Teak vs. Douglas Fir: Which One to Use?

Teak vs. Douglas Fir: Which One to Use?

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Any good woodworking project starts with choosing the right kind of lumber. With that being said, there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of different types of wood to choose from. However, two of the most popular ones that you might want to consider are teak and Douglas fir.

Right now, we want to do a side-by-side comparison of both to see which one is best for your next woodworking project.

What Is Teak?

First, we have teak, which is a type of tropical hardwood that is usually found in mixed hardwood forests. The teak tree can be found in parts of Southeast Asia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Africa, the Caribbean, and in South America.

In fact, the type of teak that we are here focusing on today is Brazilian teak, as this is one of the strongest and most popular ones.

The Brazilian teak tree features wood that has a straight grain and a fairly smooth texture. The grain may, however, also be interlocked. Teak usually doesn’t have many knots, holes, or gaps, and always has a beautiful rich golden color. It may be a bit darker brown than gold, but it’s very lustrous and usually gets lighter as it dries.

A huge advantage of teak is that it is extremely hard, strong, dense, and very durable. It is very resistant to all sorts of physical damage. On that note, it is also very resistant to pests, fungus, mold, rotting, moisture, and more.

Therefore, this type of wood is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. In fact, this is by far one of the most durable types of wood that can be found across the whole world. It is often used for purposes such as walling, flooring, furniture, trim, cabinets, paneling, decorative pieces, shelving, indoor and outdoor furniture, and more.

What Is Douglas Fir?

We then have the Douglas fir tree, which is a coniferous tree that can be found throughout Eastern Asia and North America.

The Douglas fir is a softwood tree, and it can grow up to 250’ tall, therefore making it one of the largest trees in the world. There are both coastal and Rocky Mountain types of Douglas fir, although they have largely the same properties.

Although Douglas fir is a softwood, it is fairly durable, and for a softwood, is actually somewhat hard. That said, it doesn’t really stack up against most hardwoods.

It is also somewhat resistant to pests and moisture, which is why it may be used for outdoor purposes, and it may at times even be used for marine applications.

Douglas fir may be used for exterior siding, flooring, structural beams, and most everything in between. This wood features a straight and plain grain, a texture that is medium coarse, and wood that is light brown in color, often with a reddish-orange tinge.

Teak vs Douglas Fir: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what both teak and Douglas fir are, let’s take a closer look at what makes them different from each other.


Wood from the Douglas fir features a Janka hardness rating of 620 lbf. On the other hand, Brazilian teak has a rating of 3,330 lbf.

Douglas fir is somewhat susceptible to damage by denting or scratching, whereas teak is extremely resistant to physical damage of all kinds. Teak is what you would use for things like high-traffic flooring or furniture.


Teak is not only much harder than Douglas fir, but also much denser, as Douglas fir features a density of just 32 lbs/ft3

On the other hand, Brazilian teak features a density of roughly 68 lbs/ft3. Therefore, Brazilian teak is roughly twice as dense or heavy as Douglas fir. This does in part lead to it having a higher level of durability, however, it does also make it harder to work with.

Pest and Moisture Resistance

If there is one type of wood here we had to choose for outdoor purposes, it would likely be teak. Now, Douglas fir is extremely moisture-resistant, to the point where it can be used for marine purposes. However, it doesn’t do great against pests.

On the other hand, teak is both extremely pest and moisture-resistant. Therefore, strictly speaking, teak is the better choice for outdoor purposes, although Douglas fir is just fine when moisture is involved.

Overall Strength

If we were to look at all of the factors that determine how strong wood is, such as the modulus of rupture, the modulus of elasticity, and the compressive strength, teak wood scores much higher on all of these fronts.

It is better in terms of weight-bearing capabilities, it is more structurally sound, and it can handle more pressure both against and with the grain. It is just by far the much stronger type of wood.


Douglas fir is generally quite easy to work with, as it’s relatively soft and lightweight. It can blunt saw blades a bit, but that’s about it.

However, due to its hardness, density, and often interlocked grain, teak can be quite hard to work with, which is true in terms of sawing, nailing, screwing, painting, and more. That great durability and moisture resistance seem to come with quite a tradeoff.

Appearance – Color and Grain

Both Douglas fir and Brazilian teak are decent-looking types of wood, although most people would agree that teak is the better of the two. Teak has a beautiful interlocked grain with a fine texture and a golden color.

Douglas fir has more of a light brown color with a reddish-orange hue, a coarse texture, and relatively straight grain. However, this really comes down to a matter of personal preference more than anything else.


Douglas fir is moderately expensive, usually coming in at around $12 to $15 per board foot. On the other hand, Brazilian teak can cost you anywhere between $25 and $35 per board foot. Brazilian teak is definitely one of the more expensive types of wood out there, although most people would say that it is well worth the investment seeing as it is so extremely high quality.

When to Use Teak?

When it comes down to it, teak is a perfectly fine type of wood to use for more or less any purpose. The only limitation you really have with it is the cost.

Because it is quite expensive, you generally would not use it for large-scale building applications, such as for building a whole house, although it is certainly more than durable and moisture-resistant enough for this purpose too.

If you can afford it, teak is a good option for floors, walls, cabinets, shelves, toys, decorative pieces, patio furniture, and everything in between.

When to Use Douglas Fir?

If you need a type of wood that is extremely moisture resistant and ideal for outdoor purposes, then Douglas fir is also a good option to consider. It is also more than good enough for basic construction and structural purposes, such as for making beams and regular boards.

However, we recommend it be used for things like outdoor furniture, sheds, docks, and even as a part of boats, seeing as it is so moisture-resistant.

Alternatives to Teak and Douglas Fir

Between these two types of wood, you really have all of the features you need for a reliable construction project. However, one thing we noticed is that both are fairly light in color. If you would like something darker, consider something like mahogany or ebony. These are both extremely beautiful-looking types of wood with rich and dark colors.


Now that you know what all of the major differences between teak and Douglas fir are, you can make an informed choice between the two as to which one to use for your next big woodworking or construction project. Douglas fir is a fantastic softwood and teak is a great hardwood to consider.