Teak is beautiful, durable, and naturally resistant to decay. These characteristics have made it a highly desirable wood for centuries, so today teak flooring and teak furniture often create a mood of luxury. Teak flooring adds beauty to a home and increases its value.
Teak is a beautiful wood. The heartwood ranges in color from a rich gold to a beautiful reddish brown, while the sapwood is a lighter yellow-brown. Teak darkens naturally over time, so old teak floors are often a rich, deep brown. Teak has a tight, even grain. Teak flooring presents a smooth, uniform appearance.
Teak is a very hard, durable wood, making teak flooring a good choice even in high-traffic areas. Builders refer to the Janka Scale to determine the relative hardness of different woods. With a score of 3540, Brazilian Teak is one of the hardest woods available. African teak has a rating of 1650, which is harder than most maple wood, and Thai or Burmese teak has a rating of 1155, roughly the same as oak.
Teak harvested a century ago came from old-growth forests. The wood from these very mature trees contained natural oils that made the wood almost waterproof, so it was often chosen for ships' decking. The younger, plantation-grown trees harvested today contain less of these natural oils, so teak flooring should be sealed like any other hardwood floor. Teak also is resistant to insect damage and decay
Green homeowners have viewed teak with suspicion for decades. Their skepticism is justified, since teak has been over-harvested for centuries, and two species of teak are now endangered. However, some teak is now being grown and harvested sustainably. Teak flooring certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has met stringent restrictions for approval. If the high carbon footprint created by transporting teak for long distances is a concern, look for recycled teak flooring from nearby sources.
Teak flooring is an excellent long-term investment that will last for generations and increase the resale value of a time. However, it is one of the most expensive hardwood floors, so many homeowners prefer teak laminate flooring. Laminate flooring, or engineered flooring, is made from several thin layers of wood glued together. Only the top layer is made from the expensive hardwood, while the other layers are made from inexpensive wood or wood products. Laminate floors offers the beauty of teak flooring at a fraction of the price.