Teak vs. Hickory: Which One to Use?

Teak vs. Hickory: Which One to Use?

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If you are looking for a type of wood to use for various construction purposes around your home, two fantastic options to consider are teak and hickory. Both are known for being very durable types of lumber, although there are some differences between them.

Today, we’re going to figure out exactly what these differences are.

What Is Teak?

First, the teak tree, which is a tropical hardwood that is usually found in hardwood forests of mixed species. This tree can be found in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

One of the most popular types used for construction is Brazilian teak, which is otherwise known as cumaru. This wood has a straight or sometimes interlocked grain, combined with a relatively smooth texture, as well as a distinct lack of gaps, holes, and knots.

The wood from this tree usually has a very rich golden color, and may sometimes be a bit browner than it is gold, but always very lustrous. Additionally, this color typically lightens over time.

One of the main advantages of Brazilian teak is that it is very strong, dense, hard, and durable. It is resistant to physical damage, mold, fungus, pests, decay, moisture, and more.

It is a great option for both indoor and outdoor purposes, for everything from furniture, floors, and walls, to paneling, cabinets, trim, and more. However, it is rather expensive, which is something to keep in mind.

What Is Hickory?

We then have the hickory tree, which is a special type of hardwood that can be found in Mexico, Canada, India, China, and in the United States. The mockernut hickory is one of the most popular in North America for construction purposes, so this is what we will focus on.

This type of hickory tree has a straight grain with a close and tight pattern, along with some possible waviness. It has a medium texture, with the color typically being reddish-brown. This wood tends to be very hard and dense, therefore making it very resistant to many types of physical damage.

Hickory is not the number one most moisture-resistant type of wood out there, but it can be used for outdoor purposes if properly sealed.

When it comes down to it, this type of wood is somewhat expensive, and it makes for a popular choice for various indoor purposes, such as for decorative pieces, furniture, and more.

Teak vs. Hickory: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what both teak and hickory are, let’s figure out what makes the two different from each other.


Mockernut is a very hard type of wood, and it comes in at 1,970 lbf on the Janka hardness scale. On the other hand, teak features a Janka hardness rating of 3,330 lbf, therefore making it significantly harder and much more resistant to all sorts of physical damage, mainly denting and scratching.


Not only is Brazilian teak much harder than hickory but also much heavier. This wood weighs about 68 lbs/ft3, whereas mockernut hickory comes in at 51 lbs/ft3. This does in part help make teak a bit more durable, but also harder to work with.

Pest and Moisture Resistance

What is interesting to note here is that teak is also the far more pest and moisture-resistant of these two types of wood.

It is perfectly fine for both indoor and outdoor purposes, even when plenty of moisture is involved. Although hickory is decently resistant to the elements, it doesn’t come close to Brazilian teak and is generally reserved for indoor use.

Overall Strength

If we are talking about factors such as the modulus of rupture, the modulus of elasticity, and the compressive strength, Brazilian teak scores higher on all those fronts. What it really boils down to is that teak can bear more weight and handle more pressure than hickory.


One of the biggest drawbacks of teak is that it can be very hard to work with, mainly due to a sometimes interlocked grain, as well as because of its very heavy and hard nature. On the other hand, hickory is much easier to work with.

Appearance – Color and Grain

Brazilian teak usually has a straight or interlocked grain along with a very rich golden color, whereas hickory has a very beautiful color and grain, usually being a moderate to dark brown. It all really comes down to personal preference here.


Mockernut hickory will cost you around $10 per board foot, whereas Brazilian teak can run you up to $35 per board foot.

When to Use Teak?

If you don’t mind spending the money, and you need something extremely durable, hard, and resistant to impact and moisture alike, then teak is a fantastic option to go with. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s also super high quality and long-lasting.

When to Use Hickory?

If you need something for indoor purposes that is very hard, and you want something that has a beautiful dark brown color, then hickory is always a fantastic option to consider.

Alternatives to Teak and Hickory

There are also plenty of softwoods that you can use, most of which are very affordable and still more than durable enough for basic purposes. These include options such as pine, Douglas fir, redwood, cedar, and more. For the record, cedar is also more moisture-resistant than either of the two types of wood we looked at today.


Now that you know what all the main differences between teak and hickory are, you can make an informed decision between the two. What it really comes down to is that hickory is better for indoor use, whereas teak can be used for all purposes.