Outdoor furniture is undeniably an investment, so it’s important to ensure it’s expertly made from a material that’s long-lasting, attractive, and sustainably sourced.
Teak is one of the hardest, most durable and strongest of all the hardwoods, and one of the world’s most valuable woods. Its characteristics make it the perfect choice for top-end outdoor tables, chairs, benches and loungers.
Teak is rich in protective oils which repels water, keeping it from warping, cracking or becoming brittle. It can withstand all types of weather including heavy rains, windy storms, winter frost and boiling sunshine, without its strength diminishing.
The same natural oils that protect teak against weather, also serve as a repellent against insects.
Teak can last a lifetime. And although teak is one of the few woods that doesn’t deteriorate when in contact with metal, we still try to use as little brass hardware as possible – opting for teak joinery where possible.
Teak’s aesthetic traits include a striking wood grain, and once weathered an elegant silvery-grey patina.
- Teak Unique garden furniture is made from sustainably, legally and responsibly sourced teak. (Read more about our sustainable teak)
How to Buy Quality Teak
Search online, and you can find a huge selection of teak garden furniture at a vast range of price points. So how do you know whether the furniture you are looking at will be good quality, will stand the test of time, and whether the timber used to make it was sustainably sourced?
Here are a few tips on how to make sure you are buying ethical, well-made, long-lasting teak furniture.
Ask where the teak originates from
The high demand for teak across the globe comes with the danger of deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats. An EU body known as the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) was established in 2003 to counter the import of illegally harvested timber.
Indonesia was the first country to become compliant with the FLEGT's requirements with all its timber exports due to its own sustainable forest management standards and governance policies.
Teakunique only imports FLEGT-certified furniture from Indonesia, ensuring it is from the best possible, sustainably managed source.
Ask about the quality of the teak
Not all teak is created equal – there are grades of teak, varying in quality.
Grade C is an inferior quality wood – often taken from young, immature trees or from the outer sections of a mature log. It has very little in the way of natural protective oils and tends to have a yellower hue than better quality teak, or more variation in the colour.
Grade B teak usually comes from the outer heartwood section – again it will have a lighter, more uneven colour. It contains more natural oils than Grade C teak, but still not enough to allow it to easily withstand the temperature extremes of the British climate.
Grade A and B+ teak is always taken from the centre of the log (or heartwood) of a fully mature tree. It should have a uniform honey-colour and a close, even grain. It is very high in the natural oils that will protect the wood from weather, and even from pests and woodworm.
Additionally, moisture levels in the timber have a huge impact on whether it will crack or warp over the years, so kiln-drying is used to reduce the moisture content even further. This make ups about one-third of the production cost of furniture; it is a time-consuming and expensive but necessary step.
We choose to only use the best grade heartwood teak, slowly kiln-dried to a low moisture content for our furniture. This results in the high levels of quality and longevity that we offer.
Ask about how it was made
At first glance, much of the ‘budget’ furniture on the market looks similar to better quality alternatives (except maybe the colour). Many of the most popular designs are quickly copied and mass produced using lower grade teak and lower cost production methods.
Joints may not be properly machined or poorly assembled – they are glued together or improperly supported with corner pieces or additional screws. These may look great for a year or two, but time spent outside will quickly results in wobbles and breaks.
We always insist on proper teak joinery for our furniture, and only work with Indonesian makers who are happy to meet our exacting standards. Where teak joinery isn’t possible, we specify the best quality hardware.