Teak stands out from other tropical decking species for many reasons. While it’s most often used within the boat building industry, Teak is also ideal for use in other exterior applications, such as windows, doors, outdoor furniture, and decking. In fact, many of the same characteristics that make it so sought after for marine applications make it perfect for decks as well.
Teak’s Unique Appearance
Even though freshly milled Teak can appear streaky and discolored, we all love that golden brown color to which it eventually mellows over time. Combined with the straight grain, Teak’s consistent coloring makes it appealing for many uses, including decking or in other applications. (Well, to be fair, not all Teak looks quite as attractive as all that, but FEQ Teak does, and that’s all we carry here at J. Gibson McIlvain.)
Teak’s durability is highly connected to the silica content in which Teak trees grow. From the sandy soil the silica infiltrates the wood fibers, creating an unrivaled waterproof effect. (Plantation-grown Teak lacks this exceptional waterproof characteristic; for that reason, we carry only South East Asian old growth Teak.) The silica content combines with natural oils in the wood to repel insects as well as water.
Teak holds its shape quite well, making it perfect for exterior applications where tight tolerances combine with harsh conditions. Whether you’re building a world-class yacht or a high-end deck, your Teak project will withstand anything Mother Nature throws her way without twisting, warping, or losing her beauty. When you add this characteristic to the weather and insect resistance of Teak as well as its exceptional appearance, you have a winning lumber species on your hands.
While there have been issues with exporting Teak from Myanmar, the good news is that there’s plenty of Teak that’s already arrived here on our shores. While some of the Teak has already been deemed unacceptable for boat-building use, it’s still ideal for many other uses including decking. Boat builders require extremely particular sizes and grain patterns and simply cannot afford to accept a board with even a tiny pin knot. For most uses, these Teak boards already in our lumber yard are absolutely ideal.
One thing we have to admit we don’t love about Teak is the way the market fluctuates, and how illegally and irresponsibly sourced Teak can make its way to our shores. It is possible to secure sustainably harvested Teak, however, as we work directly with Myanmar, thanks to our IWPA license. In addition, J. Gibson McIlvain has built relationships with Burmese mills over the decades and even centuries, allowing us to continue to confidently lead our nation in importing old growth FEQ Teak for our many customers.