Maple vs. Teak: Which One to Use?

Maple vs. Teak: Which One to Use?

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If you are looking for a really nice type of hardwood to use around your home, then you have come to the right place. Today, we want to take a look at two very popular types of hardwood, maple and teak. Although both of these types of wood are very popular, there are some differences between them.

Today, we’re going to compare these two materials to figure out which one is best for your next construction or woodworking job.

What Is Maple?

First, we have the maple tree, and here we’re talking specifically about the hard maple, otherwise known as sugar maple. There are tons of different types of this tree in North America, particularly in the United States and Canada, as well as in Asia. However, the hard maple is the most commonly found and used in North America, as it is very hard and durable.

This is a deciduous hardwood tree that loses its leaves during the winter. As for the appearance, hard maple features a fine texture combined with an even and straight grain, although it may have some ripples, curls, or waves.

The heartwood is reddish-brown, with the sapwood being cream-colored, even almost white at times. Out of the many types of hardwood out there, maple is one of the only ones where the sapwood is used for construction more often than the heartwood.

As for the physical properties, this wood is very durable and hard, with a good deal of strength in general. Maple is not the most pest or moisture-resistant type of wood out there, so it’s not the first choice for outdoor use. If treated properly, it may be used outdoors, but it is certainly not the best choice.

Due to its slight lack of resistance to the elements, combined with its great durability, it is a better choice for indoor purposes, especially for things like furniture, walls, flooring, decorative pieces, instruments, and more. In terms of price, maple is moderately expensive.

What Is Teak?

We then have teak wood. This is a tropical hardwood tree that can be found in many mixed hardwood forests. It is most commonly found in Southeast Asia, such as in Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia, although it can also be found in some parts of Africa and in the Caribbean.

There are actually many different types of teak wood out there, although one of the most popular is Brazilian teak. This also happens to be one of the most durable types, so besides regular teak, we will also look at the Brazilian variety. This is a tree that can grow well over 120’ tall.

The teak tree features lumber that is usually quite straight in grain, has a smooth appearance, and may have some gaps, holes, or knots. This wood has a beautiful golden color, although sometimes it can be slightly darker brown. Teak wood usually gets lighter in color as it dries.

This material is fairly durable, hard, and strong, therefore making it fairly resistant to many different types of physical damage. Teak is also quite resistant to cracking and warping, as well as pests, fungus, mold, and moisture. It is one of the more durable and resistant types of wood out there. Teak is often used for paneling, trim, flooring, and for furniture of all sorts, whether indoors or outdoors.

Maple vs. Teak: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what both maple and teak are, let’s figure out what makes these two types of wood different from each other.


In terms of hardness, maple is a fairly hard type of wood, as it features a Janka hardness rating of 1,450 lbf. Regular teak wood features a Janka hardness rating of just over 1,000 lbf, whereas Brazilian teak comes in at well over 3,000 lbf. Therefore, sugar maple is harder than regular teak, but not nearly as hard as the Brazilian variety. If you need an extremely hard and durable type of wood that is resistant to scratching and denting, Brazilian teak is definitely the best option to consider.


As for the weight or density, maple comes in at around 44 lbs per cubic foot. On the other hand, regular teak wood comes in at 40 lbs per cubic foot. We then have Brazilian teak wood, which comes in at a whopping 68 lbs per cubic foot. So, regular teak is lighter than hard maple, but maple is much lighter than Brazilian teak.

Pest and Moisture Resistance

When it comes to pest and moisture resistance, something that does need to be said is that maple is not ideal on either of those fronts. Now, it is more resistant to moisture than it is to pests, although it still is not great. If you treat and seal it properly, you may be able to use maple outdoors in terms of moisture resistance, although it still won’t do great against insects.

For more about maple’s water resistance, read this article.

On the other hand, we have teak wood, with both regular and Brazilian teak wood being extremely resilient in this sense. Both of these types of wood are extremely resistant to pests, fungus, moisture, decay, and more. In fact, teak wood is seen as one of the most moisture-resistant types of wood in the world.

Overall Strength

In terms of the overall strength, if we are talking about the modulus of rupture, the modulus of elasticity, and the compressive strength, regular teak is going to be the weakest of all three. We then have hard maple, which sits neatly in the middle of regular and Brazilian teak, with Brazilian teak having huge numbers in all three categories. If you need something that is extremely durable and structurally sound, Brazilian teak is the way to go.


Both regular teak wood and maple are fairly easy to work with. They’re not too difficult to cut, paint, or screw. On the other hand, we then have Brazilian teak, which is so heavy and dense, as well as extremely hard, making it quite difficult to work with, especially as far as screwing and sawing are concerned.

Appearance – Color and Grain

If we are talking about maple, it has a creamy white sapwood with a fairly tight and straight grain, although it may have some curls or waves. Teak tends to have a fairly light golden color along with a tight and straight grain. Brazilian teak wood, however, tends to be a little darker in color, and may even have a purplish or reddish hue.


As far as maple is concerned, the cost is usually going to be around $15 per board foot. What is surprising is that Brazilian teak doesn’t cost all that much, with the cost usually incomparable. That said, surprisingly enough, regular teak is actually much more expensive, and can cost you up to twice as much.

When to Use Maple?

If you need a type of wood that is suitable for indoor purposes and won’t cost you that much, then maple is a fine choice to consider. It has a really nice color and a beautiful texture, plus it is very hard, durable, and structurally sound. If you are making indoor furniture, doors, walls, or decorative pieces, it is certainly the type of lumber that we recommend checking out.

When to Use Teak?

If you need something that is very hard, durable, and resistant to the elements, then teak is always a good option to consider. Surprisingly enough, Brazilian teak is much more affordable than regular teak, yet also much more durable, dense, harder, and structurally sound on all fronts.

Therefore, if you need a type of wood that is going to last for many years to come, can withstand great amounts of weight and pressure, and can withstand the elements, then Brazilian teak is by far your best choice.

Alternatives to Maple and Teak

If you are looking for a type of wood that is suitable for outdoor purposes but also won’t cost you very much, we recommend checking out red cedar. This is going to be one of the best types of wood to use for outdoor purposes, which can also be said for mahogany, although this is much more expensive.


Now that you know what both maple and teak wood are all about, you can make an informed decision between them.