Teak is a popular wood with furniture makers and buyers across the world. Once heavily used, the deforestation of teak is now strictly controlled to ensure a continued and rejuvenated supply of wood. What is it that makes teak so desirable?
Teak is a hard wood. It is strong and durable, able to withstand extremes of heat and cold. Whilst this makes it excellent wood for outdoor furniture, it also means that it can provide a lifetime and more of use indoors. It’s durability means that it is unlikely to suffer from rotting or many other afflictions that can attack other woods. Using the right type of teak – good quality wood with high quantities of oil and rubber – can result in beautiful pieces of furniture that can take whatever your home and throw at them.
The colour and grain of teak wood makes it one of the most attractive to furniture makers and home owners. Whilst outdoor teak furniture can be left to the elements and become an elegant silver-grey colour, teak used for indoor purposes is often oiled to retain its warm golden colour. Its strength is a real plus-point for furniture designers, who can produced a range of pieces that may not be viable using other, softer woods, which often means that you have a wider range of choice in teak furniture than in many other woods.
The natural benefits of teak; strength, durability, warm colour, resistance to termites or other damaging elements, make it an extremely adaptable wood. Its water-resistant properties and tendency not to splinter easily made it a favourite for shipbuilders for hundreds of years and it has since been used for a wide range of both indoor and outdoor furniture. From large dining room tables to elegant cabinets and patio furniture, teak has the flexibility that many furniture makers are looking for today. Outdoor Teak Furniture - Important Facts When Buying
One of the biggest logical considerations for buyers of deck or patio furniture is price. Most of us cannot simply go out and buy the biggest and best outdoor patio furniture without serious financial consequences. Still, while pricing is always a huge factor in any deck furniture purchase decision—it should never be the only thing considered. The value that you get for your money is really just as important as the amount you spend. If you take the time to calculate the true value of any furniture purchase, then the initial price will not be a true indication of the quality and usefulness.
So how does one go about assessing value on premium outdoor teak furniture? One critical component to any valuation of furniture is its durability. After all, if a patio set only lasts one season then it certainly has little value and is most likely not worth the time and effort it takes to go out and purchase the furniture. Premium outdoor teak furniture is not made to be used for a season or two and then discarded.
The durability of teak wood is world renown and it has been used to construct ship railings and similar products because it can stand up to the elements—especially rain—year after year. Teak wood originates in Southeast Asia and takes nearly 4 decades to reach maturity and a stage where it can be used to make furniture and other fine products. The oil content of teak is very high and helps give the wood its weather-resistant qualities. Because of this high oil concentration within the wood itself, teak outdoor furniture can literally be left outside season after season with little to no care. It is very possible that a premium outdoor teak furniture set will be the very last set of exterior furnishings you ever buy—the quality is that good!
Aside from durability, the other critical component in any value estimate of teak furniture is its beauty. After all, a chair made from stainless steel would undoubtedly last for years and years outdoors without any signs of wear but that does not mean any of us would want metallic deck furniture! Fortunately, outdoor teak furniture is made with a golden brown hue that fades to a grayish silver patina as the years roll by giving the furniture a stately and refined look.
Beautiful, highly durable, and designed with comfort in mind, premium outdoor teak furniture is a very valuable investment and will bring you and your family bountiful returns for years to come.
Is It Really Teakwood? (Part 1)
Real teak furniture can withstand the elements and you do not have to worry about the rain, snow or sun causing damage.
When you purchase real teakwood furniture and place it outside, you will not have to worry about weather damage nor will you have to do much to it in order to use it during the spring and summer. On the other hand, if you purchased outdoor furniture that is, "Teak oiled" or "better than teakwood " there is no guarantee how it will handle the weather.
Several outlets sell outdoor wood furniture with the phrase "Teak oiled wood furniture,” which means that the wood has been treated with Teak oil. This Teak oil treatment will wear away over a period of time. In addition, all buyers have to understand that this furniture is not teakwood, though many who have purchased it believe that it is. This assumption could be due to misinformation on their part or false information on the seller’s part.
