Teak is one of the most popular hardwoods in the world. Teak is known for its incredible strength and durability, awesome looks and versatility, which make it perfect for use in many applications across interior, exterior, and construction.
Teak is used in interior applications such as millwork and furniture to achieve a classic but contemporary look. It comes in many varieties to fit every style and need. Talking about varieties, teak has many species, of which about 12 or 13 are used commercially.
It can be difficult to choose the right type of teak for your project if you are not aware of the different varieties. In this article, you’ll get to know about the types of teak wood along with its uses and pros & cons.
About Teak Wood
Teak is a famous hardwood. It is used all over the world and prized by woodworkers for its amazing looks and durability. Depending on availability, teak can be an expensive wood.
Teak species grow in many parts of the world, including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southern Asia countries, and tropical regions of Africa and Latin America. The trees are on average about 30-40 metres tall, but older teak trees with more height have been found. The trunk diameter of a teak tree is around 1-1.5 metres.
Teak is a hard and strong wood with a 1,070 lbf Janka rating. The best type of teak – Burma teak – has a golden brownish heartwood and paler sapwood. The heartwood colour of other teak varieties will range from light brown to yellowish white. The grain in teak is generally straight but can be wavvy also. Because of the presence of natural oils, teak is inherently durable and shows outstanding resistance to rot and termites.
Teak is generally easy to work with, but the presence of silica content can sometimes result in a blunting effect on cutters.
Types of Teak Wood
In this article, you’ll learn about the top types of teak based on grade and origin (teak species).
Teak Wood Types Based on Grade
1. Grade A Teak
This is the best quality teak timber, which is obtained from the heartwood of a completely mature and old teak tree. This type of teak is extremely strong and durable and has a very high natural oil content. The grade A teak is golden-brown. It is the most expensive variety of teak and is used for making premium furniture items.
2. Grade B Teak
This type of teak timber is often obtained from sapwood or the part right next to heartwood in a teak tree. It is light-coloured and has a lower content of natural oils. Grade B teak is not as strong or durable as grade A teak. It is used in furniture projects where budget is a concern.
3. Grade C Teak
Grade c teak is of the poorest quality and with no natural oil and durability. It is obtained from the outermost part of a teak tree. The wood is quite weak and can damage easily. It is the least expensive type of teak and is used in low-grade applications including packaging material.
Teak Wood Types Based on Origin
1. Burma Teak
This is the most expensive and popular species of teak in the world. As the name suggests, it is mainly found in Burma (Myanmar). Burmese teak trees are usually very old–50 years or so–and have the best properties out of all types of teak. The wood is the best quality with considerable amounts of natural oils. The heartwood is golden-brown with a straight grain and an even texture.
2. Indian Teak
Teak has been one of the prominent trees in the forests of India for centuries now. Indian teak trees are quite old and have excellent qualities, in terms of strength, durability and that signature golden-brown colour. Indian teak is also very expensive.
3. Banuywangi Teak
This is a variety of Indian teak and grows in some parts of India. It is a very strong and durable wood but doesn’t have the golden-brown colour of teak, which is why it is slightly less famous and less expensive than the top teak variant.
4. Dahat Teak
Dahat Teak was once a popular variety of teak that comes from Myanmar. However, it is not easily available today and was included in the endangered species list.
5. Indonesian Teak
Indonesian teak, sometimes also called Asian teak, is a premium quality teak wood which bears a light brown colour with a greyish hue. This teak wood originates in Indonesia and is prized for its beautiful natural looks and great durability (high natural oil content). It is less expensive than Burma teak.
6. Bojonegoro Teak
Bojonegoro teak is native to East Java, Indonesia. It is considered one of the top-quality Indonesian teak woods and has high demand in the region. The heartwood is golden brown and the grain is straight, which makes it look similar to Burma teak or Indian teak.
7. Philippine Teak
Found exclusively in the islands of the Philippines, Philippine Teak is on the endangered wood species list because of its limited availability and over-exploitation. Illegal logging of teak is very common in the region.
8. Thailand Teak
Thailand teak is considered even better than Burmese teak in terms of quality and properties. This is because these trees grow in optimum harvesting conditions in the natural forests of the country. This teak has amazing strength and excellent durability. It has high demand and very limited availability.
9. African Teak
African teak comes in two varieties – forest teak and plantation teak.
The regular African teak, which is commonly known by its other name Afromosia, is a very stable and durable wood sharing properties with other teak species. However, it looks different from teak in its yellow-brown heartwood that becomes darker with age. This wood is often used as an alternative to other teak species.
10. African Plantation Teak
Teak is harvested on plantations in many parts of Africa. This wood is based on Burma teak, but it has a low content of natural oils because it is harvested for a period of only 15 to 25 years, as opposed to the teak’s natural harvesting period of 30+ years. This type of teak is light-coloured, less durable and less expensive.
11. South American Teak
This is not actually a species of teak, but it is called teak because of its similar properties. The actual name of the South American teak is Garapa. It is extremely durable and stable just like teak. It also has the natural golden-brown colour of teak, however, the grain pattern is wavy. It is often used as a teak substitute.
12. South American Plantation Teak
Due to the limited availability of natural teak wood species in America, teak is often harvested on plantations all over South America. This wood looks very similar to and shares many properties with the African plantation teak. It is light-coloured and has good durability.
13. Chinese Teak
The Chinese variant of Teak is called Robinia wood or black locust. It is not a species of teak. This is called Chinese teak because of its similarities to natural teak wood, including a golden-brown colour and the presence of natural oils. This wood is strong and durable and much less expensive than top teak variants.
14. Brazilian Teak
Brazil has its own variant of teak. It is called Cumaru. Again, this is not real teak. The wood shares many similarities with teak and is as durable and strong with a high content of natural oils. Cumaru is also resistant to water and insect attacks.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Teak Wood
If you are considering teak wood for your next project, make sure to read these pros and cons of teak first.
- Teak is a durable wood. It is hard and dense and doesn’t catch scratches or dents easily. Teak is ideal for outdoor uses.
- Teak has natural oils that protect it from termites and insect attacks. Teak is also resistant to moisture and does not decay easily.
- Teak is easy to work with. It is also easy to carve with hand tools
- Teak is somewhat resistant to changes in temperature, as it does not get too hot in summer or too cold in winter.
- Painting or staining can be used to mould the teak’s appearance into your desired styling needs.
- Teak items require less maintenance and care and will easily last many years or decades.
- Teak has incredible stability.
- Teak is an expensive wood, especially for an imported piece.
- The availability of teak is limited and there are sanctions on team imports from certain countries.
- Teak has many varieties and it can be difficult to find genuine teak.
- High silica content and high density of teak can sometimes cause a blunting effect on tools and cutters.
Where to Buy High-Quality Teak Wood?
Many species of teak are considered endangered, however, illegal harvesting and logging of teak are common in many parts of the world. You must always check that your teak comes from a legal and sustainable source. If you are looking to buy the best variety of teak wood White Knight Consulting LTD is your best option as it supplies timber wood all around the world, including countries like Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Germany, UAE, South Africa, Turkey and many more.
Moreover, it is a top supplier of sustainably sourced teak wood, offering various types of teak wood to suit your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our teak wood products & shipping options throughout the World.