Teak & Outdoor Furniture–How to Find a Grade A Match

Posted on: 4 June 2015

Teak is a perfect wood for outdoor furniture; it is so resistant to water and insects that it is often used for boat fittings. This great durability, however, does depend on its grade. Like many things in life, when buying teak furniture you get what you pay for. Furniture made from A grade teak is more expensive since the quality is higher. The other grades are still desirable, but you would be wise to buy the highest grade you can afford.

So what is the difference between the grades and which one is ideal for you? Following are some guidelines.

Grades of Teak

The closer to the centre of the trunk the wood is harvested from, the better quality the teak. Wood at the heart, termed heartwood, has a denser grain and is infused with more natural teak oil. It is this oil that provides teak with its exceptional resistance to water, and insects such as termites.

The heartwood of a mature teak tree, one that is at least 20 years old, is A grade teak. The wood on the outer part of the trunk is C grade. Wood harvested from this outer section is termed sapwood; sapwood transports water and nutrients throughout the tree. It has a high water content and contains less fortifying teak oil than the heartwood.

Grade B teak is wood harvested from the section between the heartwood and the sapwood on a mature tree. On an immature tree that is less than 20 years old, the heartwood of the tree is also B grade.

How to Judge the Grade of Teak 

So how can you tell when buying teak furniture which grade it is? Grade A teak displays an even tight grain with no imperfections like knots. It has a dark even honey colour; the high teak oil content provides a pleasing sheen. Sometimes lower grades are stained a darker colour to mimic Grade A, so be on the lookout for this.

Grade B teak shows some knots and imperfections. Its colour is duller and less honeyed and the grain is less dense—it is more uneven and not as glossy as A Grade. Grade C shows multiple imperfections and has an uneven light, dark colour. On the plus side, grade C teak can be fortified with treatments to strengthen it against water and insects, and this improves it as a buying option.

Teak Furniture Versus the Weather

If you leave your outdoor teak furniture untreated, it eventually becomes gray and weathered as the oil evaporates from the outer sections of the wood. Some people love this natural weathered look, and it does not weaken the furniture or make it less resistant to the elements. You can, however, sustain a natural honey colour by protecting your furniture with a teak sealer; check with the manufacturer or retailer when purchasing.

Teak furniture is both robust and attractive, perfect for outdoor living spaces. No matter which grade, it is sure to provide many years of pleasure. Learn more about your options by contacting resources like The Teak Place.


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