Teak’s Rarity and Beauty in Demand
Teak is one of the rarest hardwoods, even more so since sustainable forestry initiatives have restricted its harvesting. But it is possible to find sustainably grown Teak, and engineered wood with a Teak veneer is an affordable alternative to Teak hardwood.
Grade-A Teak is comprised of mature heartwood only and is a uniform honey color. Plantation-grown Teak comes from younger trees and generally has blond to honey color sapwood and dark heartwood. Staining Teak can make the contrast between heartwood and sapwood more dramatic.
Teakwood contains many natural oils that make it resistant to rot, water, and sun-bleaching, which is why it’s traditionally been a popular material in outdoor furniture manufacturing and shipbuilding. It’s also a sturdy flooring material that ages beautifully, darkening to warmer hues.
Here are some things you should know about Teak wood flooring:
Name: Teak is the common name for Tectona grandis, a member of the Tectona genus. Teak trees are also a member of the Lamiaceae family, and are distant relatives of basil, oregano, and mint.
Origins: Teak is native to India, Burma, Thailand and other points in Asia. At one time, up to 75 percent of the world’s Teakwood came from Myanmar, but the country banned Teak exports in 2014. Because of deforestation concerns and export restrictions, sustainably grown plantation Teak from Africa and Central America has become more popular in recent years.
Janka Hardness Rating: With a Janka Hardness rating of 1155 out of 4000, Teak is in the mid-range for hardwood flooring options – slightly harder than Black Walnut and softer than Yellow Birch. The Janka Hardness scale is used to determine a hardwood’s resistance to dents, dings, and scratches. The test, which uses a 2” x 2” x 6” piece of a wood specimen and a steel ball, determines how many pounds per square inch of force will make the steel ball embed halfway into the wood. That result leads to the wood’s Janka Hardness rating. Woods at the low end of the scale will show more evidence of dings compared to those at the top. However, woods at the very top of the Janka Hardness Scale could be too difficult to cut for home applications.
Installation: Teak is known for being easy to work with. It machines well and absorbs finishes evenly. It does contain the mineral silica, which may have a dulling effect on metal blades.