Teak Outdoor Furniture: Timeless Appeal and a Modern Alternative

April 11
sustainable alternative to teak patio furniture

The rise of teak wood outdoor furniture of garden and patio décor is not just a contemporary phenomenon but is rooted in a rich historical background that enhances its appeal. With insights from experts, customer preferences, and the exploration of alternatives such as synthetic teak, we delve deeper into understanding the enduring popularity of teak furniture and its evolving landscape.

Historical Background

Originating from the dense forests of Southeast Asia, teak wood has been esteemed for centuries, not only for its robustness and resilience but also for its regal appearance. Historically, teak was utilized in shipbuilding, renowned for its ability to withstand the rigors of sea voyages and damage caused by the elements. Its transition into outdoor furniture leveraged these intrinsic qualities, making teak synonymous with durability and elegance in outdoor settings. This historical legacy continues to influence its perceived value and desirability as a premium material for outdoor furniture.

What Do Designers And Woodworking Experts Say About Teak Wood?

Designers and woodworking experts consistently laud teak for its superior qualities compared to other hardwoods. Its high oil content, tight grain, and natural resistance to pests and weather conditions makes it an exceptional material for outdoor use. Experts highlight teak's longevity, often lasting decades with minimal care, as a key factor in its popularity. Furthermore, the aesthetic evolution of teak, from its initial golden brown to a graceful silver-gray patina, is celebrated for adding character and sophistication to outdoor spaces.

  • Teak wood's unparalleled durability and resistance to harsh conditions make it a preferred choice in shipbuilding and marine applications. Additionally, teak finds extensive use in various land-based applications such as furniture, sculptures, and flooring due to its dimensional stability and resistance to climate variations. While machining teak is moderately easy, finishing it poses challenges due to its natural oils, requiring careful surface preparation. Carving teak is feasible but requires carbide tools due to the wood's silica content. Teak's exceptional dimensional stability and hardness further contribute to its suitability for various woodworking projects. - Tony Morgan, Wood Moisture Content Expert
  • Our principal material is already defined due to my love for teak wood. Having said that, this material itself encourages me to derive forms suitable for the current contemporary trends. Along with teak, we also experiment by adding elements of brass, stone, glass, cane etc to balance or enhance a form”, - Dhruvkant Amin, Furniture Designer

Why Do People Love Teak Wood Furniture?

Customers are drawn to teak furniture for its unparalleled blend of form and function. The promise of a piece that not only beautifies their outdoor spaces but also withstands the test of time is highly appealing. Many appreciate the low maintenance aspect of teak furniture, requiring only occasional cleaning to maintain its appearance. The comfort, style, and sustainability of ethically sourced teak align with the values of environmentally conscious consumers, making it a favored choice among those looking to invest in quality outdoor furnishings.

Why Teak Wood Furniture Is So Expensive?

The rising demand for teak outdoor furniture must be understood against the backdrop of its limited supply, a factor that significantly influences its market value and prompts the exploration of alternatives. Teak wood is primarily sourced from the forests of Southeast Asia, where strict environmental regulations and sustainable harvesting practices have led to restricted supply chains. This scarcity not only underscores the exclusivity and quality of teak but also drives the search for sustainable and accessible alternatives. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, the appeal of teak furniture—known for its durability and aesthetic appeal—continues to grow. However, this increased demand combined with limited availability ensures that teak remains a premium, sought-after material in the furniture market.

We've identified the 5 most important factors that we believe have the most impact on the price:

  1. Limited Supply: Teak wood is primarily sourced from Southeast Asian forests, which account for approximately 34 million hectares globally. However, only a fraction of this area is allocated for sustainable teak production due to environmental regulations and conservation efforts. This limited supply chain, coupled with the slow growth rate of teak trees, results in a constrained market supply.

  2. Rising Demand: The global furniture market was valued at approximately $535 billion in 2020, with outdoor furniture comprising a significant portion of this market. Teak wood's exceptional durability and resistance to decay have made it increasingly popular for outdoor furniture, contributing to a surge in demand. Between 2015 and 2020, the demand for teak wood furniture grew at an average annual rate of 3.7%, outpacing the overall growth rate of the furniture market.

