For anyone who is looking into buying lumber for an outdoor project like patio furniture, the word “Teak” will inevitably be one of the first words that pops up in the search engine. Teak has been immensely popular for centuries, which makes mature teak lumber very desirable (and very expensive).
In today’s market, with cheap alternatives like engineered wood products and vinyl wood substitutes, some people do not see what the big hoopla is around natural Teak lumber.
Teak has been one of the most popular exotic woods for centuries,and this high demand, coupled with the fact that harvesting Teak lumber is a long and arduous process, are what accounts for the high price tag for this wood. Usually, tropical wood logs are harvested and then transported by floating them down rivers for long distances. The complicating issue is that Teak does not float, so Teak lumber is transported the same way that it was thousands of years ago— by elephants pulling the felled logs across the jungle. When you think about the work that goes into harvesting Teak lumber, it is easy to see why it is much more expensive to purchase than other hardwood species.
There are many reasons why natural Teak is worth the price, starting with its beauty and elegance. Teak lumber naturally has a very dense grain and a lovely golden brown color which deepens to a brownish red as it matures. Teak lumber that is exposed to the elements will weather to a very attractive silvery gray color. Many people choose Teak, planning to allow it to weather naturally, but if you are interested in maintaining the brown color, then there are several option for wood conditioning. Imported teak has historically been used to decorate the homes of the wealthy, as it was (and still is) considered a luxury. But for the average homeowner, beauty alone isn’t enough to win us over on a material. Luckily, we’ve only just scratched the surface of the many superior qualities of Teak.
As a tropical hardwood, Teak is unmatched in durability. There are several species that come close and that can be considered workable substitutes, but the bottom line is, you can’t get any better than Teak. Teak is unique when compared with other hardwood species, because Teak trees naturally create an oil that both repels insects, fungi and parasites and also acts as a waterproofing agent. Unlike other oil and sap producing species (ex. maple and tea tree), Teak retains these natural oils after being harvested. Therefore, you do not need to worry about termite damage or rot when you use Teak, which is why this species is so commonly used for exterior applications such as wooden decks, patio furniture and boat and yacht construction. In fact, the natural oils in Teak have the unique ability to prevent rust and corrosion when in contact with metal, which is why it is considered the premier material for maritime applications.
A huge selling point on Teak is its incredible lifespan. When used indoors, Teak can last indefinitely, while when properly maintained in outdoor applications, this wood can last for upwards of 50 years. If you think about it, Pressure-Treated Lumber only has a lifespan of 20 years, so the cost of Teak is manageable when you think about the frequency of replacements with other types of outdoor decking and furniture options.
Now that you know why Teak is so wonderful, you are probably wondering where you can get your hands on some! J. Gibson McIlvain, exotic hardwood dealers located outside of Baltimore, MD, has an excellent stock of premium teak lumber and flooring. For more information, visit www.mcilvain.com!
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