Last updated on September 11th, 2023
Comparing all aspects of eucalyptus vs teak for outdoor furniture can help you make a more informed decision for your deck or patio.
These two are some of the most popular wood choices for outdoor furniture because of their remarkable similarities. Both are tropical hardwoods with unique resilience to weather elements and develop a silver patina with age. Still, teak is a more expensive, superior choice that beats eucalyptus in terms of durability and requires less maintenance and care.
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About eucalyptus versus teak for outdoor furniture
Many teak enthusiasts are drawn to eucalyptus because of the apparent color similarity and the fact that both are hardwoods. Since teak is relatively more expensive than eucalyptus, buyers who love the characteristic silvery patina consider eucalyptus a viable alternative.
But is it a good idea to swap one in place of the other? This guide should help you find out—first things first; a bit of detail on each of these tropical hardwoods.
Understanding teak for outdoor furniture
Woodworkers and homeowners alike consider teak as the king among outdoor wood species. Outdoor furniture made of teak can last for generations with very little maintenance, the only thing that can change is its color.
Often, untreated teak outdoor furniture weathers to a nice-looking silver-gray patina. However, if you are not a fan of this color, you can preserve your outdoor teak furniture in its golden honey brown color by sealing it with Teak Protector.
Greying is a natural phenomenon as the new teak loses the natural moisture content in its outermost layer. This process can happen over the course of several weeks or months, depending on the weather.
Usually, you can restore the weathered teak to the honey brown color by removing the outermost layer through sanding or power-washing.
The beauty of teak is its unbeaten quality and durability. The wood is very dense with straight grains. It contains many naturally occurring oils and rubber that make it resistant to moisture damage, decay, UV rays, and insect invasion.
Teak does not rot even in notoriously wet climatic conditions. Further, teak furniture needs no maintenance other than the occasional cleaning that any household item requires to keep them in good aesthetic condition.
Of all wood types, teak is the most weather-resistant, making it the premium choice of wood for any outdoor furniture. Of course, this premium quality comes with a premium price tag attached—it is the most expensive wood type for furniture.
This high cost of teak is the main reason most people consider its close alternatives, such as eucalyptus, from time to time.
Understanding Eucalyptus for Outdoor Furniture
One of the reasons eucalyptus is so popular is its fast growth. This fast-growing evergreen hardwood tree is native to Australia but grows in most parts of the world, where it is processed for various types of indoor and outdoor furniture.
There are more than 400 different eucalyptus species used as an ingredient in many products around the world.
You may be familiar with eucalyptus oil, a medicinal extract of the eucalyptus tree leaves, associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced blood pressure and anxiety among patients.
This product is obtained mainly from Eucalyptus globulus; a popular species also called Blue Gum.
Like teak, eucalyptus has a highly dense structure with straight grain. Thanks to its high oil content that helps repel moisture and water, it is resistant to rot and decay.
The wood weathers to a soft gray patina if not treated with a sealant. This greying characteristic is one main reason why teak fans choose it as a viable low-cost alternative.
Also, you can stain your new eucalyptus to preserve and maintain its rich reddish-brown color. However, unlike teak, eucalyptus requires more regular maintenance to keep it serviceable for longer.
Eucalyptus vs teak for outdoor furniture side by side
While eucalyptus and outdoor teak pieces are products of tropical hardwoods that weather to a silver-grey patina over time, the two are not identical in terms of their quality and other essential characteristics.
This section compares eucalyptus versus teak for outdoor furniture side by side to help you choose from the point of information.
Both eucalyptus and teak are solid and durable, considering their density. However, carpenters and buyers agree that teak is more durable than eucalyptus. Its mineral content is much higher, making it highly resistant to warping, cracking, and rotting even in the dampest conditions.
While furniture made of eucalyptus will require regular care to hold up well against the elements, teak outdoor furniture does not depend on such care for its durability.
Despite the density and high oil content that make eucalyptus resistant to insects, decay, and rot, the wood is not completely damage-proof.
However, with proper care, your eucalyptus outdoor furniture can last up to 25 years or more.
Teak, on the other hand, can last longer and be passed down from generation to generation. The wood can also keep its golden color for decades if treated properly.
Eucalyptus can also maintain its reddish-brown color for many years but will require sanding and reapplication of the sealant once or more times every year.
Maintenance and Care
Eucalyptus wood furniture requires routine care and maintenance to get the most out of it. Despite being resistant to most weather elements, the wood is simply not immune to the damaging elements in outdoor weather.
You have to protect your eucalyptus wood furniture’s surface to last longer. While it is a great alternative and can last nearly as long as teak, you have to treat it with a water-based acrylic sealant every year to achieve that longevity.
Eucalyptus wood furniture also requires light sanding every once a year, though some users do it more times to remove the fuzziness that results from exposure to weather elements.
Since eucalyptus tends to grey quickly, you will not want to sand too much to remove the entire weathered silver layer. This would eat away into your furniture. So, keep your sanding light, and stop as soon as you have removed all splintered wood or unevenness.
Once treated with a special teak protector or acrylic sealant, teak outdoor furniture can go for years before losing its color and requiring treatment.
Unfinished eucalyptus will weather and lose its reddish-brown color in a few weeks. Compared to unfinished teak, eucalyptus weathers much faster.