  3. Quality and Durability: Natural teak wood is renowned for its superior quality and longevity, making it highly desirable for furniture production. According to industry reports, teak wood furniture has an average lifespan of 75 years, compared to 15-20 years for furniture made from other types of wood. This longevity factor contributes to teak wood's premium pricing, as consumers are willing to pay more for furniture that offers exceptional durability and requires minimal maintenance.

  4. Long Growth Cycle: Teak trees have a slow growth rate and typically take 50 to 80 years to mature. As a result, the production cycle for teak wood furniture is significantly longer compared to furniture made from faster-growing wood species. This prolonged growth cycle, combined with limited availability, contributes to higher production costs and ultimately impacts the retail price of teak wood furniture.

  5. Scarcity Premium: The combination of rising demand and limited supply has created a scarcity premium for teak wood furniture. According to market analysis, teak wood furniture prices have increased by an average of 5% annually over the past decade, outpacing inflation rates and other furniture categories. This scarcity premium reflects the growing consumer preference for high-quality, long-lasting furniture and the willingness to pay a premium for teak wood's unique properties.

Is It An Alternative To Teak Wood?

While teak stands out for its exceptional qualities, its premium status and price point have led consumers and designers to seek alternatives. One notable option is acacia wood, known for its durability, aesthetic appeal, and resistance to outdoor elements. Acacia offers a more accessible price point while providing warmth and resilience comparable to teak, making it a popular choice for those seeking the beauty and durability of hardwood without the higher cost associated with teak.

The Rise Of Synthetic Teak Wood

served with food brown color synthetic teak wood outdoor restaurant table set with chairs

Synthetic teak wood has emerged as a compelling alternative, especially in contexts where sustainability and maintenance are paramount. Made from high-density polyethylene and other durable materials, synthetic teak mimics the look and feel of real wood without the environmental impact of deforestation. Its popularity is on the rise due to its ease of maintenance, resistance to weather and UV damage, and versatility in design. Customers and designers alike are turning to synthetic teak for its ability to offer the aesthetic appeal of natural teak while aligning with eco-friendly practices and modern lifestyle needs.

Pros and Cons of Synthetic Teak Wood


  • Durability: Synthetic teak is highly durable, and resistant to water, stains, UV radiation, and extreme temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor use without the fear of fading, cracking, or warping.
  • Low Maintenance: Unlike natural wood, synthetic teak requires minimal maintenance. It doesn't need sealing, staining, or oiling. Simple cleaning with soap and water is usually enough to keep it looking new.
  • Environmental Impact: Opting for synthetic teak can be more environmentally friendly, as it reduces the demand for natural teak wood, which comes from tropical forests. This choice supports conservation efforts and reduces deforestation.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Synthetic teak furniture can be up to five times cheaper than its natural teak counterpart for instance, while a high-quality natural teak dining set might cost around three to five thousand American dollars, a comparable synthetic teak set could range between six hundred and one thousand American dollars, offering significant savings without compromising on style or quality
  • Consistent Appearance: Synthetic teak offers a uniform look without the natural variations found in wood. This can be advantageous for creating a cohesive outdoor design.


  • Aesthetic Difference: While high-quality synthetic teak can closely mimic the appearance of real wood, it may lack the natural warmth and unique grain patterns of natural teak, which can be a drawback for purists.
  • Heat Retention: Synthetic materials can retain more heat than natural wood, making furniture uncomfortable to use during hot weather, especially in direct sunlight.
  • Wear and Tear: Although durable, synthetic teak furniture can show wear over time, especially in high-use areas. Scratches and marks may be more noticeable and difficult to repair than on natural wood.
  • Fading: Over time, it's noted that synthetic teak wood furniture may lose some of its original color intensity.

In conclusion, synthetic teak wood furniture offers a practical and attractive alternative to natural teak, particularly suited to those prioritizing durability and low maintenance in outdoor furniture. However, weighing these benefits against the potential downsides, such as aesthetic differences and environmental concerns, is crucial for making an informed decision that aligns with personal preferences and values.