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Is Tung Oil Good for Outdoor Furniture : 11 Reasons Why?

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Outdoor furniture is a wonderful addition to your home, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors without leaving the comfort of your home. But outdoor furniture requires more maintenance than indoor furniture.

You need to apply a wood finish to protect it from the elements and keep its natural beauty. Perhaps you have tung oil on hand. At this point, ask yourself, “is tung oil good for outdoor furniture?”

According to most woodworkers, tung oil is suitable for outdoor furniture because it creates a durable and waterproof finish. It also has a natural amber color that enhances the wood’s grain.

Here we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of tung oil on outdoor furniture so you can understand if it’s the right finish for your needs.

Is Tung Oil Good for Outdoor Furniture: Get Your Answer in Detail

best oil

Tung oil is a natural product made from the seeds of the tung tree and is known as Chinese wood oil. It has been used for centuries to protect wood furniture from water damage. When you know its benefits and drawbacks, you can decide if tung oil is good for outdoor furniture.

Benefits of Using Tung Oil on Outdoor Furniture

For outdoor furniture, tung oil has plenty of advantages and has proven to be a great option for a finish. Tung oil comes in three types: pure tung oil, polymerized tung oil, and dark tung oil. Here are the benefits of these tung oils on outdoor furniture include:


One of the most important benefits is that it makes the furniture waterproof. This is because tung oil forms a protective barrier on the wooden surface of the furniture that prevents water from being absorbed.


One of the unique features of tung oil is its elasticity. Because of this, it can be stretched or compressed without breaking. As a result, it is often used as a coating for expandable joints, such as those found in accordion doors.

Tung oil’s elasticity also makes it an effective sealant for cracks and gaps. When applied to a surface, tung oil will fill in any tiny spaces. This makes it an ideal finish for both indoor and outdoor furniture.

Mold Resistant:

Tung oil is highly durable and provides excellent protection against mold, and mildew. Mold and mildew can be a major problem in outdoor environments, but tung oil helps to create a barrier that prevents these growths from taking hold.

Yellow Resistant:

When it turns to outdoor furniture, tung oil has a lot to offer. One of its biggest benefits is that it is resistant to yellowing. This is because tung oil creates a protective barrier on furniture surfaces that helps to prevent the wood to yellow.

UV Rays Protection:

As any homeowner knows, outdoor furniture can take a beating from the elements. Sunlight can fade the color of the wood. However, one way to protect outdoor furniture is to treat it with tung oil. When applied to outdoor furniture, tung oil forms a durable barrier that resists UV rays.

Acids and Alcohols Resistant:

Tung oil is also resistant to acids and alcohols. This means that it can help to protect outdoor furniture from spills and stains.

Enhances the Natural Beauty of Wood:

Tung oil is known for its ability to enhance wood’s natural beauty. It penetrates deeply into the wood, bringing out its rich, lustrous finish. In addition, tung oil highlights the wood grain and gives furniture a warm, natural patina.


You work hard to maintain a healthy and beautiful yard. So, when it comes time to choose what type of oil to use on your outdoor furniture, you want to make sure it is food-safe. Tung oil finish is perfect for those who have children and pets because it is not only food-safe but also non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

VOCs Compliant:

One of the most appealing features of tung oil is its compliance with VOC regulations. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are released into the air as the oil dries and can be harmful to human health.

Tung oil is classified as a low-VOC product, meaning that it produces minimal emissions during the drying process.


Biodegradable tung oil is a renewable resource and is becoming increasingly popular as an eco-friendly option for outdoor furniture. The oil does not contain any toxins or chemicals, and it is safe for use around children and pets. 

Versatile to Use:

Tung oil can be used on a variety of outdoor furniture, including tables, chairs, benches, and more. It is also a great choice for finishing interior wood furniture. Tung oil is easy to apply on a bare wood and can be done with a brush, rag, or sponge.

Drawbacks of Using Tung Oil on Outdoor Furniture

dense woods

While tung oil has many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to using it on outdoor furniture. These include:

Long Drying Time:

One of the biggest drawbacks is the slow drying time of tung oil. It can take a day to a week for the oil to fully dry. This can be a problem for those who want to use their outdoor furniture immediately after treatment.


Tung oil can also stain clothes and other fabrics. Therefore, it is important to take care when applying the oil to outdoor furniture. It is also important to protect any nearby surfaces from drips or spills.

Low Odor:

As anyone who has ever used tung oil knows, the oil has a number of desirable features. One of the less pleasant features of tung oil is its strong, low odor. This can be especially noticeable when the oil is first applied.

In addition, the odor can linger on clothes and other surfaces long after the oil has been applied. While the low odor is not necessarily a deal-breaker, it is something to be aware of before using tung oil.


Tung oil is more expensive than other types of outdoor furniture finishes. This can make it difficult to justify the investment, especially for larger pieces of furniture.

Now that you know more about tung oil, you can decide if it is the right choice for your outdoor furniture. While it has a few drawbacks, tung oil’s many benefits make it an excellent choice for those looking for a durable and beautiful finish.

