Which Grade of Teak Should You Buy for Outdoor Furniture?

Posted on: 18 November 2015

Teak is a popular wood for both indoor and outdoor furniture. While the quality of wood may be more of a cosmetic issue if you're buying teak furniture for inside your home, it may matter more when you buy furniture for your garden. Teak comes in different grades, and the grade you buy may affect how long your furniture lasts and how good it looks over time.

Teak Furniture Gradings

Teak furniture typically has three quality grades. These grades tell you which part of the tree was used to make the furniture:

  • Grade A: Furniture made from grade A teak is usually classified as heartwood. This means that it is the oldest wood in the tree that comes from the centre.
  • Grade B: Grade B teak may also be heartwood from the inner core of a tree but is likely to be cut from the outer areas of the centre.
  • Grade C: This grade of teak comes from the outside areas of the tree. It is the youngest wood in the tree.

The location of the wood is what makes your furniture matter, especially if you're buying outdoor furniture.

Cosmetic Appeal and Natural Oils

Teak taken from a tree's heartwood may look better and give you a higher level of durability against weather conditions over time. For example, grade A teak may look more visually appealing because it is likely to show fewer knots in the wood and has a closer glossy dark grain. Grades B and C woods may have more knots showing and a looser, more lightly-coloured grain.

Wood taken from the centre of a tree contains more oils than wood cut from outside areas. This is an important factor for outdoor furniture – a wood's natural oils help protect it against weathering. As you move down the grades, you get less oil in the wood. The lower oil content of a B grade teak means that it won't weather as well as heartwood; C grade wood may not be developed or strong enough for outdoor use and may not cope with weathering very well even if you add additional protection.

Treating Teak Furniture

One of the appeals of outdoor teak furniture is that you don't have to treat it unless you want to. However, this only really applies to grade A wood, which is strong and oily enough to weather well without treatment. Lower grades of wood may need protective treatment to help them cope with the weather, both cosmetically and structurally. They may not last as long as grade A wood. For more information, contact a business such as The Teak Place.

Tip: Higher grades of teak furniture cost more than lower grades. You can't put an average dollar amount on the difference, as prices vary depending on the manufacturer you buy from. Bear in mind that grade A outdoor furniture may be worth the extra investment, as you won't necessarily have to treat it. Also, any savings you make in buying lower grades may ultimately be outweighed by treatment, maintenance and replacement costs.