Teak Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
Here's everything you need to know about teak furniture before you buy.
When considering buying teak outdoor furniture, there are a few things you should know to make the best decision for your backyard design, wallet, and the environment. The type of quality of the teak you buy will have an impact on your furniture’s longevity, look, and cost. Top quality teak is naturally durable and one of the best materials for long-lasting outdoor furniture.
As you browse teak outdoor seating or outdoor dining furniture, consider your budget, style, how you plan to care for your teak furniture, and the environment you live in. These factors will all affect the life of your teak, and whether or not it is the right material for your needs.
In this article:
- What is teak?
- What to look for when buying teak outdoor furniture
- Different types of teak
- How To Take Care of Teak Furniture
- Teak Outdoor Furniture FAQ’s
- How to choose the right outdoor furniture for your space
- Types of teak furniture
- Neighbor vs. the competition
What is teak?
Let's start with the basics; identifying what teak is and how it's sourced.
The teak tree is a tropical hardwood tree otherwise known as Tectona Grandis. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, as well as in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Teak trees can grow to be incredibly large in the wild, exceeding 100-200 feet in height. Tree species that grow this large provide a large amount of timber, meaning there is a lot of wood harvested from each teak tree. Not only this, but teak is one of the faster-growing trees used for reforestation and tree farming due to its rapid growth rate.
Cut and dried teak timber has been used throughout history for shipbuilding because it is naturally resistant to rot and can last upwards of 100 years. In addition, appropriately aged and dried teak contains natural oils that make it more weather-resistant than any other type of wood. Surprisingly, teak is weather-resistant even when not treated with oil or varnish.
People love teak wood for 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.
Is Teak Wood Sustainable?
The goal of sustainability when it comes to furniture brands is to create a closed loop cycle. Sustainable furniture should be able to be used throughout a lifetime, and shouldn’t deplete natural resources or harm local economies where products are made or sourced.
Although teak is fast-growing, it is not always considered a sustainable material. While teak is ideal for outdoor furniture, irresponsible wood harvesting has had a negative environmental and social impact and given the wood a bad reputation.
At Neighbor, we use only FSC-certified teak from sustainable, FSC-certified forests. FSC is the governing body that sets standards for responsible forest management and ensures that products made from teak wood come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. Using sustainable and eco-friendly materials is the core value of Neighbor's business and is true for all of our outdoor furniture accessories.
How to Identify Real Teak
If you think teak outdoor furniture is the right choice for your yard or outdoor space, it’s in your best interest to learn how to identify real, high quality teak vs. low quality or mixed teak pieces. Outdoor furniture made with real teak is longer-lasting, looks better, and is heavier and more sturdy. Here is what to look for when learning how to identify teak wood.
Teak has a long, straight grain that is sleek and smooth to the touch. Not only does it look elegant but it feels buttery-soft on your hands. Cheaper teak will have larger knots and generally look less cohesive. Depending on the grade of your teak, you may notice long dark stripes or white stripes that travel with the grain along the length of the wood.
The color of the teak will vary from species to species, but the highest quality teak will have a golden-brown color. Grade B teak will be slightly darker than grade A, and grade C will be the darkest shade of brown amongst the three.
Teak has a natural oil content which makes it resistant to water, bacteria, and pests. That oil has a distinct smell, almost like leather. Higher quality wood will have more oil, so you'll quickly pick up on the scent, especially right out of the box.
Natural teak is tough and very heavy. You’ll know it’s a high quality wood if it has a hard surface that doesn’t break or crack. Think you’ve spotted a teak outdoor dining table at a garage sale? Try to pick it up. Real Grade A teak will be extremely heavy and you’ll need someone’s help getting it home.
The wood’s oil content makes it water resistant, meaning that water droplets should sit on the surface with high-quality teak and not immediately soak in. If you suspect a table is fake, dribble some water on it and see if it soaks into the wood.
What to Look For When Buying Teak Outdoor Furniture
Now that you know what teak is and how to identify real high-quality teak, let’s talk about what you should consider when you’re shopping for teak outdoor furniture.
For example, there are different types and grades of teak to consider when choosing style, color, and level of durability. Also, you’ll want to look closely at the other materials used in the outdoor furniture you are considering. Teak itself will add character and warmth to your outdoor space, but the overall durability and style of your patio furniture will depend on other factors like cushion type, hardware quality. Here’s what to look for when buying teak outdoor furniture.
Teak is naturally durable, but the overall longevity of your furniture will depend on other materials used in its design, like fabric, hardware, or whether or not you invest in a protective cover. Neighbor furniture, for example, is made with the best possible eco-friendly materials like Sunbrella fabric and marine grade hardware so you can enjoy more time in your outdoor space without worrying about wearing it out. We also sell custom fit waterproof protective covers for added protection in the off-season.
