If you are planning to do some construction around your home, then two very popular types of wood to use include teak and spruce.
That said, both are very different from each other. In fact, they are some of the most different woods in the world. Right now, we’re going to figure out what makes them different, so you can make an informed choice between the two.
What Is Teak?
First, we have the teak tree, which is a tropical hardwood that is found in mixed-species and hardwood forests, particularly in the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Brazilian teak, otherwise known as cumaru, is one of the most popular types of teak, which is why we will be focusing on it.
This type of wood usually has a combination of straight and interlocked grain, along with a somewhat smooth texture, as well as a lack of knots, holes, and gaps.
The wood from the Brazilian teak tree usually has a very rich golden color, sometimes a bit browner than gold, but always extremely lustrous. As it dries, it tends to lighten in color.
A big advantage of Brazilian teak is that it is extremely hard, dense, strong, and durable overall. It has great resistance to moisture, pests, fungus, mold, and decay in general.
Because of this, it makes for a good option for both outdoor and indoor purposes. It’s often used for indoor and outdoor furniture, walls, floors, cabinets, trim, paneling, and more. Just keep in mind that it is, however, relatively expensive.
What Is Spruce?
We then have the spruce tree. This is a coniferous and evergreen softwood tree that can be found in most boreal and temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere, which includes northern Asia, North America, and northern Europe.
For a softwood tree, spruce is somewhat dense and hard, and it can also be somewhat resistant to denting, scratching, and physical damage. However, it is not very resilient when it comes to pests or moisture. Although it doesn’t absorb water, it does warp and shrink.
People do often like to use spruce due to its nice appearance, as it has a straight grain, medium texture, a lack of knots and gaps, and a reddish-brown color.
This is a type of wood that is typically used for basic utilitarian purposes, such as joinery, trim, veneer, musical instruments, and other projects that don’t require too much structural soundness.
Teak vs. Spruce: What Are the Differences?
Now that we know what both teak and spruce are, let’s figure out what makes these two types of wood different from each other.
One of the biggest differences here is that Brazilian teak features a Janka hardness rating of 3,300 lbf, whereas spruce comes in at just 490 lbf. Teak is therefore exponentially harder than spruce, making it a much better option in terms of damage resistance.
Spruce is not overly dense, as it comes in at 27 lbs/ft3. On the other hand, Brazilian teak comes in at 68 lbs/ft3. This makes Brazilian teak well over two times as heavy as spruce, which does imply that it’s much more durable, although also much harder to work with due to that weight.
Pest and Moisture Resistance
If we are talking about pest and moisture resistance, spruce is not a good option to use for outdoor purposes, while Brazilian teak is. Teak is one of the most pest and moisture-resistant types of wood in the world, and spruce is quite the opposite.
If we look at all of the factors that determine the overall strength of wood, including the modulus of rupture, the compressive strength, and the modulus of elasticity, Brazilian teak scores much higher on all fronts. It can handle more pressure, it can hold more weight, and it is more structurally sound overall.
Due to its softness, lightness, and grain texture, spruce is fairly easy to work with. On the other hand, Brazilian teak is much harder to work with, which is true due to its interlocked grain, as well as because of its density and weight.
Appearance – Grain and Color
Many people do like the appearance of spruce due to its reddish-brown color, although people generally like Brazilian teak even more because of its rich golden color.
Brazilian teak also tends to have a more beautiful grain, particularly due to its interlocked nature. Of course, this all really comes down to personal preference.
Spruce is only going to cost you around $7 per board foot, whereas Brazilian teak can cost you up to $35 per board foot. Simply put, you get what you pay for, and with teak you get quality.
When to Use Teak?
If you need a type of wood that works very well for both indoor and outdoor purposes, then Brazilian teak is always a fantastic option to consider.
It is a relatively high-end type of wood, and it is quite expensive, so you might want to be selective in terms of what you use it for. That said, in terms of performance, it works well for everything.
When to Use Spruce?
If you need just a very basic type of wood that works well for utilitarian purposes, especially for indoor use, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, then spruce is a fantastic way to go.
Alternatives to Teak and Spruce
While Brazilian teak is moisture-resistant, it is expensive, and although spruce is cheap, it’s not moisture-resistant. If you need something that is relatively affordable, but also great for outdoor use, try cedar.
You should now know what all of the main differences between Brazilian teak and spruce are. Now that you know what sets them apart, you can choose the one that suits you best.