a helicopter on a teak deck

Why Teak Wood Is So Expensive

Today, teak remains in high demand as a construction material for use in luxury yachts. Yet craftsmen should exercise care to select this product from environmentally responsible sources. Your customers will respect you for adhering to your principles during custom boat building!

High Demand, Yet a Limited Legal Supply

Craftsmen sometimes wonder why teak wood is so expensive? Four factors underlie this issue. First, this rainforest hardwood grows in tropical regions of the world populated by many endangered species of plants and animals. Due to the environmental impacts of harvesting teak, most developed nations apply some important export and import restrictions to this valuable wood. The regulations sometimes contribute to price increases compared with other available hardwoods.

Second, teak requires a lengthy growing period. This aspect of its production impacts limited available supplies significantly. Although some plantations reportedly produce good quality harvests in as little as 15 years, the wood’s quality tends to improve with age. Purchasing more expensive teak from legal sources cultivated over the course of decades yields higher commercial grade products.

A staff photo of 10 people who all work for Dennis Boatworks.
A staff photo of 10 people who all work for Dennis Boatworks.

Third, many uses for teak wood contribute to the high world demand for this item today. In addition to its popularity in marine carpentry, teak remains a widely sought hardwood by craftsmen crafting fine furniture and custom homes. It supplies aromatic natural oils which contribute to its unique appeal.

Fourth, like many other beautiful woods, teak does sustain water damage. Employing this construction material in a maritime environment requires careful maintenance. Without proper care, even expensive teak surfaces potentially grow unsightly. Yacht owners must ensure they obtain knowledgeable maintenance services to help keep their vessels in an attractive operating condition. The premature loss of teak due to negligent use likely contributes to some extent to the demand for this product.

An image of a master crafter polishing a custom wood table made by Dennis Boatworks.
Refinishing Touches for Luxury Yachts and Boats.

Fostering A Sustainable Teak Market: One Yacht at a Time

Choosing plantation cultivated teak (not wild cut teak or teak smuggled illegally from nature preserves) demonstrates concern for the sustainability of this precious natural resource. Currently, only three types of Burmese teak serve the goals of most boat builders: Tectona grandis common teak, more upscale Banyuwangi teak, and premium Bojonegoro teak. The latter two varieties grow primarily in Indonesia (and thieves sometimes steal these selections as contraband from preserves).

Source your teak supply with care to make sure you only buy from legitimate, sustainable sources. The Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit international organization founded in 1993, certifies sustainably harvested plantation teak products. By selecting teak woods with care, fine maritime carpentry artisans help ensure this wood will remain available for the enjoyment of future generations. They also give their customers a priceless gift: the satisfaction of knowing they maintained the highest possible standard of environmental responsibility in commissioning yachts and other luxury maritime vessels.

The Use of Teak in Skilled Marine Carpentry

Today, skilled artisans employ teak in a variety of capacities during fine yacht construction. Some of the most popular uses for this rare wood include:

  • Decking;
  • Interior Trim;
  • Cabin Flooring;
  • Built-in Cabin Furniture;
  • Built-in Storage Compartments.

Teak produces a fragrant, pleasing aroma. Burmese Teak also offers visually pleasing rich deep golden brown or umber wood tones. This material enhances comfort in recreational vessels.

As a decking material, teak reputedly supplies an important advantage. Its comparatively rough texture contributes to its slip-resistant properties. Even during wet weather, someone walking across a teak surface presumably enjoys a better chance of avoiding painful slips and falls. (No decking material substitutes for wearing appropriate footwear, remaining alert, and exercising caution during stormy conditions, of course.)

gym treadmills three televisions and weight set on a yacht - flooring by Dennis Boatworks Ft. Lauderdale marine carpenter
Custom Wood and Marine Flooring Installations – gym treadmills three televisions and weight set on a yacht – flooring by Dennis Boatworks Ft. Lauderdale marine carpenter

Caring For Teak Surfaces on Yachts

Boat owners differ widely in their advice concerning the best ways to maintain teak surfaces on a yacht. The most conservative approach likely proves the safest, considering the high dollar value of this commodity. One particularly important consideration involves the location of the teak above (or below) deck.

While special wood polishes help preserve cabin surfaces, maintaining teak decking and exterior accents requires particular care. Instead of scrubbing teak roughly using hard tools or abrasive cleaning agents, we suggest employing recommended maritime teak deck cleaning product. Adhere faithfully to the manufacturer’s application instructions!

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