Teak is a top choice for outdoor furniture because it has natural oils that repel insects, pests, and bacteria growth and is water and weather-resistant. Choosing outdoor furniture made of an all-weather material like teak means you won’t have to replace it year after year. Other outdoor furniture materials like that weather resistant are aluminum and wicker.
In addition to our all weather teak, all Neighbor's bolts and screws are marine-grade premium stainless steel and are corrosion resistant. Whether our furniture is exposed to endless rain or sun, our hardware is up for the challenge.
Fading and color changes
One of the questions we get asked most often at Neighbor is whether our teak will patina or if it needs to be treated with teak oil or sealer. Over time, the weather and outdoor elements will change the color of your teak furniture to a silvery grey. This is natural, and doesn’t the integrity of the wood.
We usually recommend to allow our teak furniture to change color naturally because it is easier to maintain. If left untreated and uncovered, it takes about a year for teak to change color, although the timeline will vary depending on the weather where you live. You can choose to use a teak sealer or protector is you want to preserve the honey gold color of new teak. Teak sealers require re-application every 1-2 months to keep your furniture looking brand new.
Fabric and cushion quality
No outdoor seating is complete without comfortable cushions to sit on. When considering teak outdoor furniture, one of the most important factors is how comfy, beautiful, and durable the fabric and cushions will be that sit atop the wood.
We use Sunbrella fabrics on all our teak lounge products. Sunbrella is one of the most trusted names in outdoor upholstery because of its performance and innovation. Sunbrella fabric is solution dyed acrylic that is fade-proof, easy to clean, and stain-resistant. The specific dyeing process allows color to seep through the entire thread, meaning the color of the fabric will stand the test of time. We also use quick drying foam for our cushion bases. The foam is porous, so water flows through the cushion without becoming trapped. This feature also helps with stains and spills—liquid is overall less likely to cause damage to the cushions.
It’s a good idea to invest in a custom outdoor furniture cover to protect your teak outdoor furniture. Our custom fit protective covers for furniture are waterproof and can withstand high winds. They are easy to put on and remove and will keep your furniture protected from rain, snows, bird droppings, and debris that can grow mold or stain the furniture.
What Are the Different Types of Teak?
Not all teak is made equal. Teak wood is classified by the region it is grown in and the overall grade or quality of the wood. 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
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.
Unlike lesser teak grades, Grade A teak is strong and long-lasting and is the perfect hardwood for luxury outdoor furniture. Compared to lower grades, Grade A teak 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.
All Neighbor furniture is made with the highest quality Grade-A or Grade A/B teak from FSC-certified forests in Central America. As a result, our furniture is designed to look good and last a long time.
Grade B Teak
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
Grade C teak is timber from the outer sections of sapwood or immature trees. Grade C teak is uneven in color and has minimal natural protective oils. It is also very soft and can be easily damaged.
How To Take Care of Teak Furniture
Making sure your new furniture is properly cared for is important for keeping it looking new and making it last longer . Teak wood is easy to clean and care for thanks to the natural protection it receives from the oils and silica, but there are a few tips and tricks you should know about teak outdoor furniture care before you buy.
Teak's Aging Process
During the first few weeks or months with your new teak patio furniture, you might notice oil spots on the surface of your teak. With teak, water spots, discoloration, or color bleeding as the color gradually washes out are common and will subside over time. If you want to skip the transition phase, you can speed up the aging process and achieve a more uniform look by washing your teak furniture with soap and warm water and letting it dry in the sun.
Teak Oil vs. Teak Sealer
Teak oil is not necessary for extending the life of your teak furniture. Teak oil is used to give the surface of teak furniture a glossy, deeper color and only lasts for a few weeks. Teak’s natural oils are what keep it truly protected.
Teak sealer or protector, on the other hand, can help maintain the golden color of teak by protecting your furniture from UV, spills, and wear and tear. If you want to prevent your furniture from aging to a grey color, use a teak sealer/protector on an annual or bi-annual basis and restore the color with a teak cleaner.
Cleaning Teak Outdoor Furniture
If you’re patient through the initial aging phase, Grade-A teak furniture will last a long time with very little maintenance. Everything from food and drink stains to bird poop can be washed away with ease using a simple solution of soap and water with a sponge or soft scrub brush. You can also use fine sandpaper or teak cleaner to resolve scratches and larger blemishes.
Teak Outdoor Furniture FAQ’s
How long will teak furniture last outside?
Grade A teak has been known to last 100 plus years outdoors. A regular cleaning and maintenance schedule will help prolong the life of the wood.
Can teak furniture be left outside in winter?
Teak's natural oils protect it from mildew and mold, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture. We do recommend covering your teak furniture if possible, just in case.
Does teak wood crack?
Grade-A teak should not crack due to being harvested from the highest quality heartwood of a fully mature teak tree. Lower grades of teak may end up cracking over time.
How do you keep teak from turning grey?
