I enjoy a picnic on a blanket spread over the lawn as much as the next person, but trust me, Kingsley Bate Furniture is going to be a lot more comfortable! After many other types of furniture, I settled on Kingsley Bate for many good reasons, which I’ll outline in this guide to teak outdoor furniture.
At first, I tried rattan, but I hated the way that the material would eventually fray and unwind, plus it felt cheap when I had guests round. Next, I tried bamboo, but over time the material can crack and warp from temperature changes. Finally, I settled on teak furniture – specifically the Kingsley Bate range – which is crafted out of teak wood.
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from: Frontera Furniture Company
Things to Consider Before Buying Teak Outdoor Furniture
Before you take the plunge and pick out a new set of outdoor teak furniture, here are a few things to consider.
Teak is mainly used to produce boats and outdoor furniture, essentially things that have to be resistant to mother nature. This is the reason why you’ll typically pay more for teak than you will for other types of wood.
On the plus side, the resulting price tag has helped this wood to get a reputation as something of a status symbol, an investment aimed to last over decades and even be passed on to the next generations as part of heirloom. Frontera furniture company has a nice article on Teak furniture – Why is it more expensive?
This kind of furniture is ideal for those who spend a lot of time outdoors and are happy to invest into their homes, while valuing high quality and design. After all, what’s the point of substandard furniture that’s considerably less comfortable than being on the lounge, indoors?
You needn’t worry about annual waterproofing, as despite it being a high-priced material, it doesn’t require much maintenance. That said, despite its elegance and durability, it’s not recommended to expose the wood to direct sunlight, so make you sure you have somewhere safe to keep it, or purchase furniture covers to keep it lasting a lifetime!
As Frontera mentions in their article:
When used as an outdoor furniture material, teak comes packed with versatility, durability, and style. With rich golden tones and unmatched endurance, the material adds a touch of beauty and nature to enhance any outdoor space.
In addition to its vast versatility, teak is also gifted with a low-maintenance power from nature: providing its own protective oils. These rich oils work to ensure beauty and durability, preventing moisture from invading the wood and causing dryness or rotting. Teak is, by far, the most durable and easily maintained choice for outdoor wood furniture and it’s all thanks to nature. The material takes care of preventing cracks, dents, or warps all on its own. A light dusting is all teak needs to flourish and remain healthy.
Teak: Tropical Beauty for Your Outdoor Space – Luxury Outdoor furniture
from: Frontera Furniture Company
Presenting Your New Furniture
So, you’re looking to buy furniture for your garden and you’re drowning in a sea of choices? You may be asking, What’s so great about teak wood? Good question. There’s a reason – well, many reasons actually – that this material has been in use for over 1300 years, so sit back, relax, and let me tell you what makes it such a good choice.
You may well have heard of teak wood before, but chances are you don’t know the benefits of this incredible material. Well, it’s about time that you learned about it, as the material’s properties make it one of the best options for keeping outdoors all year round.
Teak wood comes straight from a tree in the tropics called Tectona grandis, so it’s used to getting battered around by the weather. It’s been in use since around the 7th century, though we doubt that people in those times were worried about building garden furniture. No, in earlier days, the wood was used in shipbuilding due to its ability to ward off dry rot.
Teak Furniture Pros
- Natural oils also help to ward off termites, marine borers, and other pests;
- Contains natural, water-repelling oil, making it extremely resistant in the face of all types of weather;
- Save money and time – thanks to the natural properties, you needn’t worry about varnishing or painting the wood.
Teak Furniture Cons
- Comes with a premium price tag compared to most other outdoor furniture types;
- Gluing together teak can be difficult owing to the barrier formed by the oils, but this shouldn’t be a concern as the high quality means the furniture is pre-assembled;
- The gritty texture of the wood can quickly blunt cutting tools, but again there should be no reason to take a cutting tool to any of your teak furniture.
Features and Benefits of Teak Outdoor Furniture
Now, we’re going to take a look at teak wood for outdoor furniture in a little more depth and discuss what makes this one of the best choices for attractive, long-lasting furniture. But first, you should understand that ‘teak’ isn’t the name for a single type of wood; actually, there are different variations and some are better than others.
Types of Teak
Remember those awesome properties we discussed above, like durability, resistance to the elements, and the ability to ward off insects? Well, if you want to get the most out of your teak, then you’ll have to look at the fine print when you’re picking up new furniture.
As trees grow outwards from the center, all those naturally-occurring oils within the teak tree are in greater concentrations towards the heart of the tree. This is why furniture made from sapwood – the outer layers of any tree – is cheaper, whereas furniture made from the inner layers – the heart – is more expensive. You’re getting a higher-quality product if your furniture is made from heartwood.
Sounds simple, right? Well, unfortunately it can get much more complicated, as you’ve got Burma teak, Asian teak, Chinese teak, Indonesian teak, African teak; the list goes on. And only one of these types is considered to be ‘the real teak wood’ and the highest quality you can find: that’s Burma teak. It’s a real minefield. So, this is where grading comes into play.
The grading awarded to a particular type of teak is done on the basis of its quality, which will ultimately determine the durability of the resulting furniture.
Grade A teak wood is the highest quality that you can find. Products in this category will be made from the extreme center of the teak tree. You’ll know you’ve found teak of this quality if the wood has a consistent golden-brown colour, with close grains and a glossy finish that is palpably oily.
