It is no big secret that teak floors have been preferred by people for quite some time now. The reason for this preference is the deep, intense color and enduring nature both of which are very advantageous to the house it is used in.
The downside is that it is as expensive as it is beautiful. This article tells you all about these beautiful floors – all their advantages, their disadvantages, the price to fix them, and how to take care of them.
What Does Teak Flooring Look Like?
Teak is a kind of wood that is hard and is highly preferred as a material for floors. There are two ways to make these teak floors. One way is to make the floor from sturdy teak wood. The other way is to use wood that has been made to look like teak superficially.
Teak is converted into planks which are used to make the floors. The teak tree is a tree that belongs to the deciduous type of tree. It is largely grown in places such as Southeast Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
This tree has also been cultivated in places like the Caribbean and some African countries also. The strength of teak comes from the sturdiness of the tree from which it is obtained. This toughness of the wood makes teak the best choice to be used in making floors as floors need wood that is very strong and sturdy.
Benefits of Teak Flooring
Resistant to Damage
Teak is wood that is really hard and can last for a very long time. Even if it is used regularly, it can still resist damage and retain its good looks. It is so resistant to damage that even if you have pets with sharp claws, or if you have to drag furniture from one place to another, or if you accidentally drop things on the floor, you don’t really have to worry about the wood.
Though this kind of wood is resistant to scratches and dents, teak is definitely the strongest. So, if you really want a floor that is very strong, then you should not opt for teak. However, it is definitely good enough to withstand regular use by most families. With this kind of use, the floor will last without getting spoilt.
Fights with insects
Teak is the type of wood that has a lot of oil. This proves to be an advantage as this oil actually repels insects. It also comes as a huge relief to people who have encountered issues with termites.
With teak wood, they definitely do not have to worry about these problems again. Termites are not the only things that can damage floors. Even fungus, mold and rot can be annoying and costly. The good news is that teak floors can stop the advent of fungus and mold also.
Another benefit of the teak floor is that there is no need to seal it. This is because apart from oil, teak also has resins. Both these items in combination make the wood completely resistant to moisture.
Because of this ability of teak, it is commonly used in building boats and in projects like decking which is outside the house. It is also the first choice for kitchen floors as kitchens are very susceptible to moisture and liquids being spilled on the floor inadvertently.
If these floors can resist water, can they be used in the bathroom? Yes, in fact, they can be used even in bathrooms. Even if there is a spillage, there will be no damage. In this way, teak is much better than most other kinds of wood that are used for this purpose.
The advantages of the oil content of teak do not end with the above. This oil imparts a lovely shine to the wood and makes the floor shiny. There is no need for extra oil treatments or sealers in order to keep your floor shining.
However, annual oiling will be necessary to maintain the floor in its best condition. Apart from this, the oil present in the wood ensures that the wood does not become dry, thereby preventing any cracks that can happen if the wood dries up.
From all the above details, it is so obvious that floors made of teak do not need a lot of care and upkeep. The oil in the wood is capable of maintaining the wood in great condition. All you have to do is to mop and dust the floor to keep the floor looking excellent. However, as mentioned above, it needs oiling once a year. This procedure also is a very easy one.
Teak floors can be made out of solid teak wood or out of hardwood that has a false teak-like look. However they are made, these floors are highly enduring. There are very slim chances of any damage. Even if there is some damage, sanding it once in a couple of years will restore all its magnificence. Because of this quality, it is surely worth investing in a teak floor.
It is true that teak is expensive. But, considering the number of years it will last, we realize that this is far more cost-effective than the other types of wood. If you invest in teak floors, there will be absolutely no necessity to go in for a new floor for many years.
We just listed out all the advantages of teak floors. But, how about the appearance of teak floors? Well, they look gorgeously lavish and affluent. The color of teak, a lovely golden brown, can instantly transform the looks of any room and make it enticing. Thus, it is suitable for rooms that are decorated very differently and also goes with any color plan.
Drawbacks of Teak Flooring
All these facts about teak will make anyone enthusiastic to buy teak. However, before buying this amazing material, it is well worth it to do a complete investigation about the company from which you are planning to buy it. This is because some companies do not follow rules that protect the environment.
Different trees take different time periods to grow and mature. Teak usually takes about 80 to 120 years to complete growth and become mature. However, since teak is the type of wood that sells really well, people have started harvesting teak trees as early as just 40 to 60 years in order to make more money. The teak that is thus obtained is bound to be softer than wood that is harvested after the tree matures. The length of such wood also will be lesser.
This practice of harvesting teak trees much earlier than they should be led to teak trees being over-harvested. This has, in turn, led to teak trees falling under the endangered category. There are now laws that prohibit the exporting of a lot of different varieties of teak that are almost extinct. The only teak wood that can be legally used is the Tectona grandis, the common teak tree.
In order to ensure sustainability, this common teak is cultivated on farms. This method is definitely better than many other methods that endanger these trees. Yet, people who are involved with the environment still feel that this is not morally correct.
The advantages of teak make it a very desired product and so people pay a lot of money for it. This tempts many people to sell it illegally. So, if you decide to buy teak for your floor, please do some investigation and ensure that the teak is sourced from people who are reliable and are getting the wood from farms that work towards sustainability.
Teak is not easily affordable due to its high price. The long duration that these trees take to become mature is the main reason behind the high price. However, teak is worth the investment since these floors last for an extremely long period of time. Since a teak floor ensures that you don’t have to change the floor, it will definitely be cost-effective.
Teak wood brings in a lot of merit to any house and so it is not surprising that it is in great demand.
Teak Flooring Cost
There are many advantages of a teak floor. However, just like anything with a lot of advantages, teak also is very expensive. This superior wood is known for its opulence and this excellence comes at a price.
The average cost of this wood is around $10 per square foot. This is not standard as the price varies with different kinds of finishes in which teak is available. Price also relies on the place from which the teak is obtained.
If you are able to get teak flooring at a very reasonable price, then you should definitely think twice about getting it. This should alert you and you should do a complete investigation regarding where the wood is obtained from.
Just ensure that you are buying the teak from a place that respects the laws that protect sustainability. Since teak is very costly and also takes a long time to mature, there are many people who sell it against rules.
It is up to the buyers to ensure that they are not falling into the trap of illegal trade. On the other hand, supporting such illegal businesses will put such wonderful teak trees at a greater risk of going completely extinct.
There are two options that you can choose from when you decide on teak. One option is floors made of solid teak. The other option is wood that is coated with teak. The fact that solid teak is very expensive may make you sway towards the other type.
But, remember that solid teak is worth the money due to its enviable durability. In fact, investing in such a floor will ensure that you do not have to change the floor ever again in your lifetime!
Teak has always been a popular choice because of its durability. However, if you are a person who likes change and would like to replace your floor periodically, then do not go in for teak. Its durability will spoil your plans for a different floor.
In this case, you should opt for engineered hardwood. This is not as durable as solid wood because it is made of many slim planks of wood or wood products that are stuck together using some kind of adhesive.
This is topped with a thin layer of teak that is stuck on top. The advantage of engineered hardwood is that it looks as good as teak and also gives you many of the advantages that you get from teak.
Though it is not as durable as solid teak, it is bound to last for a minimum of twenty years. There are varieties of thick veneer also available and if you go in for these, then you could even sand it down and refinish it.
A teak veneer is not necessarily thin. The thickness of this varies from 2mm to 6 mm. Thin veneer is the least expensive and the price increases as the thickness increases. Though teak is very highly-priced, the cost should never deter you from buying it as the advantages outweigh the high cost. It is highly durable and will not burden you with maintenance work every now and then.
Teak Flooring Installation
After the expenses incurred to procure your teak floor, it is only logical to want a professional to install the floor for you. The other option is to do It yourself but for this, you have to be sure that you can handle it.
There is another way to install teak flooring. You can actually fix it over plywood. However, if this is done, then there should be some foam between the teak and the plywood so that it acts as a cushion. This will effectively stop boards from getting noisy. Most of these floors are pretty effortless to install. All you need is tongue and groove fittings and a mallet to tighten it.
There are other kinds of flooring that are installed differently. They are generally nailed down. However, this needs the right kind of tools and the help of a professional so that there is absolutely no error in installing it. Once this procedure is complete, you can choose to stain or seal the teak floor. If you prefer the completely natural look of the wood, then you can just leave it as it is.
Teak Flooring Care
The greatest thing about teak floors is the extremely easy maintenance. These floors look great with just regular sweeping with a soft microfiber head or a vacuum cleaner. Mopping need not be done every day.
It is necessary only once a week. Mixing in water and vinegar to mop the floor is the best way to sustain the brilliant shine and neatness. The proportion of this combination is a quarter of warm water with a quarter cup of white vinegar.
It is not easy to use vinegar as it has a pungent smell. However, this smell is very temporary and will vanish soon. However, if the smell is too overpowering, then, mixing in a little lemon juice with the water and vinegar will be very effective in suppressing the smell.
Though this combination of liquids can be a little difficult to use, it is well worth the effort because cleaners that are available generally cannot be used on this floor as the chemicals in the cleaners damage the floor.
Apart from this, the only maintenance needed for the floor is annual oiling. This process keeps the floor in its best condition. Before you begin the process, all you have to do is to clean the floor with a vacuum and a mop. This is just to eliminate any kind of dirt from the floor. There are professionals who can handle the procedure for you too.
After the floor is thoroughly cleaned, the oil has to be applied. You will need a hard-bristled brush for this. If you are not sure about how to do this, there are clear instructions on the container. Applying oil like this actually helps to make the color richer. You can decide how rich you want the color to be.
After the oiling process, you can just leave the floor undisturbed for a day. By this time, the floor has absorbed the required oil and the extra oil can be taken away using a soft cloth. Though it is not at all essential, you can always decide to polish the floor once in a few years also if it suits you.
What happens if all this maintenance work is not done? Well, it does show on the teak floor eventually. But, this can always be set right by sanding it and oiling it. This will have the floor looking as magnificent as ever.
Sanding the floor by hand is not at all a good idea as this can lead to avoidable damage. It is a better idea to call in a professional to handle the sanding for you. If you have moved into a place that already has a teak floor that is not at all in a good state, then this procedure will be very helpful. Also, read Bamboo Flooring Cost – 9 Things You Need to Know