Teak is one of the most treasured and durable materials for outdoor luxury furniture. Available in classic and modern styles, teak remains a go-to design element among contemporary manufacturers. This celebrated wood performs well in all environments and, with the right maintenance, can last a lifetime. Learn how to care for teak furniture so that you can protect your investment.
Properties of Teak
Teak is a deciduous hardwood tree from the highlands of Southeast Asia. It does not come from tropical rainforests. Teak wood has a naturally high oil content, which makes it both stable and resistant to rotting when exposed to climatic extremes. For centuries, this special quality has made teak wood the preferred choice for marine decking and construction and makes it the premium timber for outdoor furniture.
Where is Teak Grown?
Most of the teak products in our catalog is sustainably sourced from Indonesian government-owned working forests on the island of Java. Indonesian woodworkers take special care to verify teak forests are sustainably managed so that teak can be enjoyed by future generations.
What Is the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) ?
The Forest Stewardship Council™ is an international, non-profit association whose members include environmental and social groups, progressive forestry and timber-related companies. These parties are working together in order to improve forest management worldwide. The trademark of the FSC™ on a product indicates that the wood used to make it comes from a source that has been certified by the FSC™ as being well managed and meeting the environmental, social and economic standards that have been set by the FSC™. The FSC™ certificate is only granted to organizations following an annual audit to confirm their compliance with FSC™ standards. Our partners, such as Barlow Tyrie and Garpa, provide extensive documentation on the chain of custody for their teak. For further information, please visit www.fsc.org.
The Teak Weathering Process
Over the course of a few months in an outdoor environment, untreated teak will weather to a silver gray color. This is due to the action of sunlight. Keep light cushions away from teak furniture during this time period, as the oil can stain other objects during the weathering process. Many teak owners prize the timeless charm of this rustic patina, but should you prefer the original honey-gold color of new teak, Barlow Tyrie Teak Color Guard™, applied when the furniture is new or after cleaning, helps maintain the original finish by using pigment enhancers together with UV inhibitors to prevent the natural graying process.
Why Does New Teak Sometimes Have “Wild” Dark or Orange Stripes?
These markings are perfectly normal and will disappear within a few days, following exposure to the UV spectrum in natural sunlight. These marks often appear following the kilning process. BT uses this process to lower the moisture content of the timber prior to manufacture. Kilning reduces the incidence of small cracks that can appear in the furniture due to the changes in temperature and humidity encountered in an outdoor environment.
Why Do Cracks Occasionally Appear in My Teak Furniture?
Teak wood is a natural material. Fine cracks in the end grain of components, e.g. legs and arms, may appear due to changes in temperature, humidity and the consequent change in moisture content of the wood. This is normal, especially in heavier components. It will not affect the serviceability of your furniture.
How Do You Clean Teak?
Barlow Tyrie Teak Stain Guard™ forms an invisible layer to protect your teak furniture from everyday stains such as butter, oil and red wine, making the cleaning of accidental spills an easy task.
Check out this video tutorial from BT demonstrating just how easy it is to clean and restore teak to show quality, using just a scrub brush, cleaning solution, and a little bit of elbow grease.
Do I Need to Oil My Teak Furniture?
Treating with teak oil or other preservatives is not necessary. It will not extend the life of your furniture and is purely cosmetic. We do not recommend oiling your furniture.
What is Grade A Teak?
Grade A teak has been selected from the oil-dense heartwood of the tree and is closely examined for any defects such as knots or scarring. Logs are chosen possessing a thin sapwood layer which indicates the tree has a slower growth rate and thus, higher levels of oil density. Grade A teak is only harvested from trees that have reached full maturity, between 35-70 years old.
How Long Will My Teak Furniture Last?
It is not uncommon for properly maintained teak furniture to last decades, nor is it uncommon while walking in a park to encounter a distinguished grey teak memorial bench that dates back to the early 20th century. While teak furniture trends have evolved over time to incorporate modern metals and more lightweight Minimalist designs, BT still offers some models, like its classic London bench, that have remained virtually unchanged since their first catalog in the 1920’s. Thanks to this proud heritage, today it possible to sit back, relax, and enjoy a cool drink on a summer’s day in your garden, curled up in the spacious arms of a piece of living history.
I found it interesting when you said Indonesian woodworkers take extra care to ensure that teak forests are handled properly so that future generations can enjoy teak. I used to think differently about it not until you explained it briefly and it really got my attention. What you said about teak wood outdoor furniture was really interesting to me.