When shopping for teak outdoor furniture, the first thing a lot of people notice is the price tag. Teak furniture doesn’t come cheap. However, unlike other types of timber, when you buy teak, you’re buying serious quality that will stand the test of time.
So let’s find out a little bit more about teak, its general properties and its advantages.
Teak is a deciduous hardwood tree that mainly grows in tropical areas. It is native to Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Thailand and other countries in south and south-east Asia.
The wood’s density sits at around 660kg/m^3. Due to its high tensile strength and tight grains, teak is often used in products that require physical durability. This includes table tops, cutting boards and even indoor flooring. It is also used in exterior construction and veneering.
Additionally, teak wood has plenty of natural oils. One of the main advantages of high oil content is weather resistance. The oils in the wood repel moisture, which prevents the timber from warping and weakening. Because of this, teak has a long history in ship construction and furniture making.
Teak’s heartwood starts off with a yellowish-gold shade which then proceeds to darken over time. This fading process leads to the grey patina. On the other hand, teak’s sapwood is a pale brown and can be easily separated from the heartwood. One subtle feature of teak is that when it’s cut, it releases a soft leather aroma.
Old-growth teak vs. plantation teak
Due to its popularity over the years, teak has been extensively harvested leading to deforestation. This has created a shortage of old-growth teak. Unfortunately, it’s scarcity has made it a rare and sought-after material. Old-growth teak is believed to be denser and stronger than plantation teak, despite reports from the United States Forest Service saying otherwise.
Luckily, through plantations that are dedicated to forestry management and environmental health, we are able to source teak wood ethically and sustainably. The process of growing and harvesting plantation teak is actually done via reforestation. This method is much more eco-friendly compared to the deforestation that occurs in acquiring old-growth teak.
When ordering teak furniture, make sure you’re getting A-grade plantation teak as opposed to old-growth teak. Doing so can help slow down deforestation projects and ultimately protect the environment.
Teak wood is extremely durable and can withstand a variety of stresses and pressures. It’s important to note that the durability of teak’s heartwood differs from that of it’s sapwood. Usually, teak wood is graded from A to C, with A-grade being high-quality heartwood, which has a higher concentration of natural oils.
Due to these oils, teak is able to prevent too much water from getting absorbed into the material. This means the wood will not warp even if it’s exposed to moisture. The oils also act as a termite repellant, allowing you to use the wood without having to apply other oils or sealants. Additionally, it’s also highly resistant to dry rotting, fungi and mildew.
Teak can also endure extreme temperatures. So, if you live in Australia and experience sweltering summers and freezing winters, teak is a great option. Teak’s tight wood grains allow it to withstand the expansions and contractions that occur due to changing weather. This makes it all the more suitable for outdoor use.
If you’re getting outdoor furniture, you want to make sure that it lasts for a long time. Fortunately, with teak, you can get longevity without you having to put in too much maintenance work.
Because of its natural oils, teak doesn’t need any external finishes or treatments. Pine furniture, on the other hand, needs to be pressure-treated before it can be used. Over time, this process gives the pine an unsightly greenish look. Additionally, the chemicals that are usually used for such treatments are harmful to human health and the environment.
To maintain teak, you simply have to give it a wash every now and then. Just use a nylon brush with a solution of soap and water. Also, if the teak’s colour begins to fade, there are plenty of tools and methods that can help you restore it back to its original look.
- Aesthetics and history
As mentioned above, teak’s heartwood has a warm, yellowish-brown shade. In some lighting set-ups, it even looks golden. Overtime, this colour will begin to fade into a silvery grey patina. This weathered look is actually considered desirable by many homeowners.
Teak also has a long history of use. The material was used for boat construction in ancient Egypt over 2,000 years ago. In more recent history, it was also used in the gardens of many high-class estates. The story behind his noble material can be an attractive selling point for many. Though its historical allure may not be as high as marble or travertine, it is still a material with an extensive story behind it.
That was just a short overview of teak wood. It is a beautiful wood with an interesting history. If you’re looking for outdoor furniture, consider purchasing teak products. It will last you for a long time, ensuring that your garden looks great all year around.
Of course, for the sake of the environment, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting ethically sourced teak. Plantation teak is a renewable resource that features pretty much all of the benefits of old-growth teak.