easier to apply Teak oil than Tung oil.

Should You Go For Teak Oil or Tung Oil?

Deciding between Tung oil and Teak oil can be a difficult decision but here is a guide to make that decision easier:

Choose Tung Oil if You Want a Clear Finish

Teak oil tends to leave yellowish tints on the wood after a while due to the high amount of oily deposits and polymer in its formula. Tung oil on the other hand will offer a clearer finish on the wood.

Choose Teak Oil for Wood Protection

Since Teak oil offers superior wood protection, you should use it when you want to finish wood that will be used heavily like floors, countertops, and walkways. If you use Tung oil on such wood surfaces, the Tung oil coat will not protect the wood properly.

Choose Teak Oil for Durability

With Teak oil, you just need to apply the wood finish once and that’s it. This is because the Teak oil is very durable and will last for years on the wood. With Tung oil, you’ll have to repeatedly refinish or reapply the wood oil every year or less since it’s not as durable as Teak oil.

Choose Tung Oil for Moisture Resistance

Since Tung oil offers good moisture resistance, it should be your pick for finishing wood that will be washed or cleaned regularly

Final Words

In summary, Tung oil and Teak oil are both great finishes but the one you would pick for your task depends on the task, your taste, and needs.

Remember that Teak oil will offer better protection from dents and moisture but Tung oil will offer a clear and beautiful finish.

Also, Tung oil will need a touch-up at least once a year while Teak oil retains the finish for at least 8 years.

Leave a Comment