Redwood or Teak for outdoors?

Teak is now the most widely used outdoor wood in the U.S.and Canada. Its a good economic choice for outdoor furniture or structures you want to last.
Environmentally, Teak sold in the U.S. or Canada is 99% plantation grown. There are teak plantations all over the world now with a growing concentration in Central and South America. These plantations grow Teak in rows and harvest in 20 to 40 year rotations in most cases. The highest quality Teak plantations have up to 80 year rotations, but they are rare. Teak is marketed as a "sustainably harvested" alternative to exotic woods taken from rain forests. The Teak industry is large and strongly markets this enviromental angle. Its part truth, part fiction.
The truth is Teak does take pressure off the native forests as a source of good quality wood. The fiction is a significant percentage of these plantations are grown on lands that were once forests. And, Teak tree farms are not native to the Americas (from Asia). They replace native biologically diverse lands with imported monoculture that is known to degrade wildlife habitat for many species.
So, its a mixed bag with the Teak. Good quality wood and better than logging the Amazon, but not "green" in the real sense either.
What about Redwood? Redwood was the outdoor wood of choice for most of the 20th century. Like Teak, it is a beautiful wood with an excellent reputation for outdoor durability. It was available nationwide and used for anything outdoors until the early 1990's. But, the Redwoods were overlogged and in the 1990's lumber production collapsed to 1/3rd the levels of prior decades. .
Today, Redwood is available only in California and a few western states. The overall quality has dropped because the average size of trees being harvested is smaller than in prior decades.
In 1995, Forever Redwood purchased and began to restore its Redwood forestland. We offer our entire furniture line in 4 grades of wood (3 grades of Redwood and a Douglas-fir grade). The young Redwood, our least expensive grade, has a 10-year decay warranty and is comparable to standard Redwood available on the west coast market. Our mature Redwood, our most popular grade, has a 20-year decay warranty and is comparable in durability to the highest grades of Teak. And, our highest grade, the reclaimed Old-Growth Redwood, has a 30-year decay warranty. It exceeds the climate durability of any plantation grown Teak.
It takes centuries of slow growth to make lumber that is virtually decay-proof. Only a natural mature forest can do that. We don't harvest old-growth Redwood. Luckily many logs were left on the forest floor in the early to mid 1900's to keep our furniture shop busy for many years. Yes, the logs sat on the forest floor for 50 to 100 years and are still in excellent shape! Case closed. If you want the longest lasting wood available - go with Old-Growth Redwood. If you want to help restore native, biologically diverse forests and save money, consider having your outdoor furniture made from our other grades of wood.
To read more about our forestry practices, please go to:
To read more about our grades of wood, please go to: