When it comes to choosing the right floor for your home, I am sure that you would agree that it can sometimes be a bit challenging, not to mention daunting for most people. If you are thinking of using teak, you have come to the right place!
In this article, I will outline everything you need to know about using teak for your floors. You will learn about the origin of teak, its uses, benefits and disadvantages, the estimated price, how to install it correctly (or make sure someone else does it right) and some easy maintenance tips for all kinds of teak (heartwood, sapwood, etc.). On a side note, if you just need to repair your wood floors from scratches, dents and other damages, check out that guide for more information. Let’s get started!
Where Does Teak Wood Used For Flooring Come from?
Teak grows naturally in the countries of India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Burma. It can also be found in countries in Africa and in the Caribbean. However, if you find teak floor planks at your local distributor and it’s not labeled as being “imported”, its has probably been grown in a local forestry. Before teak planks can be harvested, trees are left to grow for up to 80 years and can often reach around 50m in height.
Teak comes in planks and can be installed in any type of room. Due to its look and water resistant properties, it can be used in kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and for all outdoor applications as well.
What Are the Advantages of Using Teak Floors, Compared To Other Hardwood?
Teak flooring is a very durable and visually appealing type of hardwood. It has a yellow-brown appearance (some variants have a bit more of a honey-gold color) which becomes darker as it matures (unless it is exposed to direct sunlight for extended amounts of time). While is less common that other types of wood flooring but is generally considered to be one of the better types of hardwood flooring materials that you can use for these reasons:
- It is very strong – It is relatively high in its total tinsel strength, which means it will not break when put under tension and will be able to resist most of the wear and tear that other hardwood flooring may not be able to stand up to. This means that you will not risk damaging the floor when you move furniture around or through heavy foot traffic.
- It has a high oil content – This prevents it from drying out and cracking over time. The oil content in the teak wood will not cause slipping. It is beneficial for the preservation of the wood, the same way that oil is beneficial in preserving leather.
- It’s mold, rot and fungi resistant – Its natural oils give it this ability and these oils remain in the teak wood after it is processed for flooring, leaving you with its benefits.
- Teak wood repels water – The tight grain structure prevents water and humidity from penetrating through the wood. Its natural oil also helps to fill in the micro pores in the wood and provides a seal for your floor.
- The wood doesn’t warp – Since this wood has natural oils and a tight grain structure, this prevents it from warping or bending, something that is often an issue with other hardwood.
- It’s insect resistant – Termites and other insects cannot eat through teak wood (mainly due to its hardness and oils) which will eliminate the need for future issues that often arise with wood that doesn’t repel critters.
- It’s green friendly – Teak wood doesn’t grow in rainforests like some other wood (used for flooring) does. Just remember, if you are concerned about saving the environment, try and stay away from wood that is taken from over-harvested forests and protected areas.
Are the Any Disadvantages to Using This Type of Wood?
- It’s a bit expensive – Although most people love teak, this type of floor is usually imported (much like brazilian walnut floors and other exotic wood) and retail stocks are sometimes low because not everyone can afford to buy it. However, please remember that you can check for locally supplied teak (if it’s available) and this is often much more affordable and readily available to the general public.
- It can experience color fade in direct sunlight – If areas of your teak floors are exposed to direct sunlight, the darker color will begin to fade slightly over time. This is pretty common for most dark wood flooring. However, this is easily avoided by making effective use of mats and rugs (or even occasionally moving furniture around a bit) or by scheduling a lovely wood refinish every couple years.
- Slight chance of allergic reactions – Although its extremely uncommon, there is a slight possibility that you could have a mild allergic reaction to this type of wood floor so keep an eye out for any rashes, etc that might appear when you touch these planks. However, to be honest, if this was an issue for you, you would probably know about it already from past experience.
How Much Does Teak Flooring Cost and Which Grade Is Right for Me?
There are different levels of wood quality that you can buy. Teak wood quality falls into one of five different categories (with the highest quality being the most expensive).
While builders grade quality is still decent, the best flooring options are value grade and premium grade teak wood. This will give you a near perfect flooring look without forcing you to spend the premium amounts that the designer grades will cost. I highly recommend that you purchase prefinished teak planks that have a small beveled edge otherwise you will get uneven joins between them, which doesn’t look great in most cases. However, if this is something you are specifically looking for, ask your local supplier for “square edge” planks.
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Quick Overview of Installing Teak on Your Floor
If you are hiring a contractor to do this for you, most of these steps will not apply to you. However, it’s always good to educate yourself, even if it’s just to make sure that the person you are paying is doing it right. Please keep in mind that I am going to write this as if you were doing the work. Before you start, you will need the following tools:
I read your article as I am always looking to gain more knowledge in hardwood flooring. You asked for input so these are just a few things to consider. I did have a couple of concerns since the article seemed to be directed to the DIY. I am assuming this is prefinished teak. Is it square edge or beveled? Does the homeowner realize the planks will have lips if it is prefinished square edge? Also, plastic as a moisture barrier will totally block moisture from the subfloor. This could cause potential problems with moisture in the subfloor. The teak should be able to take on and release moisture in a controlled way from the proper moisture barrier between the subfloor and wood flooring. Also, the general guide lines from the NWFA recommends leaving 3/4″ expansion along walls. This is not meant to be critical. Just sharing my thoughts.
Hi Bryan! Thanks for your fantastic comment, I have made a couple adjustments to the article (after some additional research of course) and have left the necessary attribution. While plastic does work, I do agree with you and have reflected that in my recent edits. I also clarified that I recommend beveled edges for the planks and adjusted the number to 3/4 inches, thanks for that. Appreciate your contribution to the community!
Hey there, I wonder if you could advise me. I purchased a house 5 years ago that has beautiful teak floors. As this house was old the floors had been there for many years before I moved in. As I said the floors are beautiful but in my living room I have double glass doors leading out my house that is in full sunlight all day and has no awning above it. As you mentioned in the article that sunlight may cause fading of the color, this is exactly what has happened. Is there a way that I may treat this section of the floor without having to touch the rest of the living room flooring as its just the section by the door.
Hi Tyron, it is possible to refinish a section of the floor but usually it doesn’t turn out very well. I suggest that you get the entire room (at least) refinished to keep the color tones consistent and looking flawless. Hope that helps!
Is there a way for me to tell if my flooring is really teak? Also is there a way for me to grade the quality of the teak that I have? Keep in mind that my floors are alread in my house.
Hi Anthony! Yes but I cannot help you with a simple verbal explanation of your floors, I kinda need a photo or something like that. Ideally, get a local flooring company to come around and assess it in person, they will be able to give you an accurate response. If you want to send the pic, just use the contact form to drop me an email with the link.
Hey Bill, thanks for the informative article, I recently moved into a house with teak floors so I found it very beneficial for me. You mentioned in your article that teak has a high concentration of oil in it and just like leather its needed to be in the wood. I was wondering if this oil ever dries out as does leather oils and if it what can I use to put the oils back?
Hi Susan! It is not usually necessary to re-oil your floors, unless they are very old or they have been in direct sunlight for a long period of time (many years). Besides, the floor finish would normally protect the floor regardless and it is more likely that you would need to just reapply that instead of worrying about oiling it up. Hope that helps!
Hi Bill, you mentioned, staying away from wood that is taken from over-harvested forests and protected areas. How do you tell if a company you are using takes wood from a wood mill that does deforestation?
Hi Trisha! It can be a little difficult, especially since there are many companies to choose from. However, most of the time, you can simply ask how they source their teak and where it comes from. Honestly, locally sourced lumber is probably your best bet. Hope that helps 🙂
I am in a bit of dilemma, my installer installed the flooring without having the bullnose handy (as it wasn’t available at the time of installation) now the floor is layed and we need to cut a portion of the flooring away from the top of the step so that we can lay the bullnose. My husband has been beating his brains out as to how we can cut it back without taking all the wood up in our hallway (major job). this has been a nightmare for us and I’m hoping you can shed some light on this issue.. THX
Hi Kim, it is possible but not something I suggest doing yourself. I recommend you reach out to a local flooring company and let them assist you.
Hi my name is Jacob
I bought a house has a teak wood. I notice tat there are a rubber stip between the wood. Do you have any idea what kind of rubber . I am talking about 2 millimeter wide .
Hi Jacob, they might have been installed to reduce noise or to perhaps seal the planks. If you need something like that, you will be able to grab some from almost any flooring shop. Hope that helps.
Hi Bill. I loved your article, but am a bit concerned now because I just ordered three samples of teak (they were fee!) But the price per sq was only 5 dollars a SF. I take it, it’s fake!?
Hi Tiffany! That is a very good price! I have looked at your link, and they are a reputable company so you should be fine. Let me know how those samples look, I am very curious to say the least!
I just purchased Bellawood Tamboril / Teak 5″ wide flooring. Can I use my Bostistch 16 g nailer? Or do I need to purchase an 18 g nailer? Thank you.
Hi Michael! That should be fine, give it a try. Thanks for the comment!
Can you use Staples VS Nails ?
Having a dispute with Hardwood Provider ?
Hi Tim! Oh dear, well that is a hotly debated topic lol. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter, both have their pros and cons. Most companies use staples as they have the equipment already, plus it is usually a little cheaper. I would just go with that, unless there is some specific reason why nails is preferable in your situation (doesnt sound like it)