As you shop for wood patio furniture, you will find two prominent types of outdoor wood furniture: acacia wood and teak wood. You will find that these types of wood look similar, but does that mean they are the same?
Before purchasing patio furniture made from either one of these wood materials, it’s important to know the key differences and similarities. Read on below to find out which wood material is the perfect choice for your next patio furniture purchase!
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Acacia and teak are widely-used wood materials to make many outdoor furniture items. Teak has the edge of being a more durable and weather-resistant material than acacia. This in turn results in teak wood being used in more higher-end patio furniture and having a higher price than acacia. However, acacia is plenty durable and is used to make many good outdoor furniture items at prices typically lower than comparable teak wood options.
Teak trees are a type of hardwood naturally found in south and southeast Asia in nations like India, Myanmar, and Indonesia. Teak is known for its high density, close-grain, high natural oil content, and its natural golden brown color. Teak’s high density and natural oil content make teak outdoor furniture some of the best patio furniture available because of its natural weather resistance and high durability.
Acacia wood is a hardwood wood species, and acacia trees grow naturally in many places like Australia, Africa, and Asia. Additionally, an acacia tree grows more rapidly than some other types of hardwood species. Acacia wood furniture can be found in a light brown color or a dark, reddish-brown color. Acacia natural wood is a good material for outdoor furniture because it is a hardwood with natural oils that make it very durable and naturally weather-resistant. Acacia wood is used to make patio furniture known to last many years under the right conditions.
One of the key similarities between the two materials is that wooden furniture made with teak and acacia can have the same golden, brown color. Additionally, each material is easy to work with, so you will find that teak and acacia patio furniture options are available in many types of styles from different brands and retailers. Also, if you are looking for sustainable outdoor furniture, these are both eco-friendly options.
While acacia and teak wood are both known as durable and weather-resistant materials, teak has the advantage of being more weather-resistant than acacia wood. Acacia, in some conditions, may become brittle or break, and this wood generally requires more maintenance and care than teak to withstand outdoor conditions.
Additionally, there is more variability and defects in the grain pattern of acacia wood vs. teak wood. This may make acacia more unique for some people, while others may prefer a wood with more consistent grain patterns like teak.
- As you shop for wood patio furniture, you may find some acacia (or other wood types) options listed as teak-look, teak-finish, or acacia teak. Do not be confused – the wood is acacia, not teak. These terms mean that the color is similar to the natural golden brown color of teak.
What makes teak an excellent wood for outdoor furniture is that it is highly naturally resistant to damaging effects from moisture. The rich natural oils of teak protect the wood from moisture taking hold and causing it to shrink, swell, decay, or dry out. This high natural water-resistance of teak is a key reason this hardwood has been a very popular material in marine applications like ship and boat building.
While acacia wood has good natural moisture resistance, too much water and moisture exposure can make this wood warp and swell. Also, too much humidity can cause acacia wood to warp and swell. Also, too little moisture or humidity can cause this wood to crack.
Sun & Heat
Teak’s natural oils provide excellent protection from heat and UV rays. The oils prevent the wood from drying out over time which stops the wood from cracking and becoming brittle. Thus, you can put outdoor teak furniture in nearly any location in your backyard and feel confident that it will last season to season. The only downside of teak wood is that it will turn gray over time, but that does not mean that it has degraded in durability.
However, acacia will dry out, warp, and crack if in constant direct sunlight or near a heat source (e.g., outdoor heater, firepit, or even a hot drink placed directly on the wood) for long durations. Additionally, sun and heat exposure may cause the wood to darken.
Teak wood is one of the highest density and sturdiest woods available. As a result, outdoor teak furniture is very hard to physically damage. Yes, under the right circumstances, teak can break. But, teak outdoor furniture is more than capable of enduring normal outdoor wear and tear. Under most conditions, teak can last up to 50 years.
Acacia is known as one very durable solid wood resistant to scratching and cracking from normal backyard wear and tear. This is one of the more dense woods, making it difficult to break. If properly cared for, acacia outdoor patio furniture can last several decades under the right conditions. However, from our review, we found that acacia wood outdoor furniture can tend to have more durability issues than teak.
Maintenance & Care
Teak can require minimal care if you don’t mind the natural weathering process of the wood changing from a honey brown color to silvery gray patina color. At most, you will need mild soap, water, and a soft-bristle brush to clean off dust and dirt. In some cases, you may apply a light sandy to remove water marks or other marks from the wood. Additionally, you can apply teak oil or teak sealant to keep the natural color of the wood intact.
On the other hand, regular oiling or waxing will be required to negate any moisture issues your backyard environment might create for acacia wood. Additionally, you may need to rotate your furniture regularly if it is out in the sun so that one side does not discolor faster than another (if it is not properly treated for UV resistance). Also, any spills from alcohol, nail polish, and silicone-based products can draw moisture out of acacia wood, which will cause it to dry out and crack. So, you will need to clean up these types of spills quickly.
If you are looking for sustainable, eco-friendly outdoor furniture, you should highly consider teak furniture. Most of the teak furniture that you will find from outdoor furniture retailers and brands is FSC-certified. FSC-certified is a Forest Stewardship Council certification that signifies that the teak wood used in the outdoor furniture was harvested from a sustainably managed teak tree forest or plantation.
Acacia outdoor furniture is known to be sustainable patio furniture because the acacia tree is known to be a fast-growing tree compared to other hardwoods like teak. Additionally, acacia trees can be grown in many parts of the world. Thus, there is less concern about unsustainable harvesting practices for acacia trees than for other slower-growing hardwoods used to make outdoor furniture.
One of the most significant drawbacks of teak for outdoor furniture is that it is often some of the most expensive outdoor furniture available. While you will likely be able to find teak pieces in what we consider the average range of High-Quality furniture, don’t expect to find too many pieces deeply discounted from this price range. However, the high price for teak furniture is warranted given the material’s high durability and weather resistance.
On the other hand, there is a greater abundance of acacia wood to make patio furniture, which results in acacia wood being sourced at a lower price than teak. This results in acacia wood outdoor furniture being one of the cheaper wood patio furniture options available on the market.
Teak is one of the few outdoor materials known to weather winter conditions very well without any extra protection. The natural oils that protect teak from moisture and the sun also protect this wood from decaying or rotting from snow and cold.
Acacia, as stated above, is known to perform poorly due to excessive moisture that may come from winter conditions.
However, we always recommend that you cover or store any patio furniture, even if it can withstand wintery conditions, to minimize any chance of damage to your furniture.