Outdoor wooden furniture takes a lot of punishment from the elements. Rain soaks into the wood and causes it to rot and UV rays from the sun fade the wood and dry it out.
If you don’t protect the furniture properly, it won’t last more than a few years. However, if you treat the furniture with wood oil, you can keep it in amazing condition for much longer.
If you don’t know the first thing about wood oil and you need some guidance, you’re in the right place. This article will take you through some of the best wood oils on the market and the main factors to consider when choosing a product for your outdoor furniture.
10 Best Oils for Outdoor Wood Furniture
Linseed oil tends to be a more durable finish than teak oil and it’s also a cheaper option. It darkens the wood much more than teak oil too. But the big issue that people have with linseed oil is that it takes a long time to dry (days rather than hours). However, products like Klean-Strip Boiled Linseed Oil have been treated to reduce the drying time. The name is a little confusing because, most of the time, they haven’t been boiled. Instead, additives have been used to reduce the drying time.
You’ll find that the Klean-Strip oil is cheaper than the products you’ll find in most hardware stores. It’s a great finish that gives outdoor furniture good protection against rain and UV damage. You can also mix this product into oil-based paints before painting your furniture to get additional protection.
2. STAR BRITE Premium Golden Teak Oil
Teak oil is a blend of linseed oil, tung oil, and mineral spirits, with some other additives to improve drying time. It’s easy to apply and it gives great protection for your outdoor furniture. You can find all sorts of different teak oil brands on the market, but this STAR BRITE Premium Golden Teak Oil is one of the best.
This oil gives your furniture a lovely golden color and the improved formula means that it will last much longer than other oils. It also has added UV inhibitors to stop fading from the sun.
The ‘premium’ in the name refers to the quality of the oils in this finish. They’re ultra-refined, which means they have been chemically altered to improve strength and durability in the wood.
3. Pure Tung Oil by Real Milk Paint
Tung oil is a great non-toxic, environmentally friendly option for your outdoor furniture. This Pure Tung Oil by Real Milk Paint is, as the name suggests, 100% pure. Tung oil is food-safe, so is a good choice for outdoor furniture that you will be eating off.
When applying this product, keep in mind that it doesn’t smooth out the grain, so you will need to sand properly first. It is a thick oil that is quite slow to penetrate into the wood too, so you will need to work it into the surface with a cloth for a while.
If you are working with softwood like cedar, this tung oil is particularly effective and you’ll get a much better finish than you would with something like teak oil.
4. Pure Raw Linseed Oil by Sunny Side
If you want linseed oil in its purest form without any additives, this Sunny Side Pure Raw Linseed Oil is a good choice. It gives you the same protection as boiled linseed oil and it can also be used to top metal tools from rusting, which is an added bonus.
The drying time of raw linseed oil is much longer, so why use it in the first place? The main reason is that the additives in boiled linseed oil make it unsafe for food uses. If you are finishing a table for an outdoor dining area, for example, raw linseed oil is a better choice.
The key to using raw linseed oil is to put it on in very thin coats to let it soak in properly. Just be prepared to leave it a long time before it is fully cured.
5. Cabot Stains Australian Timber Oil
The Cabot Stains Australian Timber Oil is an oil with color pigment, available in 5 different colors. Ordinarily, oils only bring out the existing color of the wood without changing it. But if you want the benefits of a stain and an oil mixed into one product, this is an excellent option.
It is made from a combination of tung oil and linseed oil, so it gives you similar protection to what you would get from teak oil, but you also have a hardwood stain in there too. Additionally, iron oxide pigments are added to absorb UV and make sure that the color is long-lasting.
6. Minwax Teak Oil
This Minwax Teak Oil is great as long as you know what you are using. If you want a standard teak oil, this isn’t the product for you. This finish has a slight stain element to it, so it will darken the wood quite a lot. So, if you have some old furniture that has gone gray in the sun and you want to bring it back to life, the Minwax Teak Oil is ideal. But if you want a light layer of protection that still lets the natural grain shine through, you will be better off with the STAR BRITE teak oil.
