Teak is much harder than other hardwoods, and it can add beauty to the interior and exterior of the home. Also referred to as Brazilian chestnut or Cumaru, teak is found mostly in the northernmost part of South America. Teak wood is a popular flooring choice, but it can be tricky for a do-it-yourselfer to handle. In this article, we'll discuss some of the advantages of teak wood flooring. Readers will also receive a few words of caution on the usage of teak wood inside and outside the home.


Wood's proportional strength is measured on the Janka scale, with higher numbers designating harder woods. Testing measures the force (in pounds) that is required to embed a one-half inch ball bearing halfway into the piece. With a hardness of 3,540 lbs. on the Janka scale, teak is three times stronger than red oak, which has a hardness of 1,240 pounds.

Dense, Compact Grain

Because teak wood's grain is fine, dense and tight, pieces will be highly resistant to rot, mildew, fungi and UV damage when used as decking or flooring material. Teak is a very oily wood, which makes it stain- and moisture-resistant and an ideal choice for pool decks and bathroom flooring. The density of the grain means that teak flooring is easy to maintain, which is a benefit for homeowners.

Aging With Distinction

Besides shades of yellow, brown and red, buyers will also find mahogany hues in teak wood flooring. It's not advisable to add an oil finish to teak flooring; the wood develops its own patina as it ages. Suppliers often recommend water-based urethanes as finishes for teak flooring because of their quick drying and easy application.

A Few Words of Caution

Teak is so hard that it requires carbide tipped hardware for cutting and drilling. The flooring vendor will recommend that the wood be pre-drilled if it is to be nailed, and teak siding they will also suggest that it be hammered by hand instead of with pneumatic tools. A DIYer may find themselves particularly challenged, and installation is best left to the professionals. Exposure to teak wood dust may cause allergic reactions or contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals.

When a customer buys reclaimed teak wood flooring, they should make an environmentally-friendly choice by choosing a FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified supplier. These vendors only sell lumber from second-growth forests, which ensures the continued sustainability and popularity of teak.