There are many different woods available for garden furniture, with a variety of treatment regimes

The following are some of the main types of wood in use and tips for furniture care:

HARDWOODS:

  • Iroko: Not necessary to treat, and if left will eventually mellow to silver/grey, then darker grey.
  • Roble: Not necessary to treat, and if left will eventually mellow to silver/grey, then darker grey.
  • Teak: Not necessary to treat, and if left will eventually mellow to soft silver.
  • Mahogany: Not necessary to treat, and if left will eventually mellow to silver/grey, then darker grey.
  • Karri: Karri has been treated at the factory and does not need treating until the timber is exposed to the elements.
  • Cornis: Cornis will weather to a grey finish if left untreated.
  • Albizzia: Not necessary to treat, and if left will eventually mellow to silver/grey, then darker grey.

HARDWOOD TREATMENT, WHERE DESIRED:

All hardwoods lose their minerals/salts over time. As these evaporate, cracks will appear on the end grain (tops of chairs/end of tables/end of arms). This is normal. Sometimes the crack will open quite wide, especially in hot weather. They will close when it rains or is cooler. This cracking will not affect the stability of the furniture and in most cases occurs within the first few months and gets no worse.

Treatment can help reduce cracking as the oils in furniture treatments replace some of those lost through evaporation. Best practice for this is the following:

Chair Treated with Teak Oil

A Hardwood Acacia chair, sanded and treated with Teak Oil, next to an untreated chair.

  1. clean or sand the furniture thoroughly until bare wood remains
  2. Wash down with warm soapy water to remove dust and residue
  3. Once dry, liberally apply teak oil, linseed oil or a hardwood furniture oil.
  4. Leave for 15-20 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate
  5. Wipe any remaining oil thoroughly from all surfaces with a clean dry cloth. This prevents fungal growth and produces a smoother, more even finish.
  6. Re-apply if untreated patches remain

SOFTWOODS:

Pine and similar: Treat annually with a good quality softwood timber preservative, this is very important as wood will rot if not treated well. Outdoor furniture needs cleaning and needs regular cleaning from all the atmospheric dirt in the air. Worst affected areas are usually tops of tables and tops of arms. In some cases it may go black this is caused by over oiling which promotes fungal growth. In the first instance apply a Timber Cleaner or soapy water and scrub with a non-metallic scourer. If the black does not come off, use a medium grade sand paper on the worst affected areas. After the above leave to dry for 48 hours, and later re-apply treatments of the appropriate product.

PRESSURE TREATED SOFTWOODS:

These softwoods are the same as above, except they have been through a tanalising process, also known as pressure-treating. This involves placing the bare wood in a high pressure vessel, which is flooded with wood preservative. The vessel is then sealed and pressure is applied, forcing the preservative to penetrate the entirety of the wood.

The tanalised wood is highly durable, mimicking the natural oils in more expensive hardwoods. Pressure-treated woods do not require further treatment and often carry a guarantee of 10-20 years against rot. The wood is characterised by a slight greenish tint to the timber, from the colour of the infused treatment.

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