Why is Teak Costly?
To answer this question, we have to go back in time to about 600 years ago.
This time was known as the Ming Dynasty, and the Chinese had sailed a powerful fleet of ships built out of teakwood. The Chinese attempted to sail to the edge of the world only to ended up circumnavigating the world many times.
The Chinese cured the teakwood by burying it for several years in moist soil before the wood was used to build ships. Teakwood can withstand the damage from the sun as well as that from the ocean. Teakwood is also resistant to shrinking, warping, and splintering when exposed to the elements as well as resistant to insect infestation. These are same reasons why boat and shipbuilders today still use teakwood. The durability of the wood is so renowned that after World War II, many British ships were salvaged and their teakwood decks were recycled into outdoor furniture, flooring for homes, as well as indoor furniture.
Teakwood naturally contains silica, which is a sand and natural oils that make the wood very dense. The silica is what makes the wood impermeably to insects as well as helps sailors to keep a sure footing when it is used as the flooring of a ship. Because of the high oil and silica content, teakwood does not corrode any metals that may come in contact with it. It is because of these characteristics people around the world, have invested in teak outdoor patio furniture as well as furniture for their homes. This durability and the beauty of the wood are some of the reasons why teakwood is expensive.
The teak tree grows to a rapid 150 feet tall, but will not mature for approximately 50 years. In order to meet the demand for teakwood, several countries have reviewed the possibility of increasing the rotation time from 50 years to 30 or 40 years. The concurrence about this rotation timetable is that the wood would still be a superior product. However, there are a few countries, which have experimented in rotating their crop only after 25 years. This has resulted in smaller diameter logs, lighter coloration, and a wider grain, to put it simpler, an inferior quality wood. Do not misunderstand me here, teakwood, no matter its maturity is still the most durable wood in existence. However, because it has not matured, the resistance to warping and splintering is greater if the lumber has not been cured properly. Because teakwood is a commodity, which has a limited, recurring supply, this is another reason why teakwood is expensive.