Teak produces the most durable type of wood in the world. The teak tree (Tectona grandis), native to the low-lying regions of the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia, is also water and pest-resistant. Although a majority of trees generate their own resins, or oils, to protect themselves against the elements and predatory flora and fauna, the teak tree is unique in that it retains most of its oil and rubber content even after being processed and treated with chemicals or varnish.
Due to this, furniture, houses, ships and any other constructs made from teakwood have greater climatic resistance, whether in freezing winters or blistering summers, compared to any other type of wood.
The oil also generates a particular scent which is repellent to insects, ants, rodents, shipworms, mollusc and several other animals – with the exception of the American powderpost beetles, which appears to have immunity against the chemical elements of natural teak oil. The oil’s chemical properties also deter the growth of bacteria, which consequently prevents decay and dry-rotting, which is a problem which afflicts most other types of wood. Aside from that, fungi and parasites are equally repelled by the oil, which inhibits the growth of moss and unpleasant odour on teak patio furniture.
However, the oil and rubber content can drop drastically during the dry-kiln process (a method of removing moisture from timber) if the moisture level drops below 10% of the natural level – though this is typically not an issue as manufacturers are wary of this.
The inherent properties of teakwood mean it is able to care for itself and rarely requires direct maintenance needed by other types of wood. It is also why teak furniture is considered a smart and worthy investment as they can literally last a lifetime, and can be handed over to future offspring.