Picking outdoor furniture is a bit trickier than picking interior furniture. Outdoor furniture needs to serve its function and look great, while standing up to the elements. You can’t just put any kind of wood outside and expect it to fare well, with some woods being naturally better suited for the outdoors because of their strength and durability. Other woods have natural oils that can repel insects. Teak is our (and many others’) recommendation for the best wood for outdoor furniture because it some of the strongest and longest lasting wood, as well as having natural oil that keeps it well conditioned.
Whether you’re replacing old, broken down patio furniture or looking to set some up for the first time, teak is the answer. For it’s natural good looks to its strength and durability, it’s the only option for your new outdoor furniture. It provides a perfect balance between the longevity of synthetic materials and the natural look of other woods.
When looking for outdoor furniture, aesthetics are right up there with functionality. You want to be able to comfortably use whatever you need, but it also needs to look great, too, as a complementary decoration for your yard. Teak is a beautiful wood, with a nice dark golden brown color and a tight, straight grain pattern. It has a very natural looking quality, especially because of how it the the color changes slowly over time, first fading a bit while turning to a classic looking silvery-gray (which can be reset at anytime with a nice polish). The weathered color brings to mind the worn looking adirondack chairs and shingles of a beach house, and goes well with anything else in your yard.
One of the biggest advantages of using teak wood is its natural strength. Teak is a hardwood, one of the strongest kinds of wood in the world, and it even dulls the tools of woodworkers when crafting with it. This means that your teak outdoor furniture will stand up very well to any bumps or bruises it may sustain in the elements, although it does mean that teak wood is relatively dense and heavy. But it comes with good news, you don’t even have to take your teak inside. Its natural durability can keep itself looking great for over a hundred years!
All wood has some kind of oil, like tea tree oil or sap for maple syrup, but teak retains its oil after being cut, unlike most other kinds of wood. This oil gives teak wood several significant advantages for being used in outdoor furniture. It protects against pests and vermin who eat away at and destroy the wood. It makes the wood waterproof, repelling water and therefore preventing warping and cracking. And finally, teak oil prevents dry rot, a common and annoying problem with using lesser wood outdoors. Teak is a great option for a hands off material that protects itself: you can just leave it and it will repel moisture and pests while also resisting rot and decay. Different woods experience those problems to different degrees, but you don’t have to worry about decline or decay with your teak furniture.
Teak is also very low maintenance. You could treat it if you want, to achieve a specific color or stain, but you don’t need to treat teak at all, just let its natural oils do their job to protect the wood. Over time, the wood will weather to become a very nice silvery-gray color, but you can also buff off the gray patina any time you want to return to the original golden brown color. For other spot issues, like dirt, moss, or other stains, you can clean them right off with a bit of soapy water and a soft brush.
Teak’s strength and oil make it exceedingly long-lasting. While it can be more expensive than other woods, the benefits from its graceful appearance, natural longevity, and lack of maintenance more than makeup for the price difference. Yearly wood treatment adds up both in cost and effort; better to sit back and enjoy watching it weather. You can leave the teak furniture outside all year in any climate, really, and the natural resistance to warping and cracking will keep the wood at tip-top shape through cold winters, hot summers, and the transitions between them. The same way it resists cracking and warping, it avoids shrinking and expanding, which can cause problems for the wood itself and how it fits in the furniture. Because of its shape retention, it’s been used in shipbuilding and other crafts for thousands of years. And it’s still used in shipbuilding, like for yacht flooring, both because of its natural weather resistance, and its natural beauty and beautiful weathering process.
Cheap synthetic materials might seem like an easy option for outdoor furniture, but they don’t really compare to wood, especially a great one like teak. These cheap synthetic woods look and feel mass-produced and cheap to the touch. But teak is the gold standard, having a great natural wood look and feel, as each cut of wood is unique with its own grain pattern. Teak wood also stays moderate in temperature: not too hot in the summer, and not too cold in the cooler months. This is subtle but important for maximizing the comfort and feel of your furniture, especially compared to artificial materials and metal. Imagine sitting on a cast iron patio chair that’s been roasting in the summer sun all day, or even a plastic Adirondack -- quite uncomfortable.
So, you have seen why teak is the best wood to pick for your outdoor furniture needs. But come in and see for yourself! Come check out our wide selection of great teak outdoor furniture. Our staff can answer your every question about the details of teak wood. But most importantly, you should come in to check out the teak in person so you can feel it and see what it looks like in a back yard.