Nyatoh and teak are both popular woods for outdoor furniture and construction. Some products advertised as low-cost teak are nyatoh in disguise. It’s important to purchase your furniture and construction materials from reliable dealers to make sure you know what you’re getting. Both teak and nyatoh can have a valuable place in your home. Understanding the differences and similarities between these two kinds of wood will help you decide which option is best for your needs.
What is Nyatoh?
Nyatoh is a reddish wood with a straight, interlocked grain with a subtle texture. It’s similar in appearance to Philippine mahogany or lauan, and comes from the rainforests of Southeast Asia.
Nyatoh wood is rarely exported to the United States as a raw material. It takes a skilled carpenter to work with nyatoh, as its high silica content can damage blades and saws. Natural gums from the wood also collect on the blades, making it tricky to get a clean cut. When nyatoh wood is first cut, it gives off a sour smell that irritates mucous membranes.
Once assembled into furniture and other items, nyatoh no longer presents these difficulties, so homeowners don’t have to worry about an unpleasant smell or gummy stickiness with completed nyatoh products. There’s a great deal to appreciate about this wood.
What is Teak?
Teak is a durable wood sourced from monsoon rainforests in south Asia, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It’s golden to medium brown when freshly cut. It has a high oil content that makes it naturally resistant to water and many pests. The best teak comes from trees that are 40 to 80 years old. The wood needs to dry for at least a year before it’s cut into lumber, so teak isn’t always quick or easy to source. Nevertheless, it’s become a well-known option for outdoor furniture and flooring.
The Functionality of Nyatoh vs. Teak
Nyatoh has a Janka hardness rating of 1,171, while teak’s Janka hardness rating is 1,070. This means that nyatoh is the stronger option of the two. If you’re comparing only these two options, you’ll want to go with nyatoh for the best durability. However, it’s worth noting that nyatoh is only a third as hard as Brazilian walnut, the hardest wood species. Nyatoh is strong enough for a wide range of uses, but it still requires appropriate care and consideration to prevent scratches, dents, and damage.
When used outside, nyatoh must have a protective finish to keep it in good condition. This wood doesn’t have a natural resistance to insects or rot, so you’ll need to give it a little extra protection with a reliable finish, such as a penetrating oil, semi-transparent stain, or UV-resistant surface coating. You should apply a double coat to the end grain.
Nyatoh differs from teak in that teak is often left unfinished. However, teak doesn’t retain the same golden hue without a finish and will fade to a silvery patina. Nyatoh takes to oil and stains beautifully. Once finished, this wood has a rich appearance that’s similar to cherry. Both teak and nyatoh benefit greatly from routine cleaning and refinishing services.
The Cost of Nyatoh vs. Teak
One of the biggest differentiators between nyatoh and teak is the cost. Teak is one of the most expensive woods on the market. As mentioned previously, it’s not always easy to source. Teak is also expensive because of its natural resistance to pests.
Nyatoh, on the other hand, is susceptible to termite attacks. The sapwood of nyatoh may experience powder-post beetle attacks. Properly treating and caring for nyatoh can help minimize these potential threats. Nyatoh comes at an extremely low price point, so you’ll have money left over to invest in high-quality stains and professional cleaning and refinishing services. Teak is a major investment, but nyatoh is much easier on the wallet.
Uses for Nyatoh Vs. Teak
Historically, nyatoh has been a favorite in the Philippines for the construction of cabinets and boats. As an abundant resource on the island, it was chosen for its accessibility and availability. However, homeowners have recently discovered this wood as an affordable option for flooring, veneer, and outdoor furniture.
Nyatoh glues very well. It peels easily into plywood and veneers, making it a very workable material once it’s been cut. Nyatoh wood can be used for parquet and strip flooring, indoor/outdoor furniture, boats, cabinetry, dowels, outdoor umbrella poles, outdoor showers, and even inexpensive guitars. One company uses nyatoh creatively for the temple pieces in wooden eyeglass frames.
Teak is most commonly used for outdoor furniture and boat decks. You may also find teak cutting boards, countertops, and flooring. You may use teak as plywood or as a veneer. It’s best to select items that you’ll keep for a long time when you opt for teak because you’ll want to get ample use out of this high-priced investment.
Caring for Nyatoh Vs. Teak
Teak is often referred to as a maintenance-free wood, but this isn’t a completely accurate description. Without proper care, teak will change color significantly. To keep it looking bright and golden brown, you must have the furniture cleaned and refinished regularly. Even unfinished teak that’s meant to take on a patina should be professionally cleaned at least once a year to keep it in the best shape.
Nyatoh also requires routine care to prevent damage from water or pests. Scheduling routine visits from a restoration professional will help you extend the life of any nyatoh piece. You will need more frequent care for your outdoor furniture and flooring in coastal areas exposed to salty air. Inland homes can space out their professional cleaning services more.
Whether you choose to invest in teak or opt for the more affordable nyatoh, it’s important to know how to care for your furniture and other elements of your patio, porch, or deck. Our team at Teak Master can help you form the best cleaning and restoration schedule for your unique location so that you can take proper care of every part of your outdoor living space. Contact us now to learn more.