It is said that the first outdoor teak benches were made of decking from old sailing ships. When these ships were salvaged, the decking was in such good condition that the wood was recycled and made into park benches. You can find these benches in public parks all over England, some of which are more than a century old.
Technically speaking, teak is a hardwood. And in case you want to impress your friends, the Latin term for teak is “Tectona grandis.” Teak grows in the dry, hilly terrains of the forests in Southeast Asia, South America and Africa, with Indonesia being the largest commercial exporter. This tree can grow to a height of 150 feet with a straight trunk, which has a diameter of 6 to 8 feet. But undoubtedly the most unique aspect of Teak is that it has a very high natural oil and rubber content, making it virtually impervious to all weather conditions. Teak’s natural oils also resist rot, decay and even insects don’t especially like the taste of the oil. This unique wood retains its natural high oil content even decades after it is harvested and dried and does not require any additional oiling.
Why is teak more expensive than other types of outdoor wood furniture?
Very few of the best things in life are inexpensive. Simply put, teak is in high demand and the supply is limited. Teak is a very special wood with unique properties that make it especially valuable for use in shipbuilding, swimming decks and outdoor furniture. No other wood on the planet can endure the elements of nature like teak can.
Why are there large differences in the prices of outdoor teak furniture?
The same reason there are large differences in the price of watches or cars. You can get various levels of design, comfort and overall construction quality.
Teak, like all wood, comes in various grades of raw lumber. The best teak has no visible knots, no sap wood, and is relatively even in color and grain. The best outdoor teak furniture is made from teak that is kiln dried to 12-14% moisture. Kiln drying by itself does not assure that the teak will not crack or warp over time. It must be left in the kiln long enough to thoroughly dry. And the best teak outdoor furniture is made by machines that can cut every joint and connection perfectly, so that the components fit tight and snug to prevent them from separating and opening-up over time.
But even if you pay a lot for teak, you may not always get what you pay for. It’s important to buy from a reputable brand that will stand behind its products.