Tung oil Alternatives for Outdoor Furniture

treated wood

If you are looking for an alternative to tung oil, there are a number of other options available. These include:

Linseed oil:

Linseed oil is derived from the Linum usitatissimum plant, also known as flaxseed. The oil penetrates deep into the wood, providing a durable and water-resistant finish. Raw linseed oil will cure a hard finish over time, but boiled linseed oil dries more quickly.

Moreover, linseed oil is a biodegradable product, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to tung oil. When applied correctly, linseed oil will protect garden furniture from the elements.

Mineral Oil:

Mineral oil is an appealing alternative to tung oil, as it is easier to apply and dries more quickly. But, mineral oil provides less protection against water damage and UV radiation. As a result, it is not as durable as tung oil.

Teak Oil:

Teak oil is a popular oil finish for outdoor furniture, as it offers protection against insects and rot, as well as water and UV resistance. In addition, it dries much faster and provides a consistent finish.

Olive Oil:

Many people have turned to olive oil as an alternative. Olive oil finish does not have the strong odor that tung oil does, making it a more pleasant option for refinishing garden furniture. This wood stain is a viable alternative to tung oil for those looking for an easier way to refinish their exterior wood furniture.

Danish Oil:

Danish oil is a natural oil that offers many of the same benefits as tung oil, but with easier application and quicker curing times. It’s also very easy to apply, and it cures quickly. Therefore, it is not surprising that Danish oil is becoming the preferred choice for many homeowners.

Outdoor Defense Oil:

Outdoor Defense Oil is a new type of wood oil finish that can be used as an alternative to tung oil. It is made from plant-based oils and waxes, so it is environmentally friendly and easy to apply.

Furthermore, it provides a long-lasting protective finish that will keep your furniture looking new for years. So if you are hoping for a replacement for tung oil, consider using Outdoor Defense Oil on your next project.

How to Apply Tung Oil on Outdoor Wooden Furniture?

How to Apply Tung Oil on Outdoor Wooden Furniture

Outdoor wooden furniture is a beautiful addition to any patio or deck. However, it can be difficult to keep the wood looking its best. One way to protect the wood and maintain its natural beauty is to apply tung oil. You need to follow a few simple steps to paint tung oil to outdoor furniture.

Step 01. Thinning with Mineral Spirit:

You need to thin tung oil with mineral spirit before applying it to outdoor furniture. To thin tung oil, simply pour a small amount of mineral spirit into a clean container. Rub the tung oil onto the surface of the furniture with a clean cloth.

Step 02. Sanding Lightly:

Sanding lightly with 320-grit sandpaper is the best method for applying tung oil to outdoor wood furniture. Once you have sanded the wood, be sure to wipe it down with a clean cloth to remove any dust before beginning to apply this wood oil.

Step 03. Apply the First Coat of Tung Oil:

Pour the tung oil into a lint-free cloth. Then, apply the oil to the surface of the furniture in a thin, even coat. Once you have applied the first coat, allow it around 30 minutes to sit.

Step 04. Rub the Wood Surface:

Now you have to rub the wood surface with 0000 steel wool. This will help to remove any excess oil and create a smooth, even finish. Let it dry before applying more two coats.

Step 05. Apply More Two Coats:

After the first coat has dried, apply more two coats in the same manner, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. After applying the final coat of tung oil, allow it to cure before using the outdoor furniture.


Q: How Long Does Tung Oil Last Outdoors?

There are several benefits that make it a popular choice among woodworkers and carpenters. This wood oil is durable and can last several years with the right care and maintenance.

Q: Can You Apply Tung Oil in The Sun?

You should avoid using tung oil in direct sunlight. The heat will cause the oil to polymerize quickly, resulting in an uneven finish. If you must apply tung oil in the sun, make sure to work in a shaded area and avoid direct sunlight as much as possible.

Q: Does Tung Oil Dry in Cold Weather?

Tung oil will dry more slowly in cold weather. The chemical reaction that causes the oil to dry is slower at lower temperatures. As a result, you should be careful when trying tung oil in colder climates and to allow plenty of time for the curing process to take place.

Q: Is Tung Oil Good for Outdoor Teak Furniture?

When it comes to caring for outdoor teak furniture, one popular option is tung oil. As applied to teak wood furniture, tung oil helps to repel water and prevent dirt and grime from penetrating the wood. In addition, tung oil provides a rich, natural color that enhances the beauty of the wood grain.


Tung oil is a great finish for protecting wood and maintaining its natural beauty. Since you didn’t know before that: is tung oil good for outdoor furniture. Hopefully, our list of pros and cons of tung oil has helped you become more informed about this finish.

By following a few simple steps, you can apply tung oil to outdoor furniture to give it a smooth, even finish. You should always test a small area before applying tung oil to your outdoor furniture. After you have applied the tung oil, be sure to allow it plenty of time to dry and cure before using the furniture.

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