Grade B teak is still made from the heart of the wood, albeit the outer heartwood as opposed to the very center. That golden-brown colour will be less apparent, with an overall lighter appearance. The grains will be uneven and the finish less glossy. Though you’ve still got some of those protective natural oils, they’re less abundant too. You may find yourself having to apply some degree of weatherproofing and maintenance.
Grade C teak wood is far inferior to its brothers. Made from sapwood, you’re lacking those natural oils that are one of the best reasons for investing in teak. The wood is softer and less durable, with an uneven colour and rougher finish, and it’ll be easily damaged by exposure to the outdoors. Even with protective treatments, you’re looking at a poor lifespan, making this an easy way to get ripped off if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
So, to summarize grading, you should really be looking for Grade A teak if you want to get the best for your money. Grade B is still a good-quality product if you want to save some of your cash, but you should look into protective treatments and avoid leaving it exposed to the harshest weather. And you should probably avoid Grade C altogether if you want to protect your investment.
Let’s face it, climate change is fast-becoming a huge issue for society, so it’s no surprise that environmental responsibility is so important to folk all over the world now. As a high-value wood, the demand for teak has contributed towards the deforestation of the rainforest throughout history. Whatever your stance on climate change, it’s important to know exactly where your wood is coming from.
Whereas other similar woods like shorea, mentioned above, have been sustainably farmed for years, teak is one exception where harvesting regulations haven’t always existed. However, Kingsley Bate is a company that’s committed to sourcing its teak wood from sustainable sources.
The company will only manufacture their furniture from teak that has been harvested from carefully regulated plantations that use sustainable planting operations. So, when you’re lounging outside and sipping from your your G&T, you needn’t worry that you’re contributing towards climate change.
Other Outdoor Accessories
Of course, no outdoor entertaining area is complete without the accompanying showpieces that really light up your parties. Once you’ve taken care of seating for the guests, you’re going to want to think about how you serve them food and drink.
The great thing about Kingsley Bate is that you’re not just limited to furniture; they also craft a bunch of other awesome items like drinks serving trolleys – check it out!. And if you have a pool, deck chairs can make you feel like you’re living on your own holiday resort.
Famous Kingsley Bate Furniture
No, we’re not talking about a deckchair or banquette featuring on a Saturday night talk show or appearing in fashion magazines. But if ever you needed proof of the long-standing durability and popularity of this brand of furniture, all you need do is look to the public spaces that have used Kingsley Bate furniture for years.
As highlighted by the design blog, Frontera, Kingsley Bate furniture is so popular that it’s now being used in a myriad of places across the States. In fact, it made it onto their “Most Trusted Brands for Outdoor Furniture” list!
For example, the Universities of Texas, California, Oregon, plus MIT and Princeton are all using Kingsley Bate seating on campus. Not big enough for you? Well how about this; even Walt Disney World employs this brand for its on-site seating in various places.
The original list published by Frontera is around 50 items long, though we’re fairly sure this range of outdoor furniture will be in use in many other places across the country. One thing’s for sure, there are few outdoor furniture brands that will have seen as much tried-and-tested exposure to the elements than Kingsley Bate and still be going strong.
Not everyone wants to spend a fortune furnishing their outdoor patio or back yard and that’s fine. You can still achieve a stylish and comfortable entertaining space with alternative furniture types. Here’s a quick look at 3 alternatives to teak wood that you can consider:
Grown in the Southeast Asian rainforests, shorea is one of the closest available alternatives to teak. In weight and toughness, shorea is very close to teak with a similar density. Its grain is tight and thus it can be easily carved into different shapes. Also, the oil content is similar to teak, which means it also benefits from the same resistance to insects and rot.
Unlike teak wood, shorea has been under strictly-controlled timber harvesting regulations for longer, meaning that there is still an abundance available. As a result, it’s much more readily available, and so more affordable too.
Iroko is often referred to as ‘African teak’ or, even more colloquially, ‘poor man’s teak’. It shares the toughness and resistances with regular teak, though it’s less flexible. It’s also mineral-heavy, which can more easily damage cutting tools, though this shouldn’t be a concern for you if you’re buying premade furniture.
Another name for ipe wood is ‘Brazilian walnut’. Part of the family of ‘ironwoods’, a name given to them due to the incredible strength, this wood even sinks in water. Like teak, it has natural oils that repel insects and ward off rot, which makes it great for all-weather furniture. You may be surprised to know that the boardwalk at Coney Island is partly constructed from ipe wood.
Here’s another thing that might shock you: ipe is surprisingly resistant to flames, practically to the same degree as steel or rock. It barely conducts heat, remaining cool to the touch. But, it does have its drawbacks as a trade-off; its excessive oiliness makes it tricky to paint and it’s extremely hard, so much so that it can be difficult to carve.
Of course, these aren’t the only alternatives to teak you can find; they’re just the closest in terms of quality, durability and appearance. Think of them as a way of getting the benefits of teak without having to spend quite as much.
If you’re after something that’s much, much cheaper, don’t care about resistance to the elements, or just want an item for a one-off event that you’ll disregard later, then you might be happy with bamboo or the other incredibly popular choice, rattan furniture.
So, in summary, if you want classy outdoor furniture that will impress your guests and last through those harsh winters, teak furniture like the range from Kingsley Bate could be perfect for you. Its golden hue and incredible durability make it great to look at – a look that won’t fade over time. But if you’d rather cut down on costs, you could opt for shorea, iroko, or ipe instead.