Polishing Teak Wood: All you need to know

Anyone researching furniture probably comes across advertisements featuring teak wood. The most noticeable characteristic of teak is how expensive it is. It is highly valued because of its elegance, durability and other distinctive natural properties that other woods don’t possess. 

Teak is another name for the tropical hardwood species Tectona Grandis. It is indigenous to South and South-east Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Burma. It is resistant to water, decay, termites, and pests. It is highly durable and is used to build yachts, ships, exterior construction, internal and external pieces of furniture, veneer, carvings, frames, etc. The optimum teak wood is provided by trees between 40-80 years old. Teak is left to dry for at least 1-2 years before being cut into lumber. 

Teak is usually used to build outdoor furniture. To properly take care of the teak, you should keep it clean and polished. Polishing enhances the furniture and how it looks. It should be noted that there is a major difference between paint and polish. There are different teak wood polish types available. Certain types of veneer polish are lighter than the others and can be removed easily while others are harder and need to be removed with chemical agents. 

The following are some of the teak wood polishes available in the market – 

  • Wax polish – This kind of polish is mostly used by Indian woodworkers as it gives a shiny gloss to the surface and has a reasonable price. It is formed by mixing wax and a solvent. Carnauba wax, beeswax, and paraffin are the 3 options available in this polish. It is easy to maintain and since the coating is low friction it does not allow dust to settle on the surface. 
  • French-Polish – This polish provides a lot of gloss on the furniture it is applied to. It is formed by mixing shellac and absorbent solvent. It is applied in the form of figures or shapes. This is also an economical option and easy to maintain as it can be cleaned easily. The gloss requires a coat every 5 years.
  • Melamine Polish – This type of polish uses a cellulose finish along with sealer which makes the surface durable and resistant to water. It is cleaned easily and offers a layer of protection from light scratches. This type of polishing gives an even look and does not come off easily. It is expensive and repolishing is not an easy process. 
  • PU Polish – Polyurethane polish can be directly applied to the product. The difference between melamine and PU polish is that PU polish is sprayed on the product which gives it a glossy finish. It has 3 forms – matte, semi and very glossy. This polish costs a lot of money and is generally applied to highly valued items. It can crack easily and also requires a lot of care. PU polish has no smell and offers the glossiest finish of all the polishes.

How to polish Teak wood?

It is important to take care of the teak wood and keep it clean. Here is how you polish a teak product – 

  1. Clean – Start with cleaning the surface. This can be done by just wiping a wet cloth across the area. 
  2. Apply chemical agent – This is for hard polishes that require a chemical agent to be removed properly. Chemical strippers are in gel or liquid form mostly and can be applied to the surface directly to dissolve the polish.
  3. Remove chemical – After leaving the stripper on for the required time, remove it with a scraper tool.
  4. Wash it – Now wash the surface to get rid of all the chemicals. This process should be completed with a lacquer thinner. 
  5. Sand it – The wood needs to be sanded after removing the finish. A sander or sandpaper can be used to make the process easier. The surface should be even after this step.
  6. Stain the surface – After sanding, the stain can be applied using a brush or a rag. The stain should be dry by the next step.
  7. Finish – A polyurethane finish is ideal in most cases. After applying the final coat, leave it to dry. 


Understanding, and especially differentiating between the different types of polish and using the right one is often difficult for laymen and it’s a better choice to leave it to the professionals. It is better to opt for someone who can guide you through the confusion. Contractorbhai offers wood polishing as part of their packaged interior designing services at transparent pricing so that the customer always knows what they are paying for. 

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