Unfinished teak furniture can last for months in dry weather without losing its golden honey color. Teak outdoor furniture requires almost zero maintenance to keep it serviceable; you only need to keep it dust- and dirt-free to avoid unnecessary discoloration.
In regard to cleaning, outdoor furniture made of both types of hardwoods require occasional dusting and wiping with a damp rag to remove dust and loose dirt from the surface.
You can remove stubborn stains from teak and eucalyptus wood furniture by scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush soaked in soapy water solution. Ensure you work in the direction of the wood grain and rinse thoroughly with a garden hose or clean water to remove all soap residue.
Applying teak oil on your teak furniture or different wood oil on your eucalyptus wood can waterproof it all right, but we do not recommend it. Often, the oil will create a foothold for breeding molds.
Soon, you will notice black spots and discoloration forming on your oiled furniture. It is best to go with a water-based acrylic sealant as this protects your furniture without creating room for molds and stains.
Teak outdoor furniture is typically more expensive than eucalyptus. For buyers who love the characteristic greying color of teak, eucalyptus furniture comes in handy as an affordable alternative.
Because of its comparatively more superior quality and low maintenance requirement, you will have to spend more money to afford teak furniture. This higher upfront cost is a reason many teak fans opt for eucalyptus furniture.
Despite its high cost, teak furniture remains extremely popular and highly sought-after for outdoor use.
The high cost of teak is also due to its scarcity. Unlike the ubiquitous eucalyptus that grows fast and is available nearly in every country around the world, teak, native to India, is pretty scarce in supply. The trees are primarily grown in plantations to ensure a continuous supply.
Pros and cons of teak outdoor furniture
We have emphasized the superior quality of teak for outdoor furniture that makes it expensive. It is one of the most robust hardwoods available. But this is not the only advantage this wood has. Here is a detailed look at the pros and cons of teak outdoor furniture.
- Teak is versatile. You can use it to create long-lasting tables, chairs, storage, sun lounges, and bench seats because it is easy to work with. Teak furniture can also remain natural and weather into a grey patina or be used with paint, stain, varnish, or wax coating.
- The wood is low-maintenance. All you need to do is clean dust and loose dirt off its surface from time to time, or coat its surface with a sealant of your choice if you want to preserve its golden honey color.
- Teak is resistant to rotting, insects like termites, and acids
- The wood has a beautiful color, both new and weathered. It has a beautiful golden brown color with tight, straight grain and weathers into a beautiful grey color.
The cons of teak
- It is expensive. The high cost of teak outdoor furniture can be prohibitive.
- Teak grows slowly and is scarce in supply, so it may not be readily available.
Pros and cons of eucalyptus outdoor furniture
As with teak, there are a number of reasons why eucalyptus outdoor furniture may be a good buy and those that make it a less preferable choice. Let us look at them.
The pros of eucalyptus
- eucalyptus outdoor furniture is naturally resistant to insects, rot, and decay due to the wood’s high oil content that makes it repel moisture and water.
- The furniture is cheaper than teak. You get to save off your purchase but enjoy the same durability and silver-grey tint characteristic of weathered teak.
- This type of outdoor furniture is durable if well taken care of; it can serve your outdoor space for up to 25 years or longer.
- Eucalyptus trees grow fast in different parts of the world, making them sustainable. When you need the furniture, you can be sure you’ll get it due to its adequate supply.
- Unlike teak, eucalyptus does not come in different grades, so you can be sure of the same quality across the board.
Cons of eucalyptus
- The furniture requires a lot of maintenance and care.
- The furniture does not hold up well against extreme cold weather
- It is less durable than teak furniture
Outdoor Wood furniture Important Facts
Wood outdoor furniture differs from its indoor counterparts in many aspects. First, they must naturally be resistant to the elements or resilient enough to withstand the harsh weather outdoors.
The furniture should be durable to withstand the effects of the elements outside. Low-maintenance options are the best choice of outdoor wood furniture.
Wooden outdoor furniture can add personality to the outdoor living space by exuding a rustic, comfortable feel.
They can come in foldable choices that are easy to store away. The fact they can be lightweight means they are convenient to use.
Unlike metal, wooden outdoor furniture does not retain heat to become hot to the touch. As such, the furniture will not risk scorching your skin in hot weather.
Hardwoods like eucalyptus versus teak for outdoor furniture are the most preferred options because they are long-lasting, even with sealants on their surfaces.
What is the best material for an outdoor bench?
Hardwoods such as oak, mahogany, elm, and teak are great materials for constructing an outdoor bench. Ideally, they grow slower than softwoods like fir and pine and are dense and rich in protective oils that make them ideal for the outdoors.
Is eucalyptus or acacia wood better for outdoor furniture – The decision
Acacia, also called Locust, is suitable for outdoor furniture due to its long-term outdoor durability. Many varieties of acacia are used for fencing posts and tend to outlive the fences because of this outstanding durability.
Compared to eucalyptus for outdoor furniture, acacia wood tends to be less durable than eucalyptus. The latter is much closer to teak in terms of quality and durability.
However, acacia outdoor furniture can be more affordable as they tend to be cheaper than outdoor furniture made of eucalyptus.
Now, whether you decide to go with eucalyptus or teak for your outdoor furniture, we hope that this comparison of eucalyptus versus teak for outdoor furniture helps make your choice easier.