What is FSC-Certified Teak?
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor |
Our outdoor furniture is sustainably sourced and responsibly harvested — something we can all feel good about
If you've ever searched online for long-lasting patio furniture, you've probably considered teak wood as your material of choice. Teak is favored for outdoor furniture because it is one of the strongest and most durable hardwoods and has the ability to withstand all types of weather. For centuries, teak was the wood of choice for shipbuilders because of its durability and unique water-resistant qualities.
While teak is ideal for outdoor furniture, irresponsible harvesting of the wood has had a notoriously negative environmental and social impact. But there is a responsible way to buy teak products: through an FSC-certification. So what does it mean when teak outdoor furniture is labeled as FSC Certified? The FSC (which stands for Forest Stewardship Council) promotes responsible forestry management, and the certification means the wood you plan to buy meets strict environmental and economic standards.
Next time you're searching for new teak patio furniture, look for the FSC-certified label so you can support brands that care about sustainability and source the best, most high quality teak possible. Below, we outline what it means to be FSC-certified, how it affects your products, and why you should look for the label every time you shop.
What does the Forest Stewardship Council do?
The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization that sets rigorous standards for responsible forest management. Instead of preventing deforestation by boycotting paper and wood products, the FSC aims to set standards for sustainable wood and paper products that benefit the planet, biodiversity, and the economies where the forests are located. The FSC actually creates a market for eco-friendly teak and in turn, creates opportunities for teak farmers all over North America and the world. FSC is supported by groups such as WWF, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation and certify about 550 million acres of forest.
Why you should choose FSC-Certified teak
Shopping for new outdoor furniture might seem innocent, but it can contribute to the destruction of places like the rainforest in Brazil as well as forests right here in the US. Luckily, the FSC logo is something you can rely on, so look for the label whenever your purchase teak for your patio and dining furniture. Buying sustainably harvested certified wood ensures a responsible supply chain and supports sustainable forest management, reducing greenhouse gases, protecting wildlife, and preventing deforestation. Responsible forest management also contributes positively to the economy of the communities near the forests and plantations. FSC has developed a set of 10 principles and 57 Criteria that apply to FSC-certified forests worldwide. You can learn more about the criteria the Forest Stewardship Council uses to protect forests around the world, here.
What is Grade-A teak?
You may not be able to tell just by looking at it, but not all teak is the same quality. Inferior teak products won't last as long and don't have the same water repellency. There are three different grades used to indicate the quality of the teak; Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C. Grade A teak is the best quality and is taken from the heart of the mature tree that is at least 20 years old. Grade A teak is uniform in the finish, color, and hardness. While more expensive, Grade A teak is high in the natural oils that protect it from outdoor elements like rain, mold, and insects. Remember, all teak wood outdoor furniture will eventually age to a silvery gray color. Neighbor’s teak outdoor furniture, like our teak coffee table, is made with Grade-A FSC-certified teak wood and can handle all types of weather.
How to maintain teak outdoor furniture
Teak is an easy wood to care for and can be as low maintenance as you want it to be. If you leave it alone, over time, it will age to a silver-grey color. Regular cleaning prevents dirt from building up and can ensure the teak will fade to a more even gray color. Once a year, you can use a soft scrub brush and a mixture of mild dish soap and water to clean your teak furniture. A teak sealant can also help prevent wood damage and keep your teak honey-colored
Teak vs. other outdoor furniture materials
Not all outdoor furniture is created equal. Solid teak is known for its durability and weather resistance and is the perfect hardwood for outdoor furniture. Teak wood's natural oils repel water, making it resistant to most forms of wood rot, fungi, and pests. It also happens to be a beautiful wood that only looks better with age.
If you're looking to create an inviting outdoor space to entertain or relax, you want durable wood products that can stand up to weather, rot, and pests and will age well. Teak is well-known as an excellent wood for outdoor furniture, but other woods like acacia, oak, cedar, mahogany, and redwood are also popular. Before buying, consider what kind of wood will fit into your space's aesthetic and what types of treatment the wood might need over time.
Wicker, Aluminum, and Plastic
Wicker is another popular material for outdoor furniture because it's durable, strong, and low-maintenance, although it's not as stylish or modern as teak. Aluminum is similar, it resists rust and is lightweight and easy to move, plus it comes at a cheaper price. On the other hand, metal certainly isn't as comfortable as other materials unless you add thick cushions like our Sunbrella pillows. Similarly, cheap plastic isn't ideal in terms of style and comfort, but recycled plastic from a brand like Polywood can be as durable and good-looking as teak.
Where does Neighbor’s teak come from?
When we say our furniture is built for a long life outdoors, we don't just mean it literally. Yes, our teak wood, fabrics, and foams are long-lasting and weather-proof—but they're also sustainable. We want future generations to be able to enjoy the outdoors as much as we do. With that in mind, we're proud to say we harvest our teak wood from FSC-certified forests. Our FSC-certified teak is harvested in South America as raw logs and sent to our family-owned and operated manufacturer near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where it is milled. Since the FSC certification is the global gold standard for responsible forest stewardship, we know our teak wood benefits the forests and communities it comes from.
Choosing FSC-certified teak wood is better for the environment and means your outdoor furniture will last a long time in your backyard or on your patio. Teak can withstand harsh weather conditions, like extreme sun or cold, and requires very little maintenance. Look for the FSC-certification before you shop, and enjoy your investment in a beautiful wood that never goes out of style and is the perfect foundation for your life outdoors. Shop Neighbor's Haven teak outdoor furniture collection here.