Teak oil offers protection for teak furniture and surfaces and gives a nice smooth finish. It must be allowed to dry and cure properly in order to give adequate protection.
Usually, teak oil takes 2-4 hours to dry and up to 10 hours to fully cure. However, this can change depending on the product and outside factors like temperature or humidity.
Before using teak oil, it is important to understand what affects the drying time and how to tell whether it is fully dry and cured.
What Affects Teak Oil Drying Time?
There are several factors that can affect teak oil drying time, causing it to take longer to dry, or to dry rapidly, depending on the circumstances. Those factors are:
The temperature at which the teak oil dries depends on both the ambient air temperature and on the surface temperature of the wood beneath the film. Low temperatures will decrease drying time, while high temperatures can increase it.
The level of humidity in the air directly affects how fast teak oil dries. The higher the humidity, the longer it will take for teak oil to dry. This is because there is more moisture present, meaning that it takes longer for the moisture to evaporate from the oil.
3. Air Circulation
If there is good air circulation, the teak oil will dry more quickly. This allows it to evaporate more rapidly, thus decreasing drying time. If there is poor airflow in which the moisture cannot be moved away from the wood molecules, then it takes longer for evaporation to occur.
How Long Does It Take Teak Oil to Cure?
It usually takes between 2 and 4 hours for teak oil to be dry to the touch. However, it can take up to 10 hours before it is fully cured. It is important that you allow time for the oil to cure before the wood is subject to rain or any general wear and tear, or the finish could be damaged.
What’s the Difference Between Drying and Curing?
Drying time is the timeframe from when teak oil has been applied to a surface until it has reached the point where evaporation of the solvent stops. At this point, it has formed a solid film. Although teak oil may be dry to the touch, that does not mean that it has fully cured.
Curing is the process of the teak oil fully bonding with the surface of the material. Curing happens as chemical changes start to take place within the oil itself, turning into a UV-resistant resin that protects the wood. During curing, volatile compounds form and evaporate off of the surface of the wood.
After the teak oil has cured, it will be fully dry and bonded to the material. It can then be buffed or polished to a high gloss. It will also be fully protected and the finish will not be easily damaged.
Is Teak Oil Sticky Before It Dries?
In some cases, teak oil can feel slightly tacky to the touch before it has cured. This is essentially a residue from the solvent in the teak oil that evaporates during curing.
If you have allowed time for teak oil to dry to the touch and still find that there is a tacky or sticky film on your hands, allow the teak oil to dry for a little longer and then try again.
Is Teak Oil Sticky After It Dries?
Teak oil is not sticky once it has fully dried, cured, and polished. You should find that after teak oil dries to the touch, there are no streaks or residue on your hands.
If you leave teak oil for a long time and you find that it still feels slightly sticky, this means that it is not drying and curing properly. There are a number of potential reasons for this.
Reasons Why Teak Oil May Not Be Drying Properly
1. Applying Too Much Teak Oil
If it takes too long for teak oil to dry, one of the reasons could be that you have applied too much teak oil. If your initial application was thick, there may not be enough solvent in the teak oil to evaporate before it hits the surface of the wood. This would prevent it from drying properly and leave a glossy sheen on top of an oily film that has not fully cured.
2. Improper Storage or “Old” Oil
If you have followed the correct application guidelines for teak oil and still find that it is not drying, one of the reasons could be because your teak oil has gone “off”. If you leave an open container of teak oil out in warm conditions or expose it to sunlight or heat, then it will start to break down. This will alter the chemical composition of the oil and prevent it from drying properly. Very old cans of teak oil can also cause the same problem, even when stored properly.
It is important to follow the storage instructions on the back of the tin and consider buying a new tin of teak oil if yours has been sitting in the shed or garage for a while.
3. Incorrectly Applying (Wipe on Wipe Off)
When using teak oil, you must apply a layer and then wipe off the excess afterward. This leaves an even coat and allows the oil to dry properly. However, if you apply it incorrectly (usually failing to wipe off excess) the oil will not dry fully.
4. High Humidity or Incorrect Temperature
Teak oil must be applied in temperatures between 15°C and 30°C (60°F to 85°F). If it is either cooler or hotter than this range, the teak oil will not dry properly. You should also try to apply teak oil when humidity levels are below 70%.
How Many Coats of Teak Oil Should I Use?
In most cases, 2-3 coats of teak oil are enough to give adequate protection, as long as it is applied properly. If the wood is to be exposed to the elements, it should be recoated regularly.
How Long to Wait Between Coats of Teak Oil?
When you apply teak oil, it needs to soak into the wood before the next coat, but it doesn’t need to be fully dry. Wait 30 minutes after the first coat before applying the next.
Do You Sand Between Coats of Teak Oil?
It is not always necessary to sand between coats of teak oil, but it is advised if you want a smooth finish. After the second coat has dried and fully cured, you can then sand it back with 220 grit sandpaper before applying a final coat.
How Long Does Teak Oil Last?
Teak oil should be applied regularly if you want the best protection. Ideally, apply every 2-4 months, depending on the level of wear and tear that teak furniture gets. A sealant can be used to protect outside furniture and surfaces.
Final Thoughts (Conclusion)
Teak oil is very popular because it gives a beautiful finish to wood and leaves your wooden furniture looking polished, shiny, and new. However, it is important to apply it correctly and give it enough time to dry and fully cure, so the wood has full protection.
In most cases, teak oil takes 2-4 hours to fully dry and up to 10 hours to cure. However, drying times vary depending on the product and the conditions when it is applied, so always check the instructions on the tin and use your best judgment.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.