A Complete Guide to Teak Wood

Teak wood is a solid, close-grained hardwood that comes from the Tectona grandis tree, which is native to South and Southeast Asia. It is golden in color and features a smooth grain and texture. This type of wood is high in rubber and natural oils, making it tough, strong, and invulnerable to extreme weather conditions and rotting, even when it is untreated. It is considered to be the “king of woods,” and it is used in making excellent outdoor furniture due to its durable characteristic. 

Garden furniture pieces that are made of teak wood are among the most durable ones that you can own. If you have a piece of teak furniture, you can expect it to last for about 50 to 70 years, or even longer, in the right environment and with proper care. In fact, in Britain, the oldest teak park benches are almost a century old. Therefore, if you use teak furniture pieces indoors, you can assume it to last indefinitely. 

If you are interested to learn more about this type of wood, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you a complete guide to teak wood.

How Is Teak Wood Used?

Teak wood can be used in different interior and exterior applications. As mentioned earlier, it is best known for its exterior applications due to its durability. Some of these applications include outdoor furniture, siding, marine decking, marine trim, and decking tiles. Interior applications, on the other hand, are varied and mostly focused on showing the beauty of teak wood. These may include flooring, moldings, and custom millwork.

Why Is Teak Wood Furniture So Expensive?

The price of teak wood depends widely on its thickness, width, and length. Therefore, the thicker, wider, and longer the piece you are looking for, the higher the price. One of the main reasons teak wood is very expensive is due to its properties, which put it in high demand. Compared to other types of wood, its durability is unmatched. It is also water-resistant, pest-resistant, and rot-resistant too. And most of all, teak wood is very beautiful.

In addition to that, teak wood is so expensive due to the location it comes from. Originally, it was linked with Myanmar as a source. If you are aware of the history of the country, you will know to expect quite a bit of politics around the economics of shipping wood from different parts of the world where it can be used to produce furniture such as a solid wood table Singapore. 

The increased government regulations in Myanmar have contributed to the decline in logging. While that is actually a good thing for the environment, it also means that there is less of a supply while the demand for it increases as more people are looking for teak outdoor furniture.

How Can You Identify Real Teak Wood?

For many years, teak wood has been among the most used materials for garden furniture. However, it is still essential to learn how to identify real teak wood. There are some factors that you can consider to know if the teak wood is real or not. Here are some of them:

  • Color

You can recognize teak wood through its whitish sapwood and yellowish or bronze heartwood. Its grain is commonly straight but may sometimes present wavy grain, which is common if it is from India. The color of teak wood depends on the species of the tree and where it comes from. Its tone ranges from dark golden brown to yellowish-white.

The outer layer of the tree is referred to as sapwood. For teak wood, it should be yellowish-white in color. The core of the tree is referred to as heartwood. Its color should be golden brown to dark brown. Compared to sapwood, the heartwood is usually more expensive and more valued as it is harder and stronger.

  • Grain

Another important factor in determining real teak wood is through the grain. Keep in mind that the grain of real teak wood is straight. Therefore, if the grain does not appear straight or mostly straight, you need to investigate more.

  • Weight

Real teak wood is very dense and fairly heavy. To test this, it should be heavier than chipboard. If it feels porous and light, it is probably fake.

  • Oil Content

Another way to determine real teak wood is through its oil content. When you touch teak wood, it should have an oily touch. Also, fresh-cut teak wood has a strong smell of old leather which disappears as it dries. With increasing age, the oil content of teak wood can be up to 5% of the own weight of the tree. 

  • Fragrance

Teak wood contains natural substances that give off a characteristic odor due to the oil’s presence. If the wood does not emit a leathery odor or any odor, it is probably a fake teak wood.

Differences Between Teak Wood and Oak Wood

Both teak wood and oak wood are popular wood species. But how do you think they differ? Below are some of the differences between teak wood and oak wood.

  • Appearance

The wood grain of teak wood is straight with a few wavy lines. When it ages, it darkens, and it has an oily texture, too. Teak wood can be yellow to a golden brown, depending on the part of the tree used. 

Oakwood, on the other hand, has a lighter color compared to teak. It also has a straight grain but with an uneven texture. Oak also has dark striations across the grain, giving it a striking appearance. 

  • Durability

As mentioned earlier, teak wood is one of the strongest and hardest woods out there, making it perfect for outdoor furniture. The natural oil it contains gives its weather-resistant property. It is also resistant to mold and rot and can last longer when properly maintained.

Oakwood, however, is not as hard as teak wood. It can be scratched and dented. But it is still a strong wood that can last for years when cared for well. 

  • Maintenance

Regular maintenance is needed to get the best out of teak wood. It should be cleaned regularly and refinished every few years. Oak, on the other hand, can be refurbished every year and cleaned regularly in between to make it last longer.

