Aiming for the elegant and durable floor? Teak flooring may be your best choice. Teak furniture and floor are known for their elegance and durability, making them popular for luxurious houses or offices. As a hardwood type, teak has a natural oil that provides unique shine on the final product.
Despite teak’s high quality, you need considerations when it comes to flooring. Think about the foot traffic, installation costs, and maintenance. Here is what you need to know about teak wood flooring before installing one.
1. Common Teak Wood Types
Teak wood comes from different regions in the world. Each of them has special characteristics that may affect the final look. Here are several popular teak wood types you may find in the market:
Brazilian teak wood
Brazilian teak wood, known as cumaru, is like African teak: they are not the “real teak”. Brazilian teak has dark to reddish brown color, but it is very durable. Because it hails from Amazon forest, this wood is resistant to moths and worms. The real teak is called Brazilian plantation teak wood.
Burmese teak wood
Burmese teak wood is often referred to as “real teak” or “golden teak”, thanks to its glowing surface, rich oil content, and golden-brown shade. The trees usually grow to 50 years of age before being harvested.
African teak wood
African teak wood, also known as iroko, is not real teak wood. However, it has similar color, shade, and durability, albeit not as much as the long-growth teak wood from Asia. The real teak from Africa is referred to as African plantation teak wood.
Indonesian teak wood
Teak wood from Indonesia is famous for its durability and luster. The trees are important commodities for many farmers, who often let them grow for 20 to 30 years before selling the wood. The color leans to greyish brown than golden, with adequate oil content and wide grains.
Indian teak wood
Indian teak wood is one of the best in the world, but it is very rare in the international market. This is because Indian customers have huge demands for the wood. The wood has golden-brown color with beautiful luster and a large amount of oil.
Some types of teak, such as Thailand teak wood, are considered rare and even endangered due to exploitation. Therefore, you can no longer find such wood in the market.
2. Teak Flooring Pros and Cons
Like other floor materials, teak has its own pros and cons. The positive qualities include the elegant color, grain, and luster, especially if the wood has rich natural oil. The oil prevents insects from damaging the wood. Teak wood is also water-resistant, perfect for creating a bathroom or sauna floor.
Teak wood’s durability makes it perfect as the floor in areas with high feet traffic. It does not splinter, which reduces the need for a rug or carpet. Long-growth wood also lasts for many years with minimum maintenance, and you can get a beautiful aged look.
However, teak wood is also famous for its expensive price. Get ready to spend a lot of money if you decide to install full teak flooring. If you buy a product that is made of exported teak wood, you will have to pay expensive shipping costs, since the wood is heavy and requires special handling.
3. Tips to Buy Teak Wood Floor Responsibly
One of the main concerns of buying teak floor (or other products) is the environmental issue. Most high-quality teak wood comes from Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Burma, and China. However, there are also teak plantations in South America, such as in Brazil. The main concern is that they may come from illegal logging or exploitation.
You must accept the fact that legal, sustainable teak product from such countries will be expensive. Legal plantations usually only harvest wood from trees that are between 70 and 100 years of age. While it creates rarity and expensive price, it also offers high-quality and sustainable wood.
Therefore, stick to teak wood that came from plantations. Don’t forget to check if the floor has FSC (Forestry Stewardship Counsel) certificate.
If you can’t afford the real, old-age teak wood, try buying a product from reclaimed wood. You can also find “alternative teak”, such as in the cases of Chinese, African, or Brazilian teak flooring. The “alternative teak” may not come from teak at all, but they have similar color and durability.
Read also: 10 Most Expensive Woods in the World
4. How to Maintain Teak Wood Flooring
The main goal in teak floor maintenance is keeping the luster and color intact. Despite its durability, teak is prone to dullness, stain spots, and lackluster look. The causes may be prolonged sun exposure, dust, food stains, hot liquid, and heavy traffic. Here is how to clean teak wood and maintain its look:
- Clean all spill and dust
Don’t skimp on the cleaning to keep your floor beautiful. Clean all spill and dust as soon as they are visible. It will prevent dullness and stain spots.
- Vacuum the floor regularly
Using a vacuum will help to release dust particles from the wood grains. You can use a brush attachment to pick up the dust.
- Use proper way to mop
When mopping a teak floor, make sure you don’t overly soak it, because it can cause water spots. Use sponge mop and special cleaning solution for hardwood. If you are running out of cleaning product, try mixing a small cup of ammonia to a bucket of lukewarm water.
- Oil the floor regularly
Oiling the teak floor is important to keep its luster. However, it depends on the traffic level. If the floor is located in a room with low feet traffic, oil it once a year. If the traffic is intense, do it every six months. Rub the oil with clean cloth following the natural grains.
The cost of teak wood flooring may be expensive, but with regular maintenance, you can have a durable, beautiful, and ageless floor for many years.
Read also: How to Shine Laminate Floors Properly
5. Should You Buy Teak Floor?
The decision to buy a hardwood floor depends on your condition and needs. If you have enough money and wish to install ageless, durable, elegant floor, teak wood is definitely your choice. While teak flooring is expensive, you can have a beautiful floor that only requires minimum maintenance.