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​Is it Genuine or Fake Teak? 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy

​Is it Genuine or Fake Teak? 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy

Teak furniture is an excellent investment for your outdoor space. It lasts for a long time with the proper care, is versatile, and will fit in your garden for years to come, even if you change everything else around it.

If you're in the market for a new piece of teak furniture, then being able to tell if the teak is genuine or fake is essential. While you can always rely on Cotswold Teak for authentic, high-quality teak furniture items, some unscrupulous sellers make cheaper wood look like teak and sell it to unsuspecting buyers.

What's the appearance of teak wood?

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You must know what you are looking for to tell the difference between genuine and fake teak wood. Let's talk about the appearance of teak and what you can expect a real piece of teak furniture to look like.

One of the main characteristics of teak is its medium or deep, lush honey-brown colour that tends to get better with age. Teak typically has a straight grain. However, it can sometimes be interlocked or wavy, adding a stunning texture and uniqueness to your piece.

Compared to other types of wood, teak is typically very resistant to warping or cracking. Some warping might be present in teak, but this is usually minimal. However, it can happen from time to time due to long transport routes and changing climates.

What are the main characteristics and properties of teak?

  • Appearance: Teak wood can be a variety of colours depending on the age of the tree, but it typically has a golden, honey-brown or deeper brown shade.
  • Fragrance: Teak has a unique odour that is sweet and woody, quite similar to leather.
  • Grain: Teak typically has a straight grain, although it can be interlocked or wavy in places. It has a course, uneven texture and a moderate to low natural lustre. The natural oils in teak give raw wood surfaces a slightly greasy feel.
  • Durability: Teak is known for being extremely durable and resistant to rotting, decay and pests. It can last for a very long time with the proper care. Unsurprisingly, many consider it to be wood's gold standard.

If you're shopping for new teak garden furniture, what are some of the main questions to ask that will help you determine if it's genuine or fake?

1. How much does it cost?

The price is the first thing to consider when starting the process of teak wood quality checking. High-quality teak furniture is likely to be reflected in the price. On the other hand, if the furniture is significantly cheaper compared to similar pieces, there's a high chance that you're looking at a fake.

2. Does it have a distinctive golden-brown colour?

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Teak wood is known for its stunning golden-brown colour, which turns into a weathered, silvery grey over time when exposed to the elements. Teak sapwood is weaker than heartwood and whiter. Heartwood is a rich golden brown, more robust, and costs more than sapwood.

3. Is the wood dense and heavy?

Teak is a dense, heavy wood. If the wood feels porous and light when you touch or hold it, then chances are it's not authentic teak. So, weighing it or simply handling it to see how rich it feels in your hands can be an excellent way to check whether it's genuine or fake. You should be able to feel the quality.

4. Is the grain straight?

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The grain is one of the most important factors to check when identifying teak as either genuine or fake. Authentic teak wood has a straight grain. The lines on the wood will be darker and mostly straight. That said, some waving or interlocking may be present in genuine teak.

5. How strong and durable is the wood?

Teak is one of the best wooden materials for garden furniture because it's durable and robust. Teak has excellent properties, so you can expect it to be highly resistant to cracking, warping, or other types of deterioration. It's incredibly resistant to humidity when stored are maintained correctly and works well for indoor and outdoor furniture.

6. Does the wood have a high oil content?

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The oil content in the wood is one of the main ways to determine if the teak is real or fake. One of the unique characteristics of teak that sets it apart from other types of wood is its high oil content. A pale colour or a strong smell of old leather are some tell-tale signs to look out for. Genuine teak should not feel or look dried out since the natural oil content will prevent this.

7. Is there a leather-like fragrance?

Teak wood has a unique fragrance caused by the natural substances that the wood contains. The oil in the teak gives off a characteristic odour like leather and is quite unmistakable. It might not be teak if it doesn't have this distinctive scent. If you need to find out whether a piece of wooden furniture is genuine or fake teak, smelling it is a good way to get an idea of the teak wood quality you're looking at.

8. Is there a silvery patina?

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Over time, the surface of teak wood will often develop a patina; a natural process that happens with the ageing of the wood. Over time, the honey-brown shade gradually fades and becomes silvery-grey. This will be more prominent when the teak has not been treated and after exposure to strong sunlight. However, treated teak may still develop a patina if exposed to the elements for long periods.

9. Does the wood absorb water?

Teak is an ideal option if you're looking for tough, water-resistant outdoor furniture. A simple test that you can do to determine if the teak is genuine or fake is to drop a little bit of water on it. The wood will quickly absorb the water if it's another type made to look like teak. On the other hand, genuine teak wood will barely absorb any of the water droplets.

10. How is the piece constructed?

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An important step in teak wood quality checking is to thoroughly examine the construction. The minor details can provide many clues as to whether the teak is genuine or fake. Check the joints – are they tight and appear to be glued or fastened with screws? If so, then the teak might be fake. 

We hope this guide has proven useful for spotting the signs of teak wood quality in genuine vs fake products. At Cotswold Teak, we are proud to sell a wide range of high-quality, durable, and beautiful furniture items to suit every home and garden. 

Explore garden furniture sets at Cotswold Teak

For more teak garden furniture information and buying advice, read the Cotswold Teak blog

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