May 22, 2014

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When Buying Outdoor Furniture, Think Teak!

Teak, or Tectonia Grandis, is a close-grained hardwood with high natural oil content. It is highly resistant to rotting and almost impervious to the effects of sun, rain, frost or snow. These characteristics make it the ideal timber for all outdoor applications. Many other hardwoods are used for outdoor furniture and some are even marketed as “teak substitutes” however there is no substitute for teak and no other hardwood will perform to the same standard as teak in outdoor conditions.

There are many grades of teak used in the production of outdoor furniture with varying degrees of performance. The most sought after is premium A-grade teak, which is ideally suited to the often-harsh Australian climate. The features of premium A-grade teak are consistent grain structure, the absence of knots, splits or cracks and has a natural smooth finish.

Teak does not require any special maintenance routine. Left outside, the exposed surfaces of the furniture will become a silvery grey colour and will cause some surface erosion leading to slight surface roughness, possible mildew and checking. Checking is a natural process that occurs when teak develops small cracks in the end grain. Checking does not affect the performance of teak outdoor furniture.

Another important aspect when buying teak outdoor furniture is to look for brands that only use teak sourced from The Forest Trust (TFT) supported teak plantations. Unfortunately there are companies that source teak at any cost – socially or economically which have long lasting, often devastating effects on south-east Asian communities. TFT is a non-profit organisation that works with companies to deliver “responsible” products. Look for the TFT symbol when buying teak outdoor furniture and help eradicate irresponsible companies.

Above all, teak outdoor furniture looks great and is the most durable material in the marketplace today. Buy teak, and you won't be disappointed.