Thanks to its unique structural properties and high oil content, teak has been prized for centuries as a high-quality wood ideal for shipbuilding, décor and outdoor furniture. Dutch shipbuilders were the first to utilize teak in the manufacturing of sailing vessels and many public parks in England are accented with century-old teak benches. Today, the dense wood that is nearly impervious to buckling, splitting and decay is popular for furniture construction.
One of the main reasons it’s used for outdoor furniture is its impressive durability against even the harshest of elements. Teak’s high density helps it to resist moisture rot and fungal decay and its high oil content helps protect against termite and other insect invasions. Teak is also resistant to various chemical agents and it demonstrates little reaction when in contact with metal.
At first glance, teak furnishings may seem more expensive than others but if you factor in its known durability and esthetic appeal, teak definitely delivers an impressive bang for your buck.
Teak furniture is very low maintenance since it can remain outdoors throughout the entire year even without having a protective finish. Unlike plastic furnishings, teak remains solid and doesn’t heat up when under extreme sun exposure and it is less prone to element degradation like other types of wood. Teak furniture is lighter than its iron-made competitors and it doesn’t break or bend easily like some tubular-shaped furniture.
Teak furnishings come in an array of shapes and sizes and though traditionally reserved for use in outdoor spaces, teak is gaining popularity as a viable material for in-home furniture too. Chaise loungers, Muskoka chairs and patio tables are common teak furniture pieces. Teak frames for large umbrellas are also available but aluminum and other metals are equally functional and generally much less expensive.
Although teak endures even the most extreme conditions, it is prone to cosmetic changes when exposed to the sun over long periods. Furniture can lose its natural wood color and become silvery, grey in color. This does not affect the wood’s quality and is essentially cosmetic but a teak sealer can be applied to preserve the natural colors and it also protects against fungicides.
A specially designed teak cleaner that is made up of one part base, like caustic soda and another part acid like phosphoric is available to effectively clean teak. The cleaner can stain patio or painted surfaces. So, do keep this in mind before starting. To use the cleaner, begin by thoroughly wetting the wood and work a small amount of the base solution from the top of the piece to the bottom taking special care not to let the product dry on the wood. Rinse and repeat with the acid solution. After rinsing thoroughly the wood will appear darker but the color will lighten as the wood dries.
Never clean teak with a pressure washer or brush as they can leave the wood surface rough. Steel wool should also be avoided because it can leave rust marks within the wood grains.
Teak outdoor furniture is probably the most common use of this gorgeous wood that you'll see. The reason for this is that teak patio furniture is pretty much weather resistant because of its high natural teak oil content. Not all teaks are equal and you can certainly still find affordable outdoor teak furniture for your garden, patio or deck. However, most people just love the look and feel of teak so much that they use it in their bedroom, bathroom, dining room and in other areas of their home. You can often find reclaimed teakwood on discount during a furniture clearance or sale (they're always going on), so long as you trust the brand of course. Danish and Indonesian teak tend to be the highest quality and you should definitely favor brands like Smith Hawken and Kingsley Bate over no-name brands.
Hands down, teak furniture is the best out there as it combines durability, functionality and beauty. Before purchasing do remember that teak is heavier than plastic or metal furniture. So, remember to double-check that the furnishings are well-constructed with solid brackets and wheels (if included).