Surface Cracking & Checking

What is Teak Checking?

Teak wood is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture due to its durability, weather-resistant properties and natural beauty. However, many people may not be aware of a common phenomenon called teak checking that may naturally occur with all teak wood products.

Teak checking refers to the small cracks or fissures that appear on the surface of teak wood over time. These cracks can occur naturally as the wood ages and dries out, or as a result of changes in temperature, humidity, or exposure to sunlight.

Teak checking is a natural and expected occurrence in teak garden furniture. It does not mean that the garden furniture is faulty or that the teak is not good quality.

The extent of the checking can vary depending on several factors.

Factors Affecting Teak Checking

Weather Conditions: Teak checking is more likely to occur in areas with fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels. Exposure to direct sunlight over a sustained period and prolonged dry conditions can cause the wood to dry out resulting in checking. Also regular exposure to rain and moisture followed by periods of hotter drier weather can cause the wood to expand and contract, which also may cause the checking to occur.

How to minimise Checking

Proper maintenance and care of your outdoor furniture can help prevent teak checking. This includes regular cleaning, the correct use of teak oil – or recommended teak sealant – and protection from over-exposure to direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions. We do offer Teak Garden Furniture Care Kits on our Accessories page of the website.

Kingsley Smythe’s Teak Garden Furniture

Our teak furniture is delivered in its natural state with no treatments applied. If you choose to leave it as it is and don’t cover it, or use any teak oil on your furniture, it will be perfectly fine. It will simply weather naturally, changing colour from the original rich brown to a silvery-ash grey. If you don’t mind your furniture changing in this way (and many people really like it like this) then no treatments are required, simply wash it down with warm soapy water once or twice a year.

However, if you want to maintain the golden-brown look, you will need to use one coat of clear teak oil when the wood is completely dry and repeat the process once or twice a year – be sure to do a patch test first, we recommend somewhere that is not visible. Do not be tempted to layer on the oil as this will build up on the surface of the wood instead of being absorbed (due to the wood’s natural density) and as a result it can cause black spotting.

Please note, applying oils or sealants to your furniture will invalidate your 12-month warranty, we do not recommend applying any products to the furniture within the warranty period. 

Any water marks on the wood will mellow over time with the natural weathering process, but can be treated with warm soapy water and a stiff bristled scrubbing brush – but not a wire brush please!

The oils in teak do oxidise during the weathering process and this may cause a slight surface mould on occasions. Please don’t be alarmed by this. It is something we would expect to see, and it can be easily treated with a one-part teak cleaner or just warm soapy water.

If you wish to cover your furniture when not in use or during the winter months, it is really important to use a breathable cover. Avoid using plastic material or heavy tarpaulins as these will make the wood sweat and that will encourage mould.

We have a range of breathable weather covers for our customers who want to protect their furniture during the winter from inclement weather, bird droppings or tree debris. These covers can be found on our website under accessories. Please bear in mind that using a cover is preference and not a necessity.

In Summary

Checking is not a problem – it is a natural process that occurs in teak wood as it ages and weathers. While small cracks and splits may appear on the surface of teak furniture, they do not affect the structural integrity or reflect on the quality of the wood. In fact, for many people the changing appearance of the wood, especially its colour, adds character and uniqueness to the furniture.

By understanding what teak checking is, we hope this helps you to make better informed decisions when purchasing teak outdoor furniture and deciding how you wish to care for it.

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