Is Teak Sustainable?

is teak sustainable

Teak is perfect for use in outdoor as well as indoor furniture, and it is the first choice among homeowners looking for furniture because of some good reasons. It is not only beautiful but weatherproof and natural. Thus, it means that you can go ahead and use it just anywhere. Both indoors and outdoors.

 Many consumers want to know if teak is sustainable. For centuries the hard-wearing teak has been considered the gold standard for furniture, doors, and floors. Teak sofas, outdoor dining sets and other outdoor furniture are preferred for outdoor furniture in particular, since teak naturally resists mold and mildew. When it comes to sustainability, the data is not as straightforward.

One factor in considering if any product is sustainable is to consider how long it will last. How long will you be able to make use of the product? Will you have to dispose of it in a few years because it’s too worn or broken? Looking for quality manufacturers and caring for your teak furniture properly, will give you furniture that will last a lifetime.

There are many different species of Teak. It is a slow-growing plant that takes about a hundred years to mature. Because of the growing demand, it is no surprise to see a lucrative black market developing for teak wood. The reality is that teak forests are now endangered, and, in many countries, it is illegal to purchase teak wood. Look for retailers who claim sustainable harvesting practices and harvest from FSC-certified forests. FSC-certified means that careful environmental, social and economic factors were considered.

One can take the following steps to make teak more sustainable and prevent any further damage to the ecosystem.

  • Look for reclaimed teak from lumberyards, and all one needs to do is Google check their area to know the location.
  • When purchasing new teak furniture, look for retailers who source from FSC-certified forests. Teak suppliers must follow sustainable-yield practices set by their government to prevent the natural resource for generations.
  • Consider buying used furniture. Often teak just needs a good cleaning and condition and it will last for years to come.
  • Shop from only legal suppliers of teak that provide teak furniture made of sustainable teak. 
  • No sanding or staining of these pieces is necessary; they require no treatment and will weather from grey to silver naturally given the proper conditions 
  • Prevent deep wear and avoid harsh cleaners and pressure washing; cleaning products  that contain chlorides or ammonia should be avoided 
  • Properly maintained, your teak should weather for years without refinishing. 
  • Several sustainable materials can last for years. Unless it comes from a certified kiln-dried supplier, teak should not be exposed to the elements where it will undergo constant weathering and fluctuations in its moisture content. When purchasing teak lumber, make sure that the material was kiln-dried, if not make sure to store it indoors or with something that covers it.
  • Teak wood is a great option for outdoor furniture, and it is ideal for any deck or patio. When choosing your teak furniture, begin by focusing on the construction. The size of the pieces, along with the thickness and quality of the wood can help determine its lifespan. Outdoor teak furniture should be painted occasionally to protect it from the harsh weather and effects of sun damage.
  • To keep your teak wood furniture looking its best, clean any dirt or dust regularly with a damp cloth. Regularly oiling your teak wood furniture will help prolong its life by protecting the wood from moisture damage and environmental factors.
  • Teak is a very durable, heavy hardwood which grows in tropical rain forest. Its environment is similar to maple, which it is often referred to as the “maple of the south”. To ensure sustainability, look for teak that has been harvested from trees with rot or insect damage. This wood can be completely sanded and re-stained; therefore you are left with a great piece of wood furniture.

The benefit of adopting sustainable harvesting practice

Teak is a popular choice for hardwoods in interior flooring because it is resistant to warping, cracking, and rotting. However, many commercial varieties of teak that are imported from Indonesia are harvested in a process called clear-cutting, meaning that all the trees in the area are cut down. 

Only afterward do root systems from surviving trees begin to send up new shoots to be harvested. This practice can damage the region’s natural ecosystem and reduce future harvests because the young timber produced by regrowth is of inferior quality to mature teak. Adopting sustainable teak harvesting practices can ensure that forests continue to produce high-quality timber for generations.

Thankfully, due to growing awareness and more significant concerns for the planet, times are changing. However, such efforts need the support of the local community and sustainable forestry practices.

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