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

Tung and Teak oil have two wood finishes used to protect and enhance the wood color. But, what’s the difference between Tung oil and Teak 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.

Teak oil protects wood from water and moisture better than Tung oil because of the blends of the oils. However, due to its natural formula, you can use Tung oil on different surfaces. 

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 hard and glossy finish that protects 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, rainfall, and dust. So, you can use Teak oil for outdoor surfaces. 

Here are other things you can use Teak oil for:

  1. To protect the wood from moisture and water damage.
  2. To give the wood a glossy finish. 
  3. For high-traffic areas to prevent scratch marks on the wood. 
  4. To enhance the color of the wood. 
  5. To protect outdoor wood surfaces.
  6. Teak oil can be used on bare or finished wood (with enough prep). 

Tung Oil

What is Tung Oil?

Tung oil, known as Chinese wood oil, is a natural wood oil gotten from the extracts of the Chinese Tung tree. The wood oil contains no additives, resins, or other wood oils, making it 100% natural.

Compared to other wood oils, Tung oil doesn’t penetrate the wood fibers deeply; instead, it stays over the top layer of the wood and sets a light sheen. The Tung oil coating from light use and frictions, so this wood oil isn’t durable and wears off quickly. You must re-apply Tung oil at least once a year.

Here’s what Tung oil is used for:

  1. For indoor furniture and objects. 
  2. To give wood a glossy finish.
  3. For decorative surfaces. 
  4. Protects the wood from light scratches. 
  5. Enhances the wood color. 
  6. To highlight the details on wood. 

Tung Oil vs Teak 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 these two wood oils:

 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
StrengthGoodGreat
VersatilityVery GoodAverage

Strength

Teak oil is stronger than Tung oil. That’s because Teak oil has extra polymers and additives that make its finish durable enough to withstand dents and heavy usage.

On the other hand, Tung oil is a natural finish that doesn’t have protective additives. So, the finish isn’t durable and can’t withstand heavy impacts or dents as well as Teak oil can.

Wood Protection

Teak oil protects wood better than Tung oil. That’s because Teak oil is stronger, has protective additives, and can withstand heavy traffic better than Tung oil. 

Tung oil also protects the wood, but not as good as Teak oil. Tung oil is more suited more indoor low-traffic surfaces. 

The Dry Time

Teak oil dries faster than Tung oil. That’s because Teak oil is formulated with drying agents that make the finish dry faster. Also, Teak oil is lighter than Tung oil, and the lighter the flow is, the faster the finish dries.

On average, Teak oil dries within 5 hours and cures (dries fully) within 12 hours. On the other hand, Tung oil dries within 24 hours, but it takes Tung oil 3 days to cure (dry fully). Raw Tung oil takes even longer to dry. 

Versatility

Tung oil is more versatile than Teak oil. The natural formula of Tung oil makes it applicable for all types of surfaces. Also, since Tung oil doesn’t need to penetrate the surface much to stick, you can use Tung oil on non-porous surfaces too. 

Moisture Resistance

Both finishes are moisture-resistant, but Tung oil offers better moisture resistance than Teak oil. That’s because Tung oil is a natural oil, meaning the particles are closely packed (compact) and don’t allow moisture to penetrate the coating. 

On the other hand, Teak oil is reinforced with extra additives. These extra additives have different make-up and features, so the particles won’t be as compact. So, moisture will eventually penetrate the Teak oil coating.

However, Teak oil will withstand moisture for a long time before it starts to give way. 

Durability

Teak oil is more durable than Tung oil. That’s because Teak oil has extra polymers and additives to strengthen the coating. Teak oil will last over 5 years on high-traffic surfaces before having to touch up the finish. On low-traffic surfaces, Teak oil will last up to 10 years.

On the other hand, Tung oil isn’t durable. Tung oil quickly fades off on busy (high-traffic) surfaces. On average, you must re-apply (touch up) Tung oil once a year.

Application

You can apply both wood oils using clean lint-free or rags. However, you must apply more coats of Tung oil than Teak oil. That’s because Teak oil has better coverage than Tung oil.

On average, you need 3-4 coats of Teak oil and 5-6 coats of Tung oil. However, because Tung oil dries slower, you must 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?

Whether you use Tung oil or Teak oil depends on the details of the project:

  1. Clear Finish – Teak oil tends to leave a yellowish tint on wood due to the high amount of oils and polymer in its formula. On the other hand, Tung oil offers a clear finish.
  2. Wood Protection – Teak oil protects wood better than Tung oil. So, use Teak oil to finish high-traffic wood surfaces such as floors or countertops. If you use Tung oil on high-traffic surfaces, the wood oil will get washed off.
  3. Durability – Teak oil is more durable and will last longer than Tung oil. So, if you need a durable finish, use Teak oil. On the other hand, Tung oil isn’t durable; you must touch up the finish once a year.
  4. Moisture Resistance – Tung oil offers better moisture resistance than Teak oil. That’s because the particles of Tung oil are more compact and prevent moisture from penetrating its surface. 

Final Words

Tung and Teak oil are both great finishes, but they have some differences. Teak oil offers better protection and dries faster, but Tung oil is more versatile and offers better moisture resistance. 

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