One reason for this problem is the simple fact that we are all searching for a great deal. Every one wants to pay less, find that great deal, for top quality products, so much so that we often forget to ask questions and do the needed research required to guarantee we are purchasing want we want and getting what we purchase.
Another popular description many outlets use is "Teak like" furniture. You have to ask yourself what this means. Teakwood contains a high content of silica, will weather the elements, and last for approximately 75 to 100 years when left outdoors in the elements. Teakwood is the only type of wood, which can make these claims.
Is It Really Teakwood? (Part 2)
It is important that you know some easy facts to help you determine if you are purchasing "real teakwood furniture".
When shopping for teakwood, you have to read the descriptions listed on any website or in store that sells outdoor furniture. Many of these outdoor wood furniture pieces that you see listed as “Must Have,” “Great Deals,” or Unbelievable Prices” are not made from Teak, but from wood called Nyatoh. This is an exotic hardwood, however it is not as hard or as durable as Teak, mainly because the furniture that you purchase at such “Great Prices, has been made from sapwood, and not from dried heartwood. Nyatoh dries slowly and has some tendencies to end split and warp. It is also usually rated as nondurable and or people living in termite-infested areas such as the Southeastern United States; Nyatoh has a low resistance to termite attack.
The majority of these marketers are banking on the fact that many people will not do their homework and research the product. Advertisers have studied long and hard and have mastered the art of putting spins on items to make the buying public, think they are getting more for their money than they truly are. Many big chain department stores, and Internet sites are selling “Teak like wood,” to unsuspecting consumers. This fake teakwood is even being sold in grocery and drugstores.
If you look at a comparison between Nyatoh wood and teakwood you will clearly see that Nyatoh is not Teak like. Nyatoh wood is rated at Class 3, nondurable wood, has a low resistance to termite attack and Nyatoh sapwood is subject to experiencing powder-post beetle attack. Other woods which have the same characteristics as Nyatoh include American Cherry, African mahogany, Japanese Oak, Southern White Pine, American Walnut, and Western Red Cedar, to name a few.
Teakwood is rated at Class 1, is extremely durable resistant to insects as well as to warping. Other woods, which have similar characteristics as Teak, include Ebony, Iroka, Makore, and Opepe to name a few. Woods that are rated at Class 2, whish is moderately durable include American Oak, Balau, Sweet Chestnut, Cedar, Ekki, and Karri woods to name a few.
Another difference between Nyatoh wood and teakwood, Nyatoh has to be protected with oil, and then treated yearly to maintain some level of protection from the elements. Teakwood does not have to be oiled, or treated to protect it from the elements. Owners of Nyatoh wood furniture who place it outdoors in the elements have to ensure that they keep the joints sufficiently oiled, this is the area where the protection is needed most. If water is trapped in the joints of this furniture, the wood will begin to rot.
Nyatoh wood has been fashioned in very similar styles as that of high quality outdoor furniture. If you are on a budget and cannot afford teakwood, then Nyatoh is the deal you are looking for, however, you have to be aware of what you are really purchasing. You have to understand that this is by no means, not teakwood and you will have to maintain it to ensure that it will handle the elements.
Comparing Other Wood to Teak
Teakwood is the standard that all other woods are compared, and because of the high demand for Teak, many sellers will use such terms as “better than Teak,” “Teak like wood,” or “stronger than Teak” for a fraction of the cost.
We all want to find that great deal, pay as little as possible for a item, and in short come out ahead on most products that we buy. This desire to get the best deal possible sometimes clouds our vision so that we do not pay enough attention to what we are actually buying. This sometimes leads to our being let down when we discover that what we have purchased is not what we thought we were buying.
This holds true when you purchase outdoor furniture. Teakwood is the standard that all other woods are compared, and because of the high demand for Teak, many sellers will use such terms as “better than Teak,” “Teak like wood,” or “stronger than Teak” for a fraction of the cost. However, if you read further into the advertisements, you will usually discover that the product is crafted from woods such as Shorea or Eucalyptus.
