Teak or iroko? The best wooden furniture for outdoors

Would you like to add a touch of natural, bespoke beauty to your garden? Then wood is exactly the right material for you. If you want to build or buy a garden table, table top, chair set or bench made of wood, it must have certain properties and qualities - especially in our latitudes, because cold, wet winters put garden furniture to a tough test! But don't worry, choose the right type of wood and you will have beautiful, durable outdoor furniture that really enhances life in the garden and makes it a place of relaxation and recreation.

Waterproof wood

How do the types of wood for outdoor and indoor use differ?

When you think of wood, you may not think that it is the best material for furniture that will spend most, if not all, of their lives outdoors. This material is known to rot or warp when wet.

Whether it can survive outdoors, however, depends above all on the type of wood from which a piece of furniture is made. Certain types of wood, such as B. Pine, while great for indoor use, will quickly wear out if exposed to the elements because they are not weatherproof.

In fact, there are fewer types of wood that are suitable for permanent outdoor use than those that are ideal for indoor use. When it comes to choosing the best pieces of furniture for your garden or patio, the limited choices are both good and bad. On the one hand, you don't have to worry about which type of wood is the right one. On the flip side, the limited choice may mean you have to pay more than you would like, or the type of furniture you want may not be available in a style that suits you.

Why do some woods not rot?

Fungi, bugs, and water can all cause rot. However, some types of wood have built-in resistance to rot, either from a physical barrier inside the wood or from chemical compounds in the material.

Cedarwood, for example, contains certain oils that keep insects and bacteria away. The pests that can cause rot and decay are so disturbed by the cedar oils that they leave the cedar alone. Other types of wood, such as B. White oak, are moisture resistant due to their structure, which reduces the risk of rot or rotting when left outdoors.

Some woods that are not naturally rot-resistant, such as B. Pine, can be specially treated to resist moisture and rot. While pressure or chemically treated woods can be a budget-friendly option for people looking for outdoor furniture, often the quality is not as good as woods that are naturally weatherproof.

Wood for outdoors

Which type of wood do I need for the outside area?

Garden furniture has to withstand a number of elements - including sunlight, rain, thunderstorms, termites, fungus and dirt. The material used must be sturdy, strong and durable, with good resistance to moisture and rot. Ideally, the garden furniture should also be easy to care for.

Hardwood should be your first choice for outdoor furniture, although some softwoods can also serve well. Hardwoods tend to have higher density and natural strength as a result of their slower growth time, which makes these types of wood more resistant to bumps and scratches. As a rule, hardwoods also offer higher water and rot resistance, which makes them ideal for use in outdoor furniture.

Wood for outside use


Everyone knows teak, perhaps the ideal furniture wood for outdoor use. Durable, waterproof and resistant to sunlight, and also very easy to care for - teak is as good as perfect. This type of wood does not attract dirt and is resistant to insects, so that it can be left outside even in the most adverse weather conditions. The fact that it's a traditional type of wood used in boat building pretty much says it all.

Many people turn away from teak because of the high price, which is quite understandable. However, you should weigh the up-front costs against the savings that you can recover in the long run from the lack of maintenance costs and the many, many years you will have from your furniture.

Teak is often found as the basis for terraces, yacht floors or deck chairs, alongside other forms of wooden objects that have to withstand the weather. However, the global supply of teak is quickly being overtaken by demand. Although plantation teak is a more affordable, sustainable, and accessible option than old teak from endangered Southeast Asian forests, there are some timber projects that are opting for another form of hardwood instead of teak. These alternative hardwoods have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and it takes a discerning wood expert to determine if any of them are really suitable for a project that calls for the unique qualities of teak. One of these alternative woods is Iroko wood.


Iroko (also Iroco) has many similar cellular properties to teak. Slowly grown in Ivory Coast and with a high natural oil content, it offers incredible strength and durability. As a type of wood, iroko or “African teak” requires little maintenance and is naturally resistant to pests. It is an extremely reliable, attractive type of wood for your outdoor furniture.

It has similar properties in terms of strength, hardness and resilience. Iroco typically grows to a height of 45 meters and can reach 2 meters in diameter, which means a generous amount of lumber for harvesting. Although this type of wood is less flexible than teak, it can be neglected for most outdoor applications. It is mineral-rich and therefore abrasive to cutting tools, but the right equipment can make up for this shortcoming.

Iroko wood looks different than teak, with its medium brown heartwood, the lighter sapwood and the wavy grain. It can be polished to a high gloss, which underlines its warm, golden-brown hue. While iroko is not yet widely used in shipping, its price - about a third the price of teak - makes it an attractive option to consider.

Teak garden furniture

The advantages of wooden furniture over plastic or metal furniture

As part of a design that is close to nature, wood-based materials can change the ambience of your entire garden and create a more homely, more inviting feeling. And this is not a simple fad - this material has been used in furniture construction for generations and as such has a timeless quality that cannot easily be reproduced.

Strength and durability

Wood is a natural, durable and robust material and is perfect for anyone who wants their furniture to last. Regardless of whether you choose teak or iroko, a well-made garden table or a larger table top offers great stability and reliability.

This longevity ensures that the wooden furniture is excellent value for money - and if you ever want to sell one of your pieces, solid furniture can retain its value over the years if you take good care of it. Thanks to its durability, wooden furniture is easy to maintain. They only need to be waxed, polished and oiled occasionally and are generally very undemanding.

Appearance and feel

As already mentioned, wooden furniture can add a certain charm to any garden, regardless of whether it is light or dark color nuances. And if they have been made by an experienced craftsman, there is an almost limitless potential for design innovations to give your piece of furniture that certain aesthetic something.


When wooden furniture comes from responsible sources and is certified, it represents an excellent option for sustainability and is therefore an ecologically sustainable way of furnishing your garden.

Timbers from responsible forestry are the only renewable building materials - trees that are felled to produce wood grow again. In addition, the carbon footprint that is created in the production and processing of wood products is significantly smaller than that of other building materials such as plastic. And since up to 50 percent of its dry weight consists of carbon, wood can also store carbon - a property that is crucial in the fight against climate change.

Another reason wood products are sustainable is that it gives you the opportunity to shop with specialized artisans in your community. In this way you can support the regional timber industry and the local economy in general.


The huge range of colors and tones enables an enormous variety of style and design options. Not to mention the subtle but noticeable differences between the grains and structures of the different types and cuts of wood.

Beyond the actual material there is another variety as every furniture maker - especially if you are buying from a single craftsman - offers a different direction of design depending on what type of furniture is being built, along with personal taste. When it comes to wooden furniture there is plenty of leeway to get creative with the design.


Unlike metal or plastic, wooden furniture looks great in just about any setting. They can become part of any design concept, be it modern or rustic, and different types of wood can be tastefully combined with one another.


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