7. Cedar Oil – Giles and Kendall
Finding oil that works well on Cedar can be tough because it sucks up oil so easily. But this Cedar oil, taken from red cedar, works brilliantly. It’s the natural oil of the wood itself, so it takes very well and enhances the natural look, while also extending the lifespan of the cedar.
Cedar has a lot of excellent natural phenols that repel insects and stop them from damaging the wood. These fade over time but applying this oil on a regular basis will replenish them and keep your furniture insect free. As an added bonus, your furniture will now act as a natural insect repellent so you don’t have to worry about it while you are relaxing in your yard.
The scent is strong to start with, but don’t be alarmed. Once you have worked it into the wood and it has had a chance to absorb, the smell won’t be too overpowering.
8. WOCA Denmark – Environmentally Friendly Oil Refreshing Soap
This Environmentally Friendly Exterior Wood Oil Refreshing Soap doesn’t have any of the harsh additives that you sometimes find in teak oils or boiled linseed oil. Not only that, but it’s also a great all-around product. It takes well to any species of wood, whether it’s hardwood or softwood. So, if you are not quite sure what oil you need, this is a safe bet. It’s also fully dried and hardened in 24-48 hours.
This water-based product is a good alternative to traditional wood oils, especially if you don’t have much experience and you want a finish that is simple to use. However, you should be aware that it is closer to a stain than a basic wood oil.
9. Fusion Mineral Paint Hemp Oil Wood Finish
Hemp oil is a less common option, but it looks excellent on your outdoor wood furniture. It offers water protection with a great satin finish. The Fusion Mineral Paint Hemp Oil can be applied over paint and it’s easy to recoat when needed. In most cases, applying wood oil over paint doesn’t work because it won’t soak in properly, but hemp oil is a good option for protecting painted surfaces. However, it works just as well on untreated wood.
10. Thirteen Chefs Mineral Oil
Solid wood cutting boards need to be oiled to protect them and prevent the wood from degrading with general use. This Thirteen Chefs Mineral Oil is the ideal choice if you have cutting boards in an outdoor dining area or in the home. Regular treatment will stop the wood from soaking up bad odors and protect against bacteria.
Mineral oil is a completely clear, tasteless, odorless oil that forms a protective barrier on the wood, so it’s perfect for food applications. However, using mineral oil on outdoor furniture is not a great idea because it is not waterproof.
What Does Wood Oil Do to Outdoor Furniture?
Wood oil is used to protect wood against warping, cracking, and moisture. When applied to the surface, the oil soaks into the wood and makes it more supple and flexible, so it does not crack when it contracts and expands. These oils can also reintroduce moisture to wood that has been neglected, bringing it back to life.
Oiling wood will also give some protection against UV damage. When your outdoor furniture is exposed to the sun for an extended period, it can lose its color and turn a dull gray. Regularly oiling the wood will prevent this.
As well as nourishing and protecting the wood, the oil makes it look better too. It will darken the natural tones and bring out the grains, giving you a beautiful natural look.
There are a number of different types of wood oil available including linseed oil, danish oil, and teak oil. Within these different types of oil, there are all kinds of different brands available. Read on to find out how to choose the right oil for your outdoor wood furniture and see some of the best brands on the market right now.
What to Consider When Buying a Wood Oil?
There are a number of key factors to consider when choosing wood oil for your outdoor furniture.
Type of Wood
First, consider the type of wood that your furniture is made from. A lot of outdoor furniture is made from teak, so the choice is fairly obvious (teak oil). In fact, teak oil is good for most hardwoods. Tung is also a good choice for outdoor furniture.
If the furniture is made from softwood, it will soak up a lot more of the oil and you will end up re-coating over and over before you can get a good finish.
Teak oil is not the best option because it has mineral spirits in it to thin it out. Tung oil is pure oil without anything added, so it is thicker and better suited to these types of wood.
