Teak Patio Furniture

Outdoor furniture has a great deal to put up with wind, rain, snow, hail and burning sun, quite apart from whatever human beings might do to it. So it’s really a good idea to choose your garden furniture with great care, to ensure it looks good and stays serviceable for as long as possible. Many people consider that there is nothing to beat teak patio furniture, for both beauty and durability.

Teak is Unique

Teak is a tropical hardwood which grows in south-east Asia. Most of the teak used in furniture comes from Indonesia, where it is grown in sustainable plantations managed by the Indonesian government, so that only a specified number of trees can be felled each year, with each tree being replaced immediately by another.

This is because teak has always been so much prized for its exceptional properties that a few decades ago the world’s teak supplies had almost become exhausted. The reason teak is so highly prized is that it is a unique wood which contains an abundance of natural oils, which unlike the oils of other trees are retained after the tree is felled.

Teak Patio Furniture

This makes teak more weather-resistant than any other wood in the world. As well as this, it has an exceptionally tight grain, which prevents the wood from splintering. These properties make teak the perfect wood for constructing outdoor furniture.

Why People Choose Teak

All this helps to explain why teak wood patio furniture is so popular and so very much in demand. One effect of the oils in teak is to give the wood a soft, natural glow, with a slight sheen which lasts for many years. When first made, the furniture has a warm golden honey color, which gradually turns to a silvery gray ash shade as the wood ages.

At the same time, the thickness of the fibers means the wood is easy to cut and form into beautiful and functional products. However, the oils in teak don’t just make it beautiful — they make it one of the most durable and weather-resistant woods to be found anywhere. The oils naturally repel water, so the wood will not rot, warp or decay.

Teak Patio Furniture

Teak patio furniture can be left out in any sort of weather with no ill effects. It is also resistant to the pests, like powderpost beetles, termites and carpenter ants, that can destroy most other types of wood. Teak wood patio furniture is also of course extremely sturdy and almost indestructible — in fact pieces of teak outdoor furniture can be expected to last 75-100 years.

So if you are told your teak patio furniture will last you a lifetime, this is no exaggeration. Being hardwood, the furniture can stand up to all kinds of rough treatment, and will not splinter or crack. At the same time, it is very comfortable to sit on, and will not burn you as metal furniture will.

Another big advantage of teak wood patio furniture is that its durability can be maintained with very little effort on your part. Because of its soft natural glow, there is no need to stain or paint the furniture, or add wax or polish. In fact teak patio furniture is more low-maintenance than any other type of outdoor furniture.

Teak Patio Furniture


How To Care For Your Teak

Although the furniture requires minimal maintenance, there are one or two things you can do to keep it looking its best. It’s a good idea to clean it periodically, to prevent dust and dirt from building up — the end of winter is a good time. There are specialized teak cleaning products on the market, but you can obtain equally good results with a solution of water and detergent.

Simply hose it down, with the hose on a low pressure setting, then scrub it gently with a soft brush. A lot of people think it’s necessary to treat teak patio furniture with teak oil. However, experts advise against this.  The reason is that the product labeled teak oil does not actually come from teak, but consists of linseed oil and solvents.

The solvents can actually break down the natural oils that are already in the wood, thus reducing the durability of the furniture. The main reason for applying teak oil to the furniture is to keep the original golden color, and prevent it from changing to silvery gray. A lot of people actually like the gray color and don’t want to interfere with this process.

Teak Patio Furniture

However, if you do decide to apply teak oil, you will find the color looks stunning for a few weeks, but then starts to fade because the oil evaporates, leaving the wood drier than before. So if you start applying teak oil, you have to keep doing it every few weeks for the lifetime of the furniture. There is also another problem about applying oil, which is that oil on the exterior provides a moist environment for fungus and mold.

After several applications, you may start noticing small dark spots on the wood’s surface — this is the fungus which is feeding on the surface oil. So the advice is to avoid using teak oil, unless the color change really upsets you. If you really want to retain the new look, teak sealer is a better option — it will not damage the natural oils.

Teak Patio Furniture


Shopping For Teak

When shopping for teak patio furniture, you will notice that the best quality is pretty expensive, with teak patio furniture sets running into thousands of dollars. The reason for this is that the best quality comes from what is called the heart wood, which is the wood right in the center of the trunk. Trees grow outwards from the center, so the nearer the heart, the more abundant the natural oils.

The heart wood is only a small proportion of the tree, so heart wood is more rare, and consequently costs more. Because of this, you will find that teak is sold in three different quality grades. Grade A is the heart wood of the mature tree — at least 40 years old — and is the highest in natural oil content. Grade B is also heart wood, but comes from younger trees, so has a lower content of natural oils.

Teak Patio Furniture

Grade C is made from sapwood, which comes from the tree’s outer layers. This is not really hardwood, and is pale in color, high in moisture and low in natural oils. This means Grade C teak has none of the qualities which make teak so desirable — aesthetic appeal, strength and durability.

Obviously, therefore, if you want the best quality, you need to ensure you are buying Grade A teak. This can be up to 10 times more expensive than teak of inferior quality, so if you find teak being sold more cheaply, you should question whether it is the best quality.

For instance, if you find teak patio furniture sets labeled as Grade A being sold for less than about $2,000, even in a teak patio furniture sale, you are almost certainly looking at Grade C. Some retailers treat the wood with chemicals to make it look like Grade A, while others don’t bother as they believe customers won’t know the difference.

Teak Patio Furniture

To help you know the difference, Grade A teak has consistent coloring and straight grain lines, while Grade B has more wavy grain lines, a few color variations, and some small knots. Grade C will have noticeable difference of dark and light in the same cut, and will have widely-spaced grain. It will probably have a dull finish, and will lack the soft sheen of quality teak.

As well as the teak quality grade, it’s also important to pay attention to the quality of the workmanship, which in the case of teak means looking for machine-made pieces rather than handmade. Usually, of course, handmade furniture is considered more prestigious and desirable, but where teak is concerned, although some handmade furniture can look beautiful, it lacks the precision cut of the machine-made pieces, which fit together much better.

Teak Patio Furniture

The handmade furniture may not meet basic quality standards, because of inadequate supervision of local workers. In order to ensure you are getting the best quality, and are not being fobbed off with inferior products, it is best to buy your teak patio furniture from a reputable brand.

If you find that products from companies of this type are a bit beyond your budget, you can look for discount teak patio furniture, but you need to be careful. If cheaper pieces are labeled Teak Veneer or Teak Oiled, they are not teak, and will consist of less expensive wood given a coating to make them look like teak.

Probably the best way to find cheaper products is to look for used teak patio furniture. Teak is so long lasting that there is no reason why used teak patio furniture should not be as good as buying it new.

Teak Patio Furniture

Whether you need a complete dining set, or just a couple of chairs for your porch, you know that quality is paramount. There is really nothing to match teak for enhancing your outdoor space, and giving it an elegant, charming, distinguished and exciting look. Not only this, but it will be something you can treasure for many years to come, and pass on to your children and maybe your grandchildren too.

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