Teak outdoor furniture is roundly acknowledged as the gold standard of wood-based furniture, more so for those used in exposed areas outside the house. The elegance and resilience of teak furniture has progressively elevated them into must-have accompaniments for any patio, deck, veranda and porch.
Teak furniture is made from the wood of the teak tree, a deciduous tropical hardwood specie originating from the monsoon rainforests of the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia. Teak, which is scientifically classified as Tectona grandis, generates a form of organic oil that is resistant to moisture and direct exposure to water, even when the processed wood is not treated with varnish. The oil also provides a significant measure of resistance against bacteria and decay, and discourages termites and insects from burrowing into the wood. These properties accord teak wood with amazing resilience against the weather – especially when we factor in its tight grain compression and high tensile strength. Such is the durability and strength of teak, it has been a fixture in the shipbuilding industry for the last 500 years.
Besides its hardiness and long life span, teak furniture is also favoured by many due to its attractive natural earthy colours. The teakwood’s honey – almost beige – colour fits in extremely well both indoors and outdoors. Its earthy tone blends in really well under fluorescent, incandescent or halogen light. Of course, it looks its best under direct sunlight in the garden. This is probably the reason why teakwood is rarely treated with chemicals and colour. Instead, only fine grit sandpaper and teak oil is used as finishing.
Speaking of teak oil, it’s probably a good idea to apply some on teak products, particularly teak patio furniture such as benches, tables, Adirondacks and loungers, once every couple of years. The oil seeps into the wood, so there is no concern over surface cracking or peeling of the furniture. Even if they are kept indoors, nourishing furniture with commercial teak oil will ensure the teak won’t weather into a deeper shade of brown.
These combination of factors contribute to teak furniture’s higher reputation compared to other open-grained woods such mahogany, rosewood or oak, and close-grained wood like maple, poplar and birch. Coupled with the fact that teak generally takes 40 years to fully mature (although a new generation of genetically modified teaks mature in as early as 10 years!), it is perhaps understandable why there is a premium on teak fixtures, and why they are increasingly seen as status symbols. Heck, even reclaimed and refurbished teak furniture is becoming trendy now!