What Makes Grade-A Teak Ideal for Outdoor Furniture
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
Learn why Grade A teak is one of the best materials for outdoor furniture
You’ve heard it before: teak wood is highly durable, easy to care for, and long-lasting. It’s the perfect hardwood for outdoor furniture. Among the various types and grades of teak, Grade A teak is the best you can buy. Grade A teak is more durable, has a tight and even grain pattern, and has a more consistent color than other grades. When considering whether or not to buy teak patio furniture, go with Grade A teak. It may be more expensive, but when it comes to beauty and durability, the investment is worth it in the long run.
What is teak?
Teak is a tropical hardwood that comes from the Tectona Grandis tree. Teak grows in south and southeast Asia, as well as in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Cut and dried teak timber has been used throughout history for shipbuilding because it is naturally resistant to rot and can last over 100 years. Properly aged and dried teak contains natural oils that make it more weather-resistant than just about any other type of wood. Most surprisingly, teak is weather-resistant even when not treated with oil or varnish. Teak is a popular choice for furniture, especially outdoor furniture, because it is dense, strong, and will not warp, crack or shrink over time. Teak can also handle being in contact with metals, like iron, without corroding.
Where does teak come from?
Teak wood is native to southeast/eastern Asian countries like Burma, Laos, Thailand and India but is grown in many tropical climates around the world. Teak has been valued and popular for centuries due to its beauty, durability, and water resistance. Teak is also fast-growing compared to other hardwoods—it takes about 25 years for a Tectona Grandis tree to reach full maturity and be ready to be harvested for high quality, Grade A teak timber. You can qualify teak based on both its grade and on the region where it’s grown.
What are the most popular types of teak?
Native to the forests of Burma and Myanmar, Burma teak trees are more than 50 years old. Burmese teak is highly durable, has a golden-brown color, smooth texture, and is very expensive.
Indian teak is very similar to Burma teak in that the trees are much older and the wood is very beautiful and durable. After years of exploitation, Indian teak is not available for purchase outside of India.
Indonesian teak wood is also known as Asian teak. It is very high quality and grown for over 30 years. Asian teak has a wider grain with more natural oils and knots. In terms of color, Indonesian teak is lighter brown with subtle grey tones.
South American teak
South American teak is grown in plantations under controlled conditions. It is lighter in color and is available in various wood grain patterns. You might recognize South American teak because it has more knots than other types of teak. At Neighbor, our solid Grade-A teak is from FSC-certified forests in Costa Rica. The teak used in all our outdoor furniture is mature and has a high oil content that makes it extremely durable in all kinds of weather.
African teak is similar in color, oil content, and quality to South/Central American teak. African teak grows in plantations as well as can vary in terms of knot and grain pattern.
What are the different grades of teak?
Not all teak is made equal. Teak wood is classified by the region it is grown in and grade. Knowing whether teak is Grade A, Grade B, or Grade C can tell you about the age, quality, look, and durability of the wood you are buying. If you’re in the market for teak patio furniture, chances are you want something that will last a long time and be able to handle the climate you live in with minimal maintenance. Grade A teak is the way to go if your priority is longevity. Grade A is the most expensive teak wood, but is also the most weather-resistant and can last for over a decade.
How to identify different teak grades and why it matters
Grade A teak
Grade A teak offers a consistent look without knots, discolorations, or other unwanted variations and has the highest amount of natural oils, which repel rot and insects. It is the most expensive grade of teak, but also the most durable. To qualify as Grade A teak, the wood for your patio furniture must be cut from the center or ‘heartwood’ of a mature teak tree. Fully mature teak trees are usually 20 years old or older.
Grade B teak
Where Grade A teak is from the very center of the teak tree, Grade B teak refers to timber cut from the outer part of the heartwood. Grade B teak has a lighter color, uneven grain and less shine (due to less oil content). Grade B teak isn’t as reliable or long-lasting for outdoor furniture because it doesn’t have as much of the wood’s natural protective oils.
Grade C teak
The biggest difference between high-quality Grade A teak and Grade C teak is the amount of natural oils present. Grade C teak is timber from the outer sections of a sapwood, or from immature trees. Grade C teak is uneven in color and has very little, if any, natural protective oils. It is also very soft and can be easily damaged.
What is the best grade of teak wood?
Unlike lesser grades of teak, Grade A teak is strong and long-lasting and is the perfect hardwood for luxury outdoor furniture. When thinking about how to identify the best type of teak, know the highest quality teak will resist corrosion, and remain weather-resistant many years. Grade A teak, compared to lower grades, has a beautiful grain and a consistent coloring that will patina to a silvery grey color over time. It is the most expensive, but a worthy investment for furniture that could last over 100 years.
Is teak sustainable?
Teak has been popular for a long time because of its reputation for outdoor durability. As a result, teak has been over-harvested and exploited in some countries. To ensure wood quality, develop well-managed forests, and protect the people involved in the production of teak, the best teak wood to buy is sustainably-sourced. Look for FSC-certified teak wood when shopping for outdoor furniture. If your product is FSC-certified, it means the wood comes from a responsibly managed forest that provides environmental, social, and economic benefits to the region it is grown in.
Why choose Neighbor for your outdoor furniture
There are a lot of benefits to choosing teak outdoor furniture. At Neighbor, all our teak patio furniture is made with the highest quality Grade-A teak from FSC-certified forests in Central America. All Neighbor teak furniture, including our best selling sofa and dining set, are strong and weather-resistant and will last in your backyard for a long time. All Neighbor furniture is made with marine-grade hardware and Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella is the industry leader in durable outdoor fabric and is machine-washable, stain-resistant, and fade-proof.