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Teak Flooring Pros and Cons: Is it the Right Choice for You?

Have you ever noticed the flooring on a yacht or a luxury spa? Most of the time, it is nothing other than the alluring teak. The dark brown tone, the warmth, and even the long grains—nothing screams luxury like teak flooring. So, why not bring this luxury to your home?

So, grab a comfy seat, put on your reading glasses, and let’s embark on this teak-tastic journey together. By the end, you’ll have all the details you need to decide if teak flooring is the dreamy solution for your home. Let’s dive in!

What is Teak Flooring?

Teak flooring is well known for its unmatched durability—this is a flooring that won’t budge easily. The golden brown tone sets it apart from any other wood species. As for its specialty, there is more than one unique property that makes teak something special.

This fabulous timber comes from the teak tree, native to Southeast Asia. These trees are known for their outstanding durability and weather resistance. It takes at least 20 years for a teak tree to mature, while some tougher varieties come from century-old trees.

Teak flooring is one of the wood species that is resistant to water. This is the reason it is so widely popular in ships and yachts. They are less likely to warp or crack due to water damage. Also, teak is resistant to termite infestations, fungus, spills, and stains.

Pros of Teak Flooring

Incredibly strong and durable

If there is a wood species that will easily outlast you, it’s teak. The average life expectancy of teak flooring is over 75 years. Teak scores 3540 on Janka Hardness Rating—beating walnut, oak, and even mahogany. Its natural resistance to water, stains, fungus, and spills makes it even more durable and long-lasting.

Teak wood is very dense with a hard texture. The actual durability of the teak floor heavily depends on the age of the tree. Although plantation trees have a good life expectancy, timber from old forest trees can last for centuries. Teak will resist most wear and tear, which makes it a perfect option for heavy foot traffic areas.

Also, if you have pets, you might want to check out teak flooring. It is one of the few hardwood species that is harder than dog nails while maintaining its gorgeous look. It is also very low maintenance—a worthwhile investment for the long haul.

Naturally water repellent

By now, you should know that the words wood and water don’t go well. In fact, this is one of the biggest disadvantages of hardwood. But what if there was a wood floor that could handle spills and splashes like a pro? Sounds like a dream comes true!

Teak contains natural oil that makes it naturally water-resistant—the perfect kitchen, bathroom, and even laundry room flooring option. Teak’s amazing water-repelling properties make it the top choice for yachts and saunas. The dense fiber of teak doesn’t expand or contract with humidity fluctuations as much, either.

However, keep in mind that the natural oil that protects the teak from water and moisture will eventually wear off with use. So, you need to apply teak oil every 2 to 3 years to keep the shield up. 

Repels termites and bugs

You know those pesky little critters that love to wreak havoc on your wooden floors? Well, teak has a superhero-like ability to keep ’em at bay! Teak wood contains natural oils and resins that bugs absolutely loathe. Termites, ants, and other creepy crawlies take one whiff of teak and run for the hills – or maybe the garden, who knows?

The same potent oil that makes teak water-resistant acts as a barrier to the insect invaders. So, you don’t need to rely on chemical-laden insecticides to protect your floors. Nope, teak’s got your back naturally!

Unbelievably gorgeous

If you have ever seen teak flooring, you have to admit that it got a second (plus, a third or a fourth) look for its gorgeous beauty. The warm honey color, the rings of dark grains, the natural shine—what’s there not to like? Despite having many great qualities, it’s not unlikely that some will buy it just to appreciate its exquisiteness.

Teak’s beauty is completely natural to the point where you don’t even have to varnish or stain it. It doesn’t even require sanding if you prefer to leave it as it is. The long grain that comes from its age keeps it smooth and splinter-free. So, if you like walking barefoot, treat your feet with a little teak!

Does not dry out easily

Teak comes with its own natural moisturizer. Its oil content is very high, so it will not get dry or crack even if left untreated. Teak retains its moisture content which adds to its durability. Since teak doesn’t lose moisture through transpiration, it doesn’t absorb any moisture either—all thanks to the oil it comes with. But don’t worry—the oil content isn’t high enough to make the floor slippery. It’s just enough to be in the sweet spot.