Shorea trees are a genus of the family Dipterocarpaceae, which has approximately 600 species and found mainly in tropical lowland rainforest.
Countless marketers advertise Shorea wood as being related to Teak. However, Teak is of the genus Tectona Grandis of the family Verbenaceae. Saying Teak and Shorea are related is like saying, that a spruce tree is related to a magnolia tree. Granted they both are evergreens, but that is the only commonality they share. The spruce belongs to the genus Picea of the Family Pinaceae and the magnolia belongs to the genus Magnolioideae of the Family Magnoliaceae.
The Shorea genus has approximately 360 species. We’ve listed some of the more common names that are being marketed by many marketed as “teakwood like,” to unsuspecting consumers.
Balau is a heavy hardwood. Almon, which is also know as white luan. White Meranti, Dark Red Meranti, and Yellow Meranti are light hardwood. There are approximately 360 different species of Shorea genus. These woods are beautiful and make gorgeous indoor furniture, and decorative artifacts. These woods can even be used for outdoor furniture. However, they are not teakwood, and when used outdoors these woods have to be protected.
The Eucalyptus genus contains over 300 species. Eucalyptus is an excellent wood that has been used for windbreaks, fuel, building supplies, and in some countries as food sources. However, if this wood is not seasoned properly prior to being used in manufacturing is will split, crack and chip. Because Eucalyptus contains such a heavy volume of water, that when it is dried, it is reported to shrink as much as 34%.
Eucalyptus, when used for outdoor furniture can be finished with high quality penetrating oil, stain mixture to take on a Teak-like appearance. However, to maintain the look, the furniture has to be cleaned and resealed on a regular basis. Eucalyptus furniture can also be painted.
When shopping for outdoor furniture, you have to make sure you know what type of wood the furniture is made from and precisely what you are purchasing. Don't be taken advantage. If you want the beauty of teakwood, as well as the durability of Teak, then you have to purchase Teak. Teakwood is resistant against weather damage, termites, beetles, fungus, and wood rot. If you purchase an alterative wood, these woods do look beautiful and will hold up if you properly maintain them. However, you must keep in mind that these woods are not Teak, they are not stronger than Teak and will not last as long as Teak if they are not treated.
Teakwood is a Favorite Throughout the World
You can find teakwood being used as ship decks, park furniture, flooring, and as home outdoor furniture.
The first recorded mention of teak was in the fourth century, since then civilization all over the world have been aware of the many benefits of teak. This is a very durable wood that is resistant to rot, insect infestation, and warping, which is the reason why for many centuries it was used in shipbuilding since the Middle Ages. Another advantage teak has is its unique ability to prevent rust and corrosion on metal that is in contact with the wood. Countless outdoor teakwood benches were actually made from recycled decking from old sailing ships. It wasn’t until the late 1800s, when teak furniture began to be used seriously for outdoor use. During the Victorian period, teakwood traveled to England. Today, you can find teak benches and chairs in public parks all over England, some of which approximately a century old.
Today teakwood is used primarily in shipbuilding and in the construction of outdoor furniture due to its virtually indestructible quality, which is partly due to its high oil, content, making it resist insect attacks as well as the elements. You can find teakwood being used as ship decks, park furniture, flooring, and as home outdoor furniture. Teakwood continues to be the favored wood for all construction projects requiring unbeatable durability and rustic elegance, whether its used for the decking of yachts, or cruise ships, flooring or as furniture, teakwood will stand the test of time.
Choosing the Correct Furniture Material for Your Outdoor Space
If you take the time and research the products that are on the market, you will greatly increase your chances of purchasing the garden furniture that you want..
During the Victorian Era, garden furniture was all the rage. Today, garden furniture is once again a fashion item, for patios and gardens. However, before you purchase your new garden furniture, we strongly suggest that you do some research so that you can ensure that you are getting what you are paying for.
