Is all Teak Oil the same?

There are lots of different ‘Teak Oils’ available in the UK, at wildly different prices. Is all Teak Oil the same, or do you get what you pay for? What makes the ‘best’ Teak Oil?

When we started making our Bestwood Teak Oil 20 years ago, we spent some time analysing most of the other Teak Oils, to get a feel for what was available and how the different oils performed compared to ours.

We found that most Teak Oils are based on Linseed Oil. A few of the better quality ones also contain Tung Oil, artificial resins, and/or added UV absorbers.

Linseed Oil was the only natural oil available in bulk in the UK for much of the 20th Century. It has a pale golden to reddish colour, which tones in very well with teak and other hardwoods, enhancing the grain and giving a slightly glossy finish. On its own though it can darken over time, and it can be affected by mould when used outside.

To enhance the performance of our Teak Wood Oil, we blend in the finest quality Pure Tung Oil, which holds its colour, is very durable, and is naturally resistant to mould.

Oiled Teak Decking
Oiled Teak Decking

We deliberately don’t use artificial resins or varnishes in our Oil, because they are great for surface coatings, but Teak Oil is made to be absorbed into wood. Once artificial resins are in the wood, they are there permanently. Heavy application or repeated coats with artificial products can permanently block the pores of the wood, stop its natural movement, reduce its ability to ‘breathe’, and effectively turn it into a solid, unnatural, plastic block!

Oiled Teak

Why use solvent in Teak Oil?

On their own Tung and Linseed Oil tend to ‘sit’ on the surface of wood. Adding a solvent helps Teak Oil penetrate to do its job in replacing natural oils that have been lost, and ‘feeding’ the wood. The traditional way to do this was by using natural turpentine, and then from the 1960’s onwards by using white spirit. Our original Oil was made using white spirit, but this is now classed as a marine pollutant, so in in more recent years we have moved to a ‘friendlier’ alternative, which is safer in use and not a pollutant. Very recently we have moved on to a solvent which is also less flammable, and so is safer for transport as well.

The solvent helps with penetration of the Oil, and it is also the cheapest part of the product. There is a ‘balance’ between using enough solvent to allow the Oil to penetrate properly into the pores of wood and using so much solvent that the oil is not as effective as it could be. We recently (October 2020) carried out a laboratory analysis of six of the biggest selling Teak ‘Oils’ on the market in the UK. We found that the actual solids content of most of the oils was 25% or less, meaning therefore that most Teak Oils are 75% or more solvent! Only one other Premium brand had a solids content approaching 40%. Our Teak Oil had the highest solids content of all.

Teak Oil on Iroko, with a rich, deep, amost ‘3-D’ sheen

Making the Oil even better.

Teak Oil is made for outside use, and to enhance this we add UV absorbers and free radical scavengers. Often used in top quality woodstains, they slow down the ageing effect of UV in sunlight. They convert the harmful wavelengths of UV to harmless infra-red light (heat), and ‘capture’ free radicals at the surface of the wood before they do damage. They are expensive to use though, so the simplest thing for companies working to make their product as cheap as possible is to leave them out! We use both of these products in our Oil.

Our aim has always been to make the best Teak Oil available in the UK. Over the years we have made a few changes to our formula, but always with the intention of improving our product, not lowering the cost.

Our first priority today is still the quality of the product. We think that there is still a place at the ‘top’ of the market for the best quality, and that discerning customers will look for it. We sincerely believe that our Teak Oil is as good as any other product available today in the UK, and it is better than most. For performance, and when you look at what you are getting, it is actually great value for money!

If you would like to buy our Teak Oil, with FREE SHIPPING to the mainland UK for all orders, please click here to be taken to our shop.