Outdoor furniture made from grade A teak is a great investment that should give you pleasure for many years. Here’s a beginner’s guide to buying teak furniture to consider before you make your final purchasing decisions.
Teak furniture is very popular. It’s long-lasting, durable and great to look at, all factors that help to push the price up. You'll definitely be getting your money's worth, though. You can also keep a watch out for deals and smaller pieces, both of which will fit better into a more moderately sized budget.
If you’re environmentally-conscious, the good news about teak is that much of it is now grown on sustainable plantations. The days of massive deforestation fueled by high demand for teak are long gone, and you can now buy teak furniture without feeling guilty that your pleasure is harming ecosystems.
Look out for FSC-certified teak. This means that the plantation from which the teak originated is run in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s stringent requirements. The surrounding ecosystem is carefully managed and restored following removal of the teak, and the cultures of local indigenous people are respected.
Options for finishes
Teak furniture is available in three finishes: natural, sealed, and pre-weathered. Most teak furniture is sold in its natural state. The wood has a lovely golden, buttery colour that’s caused by the natural oils within it. When the furniture has been out in the garden for a couple of months, the elements will weather the wood, turning it a characteristic silvery-grey colour. You can preserve the natural look a little longer by keeping your furniture out of direct sunlight, protecting it with a canopy, or by storing it under cover during spells of inclement weather.
If you prefer a uniform look across each piece of your teak furniture, you could buy it all together, so that it weathers at the same rate. Alternatively, consider buying pre-weathered teak. This won’t change colour, and will therefore always match.
If you prefer the natural look of the teak, you could buy items that have been sealed. Sealants won’t prevent the weathering process altogether, but they will slow it down.
It’s not recommended that you oil your teak furniture. Oils can encourage the growth of mildew and mould on the wood. Instead, just give the furniture a thorough clean once a year, using a mild solution of washing-up liquid and water, applied with a soft brush. This should be enough to get rid of everyday dirt and bird droppings. Spilled food etc can be removed easily using a teak-specific cleaning product as recommended by the manufacturer.
If your teak furniture is sealed, you’ll need to reapply the treatment every couple of years, in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.