Jo Alexander Teak Garden Furniture explains the benefits of reclaimed Teak.
Teak has long been a favourite material of furniture manufacturers. When it comes to durability and resilience for use outdoors, teak garden furniture stands in a class of its own.
This is all thanks to the unique properties of teak lumber. A tight grain structure and high oil content combine, making teak exceptionally strong and water resistant. As a result, anything made from it is extremely hard wearing in all weather conditions.
Teak requires little maintenance for years if not decades on end. As an added bonus, the way that teak’s original golden yellow hue naturally fades over time due to weathering is also considered highly desirable, gradually turning a unique silver-grey.
A Sustainable Option
The downside to teak is that its use in high quantities raises concerns over sustainability. Teak is a tropical hardwood which occurs naturally in the rainforests of south and southeast Asia. It has been revered here for millennia as a building material for everything from homes to boats. But, as word has spread further afield about teak’s highly desirable properties, global demand has spiked, putting traditional resources under pressure.
This has had several consequences. First, so-called ‘old teak’ – the most prized timber sourced from the largest and oldest naturally growing trees has become increasingly hard to find as more and more of these rare gems are chopped down. High levels of tree-felling also have a negative impact on native rainforest habitats.
Meanwhile, due to teak’s high value, commercial plantations have begun to spread, not just in countries like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia where teak occurs naturally, but also in tropical regions of Africa, Central and South America.
While many of these plantations do provide an opportunity to manage the supply of teak in a more sustainable way, there remain concerns over native rainforests being cleared to meet demand for teak.
So, in the present climate of heightened awareness around such issues, are professional landscaping companies risking being called to task over their use of teak furniture?
There is a solution which promises to satisfy all parties. Outdoor furniture manufacturers and vendors, landscaping companies, property owners and consumers increasingly concerned about where materials are sourced from. That solution is reclaimed teak.
As mentioned, teak has long been used as a primary building material in its native lands. There is a lot of old pre-used teak lying around. From building frames that have been pulled down, floors that have been dug up, boats that have been put out of service, even sleepers from railway lines that are no longer used. While most second-hand timber recovered from such situations would be of limited use, such is the strength and durability of teak that much of it is still perfectly serviceable for all manner of purposes.
Reclaimed teak therefore has several advantages. It is readily available, it is often on par with or even cheaper than the cost of commercially grown teak and it is increasingly the only option available for sourcing the most highly prized, naturally occurring ‘old teak’. It also recycles a material that lends itself to straightforward reuse.
Expect to see demand for reclaimed teak furniture grow and grow this summer season and beyond.