Not All Teak Is the Same – Grades of Teak Wood

Teak furniture is not cheap, although once you factor in for its long life you’ll find it to be an excellent value. Shopping for quality teak furniture can seem like a daunting task. This needn’t be the case if you arm yourself with some basic education.

It is important to understand the grading system used in the teak lumber industry as it relates to the quality and longevity of your furniture. A mature teak tree is 30-50 years of age. After harvesting and transport to the lumber mill it will be stripped of its bark and sawn into planks for the furniture industry. The wood is ranked by grades based on where off the tree it was cut (heartwood or sapwood), coloration and knot content.

Grade A teak comes from the mature heartwood section of the tree which has a dense grain, a rich brown color and is high in natural oil content to protect your furniture investment. Only small knot are permitted (less than 0.5″, once per every linear 3-4 feet). A mature teak log will yield only 20-25% Grade A wood.

Grade B teak comes from the less mature outer heartwood, which does not have as high an oil content. Color variations are permitted with some streaks of black, splotches and discolorations. More knots are permitted per foot in this grade of teak lumber, which makes it more suitable for the hand made cottage furniture industry.

Grade C teak comes from the remaining heartwood mixed with the outer new growth wood or sapling. This part of the tree carries the water and minerals throughout the tree and has very little oil content. It is very soft wood and not recommended for outdoor furniture use. The coloration is varied from dark to very white. Dead knots are permitted in the grade. The yield of Grade C wood from a mature can be as much as 50% of the cut lumber.

In summary, Grade A teak is the premium wood which possesses all the natural beauty and protective characteristics that one desires in teak outdoor furniture. This is the teak wood that is rich in natural oils and rubber which allow it to withstand decades of outdoor weather. The limited yield from each tree make Grade A teak 10 times more expensive than Grade C. This is why you’ll pay a premium price for Grade A teak furniture. Investing slightly more in Grade A teak will ensure years enjoyment of your outdoor teak furniture.