Teak Oil Vs Tung Oil: Which Is Better For Wood?

The debate on teak oil vs tung oil: which is better for wood, has been ongoing for over a century, if  not longer. Both oils have distinctive applications, but is one better than the other? 

Teak Oil Vs Tung OilView in gallery

We’ll compare both oils and look at what they can do. You’ll discover if you’ve been using them the right way and if it’s time to make a change.  

Teak Oil vs. Tung Oil

Before we begin comparing tung oil with teak oil, let’s look at their individual merits . It is hard to compare things without knowing anything about them. 

What Is Tung Oil?

Tung oil, also known as China wood oil, was first used 2,500 years ago. The oil is made with seeds from tung tree nuts. When hardened, tung oil becomes strong and does a good job of protecting surfaces.

Confucius wrote about tung oil in 400 BC. You might think the popularity the ancient oil would have waned by now, but it hasn’t.

What Is Teak Oil?

What Is Teak OilView in gallery

Teak oil is not as simple. The oil is made with tung oil and linseed oil. Additives are mixed in with the oil so it can serve many purposes.  

Teak oil isn’t fast-drying and can take between eight and ten hours to dry. It offers protection for different types of wood. Teak oil contains polymer which makes it stronger and gives it a hard finish. 

Remember: do not use teak oil on teakwood. The oil will cause mold and mildew. 

Which Is Better: Teak Oil Or Tung Oil?

Which Is Better? Teak Oil Or Tung Oil?View in gallery

Now that we’ve gone over tung oil and teak oil, it’s time to compare them. To do that, we will be listing categories and giving each category a winner. Time to find out which wood oil is better for you.

Price: Tie

This one is a tie because some people prefer pure oils while others want enhanced oils. Teak oil is enhanced so it costs the same as tung oil, which is 100 percent natural and derived from the tung tree.

 You can expect to pay around $20 for 16 ounces or $1 per ounce in bulk. 

Protective Quality: Teak

While both teak and tung oil offer protection, teak oil offers more overall. It works better on hardwoods and is scratch-resistant. Since this is where the protective quality of the oil is measured, teak oil wins.

This does not mean that tung oil is not effective, it means that teak oil dries harder, so its protective shell is stronger. If you’re after a hard finish, then teak oil is your best bet.

Versatility: Tung

Because it is natural, tung oil is versatile. It doesn’t penetrate wood, is safe to use, and the wood can be worked with after you apply the oil. The same can’t be said for teak oil.

If you don’t know how to use tung oil or teak oil on wood, you should at least know that tung oil is the safer choice. 

Doesn’t Discolor: Tung 

Teak oil can discolor wood, especially porous wood.  

However, teak oil can give wood a warm and radiant glow. If you want the original color to remain forever, tung oil is better.

Drying Time: Teak 

Teak oil dries faster than tung oil. Tung oil make take three days or more to dry. Teak oil will dry in less than ten hours. In addition, you can add new coats to teak oiled wood more often than you can with tung oiled wood.

You can add another coat of teak oil a few minutes after you add the first coat. But with tung oil, you may have to wait hours. So if drying time is important to you the teak oil is the only valid option.

Storage: Teak 

If you try to store tung oil for an extended period, you may end up with a gummy mess in the can. But teak oil seems to store fairly well due to the additives, some of which are added so that it will store well.

The additives are not natural and are used to make sure that the teak oil lasts as long as possible. These additives are preservatives, which brings us to our next point. 

Ease Of Use: Teak 

Though this is a close battle, teak oil is the winner. It is easy to apply, easy to recoat and dries fast. You can have the entire piece of furniture coated fully and dried in just one day. The same can’t be said for tung oil.

Toxicity: Tung 

Because tung oil is natural, it is non-toxic. This is a huge plus for those who want shiny wood but don’t want to add chemicals to it. Chemicals have been added to teak oil to give it that extra kick, so it can be toxic.

The formula changes depending on the brand but tung oil remains the same. It is a natural oil that is derived from tung seeds. This is something you can always count on when buying it in its pure form.

Water-Resistance: Tung 

Because it is a natural oil, tung oil is resistant to water. Teak oil is not as resistant but can prevent wood mold. But if you live in a region with high humidity, then consider using tung oil instead of teak oil.

Teak Oil Vs Tung Oil FAQs View in gallery

Teak Oil vs. Tung Oil Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is A DIY Remedy For Cleaning Teakwood?

When cleaning mold and mildew stains from teakwood, you can use a combination of bleach, soap, and water. After cleaning it and you notice black spots, you’ll need to apply a different mixture. This time, instead of bleach, substitute it with ammonia.

Remember, do not mix bleach and ammonia because when combined, a toxic chemical is produced that can be fatal when inhaled.Scrub with the wood grain using a hard bristle brush and then rinse with water when finished. Let the teakwood dry before you use it.

Can You Use Linseed Oil On Teak Furniture?

Yes, you can use linseed oil on teak furniture. There are also formulated teak cleaners that clean and brighten the wood.

When refinishing indoor teak furniture, linseed oil is an organic choice that offers a protective finish. When teak ages, it becomes darker. Teakwood exposed to harsh weather conditions will change to a light gray color. However, you can use dish soap and water and then scrub with the wood’s grain for optimum results.

Is Tung Oil Food Safe?

Yes, tung oil is food safe. The important thing to remember is that you must wait until it is cured.

How Long Does Tung Oil Last?

Tung oil should be redone once every six months if you want to keep your wood in good condition. Teak oil should be reapplied once every six months to a year. So it can last longer but feel free to reapply sooner.

What Is The Best Oil For Teak Wood?

The best oil for indoor teak furniture is Danish oil. It’s a penetrating refinishing substance made with linseed, rosewood, or tung oil and other ingredients.

How Many Coats Of Should I Apply?

You can reapply teak oil every few minutes and you usually don’t need more than two coats. But tung oil on the other hand will need at least five coats if you want a similar protective quality as you would with two coats of teak oil. 

Is Linseed Oil Different Than Tung Oil?

Linseed oil and tung oil are very similar because they are both derived from seeds. They are wonderful plant-based oils that can do wonders for any wood surface. They are nearly interchangeable and can even be mixed.

Are Teak Oil And Tung Oil Mineral Oils?

Mineral oil is colorless, odorless, and has high alkane values. Teak oil and tung oil are not mineral oils. But what really separates mineral oils and tung oils is that mineral oils are chemicals. 

Which Is Better For Cutting Boards?

For cutting boards, tung oil is the safe and popular choice. Do not use teak oil on a cutting board. The oil has chemicals that should not be used in a kitchen. 

What Happens When It Puddles On Wood?

If teak oil puddles on wood, and when it isn’t dried it can leave dark spots. It can even wrinkle and leave ugly marks. Tung oil will take longer to leave a mark and won’t darken the wood.

Teak Oil Vs Tung Oil Conclusion

After a thorough review it’s not surprising why the teak oil vs. tung oil debate has yet to produce a winner. Both oils are good for what they’re designed to do. When using either oil, make sure you know how use them. If applied wrong, the consequences could be permanent.