Furniture Care FAQs

What Is Teak Wood?

Teak wood is highly valued because of its beautiful grain and color and is preferred in ship building and furniture making. Teak is extremely strong and durable, almost immune to decay and contains an oil that is resistant to insects. Teak trees can grow 150 ft in height and 3 to 8 ft in diameter at the base. The leaves are among the largest in the world, 2 ft long and 1.5 ft wide. They yield a purple dye and are used for thatching and wrapping. The tree also produces small fragrant white flowers that grow in clusters and a fruit the size of a cherry that contains oily seeds.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Reclaimed Wood?

In addition to saving trees and being eco-friendly, the salvaged wood we use has a much richer color than new growth. Further, it is impossible to achieve the patina of aged wood with anything but old wood.

Is It Harder To Use Reclaimed Wood?

Using reclaimed wood is far more labor intensive than working with new wood. Reclaimed wood needs to be de-nailed, planed on both sides, and patched where signs of the previous structure existed. As a result, our finished pieces are exceptionally stable and solid.

Natural Wood Characteristics

Each piece of wood is unique. Variations in wood is to be expected and celebrated. It is not uncommon to find several contrasts in the same piece of furniture. Grain variations, signs of the old structure that have been filled, and mineral deposits should not be viewed as flaws. Knots and other characteristics of old reclaimed wood, or cracks that develop over time are much like the nubs you find in such fine fabrics as silk and linen, true indications of genuine quality and solid wood furniture.These natural markings have absolutely no effect on the furniture’s durability or structural integrity.

How Humidity, Climate and Temperature Affect Your Furniture

Proper care includes providing a wood friendly environment. Many of the internal environmental issues that affect human comfort also contribute to a wood healthy environment. Specifically, controlled temperature and humidity with minimal changes from day to day and season to season will ensure the stability and life of your wood furniture.

Wood is very sensitive to changes in relative humidity. As the weather changes, so does the relative humidity in your home and in the moisture content of the wood in your furniture.

This means that furniture is constantly expanding and contracting.

  • Wood does best in moderate conditions of around 70°F-72°F and a relative humidity of about 50-55%.
  • Frequent and sudden changes in relative humidity are especially bad.
  • Wood is most likely to crack when the climate in a home suddenly changes from hot and humid to cool and dry.
  • Use a humidifier in winter and an air conditioner in summer for best results.
  • Furniture ages more quickly if stored in a basement, attic, garage or warehouse.
  • Excess heat and dryness can cause wood to split and crack.
  • Place furniture away from all heat sources, in front of radiators, heat runs or fireplaces, if possible.
  • If you must put furniture near an air duct, use a shield or guard plate to direct heat away.
  • Store table leaves flat, and as close as possible to the table so they adjust to the same humidity conditions.
  • Store table tops flat and in a temperature controlled environment.
  • If furniture is to be stored, it generally does better in an unheated environment because the relative humidity will fluctuate within a much narrower range. Air can hold more moisture at a high temperature than at a low one.
  • Wood can best handle temperature and relative humidity changes if they occur gradually. Abrupt changes (closing or opening a vacation home, for example) can cause serious stress to your furniture.
  • When air conditioning your home, it is best to keep the intake of outside humid air to a minimum. Humidifiers or vaporizing units can be added to a heating/air conditioning central system to help stabilize the humidity level.
  • Dehumidifiers need to be used during wet, rainy times and in damp rooms to remove excess moisture from the air.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

The ultraviolet rays of the sun will damage a finish and bleach the wood underneath.

  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the finish to crack, sometimes in a pattern resembling the skin of an alligator.
  • Tablecloths and doilies slow down the process, but they don’t stop it.
  • Try to keep furniture out of direct sunlight.
  • When this is not possible, reduce the amount of light streaming on any piece of furniture.
  • Use window shades, drapes or blinds to block light during the time of day the furniture is exposed.
  • Uniformly expose surfaces to light.
  • Especially avoid letting the sun hit only part of a surface.
  • Occasionally move lamps, doilies and other objects so the wood ripens uniformly.

Avoid Heat, Chemical Exposure, & Sharp Objects

  • Keep solvents such as nail polish remover, alcohol and paint thinner away from wood furniture because they can harm the finish.
  • Alcohol is contained in colognes, perfumes and medications as well as in wine, beer and liquor.
  • Fingerprints, perspiration and body oils can harm a finish over time, especially on chairs.
  • Plants and flower nectar that touch the finish can also cause permanent stains.
  • Placing hot items on furniture can cause a chemical change in the finish that results in white rings or spots.
  • Products containing ammonia should never be used as it will harm your finish.
  • We recommend the use of hot mats, coasters even though the finish is water and heat resistant.
  • Do not leave plastic objects lying on wood surfaces.
  • Color from plastic tablecloths, appliance covers, wrappers, place mats and toys can leach into wood over time.
  • Plastic can also stick to a finish, damaging it when it is pulled up.
  • Firm writing on the finished surface may cause indentations to the finish/wood.
  • Lift, don’t slide, objects on wood.
  • Place objects on trivets, tablecloths, doilies or others covers to protect the finish.
  • Use felt bottoms on lamps and other decorative objects.
  • Avoid brightly colored felt because its color could leach into the wood.
  • If you use a laptop computer on your desk or table, be sure it does not overheat. This could damage the computer as well as the finish on the desk. In extreme cases, prolonged over exposure to intense heat from a laptop computer could cause the desktop wood to split or crack.

Polishing & Protecting

Like our skin, wood is a natural material and you do not want it to dry out. Teak Me Home recommends using Howard Orange Oil for all our teak furniture pieces. Just spray and wipe off with a clean cotton cloth approximately every 2 weeks in the winter time, and every 4 weeks in the summer time to moisturize, protect, polish and clean the wood.
Howard Orange Oil uses the power of real orange oil, is natural and does not contain mineral spirits such as silicone or linseed oil. It gently cleans, polishes, and replenishes the natural oil of the wood without drying out the finish, or leaving a waxy build up