What is Teakwood?

teak patio furniture

Teakwood is arguably the most prized natural building material for outdoor patio furniture. A dense, close-grained hardwood, it comes from the Tectona grandis trees that are native to south and southeast Asia. 

When teak is harvested, it is initially a golden color with a smooth grain and texture. As it weathers, this color evolves to a soft silver-grey finish. Thanks to its naturally high oil content, this wood is extremely durable, offering a material that’s virtually rot and termite resistant, even if untreated. 

Where Does Teakwood Come From?

Teakwood comes from teak trees (also known as Tectona granis). These tall, deciduous trees originated in just four countries in south and southeast Asia:

  • Burma
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • India

However, excessive logging practices in these regions have proved unsustainable. Nearly all-natural teak forests have disappeared in these countries, with the exception of Burma. Luckily, teak thrives in tropical climates where the warm and damp conditions promote healthy growth. 

So thanks to dedicated teak farmers, teak plantations can be found in:

  • South and Southeast Asia
  • Africa
  • Latin America

How Big and Fast Do Teak Trees Grow?

Teak trees can grow as tall as 50 meters and live up to 100 years. Generally speaking, the older the tree, the bigger the tree. The bigger the tree, the more heart wood — or high-quality teakwood — can be harvested.

While teak is one of the fastest-growing tropical hardwoods (it grows at a rate of roughly half-an-inch per day!), it still takes at least 25 years to grow a mature tree. This means many teakwood farmers may only harvest a handful of the trees they themselves planted!

What is Heart Wood? 

Not all teakwood is equal. In fact, teakwood is generally separated into two main categories: ‘heart wood’ and ‘sap wood.’

As the name suggests, ‘heart wood’ comes from the heart of the tree — its innermost rings. This is the highest-grade teak and can only be found in older trees that have been given the chance to develop a larger root system and wider trunk.

‘Sap wood’ is harvested from the outer rings of established trees and young teak trees that have been harvested early in their growing cycle. Because it takes so many years for a teak tree to develop heart wood, sap wood is commonly used to build less expensive tea patio furniture. 

While it costs less, this lower-grade wood is also less durable. Containing less oil and offering less density, it’s more prone to cracking, rotting, and infestation. 

How Hard is Teakwood?

The hardness of wood is rated by the Janka Wood Hardness Scale. This scale measures the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball into the wood. Using the Janka Wood Hardness Scale, Teak has a rating of 1,000 - 1,155. This is harder than several of the commonly used woods, including:

  • White Pine
  • Chestnut
  • Poplar
  • Cedar
  • Mahogany

What Makes Teakwood So Durable?

For centuries, teak has been considered one of the most durable woods. Beloved by shipbuilders for its resistance to rot, it was commonly used for maritime vessels and seaside furniture.

This extreme durability is thanks to the close grain of the wood and high, natural oil content. The combination makes it nearly impervious to:

  • Rot
  • Infestation
  • Cracking
  • Warping

Should You Buy Teakwood Patio Furniture

Selecting the right patio furniture for your outdoor space can be a deeply personal decision. You want your patio furniture to be comfortable, so you enjoy using it. And you want it to be aesthetically pleasing, so you love the way your outdoor space looks.

We happen to think teak patio furniture is some of the most beautiful and comfortable made. But there are a wide variety of amazing materials and designs from which to choose. The best way to select the right patio furniture is to go see it in person. Sit in it. Imagine your space with it. 

What is the Lifespan Of Teak Patio Furniture?

High-quality teak patio furniture built from heart wood typically has a lifespan of 50-70 years. With the right environment and proper care, it could last even longer — making it an exceptional investment in your outdoor living space. 

View our collection of teak patio furniture.