It's extremely difficult to prevent teak from turning a silvery-grey color entirely. Covering your furniture and applying sealer/protectors every few months will go a long way towards keeping your teak outdoor furniture looking new.
How to Choose the Right Outdoor Furniture for Your Space
Whether you're designing a backyard, porch, or patio, teak outdoor furniture can bring an outdoor space to life. Wherever you put your outdoor furniture, it should feel like a warm place where you can gather family, friends, and neighbors alike. You can read more about designing a relaxing outdoor space from interior designer Yoselin Castro on our blog. Here are the key findings.
Measure your space
Before getting your heart set on a certain piece of furniture, measure your space. This will give you a general idea of how large or small you need to go when looking for a chair, table, or sectional. Go one step further and lay out painters tape or snap a chalk line where you think the furniture will go. This will provide a better idea of just how much space each piece will take up.
More seating is better
When creating a space for outdoor entertaining, consider how many guests or family members you are looking to accommodate. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all outdoor space. Make a floor plan, and mix and match furniture items to customize the arrangement of your outdoor space. The great thing about our Haven lounge collection is that it is modular. You can add seats or ‘modules’ as needed to fit your space and budget.
Why go modular?
Modular furniture allows for customization as your living circumstances change. You can extend the table to fit others around it or build out your patio chair into a sofa by adding seats. Apartment dwellers can have high quality furniture without having to think about tossing it should they upsize.
Add personality with decor and accessories
There are plenty of outdoor furniture accessories that can bring your space to life. In our collection, we have our best-selling outdoor coffee table, hand woven outdoor rugs, or any of our outdoor braided rugs (made with Sunbrella fabric). These accessories add some color and practical use to your patio. If you need a place to rest your feet, consider our outdoor pouf ottoman as an option to kick back and relax in your outdoor living room.
Types of Teak Furniture
Teak chairs are an excellent way to mix and match your favorite styles and colors to create the perfect patio layout. They are an extremely flexible item that can fit into almost any outdoor space and offer additional comfort to your backyard oasis. Our teak chair provides the high-quality construction that grade-A teak guarantees, as well as the unmatched comfort of Sunbrella fabric cushions.
Teak loveseats offer a shared comfort for your family and friends alike. You'll be able to welcome your neighbors or any visitor with pride if you include a top-quality teak loveseat in your outdoor living space. Our teak outdoor loveseat has multiple armrest variations, a solid teak wood frame, and roped back to ensure maximum comfort for your closest friends.
Teak sectionals allow you to lounge in style and fit into whatever layout you imagine. Add or remove cushions to accommodate any number of seats you desire for your outdoor living room. The Neighbor Haven teak outdoor sectional can be customized to add sophistication to any space, thanks to its modular design.
An outdoor dining set provides an entirely unique outdoor living experience. Sharing an outdoor meal or hosting a patio dinner party are two of many possible opportunities with this outdoor furniture choice. Our teak outdoor dining set includes four teak dining chairs and a teak dining table, are durable, design-forward, and ready for a meal outdoors.
Outdoor coffee tables might be the missing centerpiece of your outdoor living room. It's always nice to have somewhere to set drinks or other decor with which you may want to adorn your space. We have our own outdoor teak coffee table that is specifically designed with a rugged roped shelf for added storage and color contrast. Thanks to the durable grade-A teak, you can even put your feet up and relax in your backyard space with confidence.
An ottoman is a perfect addition to any outdoor living room. Somewhere to put your feet up or place a tray of drinks or food, an ottoman adds comfort to your patio or backyard. Like all our furniture, our outdoor teak ottoman is weatherproof. The ottoman is designed for modern luxury thanks to the soft feel of our premium Sunbrella fabrics and quick-drying foam to survive the elements.
How does Neighbor Compare to Other Outdoor Furniture Brands?
Based in Phoenix, what makes us different from other brands in the outdoor furniture space is our commitment to good design, high quality materials, and sustainability. Our furniture is built to last outdoors because we take great care in partnering with brands like Sunbrella and Polywood that are industry leaders in durability and sustainable business practices.
Designed for the outdoors
When you see and feel our furniture, you’ll notice we don’t take shortcuts on craftsmanship. We value beautiful, modern design and build our pieces to be sturdy with wooden joinery and minimal connection points to prevent cracking. Everything we offer is designed in house by our team of experienced product designers. In terms of materials, our teak is soft to the touch and kiln dried for extra strength, and our fabric is almost impossible to destroy.
Knowledgeable product experts
We’ve spent countless hours researching materials, testing designs, and sourcing products that are of the utmost quality to ensure that our outdoor furniture is the best on the market. We come from a background of household product design and are committed to providing affordable, elegant furniture to make your house a home.
Free shipping and returns
At Neighbor, our goal is to provide the best experience possible when shopping for furniture online. We offer free fabric swatches, free shipping on all of our products and have a generous 45 day return policy. Our support and care team is on call to answer all of the questions you might have about buying teak outdoor furniture.