Teak outdoor furniture can be a beautiful addition to your outdoor area or garden. It’s extremely durable, as well as being water and weather resistant. This is why teak is one of the most popular wood species for furniture makers and buyers across the world. It makes a stunning outdoor decor centrepiece to any space, no matter your personal style. Today we are going to go through everything you need to know about teak outdoor furniture before you choose it for your home.
What is Teak?
Teakwood has been valued since the Middle Ages due to its high levels of natural oils. This results in minimal moisture absorption, giving the wood great stability. It’s also extremely resistant to fungi, as well as against parasite attacks and insects. Through ages, teakwood has been used for ship decks, park furniture, flooring, and outdoor furniture. It was so popular as an outdoor furniture material that there are benches and chairs in parks across England that are a century old.
1. Teak Outdoor Furniture is Durable
Real teak furniture can withstand the elements, so there’s no need to worry about rain or sun causing serious damage like it would other wood. But be careful if salespeople try to sell you furniture that has been “teak oiled” or “is better than teakwood”. There is no guarantee of what this timber is or how it will handle the weather.
In fact, many furniture stores sell wood furniture called “teak oiled wood furniture” which means it’s a wood that has been treated with teak oil. Teak oil treatments wear away over a period of time. And too many buyers purchase it, thinking their furniture is teakwood due to misinformation over what teakwood actually is. Everyone wants a great deal, to pay less for top quality products. This means we might not ask questions or do the right research to ensure we are buying the right thing.
“Teak-like” furniture is also another trap. If a piece of furniture is described as “teak-like” then make sure you ask exactly what that means. Real teakwood contains a high content of silica which allows it to weather the elements. Further, real teakwood lasts 75 to 100 years when left outdoors in the elements. As a result, teakwood is the only type of wood that can make these claims.
2. How to Know Something is Fake Teakwood
When buying teakwood outdoor furniture, it’s important that you know some easy facts to determine if you’re buying real teakwood. If many pieces of outdoor furniture are described as a “Must Have” or “Great Deal” or “Unbelievably Priced”, are not made from Teak. Instead, they come from a type of wood called Nyatoh. While this is also an exotic hardwood, it’s not as hard or durable as teak. Nyatoh is made from slow-dried sapwood. Nyatoh dries slower than teakwood and tends to split and warp. And without regular staining, water gets trapped in the Nyatoh wood, causing it to rot.
3. Why is Teak Outdoor Furniture So Expensive?
The popularity of teakwood dates back as far as the Ming Dynasty and the powerful fleet of teakwood ships. And while teak trees grow rapidly to 150 feet tall but they won’t mature for at least 50 years. Because of the popularity of teakwood, environmental and government bodies saw the potential of harvesting this remarkable tree into extinction. As a result, 90% of teak grown today is on plantations under local government control. The other 10% is wild teak that can be found in forests and is illegal to cut down.
Every year the demand for teak increases by at least 10%, depending on trends. Plantations are strongly controlled, ensuring teak forests survive for generations, while still providing lumber for the building and craft industries. Only trees that have reached 50 years of age are felled and used as lumber. Some governments have begun experimenting with cutting down younger trees, to shorten the rotation time. Younger wood has a lighter colour and wider grain, but still maintains the highly desirable properties of older teakwood. But this carefully controlled process means that teakwood is harder to get than other timber, causing the price to rise. But the price is well worth it when you consider the amazing outdoor it produces.
4. Teak Outdoor Furniture is Beautiful
The colour and grain of teakwood make it one of the most attractive timbers for furniture makers, interior designers, and homeowners. Outdoor teak furniture becomes an elegant, silver grey as it’s exposed to the weather over the years. But if your furniture is in more of a sheltered area, and is regularly oiled, it can retain that warm, golden colour. And the durability of the wood means designers and furniture makers can create a wide range of pieces, unlike other wood.
Teak is one of the most adaptable varieties of wood due to the strength, durability, colour, resistance to insects (termites, etc), and resistance to the elements. But it’s the water resistance and the fact that teak doesn’t splinter as easily made it popular for shipbuilders for over 600 years and now is a favourite for indoor and outdoor furniture. From outdoor furniture to elegant dining tables, teakwood is amazingly adaptable.
6. Teak Outdoor Furniture Maintenance
The great thing about teak furniture is that you can leave it in its natural state, making it virtually maintenance free. You can leave teak outdoor furniture outdoors, all year round, even in the most extreme weather. Though you may need to treat with a fungicide sealer a year to prevent the growth of mould and mildew. Over time, untreated teakwood furniture will fade from its golden colour to an elegant silver grey that suits almost any home. New teakwood outdoor furniture may experience a natural oil surfacing texture that looks like a watermark. If you don’t like the look of these irregular marks, you can gently remove them with a bristle brush and diluted pH neutral soapy water.
Further, in order to preserve the beautiful shade of grey, some suggest that you also wash your furniture down with a mild detergent and water. However, washing the furniture down with a hose is also acceptable to remove dust and pollen.
7. Cracks in Teakwood Furniture
You may, over time, notice small cracks in your furniture. But, because teakwood has a naturally high content of wood oils. So it isn’t necessary to treat teakwood with any type of sprays, oils, or preservatives. However, if you feel like you need to oil your furniture we recommend using teakwood oil. Ensure the surface of the wood is dry or clean then apply the oil, giving your furniture a gorgeous surface sheen. We also suggest oiling your outdoor teak furniture if you entertain frequently. This will help protect your beautiful furniture from stains from food or drink.
However, if you can avoid oiling teak furniture we recommend you do so. Oiling teak furniture does not prevent the wood from greying but can cause mould and mildew to grow. If you spot mould or mildew, you will need to wash the furniture in bleach.
Never use varnish or linseed oil as varnishes and polyurethane can cause the surface to peel or chip, requiring you to sand to remove.
8. Teak Stains
Unlike other wood, teak does not absorb water. Instead, it’s rich in natural oils and silicates which means the weathering process oil surfacing. And this natural teak oil can cause unfortunate stains on cushions you use on your outdoor furniture. Thankfully, fabric stained by teak oil can e cleaned with soap and water or eucalyptus-based cleaners. Just remember, teakwood will constantly repeat the oil surfacing process. So be prepared to clean cushions, throws, and fabrics forever.
Looking for the best in stunning teak outdoor furniture? Come into your local Aumanns Garden Supplies and speak to our team for advice on the perfect pieces for your home!