Doesn’t require stain or varnish

Notice the mesmerizing color of the teak and the beautiful shine on it? Well, it’s all natural! The timber already possesses this gorgeous honey shade that most people prefer to leave unscathed. And thanks to the incredible toughness, teak doesn’t need the added protection that comes with stains. Also, it doesn’t splinter, so you don’t need to sand it if you prefer to leave it as it is.

The natural gloss means teak doesn’t require varnishes, wax or oils, at least not in the beginning. But eventually, the natural oil wears off, losing its shine. You can use teak oil or varnish to restore the shine and protect its moisture content.

Offers different options

Want teak but on a budget? Don’t worry—teak is sold both as solid and engineered wood flooring. Engineered hardwood floors are comparatively cheaper as it uses less exotic wood. Only the surface of it uses teak, which offers you all the incredible qualities of teak while being significantly cheaper.

Teak flooring also offers a range of installation options, including nailing, gluing, stapling to the subfloor, and even floating options! And we already know how easy those click-and-lock planks are to install. Also, floating floors can drive down the installation cost by DIYing it.

Click here to read more about the advantages and disadvantages of floating floors.

Works well with metals

Wood—wherever it goes—gets in touch with metal frequently. So, it is crucial that the metals do not corrode wood. Also, wood can release moisture in dry weather, which can rust the metal. Since teak has a natural protective oil layer, it doesn’t let any moisture out. So, you can use teak without any worries everywhere. 

Cons of Teak Flooring

Comes with a hefty price tag

You probably saw this coming already—teak is very expensive compared to other woods. First of all, teak only grows in a handful of countries in the world, and they are all located in Asia. Also, teak takes decades—sometimes a century—to mature enough to make furniture or floor planks. The import cost, on top of the exoticness, drives the price of teak through the roof. Also, the strict management of teak resources keeps it always in demand and drives up the price.

Teak floors start at $9 per square foot, which can go up to $13 per square foot or more—which classifies it as a high-tier wood. The actual price of teak flooring mainly depends on where it is sourced from. Burmese teak, also known as Myanmar teak, is the most sought-after variety of tick wood. However, engineered teak floors are also available at a much lesser price as it uses less material.  

Isn’t always ethical or sustainable

Although teak can be traded ethically, the high demand and price tag often lead to unethical sourcing. The over-harvesting has turned many species of teak into endangered and illegal for trading. The only species that is legal to import is the common teak or Tectona grandis. They are planted on a farm and harvested every 40 to 60 years, which doesn’t allow the teak to reach its renowned strength. This also drives up the demand for older forest trees. These forest-grown trees are ripped off illegally and sold around the world at a discount.

The sustainability argument for teak is not so simple. On the one hand, yes, the carbon footprint of importing these heavy woods is quite high. However, teak wood doesn’t grow in rainforest, unlike some other wood species—therefore, no rainforest destruction from teak! 

So, the best way to avoid this ethical and sustainability conundrum altogether is to buy reclaimed wood. Teak’s incredible durability makes it perfect for reuse. And if you buy new teak, ensure it holds FSC (Forestry Stewardship Counsel) certification.

May fade in direct sunlight

If your teak floors are exposed to direct sunlight, the rich, dark color may fade slightly over time. This is the case for most dark color woods. However, you can easily tackle this by strategically placing mats and area rugs in areas that receive direct sunlight. You can also use varnish to protect it from sun damage as it will absorb UV rays.

Can lose shine over time

The natural shine you see on teak flooring comes from its natural oil. However, the oil wears off over time due to foot traffic and cleaning products. But you don’t have to sit around with dull floors. Apply teak oil to your floor every 2 to 3 years to keep it shiny and protected. It is a worthy investment to keep your precious teak floors looking chic.

So, what’s your conclusion? Shall we see gorgeous teak flooring in your home? Comment below and let us know!

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