Teak is one of the world’s most popular wood species for use in outdoor environments, and this has been true for centuries. If you’re looking for a beautiful and durable choice when picking out your garden furniture, teak is one of the best options available to you.
Teak has a number of natural characteristics that make it ideally suited for its traditional outdoor role. It’s a very dense, very close-grained hardwood that is extremely resistant to rot and natural damage. Teak is also packed with natural oils and resins (as well as significant mineral deposits) that further enhance its ability to stand up to abuse and adverse conditions.
Outdoor furniture made of teak holds up well to moisture and insects, showing few signs of rot or infestation under all but the very worst conditions. Over time, teak tends to lighten when exposed to direct sunlight, fading from a golden buttery brown to a lighter shade with distinct silver overtones.
Some owners consider this weathering to be desirable and prefer aged teak to fresh wood. Properly-maintained teak furniture does not lose any of its strength or resiliency as its color changes.
Paying For Long-Term Value
The positive qualities described above combined with always-increasing demand have made teak one of the more expensive materials used in the furniture-building industry today. Besides a sharp limit on the speed at which teak can be grown and harvested, there are also commercial applications (including boat building).
If you’re considering buying teak furniture for your garden, price is likely to be one of your foremost concerns. Don’t doubt that you’ll get your money’s worth from a teak piece that’s well built and properly maintained, though! Good teak patio furniture will last for decades; you may well end up leaving your purchases to your children.
If at all possible, you should buy all of your teak furniture at the same time. This ensures that all of your pieces weather in the same fashion and continue to match in future years. As noted above, you should be able to find pieces that fit your needs available in either fresh-finished or pre-weathered condition.
Note that if you buy finished (or unfinished “raw”) furniture, it will weather and go grey over time. (The change is faster in direct sunlight.) If you’d prefer your furniture to retain the warm golden color it had when you purchased it, make sure you review the maintenance requirements carefully with your seller.
Sealed teak can keep its original tone for many years, but the furniture’s finish will need to be taken care of and possibly reapplied.
As you may imagine, centuries of consistently high demand for teak have taken their toll on its natural habitat. Teak originated in Burma / Myanmar, and today the country still supplies more than half of the world’s stock of the wood. The plant has been exported, though, and today teak is grown in tropical countries all around the globe.
If you’d like to minimize your ecological impact while still enjoying the beauty and durability of teak furniture in your garden, look for the certification of the Forest Stewardship Council.
Lumber companies can only earn FSC approval if they go out of their way to respect natural environments and their inhabitants and harvest woods like teak in a sustainable fashion.
Although teak is only one of the great choices available to you when you pick out garden furniture, it’s hard to deny that it’s one of the best ones. Its durability and beauty are difficult (if not impossible) to match with either synthetic or natural alternatives. If you want to invest in outdoor furnishings that are going to last a lifetime (and look great doing it!), teak is the way to go.
About the Author: Ted Leger is a woodworking enthusiast who turned his hobby into a passion. You can find more woodworking tips and advice from him at his woodworking blog, http://www.WooDesigner.net
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