Teak is said to be a perfect material for outdoor applications including garden furniture. This tropical hardwood that is native to the Far East is extremely strong, durable and what is most important of all, it is naturally resistant to outdoor elements including rain, UV light, rapid temperature changes, wood eating insects, etc. Even if it is left outdoors all year round without any protection whatsoever, teak garden furniture remains unaffected when it comes to both beauty and durability. But does it really? Well, it depends from which teak grade it is made.
Teak wood is available in three different quality grades which play the key role in outdoor performance and durability of the furniture. It is therefore highly important to know what is the difference between teak grades and how to distinguish between the highest quality teak and inferior timber.
Grade A teak is the highest quality teak wood. It refers to timber that is taken from the very centre of the log (heartwood) of a fully mature tree. Grade A teak can be recognised by a uniform, golden brown colour, close grains and glossy surface that feels oily to touch. It is high in teak natural oils which play the key role in teak outstanding resistance to outdoor elements by protecting it from unfavourable weather elements and repelling insects. Unfortunately, it makes up only about a fifth to one quarter of the log and as a result, it has a high price.
Grade B teak refers to timber from the outer heartwood section, making up about one fourth to one third of the log. In comparison to grade A teak, grade B teak has a lighter colour, uneven grain and less shine. It contains only traces of teak natural oils and as a result, it is unable to withstand the exposure to the outdoor extremes without protective treatments. But even then, it doesn’t last even close as long as furniture made from the highest quality teak.
Grade C teak is an inferior quality teak wood. It refers to timber from the outer sections of a mature log (sapwood) and logs of immature trees. Grade C teak contains virtually no teak natural protective oils, has a very uneven colour and is easily damaged because it is very soft. Furniture that is made from grade C teak is even considered unsuitable for indoor use due to its softness that makes it highly susceptible to damage. Although it is taken from the very same tree species, grade C teak has no similarity to the highest quality teak neither in regard to outdoor performance, beauty or durability. Grade C teak garden furniture is relatively inexpensive but it has a very short lifespan even if it is treated with protective coating or periodically oiled.
Please note that grade B and C teak garden furniture is sometimes chemically treated to make it look as if it would be made from the highest quality timber. It can be recognised by a darker colour but most people can’t really see the difference between the two, unless seen next to each other. If you are after the highest quality teak garden furniture, you are recommended to buy from reputable manufacturers who offer an extensive guarantee on their products.