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Teak: Durability and Beauty

If you want a gorgeous wood to further inspire the artistic vision of your outdoor arrangements, take a gander at teak before purchasing anything. Besides offering an aesthetic beauty to your masterpiece, teak is extremely durable. But remember, durability and beauty carries a higher price tag.

The most weather resistant wood in the world, teak was historically used by shipbuilders due to its high oil content, which resists rotting and insects, and is still the most used wood when building yachts today. When it comes to choosing wood, nothing is comparable.

And if you choose teak, you’ll also have a few options on how you would like the wood to age.

Like the silver, weathered look? Do nothing; natural weathering will cause surface erosion, which will lead to a slight surface roughness, possible mildew and checking. Checking naturally occurs when small cracks develop in the end grain, and will virtually disappear, leaving a weathered look over time.

If you allow your furniture to weather this way, you can maintain the silver finish with regular, gentle cleaning, using soft-soap flakes dissolved in warm water (never detergent though.) If you don’t clean in this matter on a regular basis, teak can become extremely weathered or dirty, giving off a darker gray, almost black appearance.

If you don’t like the weathered look, and want to retain the natural, golden appearance of new teak, a sealer is recommended. Check your local hardware store for some sealer, which will either be an oil- or water-based product. Sealing will help the
furniture resist normal weathering and mildew. Typically, teak needs to be sealed at least once a year. And although you’ll seal your teak, minor checking will still occur.

Did you allow your
teak to weather, and now you changed your mind? Don’t worry; you can get back the natural golden color by using teak cleaner and brightener.

Ever since ancient times, civilization has been aware of the benefits of teak. The wood is easy to work with, and its resistance to decay has made it not only a popular timber tree, but also a valuable resource.

The strong structural properties of teak made it the favorite choice for shipbuilders since the middle ages. The main advantage of teak is its unique ability to prevent rust and corrosion when in contact with metal. This makes it invaluable in the shipbuilding industry. It is said that the first outdoor teak benches were actually made of decking from old sailing ships. The decking on these ships was in such good condition when the ships were about to be scrapped, the wood was recycled and remade into outdoor furniture. Public parks all over England are furnished with teak benches, some of which are nearly a century old. An outstanding material, teak continues to be a choice for boat materials even in this day and age. You can see this in the modern skiff at the right. The foredeck hatch consists of teak.

Elephants are still used to haul teak from inland jungles to the waterways. Transporting teak has always been a difficult problem because of the heavy weight of the wood. The logs are so heavy they will not float. Instead the elephants drag the teak logs through the thick undergrowth in the rain forests. These forests are usually a great distance from the coast. They have even been trained to stack the logs in even piles. And when a bell sounds to end the day, the elephants know to stop their work, without any human direction.

Today
teak is used principally in shipbuilding and in the construction of expensive boats and yachts. Teak is virtually impervious to all weather conditions, partly due to its high oil content and is able to resist insect attacks. In the late 1800s teak was admired in India and around the world. Teak was able to capture the romantic nature of the Victorian era. It was the perfect complement to an English garden, complete with ornate detail that the Victorian period called for.



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