If you take the time and research the products that are on the market, you will greatly increase your chances of purchasing the garden furniture that you want, that is right for you, and that will last a long time. Listed are several important tips you should consider before buying garden furniture:
Your first step is to decide whether you want stackable or foldaway furniture, which you can store during the winter or garden furniture that you will permanently keep outside year around. If you plan to keep your garden furniture out in the weather year around, then you will have to purchase heavy furniture made from solid, durable hardwood, or metal garden furniture made from aluminum, or wrought iron that has been treated against rust. You will save money in the long run by spending more money on heavier, durable materials, such as real teakwood, cast aluminum, and wrought iron since these products will last considerable longer than less durable products. Of course, you want to select the type of material that will best compliment and balance your deck, patio, and garden. Therefore, let’s compare the two main materials used in garden furniture, wood, and metal.
Teak Furniture Outdoor or Indoor Use?
There are so many different styles of teak furniture, that finding distinctive tables, chairs, and benches, which compliment your home should be simple.
Throughout history, teakwood has been highly valued worldwide. This native of Southeast Asia, this wood dates back to seventh Century Siam, which is now Thailand. This beautiful hardwood was used in the construction and decoration of royal residences, religious buildings, as well as trade ships. During the Middle Ages, other cultures began using teakwood for shipbuilding, because of its water resistance, durability, and its unique ability to prevent metal from corroding when in contact with teak. Today, these same properties are why teakwood is still being used for marine construction.
These same properties are why teakwood today is being used for outdoor constructions such as decks, patios, and gardens. However, this doesn’t mean that teak furniture should not be used indoors. In fact, it is the perfect compliment to any room.
There are so many different styles of teak furniture, that finding distinctive tables, chairs, and benches, which compliment your home should be simple. The hard part will be deciding between so many different beautiful styles.
The teak tree grows to a rapid 150 feet tall, but will not mature for approximately 50 years.
In order to meet the demand for teakwood, several countries have reviewed the possibility of increasing the rotation time from 50 years to 30 or 40 years. The concurrence about this rotation timetable is that the wood would still be a superior product. However, there are a few countries, which have experimented in rotating their crop only after 25 years. This has resulted in smaller diameter logs, lighter coloration, and a wider grain, to put it simpler, an inferior quality wood. Do not misunderstand me here, teakwood, no matter its maturity is still the most durable wood in existence. However, because it has not matured, the resistance to warping and splintering is greater if the lumber has not been cured properly.
Now that you have a better understanding as to why teakwood is such a superior product and why it is also more expensive compared to other wood products, we hope that you can make a better decision as to whether or not teakwood is right for you.
For generations many people have been enjoying the wonderful benefits of owning teakwood products. Outdoor teakwood furniture has survived and weathered the conditions for countless years in gardens, terraces, patios, verandas, and ships, all over the world. I myself have the honor of owning a set of Adirondack chairs, which originally belonged to my grandparents. These chairs have weathered the heat, rain, and humidity of the South for over 60 years and still look beautiful. When you invest in real teakwood for outdoor furniture, you are investing in something that will last more than a lifetime.
Teak Patio Furniture Use And Care
Owners of Teakwood patio furniture, however, don’t waste time stress over this problem as they use their furniture year around.
As cold weather approached, many homeowners face the dilemma as what to do with their patio furniture. Many try weatherproofing, while others rearrange their basements or garages to make room for their patio furniture. Owners of Teakwood patio furniture, however, don’t waste time stress over this problem as they use their furniture year around. Perhaps they enjoy a morning cup of coffee on a crisp autumn day, or enjoy a beautiful evening sunset while sitting on their teakwood chair.
For years, woven wicker furniture was the favorite for gardens and sunroom, and then during the late 19th century, teakwood garden furniture began gaining popularity. One reason for this is its beauty, since Teak weathers to a gorgeous silvery gray color. Another reason is its durability.
Teakwood grows in Burma and Indonesia, where the weather is hot, humid, and wet. Teakwood is possible the hardest hardwood, and is resistant to wind damage, pests, sun damage, and humidity and water-resistant. In addition, Teak is so durable it does not splinter, which is one reason why the British Navy constructed their warships out of teak during the 1700’s and 1800’s. Teakwood has been used for centuries, in shipbuilding, furniture manufacturing, and in the construction of homes.
