Articles: Alternatives to Teak

Teak even before current circumstances was one of the most sought-after species of timber, its lifespan and durability is unmatched and it’s resilient enough to hold its own against the roughest conditions including intense sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. Teak is also naturally resistant to water and wont warp throughout the seasons.

Because of how robust Teak is, its applications really are limitless, from ship decking to furniture it has fantastic longevity whatever the conditions. It’s particularly ideal in wet environments such as decking or bathrooms as its resistance to water combats condensation and water drenching.

Currently the timber industry is booming and with each passing day it’s becoming increasingly difficult to meet the demand of the UK.

Teak is one of the hardest species of timber to obtain in the UK and for iWood right now, it is impossible. We are a wholesaler trader, and we import our timber to order which means if we can’t get the timber into the country we can’t supply it for our customers.

The reason why we are unable to import it into the UK is because Teak is now classified as an endangered timber as a result of reckless harvesting and unsustainable forestry and is therefore regulated by the EUW.

So, what are the best Teak alternatives?

Understandably there are a number of reasons why you’d want Teak for your project, however, there are a variety of other species of timber which have very similar properties and provide you with an excellent alternative.

Greenheart is the next best option when compared with teak, it has very similar properties and is equally tough and durable. It’s natural oils produce a deep brown colour and give it natural resistance to rot and moisture buildup allowing it to be left untreated and can stand strong for over 20 years.

If you we’re adamant on teak but can’t find it due to availability, Greenheart is the closest you will get. It’s an exotic timber and has exceptional properties which its price reflects. If you’re willing to pay the price though Greenheart is one of the best marine timbers on the market.

Teak and Greenheart do however put a lot of people off with their hefty pricetags, which lead a lot of our customers to Iroko. Iroko whilst not as tough as teak, has many similar properties and provides an excellent alternative at a much more economical price.

Iroko is just as robust in terms of maintenance and water resistance, so without treatment it can still provide a low maintenance stable base for any marine projects and is a popular choice for ship building, exterior decking, and various other joinery. Iroko also has a fantastically aesthetic rich golden brown colour and looks great when installed.

Due to unavailability of Teak and the scarcity of Greenheart, Ekki is an ideal marine timber option where a strong durable timber that can be submerged in water is required. Due to its unique size Ekki is one of the only timbers which can achieve a section size of a whopping 500x500mm which allows it to withstand massive pressures, perfect for boat hulls and lock gates.

Alongside its huge section size it also has the interesting property of electrical insulation allowing it to be used in electric fencing without an isolator. Ekki does have its faults though, its notoriously difficult to treat and will often shake badly causing splitting and surface checking. As a result Ekki doesn’t often see use outside of marine applications like its other counterparts.

Overall, you have a number of options when it comes to Teak alternatives and despite all of its advantages, it’s not unmatched. Greenheart is as close as you can get, Ekki is Greenhearts wilder equivalent and Iroko is the go-to if you want timber very similar to Teak but at a much more reasonable price.