  • Price

Teak is still among the most expensive types of wood out there. Its price varies depending on where it comes from and its grades and varieties. Oak is relatively more common and cheaper than teak wood. 

  • Sustainability

Teak is a regulated type of wood. There are some countries where all teak-related activities are controlled. Therefore, teak is sustainable in those places. However, it is far from being a sustainable wood today. Oak is less exploited than teak, and it grows abundantly in the United States, Australia, and Europe. 

Teak Wood and Oak Wood Comparison Table

Parameter Teak Wood Oak Wood
Color Golden Brown – Dark Brown Pinkish-red, light brown
Durability Very Durable Fairly Durable
Hardness (Janka Scale) 2,330 1,260 – 1,360
Price Expensive Less expensive than teak
Outdoor Sustainability Yes Yes, if treated.
Smell Strong, leathery odor No distinct odor
Availability Difficult to obtain Moderately easy to obtain

The Pros and Cons of Teak Wood for Furniture

If you are searching for a new outdoor furniture set, you’ve probably considered getting a few teak pieces. This is because teak wood is among the most favored materials for furniture. But before you buy, you first need to learn about the advantages and disadvantages that this type of wood comes with when used for making furniture pieces. To help you, here are some of the pros and cons of teak wood for furniture.

  • The Pros of Teak Wood for Furniture

  • Durability: Due to the high natural oil content and tight wood grain of teak wood, it is among the strongest and most durable hardwoods today. This means that you can expose it to outdoor weather conditions like sun and rain without any worries, making it a perfect wood of choice for outdoor furniture pieces. 
  • Versatility: Teak wood is relatively easy to work with. It can be used to create chairs, sun lounges, tables, bench seats, and more. It can also be left natural, stained, waxed, varnished, or painted, depending on the type and style of furniture you want.
  • Rot, termite, and acid-resistant: In addition to holding up well against the weather, teak wood is also resistant to rotting, acid damage, and termites. Its oils deter insects and moisture from damaging the integrity of the wood.
  • Natural beauty: The tight, straight grain and varying textures of teak make it a naturally beautiful wood. Its golden-brown color tone is very appealing to a lot of people. It also ages well and can truly add to the aesthetics of your outdoor and indoor spaces.
  • The Cons of Teak Wood for Furniture

  • Affordability: As mentioned earlier, teak wood is among the most expensive types of hardwood out there. Its price depends on its size. While it may cost high, it is likely that you won’t have to replace your teak furniture as early as many other inferior wooden pieces.
  • Availability: Teak wood is a highly desired material for furniture pieces. However, it is not as easy to find as other woods on the market. This is due to the fact that it is a naturally slow-growing wood that is not easy to harvest.

Maintenance Tips for Teak Wood Furniture

It’s true that teak wood is fairly impermeable and needs little maintenance, but you should not ignore your outdoor teak furniture. When you neglect it, it can become dirty and discolored, which can ruin its aesthetic charm. Giving your teak wood furniture a little care can go a long way in preserving it. To help you, here are some of the best maintenance tips for teak wood furniture.

  • Regularly clean your teak wood furniture.

Keep in mind that furniture pieces placed outdoors become magnets for dirt, bird droppings, and mold. Therefore, cleaning them regularly is essential. You can scrub the furniture using a stiff bristle brush about four times a month. This way, dirt, cobwebs, leaves, and other debris will be removed. To avoid scratching the smooth finish of the furniture, ensure that you follow the natural grain of the wood when scrubbing. 

You can also wash your teak wood furniture with a heavily diluted solution of warm water and dishwashing soap once in a while. Just make sure that you dry it completely after each cleaning session. 

  • Clean up spills as soon as possible.

Spilling drinks and other liquids onto outdoor furniture is inevitable. However, if you do not remove them immediately, they can leave a stain on your furniture. Therefore, make sure that you clean up any oil, food, or chemical spills from your teak wood furniture as soon as possible. If you notice stains, you can scrub them with a stiff bristle or plastic. Avoid using steel wools, metal brushes, and scrubbing pads to avoid damaging the wood’s finish. 

  • Position the furniture in moderate temperature spots.

When teak wood furniture pieces are overexposed to hot temperatures, they can dry and shrink, which eventually leads to cracking. Therefore, as much as possible, avoid placing outdoor teak wood furniture in direct sunlight, particularly if you live in a hotter climate.

  • Keep your teak wood furniture safe from mildew.

People who live in humid areas find fighting milder a part of owning outdoor furniture. Luckily, the natural oils of the teak wood prevent it from yielding to a mold attack. However, mold and mildew can still pose a threat to your teak wood furniture and as well as to your health. 