Teakwood changes color with age, new teakwood varies in color from light to dark brown, and as it ages over time it turns light silver gray. You will begin to see the first gray streaks after your teak furniture has been in the weather for about three to four months. However, this will also depend upon the various climate conditions in your area. An example of this would be if the area where you live has cold nights and hot sunny days, your teak furniture will turn gray faster, than if you live in an area where the temperatures are more constant during both day and night. In most instances, natural teak will become completely gray in about a year or two.
In order to preserve this beautiful shade of gray, it is strongly suggested that you wash your teak furniture at least once a year with a mild detergent and water. Whenever I’m watering my outdoor plants, I wash down our teak furniture to remove the dust and pollen that has accumulated, using the same pressure as I do with my plants.
Over time, you may notice small cracks developing in your teak furniture. Because teakwood has a naturally high content of wood oils, it is not necessary to treat teakwood with any type of wood sprays, oils, or preservative. However, if you do use teakwood oil it will create a pretty surface sheen. If you do decide to use teakwood oil, make sure that your teakwood furniture is clean and dry before treating. You do not want to trap any water under the coat of oil. Untreated Teak patio furniture will develop stains from food or drinks if spilled however the sun will naturally fade these marks.
Teak in Britain
In early history, because the British Naval Fleet was literally being eaten away by woodworms, Britain become very interested to grow and produce teakwood.
It didn’t take Britain long to realized that there was no need for them to grow teakwood as they could simply annex the countries that produced teakwood. Granted the need for teakwood was not the only reason why Britain colonized most of Asia and India. Because the British need countless ships, the teak forests were quickly being depleted. Teakwood soon became the preferred wood for shipbuilding, and furniture. The wood shrunk very little, was resistant to warping, and required very little maintenance. In addition it was impervious to and insects. The British used more than one thousand tons of teakwood to build the ocean liner Queen Mary. It wasn’t long before the British government realized that the teak forest were vanishing and soon developed a re-forestation plan. Teak trees were soon replanted on Teak plantations. The British also passed and enforced strict laws governing who could cut a Teak Tree down, export it, and purchase teakwood.
Over 90% of all the Teak grown today is under local government control on plantations. The other 10% can be found in forest where it is illegal to cut down with out special permission from the local government. In some countries, individuals who have been caught illegally cutting down teak tress have been executed. Today, the demand for Teak has increased at a rate of 10% per year. This increased demand has lead many marketers to produce products that they advertise as “Teak like, or “As strong as Teak.” Many times these products have only been treated with teak oil, and they are not as durable, or as resistant to rot and insect infestation as real teak. The consumer soon learns with when within a couple of years their Teak like furniture has been infested with beetles, termites, or rot and must be replaced. It is very understandable why many people would want to avoid purchasing Teakwood, believing that it is a rare wood and needing protecting. However, because the British government realized years ago the importance of teakwood, today its harvest are strongly controlled, ensuring the teak forest will survive for many generations just as the products that are produced from its lumber.
Control of Teak Growth by Governing Bodies
Due to the huge demand for teakwood today, many of the countries that grow teak have government-controlled plantations.
These and many of these growers are considering increasing the rotation time from 50 years to 30 to 40 years. Rotation is the time that a teak tress is cut down. The teak tree grows to a rapid 150 feet tall, but will not mature for approximately 50 years. The concurrence about this rotation timetable is that the wood would still be a superior product. However, there are a few countries, which have experimented in rotating their crop only after 25 years. This has resulted in smaller diameter logs, lighter coloration, and a wider grain, to put it simpler, an inferior quality wood. Do not misunderstand me here, teakwood, no matter its maturity is still the most durable wood in existence. However, because it has not matured, the resistance to warping and splintering is greater if the lumber has not been cured properly.
