Hardwood flooring is considered a classic choice and one of the best flooring materials for its incredible durability and beauty. There are various different species of hardwood available where each species has their own unique characteristics. Teak, mahogany and similar hardwood that are imported from other countries are called exotics. They are not only very beautiful but also are among the most durable hardwood species. Though it is expensive compared to the other options available for domestic use, it is truly worth the money.
This post is a descriptive guide on teak and its suitability as a flooring material. We discuss the origin, advantages and drawbacks of teak along with the ways to maintain teak flooring.
Origin of Teak
Teak was originally found in Asian countries like India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Burma. It is also found in parts of Africa and Caribbean islands. Usually, teak wood that is imported from other countries are labelled as “imported” and there are always very subtle differences in the quality available locally and from the origin countries. Teak trees have to be allowed to grow for 80 years on average before they are ready to be cut, and planks being harvested from them. Teak trees can reach a height of 50m and sometimes more.
The main difference between locally grown teak and imported ones is the price range. Typically, imported wood will cost much more because of customs and importing costs. It is, however, recommended that you buy domestic teak wood planks only from reputed and trusted sellers to get the best possible quality.
Characteristics of Teak
Teak is noted for several characteristics which are unique and functional. These features are the main reason behind its popularity and status as a classic sophisticated flooring choice.
- Colour- Teak planks are noted for their unique colour variation. From yellow-brown hues to dark golden brown- the colour variation is derived from its growing conditions. For example, heartwood appears a rich brown colour when exposed to the sun. Some teak has a greenish tint or streaks of yellow and different dark shades adding to its lustre. Some darker variants also have black stripes which are
- Texture- The grains of teak wood is dense, tight and uniform which looks very polished and sophisticated. Also, the dense grains make it easier to clean flooring made of it.
- Resistance- Teak wood has a natural resistance to several elements. The wood is naturally oily which imparts a stain resistant quality to it meaning you won’t have to add an oil finish to make it look lustrous.
- Versatility- Teak is a versatile material, particularly useful in making boats and ships, as it does not blacken from contact with metals. It is used for home interiors, flooring, window frames, doors, cabinets and furniture. Its weather-resistance and durability make it fit for outdoor furniture as it does not require any varnish or paint protection.
Advantages of Teak
This is one of the most popular choices for flooring owing to its hardness and beauty. The following are some major advantages associated with teak wood which makes it a preferred choice for homes.
- It is tough
The Janka hardness of Brazilian teak is 3540 which is by far among the hardest available hardwood. Since the tensile strength is relatively high, it will not break or splinter under pressure and can resist most wear and tear and heavy foot traffic.
- High oil content
They have high natural oil content which makes them resistant to pests and prolongs the life of the wood. It is also resistant to mould and rotting because of this. Note that accidents due to slipping will not happen because of the oil.
- Significantly water resistant
The tight grains prevent humidity and water penetration. The oil acts as a sealant giving further protection. Due to these properties’ teak can be used for the outdoors and rooms with humidity fluctuation.
- Resistant to warping
It does not bend or dent easily and is resistant to warp due to its grain structure and oil content. This means that the flooring can last for decades because of these properties.
There are FSC certified harvesters who grow teak trees. Several man-made forests exist for this purpose, meaning it is eco-friendly. Just avoid buying teak wood that is harvested from a rainforest.
Disadvantages of Teak
Even if you are willing to bear with the expenses associated with installing teak wood flooring, the following are certain drawbacks you must be aware of before investing.
- Requires excess labour
It is so hard that it can be very difficult to work with. Carbide saws and drill bits are essential to cut and penetrate through it. Sanding teak wood is also difficult for the same reason and hence refinishing and touching up cracks is tough.
- Colour fades under direct sunlight
Constant exposure to direct sunlight for years on end can dull its rich colour. If you have chosen a dark teak wood variant, this difference will be more noticeable. Using rugs and mats can reduce the chances of such discolouration.
The natural oil in the planks will dry out to a certain extent in a few years and teak oil must be applied from time to time. But compared to other hardwood variants, the maintenance is still hassle-free for teak.
Maintenance of this Flooring
Teak wood flooring must be cleaned and maintained just like any other hardwood flooring. Proper maintenance can ensure that your flooring looks lustrous for decades and won’t crack or dent.
- Use superior quality hardwood cleaner periodically to clean the floor. Cleaners created specifically for hardwood will not diminish the lustre of the flooring surface.
- Oil the teak wood flooring manually every 2-3years. Oiling is essential to prevent mould growth.
- If there is high foot traffic in the room, oiling it every year may be necessary as there is a chance of the planks drying out faster.
- Hire professional help during the installation of the planks as teak wood is hard to work with and skilled professionals will know how to best handle it.
Is it the right choice?
There are many hardwood variants to choose from but for a timeless appeal and durability, teak is one of the most popular choices. It also adds significantly to the valuation of the property which is another major benefit that prompts buyers to choose this hardwood flooring.
All in all, teak wood is a beautiful flooring option that can last for generations. The maintenance is easy and since it is naturally repellent to insects, moulds and similar issues. Amazon Hardwood Center, a reputed hardwood flooring store in Toronto, offers a variety of options that you can explore while shopping for flooring products.