The climate in your area will give you an idea of your priorities in terms of protection. If you get a lot of rain, you need a wood oil that offers good moisture resistance. In a sunny climate, you need to focus on UV resistance.
The Type of Finish You Want
Different oils give a slightly different finish when applied to your furniture. Tung oil, for example, will darken the wood quite a bit more than teak oil does.
Both tung oil and teak oil give a matte finish while other types of oil like danish or linseed oil have a satin finish. You can also use a clear coat on top of the oil to get a different finish.
Ease of Application
Finishing your outdoor furniture with wood oil is a relatively easy job, but some oils are easier to apply than others. Oils will be applied with a cloth until they have soaked into the wood, but some have a much longer drying time. Teak oil is your best bet if you want easy application and a fast drying time.
And let’s not forget, you’ll also need to consider the cost. In general, wood oil is quite affordable but some will be more expensive than others. Pure oils like tung oil or linseed oil tend to be slightly more expensive than blended oils like teak oil or danish oil.
Consider all of these factors when selecting a wood oil to make sure that you get the best product for your outdoor furniture.
What Wood Oils are Not Recommended for Outdoor Use?
The best wood oils for outdoor furniture are teak, boiled linseed oil, and tung oil. These are all excellent at waterproofing the wood, protecting against UV damage, and making it look excellent. Tung oil and raw linseed oil may not be as effective if you are new to using wood oil because they are thicker and harder to apply. However, they are still suitable for outdoor furniture.
Mineral oil, on the other hand, is not ideal for outdoor wood furniture. Although it protects wood and stops it from cracking, it is not waterproof. So, if you use it for outdoor furniture, you will end up facing problems with rot.
What’s the Difference Between Raw Linseed Oil and Boiled?
The main difference between raw linseed oil and boiled linseed oil is that the latter has been treated to reduce the drying time. The boiled linseed oil is not actually boiled, it is heat treated with hot air, and additives are used. A number of additives including mineral spirits, naptha, dipropylene glycol monomethyl, cobalt, and manganese make the oil dry much faster than raw linseed oil.
In terms of the finish, you will not notice much difference at all. The main reason that people choose raw linseed oil over boiled linseed oil is that they want it to be food safe. Many of the additives in boiled linseed oil are toxic, so it is one of the least food-safe wood oils available.
What are Some Alternatives to Wood Oils?
Wood oil can be an excellent finish for your outdoor furniture, but you may want to explore other options.
Wood stain is perfect if you want to waterproof your furniture and revitalize the color. If you don’t like the current color or it is very weathered, a stain might be a better option. Like oil, it soaks into the wood and protects from within, so you need to remove any old finishes first. Stain is also a synthetic product while oils are all-natural or at least a blend of natural oils with a few additions.
The protection you get from a stain tends to last longer, so if you want an easier option that requires less maintenance, it’s the better choice. However, you will still need to stain the furniture again every few years.
If you are not concerned about the natural wood look, paint is a good alternative. You have a massive amount of choice when it comes to the color, and the paint creates a protective layer over the top of the wood. If your furniture is very weathered and you don’t think that oil or stain will bring it back to life, the paint may be the way to go.
Clear coats are an excellent alternative to wood oils, especially if you want superior water protection. Clear coats like spar urethane create a strong protective layer to stop water from soaking into the wood. They are also very resistant to UV.
A clear coat can be used over the top of an existing finish. So, you can stain or paint the furniture first and then add a clear coat over the top for increased durability and longevity. This is a great way to minimize the amount of maintenance you have to do on your furniture. You can find out more about the best clear coats in our handy guide here.
Final Thoughts on Oil for Outdoor Wood Furniture
Wood oil is brilliant for bringing out the natural beauty of your wooden furniture and protecting it from the elements. In general, teak oil is the best choice for most furniture, especially if it is made from hardwood. Just make sure that you apply oil regularly enough to maintain the protection. If you want an alternative, clear coats are your most durable option and they offer excellent protection against the weather