If you want to build something around your house, real or solid wood is a great choice to consider. That said, there are many varieties of wood that you can build furniture, floors, and more out of. Two popular types of wood out there include mahogany and teak. These are two fairly different types of wood, so today we want to do a side-by-side comparison.
Let’s figure out which of these two is the better option for your next big construction project.
What Is Mahogany?
First, we have mahogany, which is a type of hardwood deciduous tree that is native to the Americas, particularly the warmer regions, as it is a tropical hardwood tree. Being deciduous simply means that the leaves fall off during the colder seasons. Keep in mind that this type of tree can also be found in many parts of Oceania and Asia.
In terms of appearance, mahogany has a very straight and tight grain with a smooth appearance, as well as absolutely no voids, gaps, or knots. It also has a deep reddish-brown color that tends to darken over time. Mahogany is an exceptionally hard and dense type of wood that contains a little bit of resin and sap. This leads to it being very durable, as well as resistant to rot, pests, fungus, and moisture. For this reason, it is ideal for both outdoor and indoor use.
Do keep in mind that due to its high quality and limited availability, this is one of the more expensive types of hardwood out there. It’s a very popular choice to go with for high-end furniture, windows, doors, floors, dressers, cabinets, and other such applications where both aesthetics and durability are important.
What Is Teak?
We then have teak, which is another tropical hardwood tree that can be found in mixed hardwood forests. This type of tree is native to many parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Shri Lanka, as well as in Bangladesh and India, and can also be found in the Caribbean and in Africa.
The teak tree can grow up to 40 meters tall and have a fairly wide trunk as well. This wood usually has a long and straight grain, with a somewhat smooth appearance, but may also have fairly large knots, gaps, and holes. In terms of color, it usually has a golden color with a slightly dark brown tint to it. As this wood dries, it tends to lighten in color.
Teak wood is a popular option to go with for both exterior and interior wood furniture, trim, paneling, flooring, and other such applications. What is also worth mentioning is that this wood is one of the strongest and hardest hardwoods out there. Not only is it extremely hard and durable, but also extremely resistant to warping, and cracking, as well as to moisture, pets, and fungus.
Mahogany vs. Teak: What Are the Differences?
Now that we know what both mahogany and teak are, let’s take a closer look at the main differences between the two.
One of the major differences between these two types of wood if that teak is the much harder of the two. In terms of hardness, mahogany usually tops out at around 900 on the Janka hardness scale. On the other hand, teak can go as high as 2300 lbf on the Janka hardness scale. Due to it being so much harder, it’s also much more resistant to scratching, denting, and damage in general. It’s just much stronger than mahogany.
What is interesting to note about teak is that although it is much harder than mahogany, it’s also a bit lighter. In terms of weight, mahogany can come in at up to 800 kilograms per cubic meter, whereas teak usually tops out at around 750 kilograms per cubic meter. Therefore, in terms of weight, it is the easier of the two types of wood to work with. However, at the end of the day, both of these types of wood are fairly heavy.
Resistance to Pests, Fungus, and Moisture
Now, both of these types of wood are actually extremely resistant to pests, fungus, and moisture. They can both be used for outdoor applications with ease. With that being said, teak is one of the very few woods in the world that produces an extremely special type of oil that repels pests, fungus, and moisture. In fact, this wood is nearly 100% waterproof on its own without ever having to treat it. Therefore, for outdoor applications, teak is the much better of the two options.
Due to teak being extremely hard, dense, resistant to damage, and resistant to moisture, fungus, and pests, it is the much more durable of the two kinds of wood. It is going to last much longer than the holiday, and this is the case even with just minimal maintenance. If you need something that is going to last a long time, teak is the way to go.
Although teak is undoubtedly the more durable of these two types of hardwood, it is also much harder to work with. Because it is so hard, cutting it can be a challenge, and painting and staining it can be a bit difficult as well. Mahogany is slightly softer, and it also contains fewer knots and gaps than teak does, therefore making it much easier to work with, especially as far as cutting and assembly are concerned.
In terms of appearance, teak has a golden color with some dark brown tints, which tend to lighten over time, whereas mahogany has a dark reddish-brown color that tends to darken over time. Also, teak has a tight and straight grain but may have a bit of waviness, whereas mahogany has an extremely tight and straight grain, and looks very smooth. Mahogany also tends to have fewer knots, gaps, holes, and imperfections than teak.
Mahogany is an expensive wood, as it can run you up to 4,000 dollars per cubic meter, but teak is even more expensive. Expect to spend anywhere from 25% to 75% more on teak wood than on mahogany.
When to Use Mahogany Wood?
We would say that the difference between these two types of wood has to do with appearance versus durability. If you want a wood that is extremely beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, yet also durable and ideal for most applications, then mahogany is a great option to go with. Mahogany is all about being extremely durable, along with being very pleasing to the eye.
When to Use Teak Wood?
If you are looking for what has to be one of the most durable and moisture-resistant types of wood out there, you want something that looks decent, and you are willing to pay a high price for it, then teak is an excellent option to consider. When it comes to outdoor applications, teak is always the better option, although it doesn’t look quite as nice as mahogany.
Alternatives to Mahogany and Teak Wood
If both of these woods are too expensive for you, there are other more affordable hardwoods to consider, which include poplar, alder, ash, oak, and maple.
For more options, check this article about mahogany alternatives.
When it comes down to it, both teak and mahogany are expensive and high-end types of hardwood that are suitable for applications that call for durability and longevity.