Why is Teak Used for Outdoor Furniture - The History, Types & Benefits

Published on Updated on PRODUCT STORIES by april zhou

Australia's passion for outdoor living finds a perfect match in the enduring beauty of our sustainable teak outdoor furniture. Teak, revered as the "king of woods", is the top choice for crafting durable, elegant outdoor furniture. In this blog post, we discuss the secrets behind teak's unmatched quality, its journey from royal courts and ancient shipyards to your backyard, and how choosing sustainably sourced teak furniture can elevate your outdoor living experience while conserving the planet.

The Unrivalled Qualities of Teak 

Is teak good for outdoor furniture? Teak's unparalleled greatness is attributed to its high oil content, high tensile strength, tight grain, and its innate resistance to rot and mildew, making it exceptionally suitable for environments requiring robust weather resistance, particularly in high humidity. Unique among woods, teak is the only material that can endure harsh outdoor and saline environments over long periods without compromise.

Its exceptional sturdiness and resistance to weather are further highlighted by its high strength and hardness, ensuring minimal warping in variable climates. The density of teak provides remarkable stability and resistance to decay, even under extreme weather conditions, allowing it to maintain superior strength and an excellent structure even after many years of use.

FAQ Answers
Does teak outdoor furniture last? Teak furniture is renowned for its longevity, often lasting 50 years or more in outdoor conditions without significant degradation.
How to care & clean for teak outdoor furniture? Maintain your teak furniture's splendor with regular cleaning. For detailed care instructions, visit our Teak Furniture Care Guide.
Does outdoor teak furniture need to be sealed? While teak naturally resists the elements, sealing can enhance its colour and protect against stains. Explore our Teak Care Products for optimal preservation.
What is so special about teak wood? Teak's high oil content, dense grain, and natural resistance to pests, rot, and decay make it the ultimate material for outdoor furniture, symbolising both luxury and sustainability.

Teak Tree Heritage

Scientifically known as Tectona grandis, teak is a tropical hardwood native to the lush landscapes of South and Southeast Asia. Towering up to 40 meters with its greyish-brown branches, teak is renowned for its high-quality wood. What sets teak apart is its richness in oil, granting it exceptional durability and weather resistance. The scent of new teak wood, reminiscent of leather, adds to its distinctive appeal. 

A neat pathway winds through a teak forest, with rows of uniform teak trees standing tall, their green leaves creating a tranquil canopy overhead. The ground is scattered with dry leaves, indicative of a well-maintained teak plantation.
A serene path winding through a lush teak forest, showcasing sustainable forestry practices.

Thai Teak: Used for Thai Royal Craft on the Brink of Extinction

The finest quality teak is found in Thailand and Myanmar. Thai teak, celebrated for its superior quality, has graced the construction of royal buildings and craft vessels. In the historic city of Bangkok, numerous wooden houses stand as testaments to the craftsmanship of teak. However, faced with the spectre of deforestation in earlier years, the Thai government intervened, imposing a ban on teak logging and log exports. Consequently, the teak available in the local market in Thailand either hails from earlier periods or has undergone meticulous processing and reuse. 

Myanmar Teak: Richer in organic oil content

Myanmar teak stands as the epitome of excellence, often referring to teak grown in natural forests. Myanmar's original teak forests contribute to over half of the world's total teak production, boasting longer tree ages and higher oil content. However, excessive logging prompted the Myanmar government to initiate a ban on the export of teak logs in recent years, resulting in a surge in the price of Myanmar teak. 

Indonesian teak: Features beautiful lines on the Brink of Extinction

Indonesian teak, abundant due to meticulous management practices by the Indonesian government since the mid-20th century, is considered a national treasure. With official teak plantations in Java, the government specifies the number of trees that can be felled each year, promptly replacing them with new plantations. Indonesian teak, recognised for its high quality, features beautiful lines, fewer trees, and higher oil content when compared to other cultivated teak. 

African and American teak: Dry & Easy to Crack

Beyond Southeast Asia, African and American teak, originating from Indonesian native species, exhibit a faster growth rate. However, the material tends to be dry and more prone to cracking compared to Southeast Asian teak.  

Presently, teak on the general market is mostly produced in Indonesia's artificial forests, with tree ages typically ranging from 20 to 30 years. 

Here's a quick summary table of the different types of Teak:

Region Characteristics Sustainability
Thai Teak Superior quality, historical use in royal craftsmanship, limited by logging bans. Sourced from pre-ban stocks or reused materials.
Myanmar Teak High oil content, longevity, affected by logging bans leading to price surges. Natural forest origin, with over half of the world's production.
Indonesian Teak High quality, beautiful lines, managed by government plantation programs. Sustainably managed, with replanting initiatives.
African and American Teak Faster growth, tends to be drier and more prone to cracking. Originates from Indonesian species, less durable than Southeast Asian counterparts.

Teak Through Time: A Storied Journey 

Over 2000 years ago, artisans in South and Southeast Asia discovered teak's resistance to termites and insects. This revelation led to its widespread use in constructing homes, doors, window frames, furniture, and columns. The Dutch colonial period in Indonesia saw teak's remarkable anticorrosive properties elevate it to a staple in shipbuilding, gaining international acclaim. 

Year 1849 - U-Bein Bridge

The Burmese people, in 1849, constructed the world's longest teak bridge, the U-Bein Bridge, in the ancient capital city of Mandalay. Comprising 1,086 solid teak trees, the 1.2km bridge spans the Tautaman Lake in a zigzag pattern, designed to endure the strong impact of heavy water during the rainy season. 

The U-Bein Bridge, a long wooden footbridge made of teak, stretches across the landscape at sunrise, with a dirt path running alongside it.
Sunlight on the U-Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak bridge, exemplifying the strength and elegance of teak.

Year 1868 - Vimanmek Palace

Built in 1868 during the reign of King Rama V, the Golden Teak Palace (Vimanmek Palace) in Thailand is one of the world's largest all-teak palaces. Remarkably, the entire palace was built without a single iron nail and is deemed an important protected monument by the Thai government. It houses photos of kings, daily necessities, and a plethora of precious offerings from various countries. 

Vimanmek Palace in Thailand, a majestic all-teak construction with a multi-tiered roof and intricate wooden facade, set against a lush garden and clear blue sky.
The Vimanmek Mansion, a majestic all-teak palace in Thailand, shines as one of the world's largest structures of its kind.

Year 1912 - Titanic Deck

Teak's versatility extends to boatbuilding, with a reputation for being the only wood resistant to bending and cracking in saltwater and sunlight. The deck of the Titanic, standing the test of time for over 100 years in the sea, stands as a testament to teak's enduring qualities.  

A still from a movie set aboard the historical RMS Titanic, showing a young couple seated on wooden deck chairs. The deck is constructed from teak wood, which shines under the daylight, emphasising the luxury of the ship.
A still from 'Titanic' captures Jack and Rose on the teak deck of the iconic ship, renowned for its durability against the elements at sea.

As centuries have passed, the popularity of teak has continued to rise. Its rich appearance and premium quality features trump other timber that is often used for outdoor décor and outdoor furniture.

Remarkable Outdoor Living's Commitment to Eco-Friendly Teak

In the realm of outdoor furniture, we all know teak stands as an undeniable symbol of power and allure. Yet, the history of its harvest has left scars on the environment and communities. Recognising this, Remarkable Outdoor Living takes a dedicated stance towards sustainability, ensuring that the allure of teak is harmoniously intertwined with responsible practices.

Sustainable Sourcing: Remarkable Only Uses FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified Teak Wood

Logo of Forest Stewardship Council

Our outdoor furniture is more than just an aesthetic choice; it's a conscious decision to support the planet. We pride ourselves on sourcing teak sustainably and harvesting responsibly. For pieces that don't demand extensive wood, we exclusively use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified teak wood or legal wood sourced from Indonesia, notably from PT Perhutani. 

The Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organisation, lays down stringent standards for responsible forest management. Unlike simply boycotting wood products, the FSC aims to create a positive impact on the planet, biodiversity, and the economies linked to forests. We're not just crafting furniture; we're crafting a sustainable future. 

Eco-Friendly Teak: Remarkable Also Uses Recycled Teak Wood

For even more substantial structures, especially teak tables that grace outdoor spaces, Remarkable Outdoor Living takes an innovative turn. We breathe new life into aged teak by repurposing recycled wood from structures like century-old houses in Java, Indonesia. Salvaged with care, this recycled teak undergoes a detailed process ‚ÄĒ removing foreign elements, cutting to precision, and finally, handcrafting into new, remarkable furniture.¬†

Conclusion

Teak furniture, to us, is more than an epitome of luxury and durability. It's a symbol of conscientious and sustainable practices. By embracing these practices, we alleviate the strain on plantations and raw materials, ensuring that the timeless beauty of this natural resource lives on for generations. 

Explore Some of Our Teak Ranges and Products:

Scenic view of a Grace Recycled Teak Dining Setting featuring Monsoon Wicker chairs with Teak legs, arranged on a deck accentuated by white cushions, overlooking a sparkling swimming pool.
Grace Recycled Teak Dining Set with Monsoon Wicker chairs on a sunlit deck overlooking a pool, adorned with white cushions.

 

Ottawa Outdoor Teak Daybed adorned with vibrant cushions, complemented by lush plants and green walls, adding a natural touch.
Ottawa Teak Daybed adorned with vibrant cushions and green accents for a natural touch.

 

FAQs:

  1. What makes teak the best wood for outdoor furniture in Australia?

    • Teak's high oil and rubber content provides exceptional stability, making it resistant to rot and perfect for the Australian climate.

  2. Is teak outdoor furniture sustainable?

    • Yes, when sourced responsibly. Remarkable Outdoor Living uses FSC-certified teak and wood from sustainable plantations, ensuring environmental conservation.

  3. How does Remarkable Outdoor Living ensure the sustainability of its teak furniture?

    • We¬†use¬†FSC-certified and legally sourced teak, supporting sustainable forestry practices and reducing environmental impact.

  4. What are the benefits of choosing teak for outdoor settings?

    • Teak offers unparalleled durability, weather resistance, and aesthetic appeal, making it a premium choice for outdoor furniture.

 

Reference 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teak#Uses
  2. https://ditecmarineproducts.com/blogs/news/all-about-teak-the-history-of-teak-and-how-to-take-care-of-it 
  3. Vimanmek Mansion - Wikipedia
  4. https://www.remarkablefurniture.com.au/products/golden-care-outdoor-teak-and-hardwood-cleaner-1-litre
  5. https://www.remarkablefurniture.com.au/products/golden-care-outdoor-hardwood-shield-1-litre

Share this

A hand holds a bottle of Magic Stain Remover in front of an Alora 3-seater lounge on a wooden deck, with a charcoal round table adorned with a plant and decorative pieces.
Aluminium
Maintaining Your Outdoor Furniture For Longevity
Tips for Caring for Outdoor Furniture