Today 80% of all teakwood is grown on plantations, and the demand for teakwood is growing at an estimated rate of 10% per year. Due the strict regulations placed on teak, it is not easy purchased and is sold through auctions. Purchasing permits are also regulated and are expensive. In addition, once purchased, it is the buying companies' responsibility to transport the wood. Many countries that grow teak also have regulations placed on the number of logs that can be exported in a given time frame. Today, Java, Indonesia is the biggest exporter of Teakwood. Several companies located in Java, process, and fashion the teakwood into products such as furniture, planks for flooring or siding, and then export the finished items instead of the lumber to countries around the world.
If Teakwood plantations sound like a great investment opportunity, there are quite a few plantations that have started taking on investors. There are countless countries that depend on teakwood exports for their financial stability. An example of this would be if a country had two main exports such as rice and teak. Rice would be the primary export however; Teak would be the country’s primary export deriving most of their money.
Because of the characteristics of teakwood, teak furniture will last approximately 75 years; however there have been some teak furniture, which is more that 100 years old that is still in use. When purchasing teak, you should take this into consideration. The only regular maintenance that is required is periodically cleaning with soapy water.
When you weight the cost of teakwood against its durability, you’ll see that investing in teak for your patio, garden, or veranda, will be the wisest decision you could make.
Why is Teak Costly?
To answer this question, we have to go back in time to about 600 years ago.
This time was known as the Ming Dynasty, and the Chinese had sailed a powerful fleet of ships built out of teakwood. The Chinese attempted to sail to the edge of the world only to ended up circumnavigating the world many times.
The Chinese cured the teakwood by burying it for several years in moist soil before the wood was used to build ships. Teakwood can withstand the damage from the sun as well as that from the ocean. Teakwood is also resistant to shrinking, warping, and splintering when exposed to the elements as well as resistant to insect infestation. These are same reasons why boat and shipbuilders today still use teakwood. The durability of the wood is so renowned that after World War II, many British ships were salvaged and their teakwood decks were recycled into outdoor furniture, flooring for homes, as well as indoor furniture.
Teakwood naturally contains silica, which is a sand and natural oils that make the wood very dense. The silica is what makes the wood impermeably to insects as well as helps sailors to keep a sure footing when it is used as the flooring of a ship. Because of the high oil and silica content, teakwood does not corrode any metals that may come in contact with it. It is because of these characteristics people around the world, have invested in teak outdoor patio furniture as well as furniture for their homes. This durability and the beauty of the wood are some of the reasons why teakwood is expensive.
The teak tree grows to a rapid 150 feet tall, but will not mature for approximately 50 years. In order to meet the demand for teakwood, several countries have reviewed the possibility of increasing the rotation time from 50 years to 30 or 40 years. The concurrence about this rotation timetable is that the wood would still be a superior product. However, there are a few countries, which have experimented in rotating their crop only after 25 years. This has resulted in smaller diameter logs, lighter coloration, and a wider grain, to put it simpler, an inferior quality wood. Do not misunderstand me here, teakwood, no matter its maturity is still the most durable wood in existence. However, because it has not matured, the resistance to warping and splintering is greater if the lumber has not been cured properly. Because teakwood is a commodity, which has a limited, recurring supply, this is another reason why teakwood is expensive.
When you purchase teakwood furniture, you are making a wise and economical choice in many ways.
First, you are purchasing one of the world's finest and most durable hardwoods. The finest quality Teak is grown on Indonesia government-regulated plantations, where they are harvested, then properly kiln-dried for stability.
Secondly, you are also purchasing furniture that’s durability and water-resistance will guarantee that it will last. Teakwood naturally contains oil and silica, making it virtually water-impermeable and a perfect choice for any outdoor garden furniture. You can be assured that teakwood furniture placed in your garden will last a very long time.
Many times when you place wood furniture outdoors you have to worry about water rot, and insects, especially if you live in areas that are prone to termites and wood post beetles. Teak is invulnerable to wood rot, as well as termites and any other wood-eating insects due to its silica content, teak natural repels insect. Teakwood furniture is perfect for patios, as well as in gardens, placed directly on the soil. Imagine placing a beautiful Teakwood bench on your lawn near your water garden, or rose garden or even under a large shade tree.