As Teak becomes more easily available, many new suppliers are entering the Teak market. While that scenario may seem like it can only be a positive thing, you need to exercise caution when choosing a supplier. At one point, Burmese Teak was available only from a select number of suppliers; with the addition of new players, you as a yacht or high-end home builder need to ask plenty of questions before making a Teak purchase.
Size and Price Details
Whether you realize it or not, Teak is fairly unusual. It’s not sold quite like regular rough sawn lumber, but it’s not exactly an S4S dimensional product either. Typically sold in sizes that are relatively close to the finished product, Teak comes in a variety of lengths, widths, and thicknesses. Similar to how dimensional softwoods are sold, Teak’s price tag is definitely associated with its size. At the same time, though, the rough-sawn nature of Teak offers some variation to the lengths and widths. As such, Teak is typically sold in bundles with random widths and lengths.
So how can you make sure you’re getting the sizes that you need without accumulating excessive amounts of overage? (At the price of Teak, we realize that every board foot truly counts.) As always, you’ll have to purchase some overage. The best way to make sure you’re not overbuying Teak is to provide a couple suppliers with your project’s specific dimensions. If you end up receiving two extremely different quotes, then something is amiss. As much as we realize you’d love to save money where you can, you can dismiss any blatantly low ball quote for a Teak purchase. Trust us on that.
Significance of Re-Dried Teak
Typically, Teak is kiln dried to European standards which are wetter than North American standards. (European standards are 12-15% moisture content compared to 6-8% moisture content for North America.) If you’re planning to use your Teak in an exterior application that doesn’t require precision (think: siding, decks, or docks), you’ll be fine with the higher moisture content.
If you’re planning to use Teak in a way that requires precise joinery or for an interior application, it must be re-dried to the lower moisture content. If it’s not, you’ll end up with problematic movement during installation. So before you purchase any Teak, be sure to ask about the moisture levels. You can expect re-dried Teak to cost more due to the added cost, production time, and waste. However, if your project requires re-dried Teak, buying Teak that has not been re-dried will only result in disaster. (On the flip side, if your project doesn’t require re-dried Teak, you certainly don’t want to pay the higher price tag for that benefit.)
As you have these conversations with your chosen Teak supplier, realize that a quality supplier can be even more important than attaining quality lumber. Once you have a reliable supplier, it will pay to stop shopping around and to stick with the one you know you can rely on.