Teak is a common choice for outdoor furniture because of its high quality. Teak is a very dense wood and contains high amounts of protective oil that make it resistant to damage from insects, water, fungus, and rot. Teak is also easy to care for, requiring a good cleaning once, maybe twice a year. As it ages, it transforms from a golden brown into a silver patina. If you want to preserve the warm golden color of new teak wood, there are also a number of products that you can use for this that will require a bit more work during your once a year cleaning. Because teak has such a long life, you want to select a good set you will love for years to come.
Different grades mean different quality
Teak wood is separated into three grades – A, B and C – based on the quality of the wood. Grade A wood comes from the “heartwood” of older trees. When a teak tree is mature, it will have a very dense core at the center of the trunk that appears darker than the surrounding wood. This is called the “heartwood.” Heartwood from mature teak trees of over 20 years old has a thick concentration of natural protective oil that will protect it from water damage and insects such as termites. The longest lasting furniture is made from grade A teak.
Grade B teak is made from the heartwood from immature trees. It still contains some of the protective oils, but it is not as dense as grade A. Furniture made from grade B teak will not hold up as well as furniture made from grade A teak.
Grade C, the lowest grade, is made from the outer sections of the trunk. It lacks the natural oils which make grade A teak such a superior wood and is characterized by an uneven, lighter color with widely spaced grain.
Other factors in judging quality
Handmade wooden furniture carries more prestige and is often considered higher quality, but patio furniture is one exception. Machined production gives a higher precision cut to each piece of the wood so that each piece fits together better, resulting in an overall better quality product.
Because high-quality teak is a natural resource that takes many years to grow to maturity, it is important to consider the source of the wood used to make your furniture. Consider supporting furniture makers who source their wood from sustainable teak plantations like those approved by the Indonesian government.
Choosing a set
You can get a small teak bistro set or a large table set that seats up to 12. When deciding what size set to get, think about how many people will regularly eat on your patio. If you tend to host big parties, a large, more expensive set will be worth it. However, if you typically keep your dinners intimate, a smaller set will fit into more spaces on your patio and will keep down the cost.
Also consider whether you will need any shade above your dining table. The manufacturer often installs a small hole in the center of the table for an umbrella, or a plug that can fit into the hole if you don’t happen to need one. Shade umbrellas must be purchase separately, and depending on the size of the table, you may need more than one to shade all seated guests. Consider a table umbrella and another with a stand you can move into position, depending on the location of the sun.
For more information about teak patio furniture, or to get help selecting a set, contact Island Lifestyles today.