When you notice mold on your furniture, do not spray the mold off with high-pressure washes. Intense pressure can cause damage to your furniture for good. What you can do is utilize different homemade solutions to remove the mold that grows on your teak pieces. If you do not have time to do this, you can also call a teak wood furniture cleaning company to ask for help.

The Pros and Cons of Teak Wood Flooring

In addition to making furniture pieces using teak wood, it is also used for flooring. The rich color and lasting shine of teak wood make any room look more beautiful. However, like many other things, using teak wood for flooring also has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. To learn more about this, here are the pros and cons of teak wood flooring.

  • The Pros of Teak Wood Flooring

  • Durability and easy maintenance: One of the best benefits that you can get from teak flooring is that it can keep its attractive appearance while being durable and easy to care for. 
  • Wearresistant: Teak wood flooring looks good in every room, and it is perfect for homes with traditional décor styles. In addition to that, teak wood flooring can retain its beauty for years, even under heavy use. Remember that it is one of the hardest wood species out there. This means that it is highly resistant to dings, scratches, and other forms of damage that are caused by everyday foot traffic. Therefore, you can ideally place teak wood floors in high-traffic areas of your house, like the hallway and living room. It is also perfect for homes with pets and kids.
  • Longlasting shine: Since teak wood is rich in oils, new teak wood floors have a luminous shine even without any treatment. The oils also help the wood prevent drying and cracking. This means that it will not only shine for years, but the floor will not produce splinters, too.
  • Water and insect resistance: Due to its hardness and high oil content, teak can absorb little moisture naturally. Also, when it is treated with sealer, it is unlikely to take in enough water or moisture to cause damage. This is one of the reasons it is mostly used in making outdoor furniture and decking on boats. This means that you can also use teak wood flooring in your bathroom and kitchen. Even an overflowing bathtub will not be able to ruin it. Aside from that, its hardness and natural oils are also what make it unappealing to insects and fungi. Therefore, you no longer have to worry about termites eating your floors. 

  • The Cons of Teak Wood Flooring

  • Environmental impact: If you are looking for environmental-friendly flooring for your home, teak wood is not necessarily the best choice. It is possible to find sustainably grown teak, but it will take a lot of effort. It is a slow-growing tree that takes about 80 to 120 years to fully mature. But there are some species that come from specially planted tree farms, which is a more environmentally sustainable option.
  • High cost: Teak wood flooring can definitely last for decades. However, it also comes at a very high price. It is a premium option for flooring, which can cost around $9 to $13 per square foot. It is also heavy and challenging to carry and lay into place, which can raise the cost of installation.

Cleaning and Maintaining Teak Wood Floors

Teak wood flooring is among the most exotic and beautiful floors for homes. Its straight lines, grain, and different colors are indeed striking. It is also known to be durable and low maintenance. However, if you have teak wood floors at home, it is still important to give them some attention to maintain their beauty and shine. With that, here are some of the best tips when it comes to cleaning and maintaining teak wood floors.

  • Use cleaners that are made specifically for wood flooring.

Using cleaners that are intended for wooden floors can be very helpful for getting rid of molds and mildew. You can find two types of cleaners in the market. One is the one-part cleaners, and the other is the two-part cleaners. One-part cleaners are gentler, while two-part cleaners are a bit harsh but only need slight scrubbing. Both of these are effective in cleaning the mold and mildew spores that can cause damage to wood flooring.

  • Vacuum your flooring regularly.

Using a vacuum cleaner that is designed to clean hard flooring to clean your teak wood flooring is very effective. It’s because they have a powerful suction to clean off the dust and debris that can make the floor look dull. You can vacuum your teak wood flooring every week.

  • Mop teak wood floors frequently.

One of the best teak wood flooring cleaning methods is mopping. You can use plain water and a damp mop. Gently run it all over the floor to remove dust particles.

  • Apply teak oil to your flooring.

Teak wood contains natural oils that act as a natural insect repellent. However, over time, your teak wood floor will lose its oils, and this should be reapplied. In high-traffic areas, you can apply teak oil twice a year. For areas that are free from traffic or barely used, applying teak oil once a year is enough. You can use clean or old rags to apply the oil to your floor. When applying oil, follow the wood grain and rub it will.


Teak wood is indeed one of the premium types of hardwood that you can find today. It is a perfect material if you are looking for pieces of furniture and flooring that will last you many years with little maintenance. In addition to furniture and flooring, teak wood is also used in many other applications, such as for countertops, boat decks, and as a veneer for indoor finishings. However, if you choose teak wood for your furniture, flooring, and other parts of the house, you need to ensure that it is harvested ethically from specially planted tree farms. We hope this post helped you learn more about teak wood.

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