When it comes to finding the right type of wood to build something around your home, there are many different options to consider. Two of the most popular options out there at this time include walnut and teak. Both are known for being extremely durable types of wood, but there are some big differences between them.
Let’s figure out what the main differences are, so you can make an informed choice between the two.
What Is Walnut?
First, we have the walnut tree. To be specific, here we are talking about the eastern black walnut tree. This is a tree that can be found all throughout eastern Canada and the eastern United States. It can grow up to 150’ tall and up to 8’ in diameter.
The wood of this tree usually has a very tight and straight grain, although it may sometimes contain some knots, gaps, voids, and may have some curves too.
In terms of color, walnut wood is usually very deep brown in color, something like chocolate or coffee. In fact, it’s one of the only woods in North America that naturally grows so dark. Moreover, unlike many other types of wood that will get darker over time, walnut will get lighter with time.
This t wood is very hard and dense, so it is quite resistant to physical damage, such as denting and scratching. It also contains some natural oils, so it is also somewhat resistant to fungus, pests, and moisture.
Although it may be used for outdoor purposes, it is mostly used indoors. It is often used for making things like flooring, cabinets, furniture, carvings, gunstocks, and other such things. However, walnut wood does grow quite slowly, which means that it is more expensive.
What Is Teak?
We then have the teak tree. This is a tropical hardwood tree that is generally found in mixed hardwood forests. This tree can be found in many parts of the world such as in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, India, and Bangladesh, as well as Africa and in the Caribbean.
The teak tree can grow well over 130’ in height and has a pretty wide trunk too. This wood generally has a very straight and long grain, with a somewhat smooth appearance, although it may have some large gaps, holes, and knots. Teak wood generally has a golden color, although it may have a slightly dark brown tint. As teak wood dries, it generally gets lighter in color.
This is a very strong and durable type of hardwood, and it is very resistant to all sorts of physical damage. On that note, it is also resistant to cracking, warping, pests, fungus, and moisture. Teak wood is a popular option for both interior and exterior wooden furniture, flooring, paneling, trim, and more.
Walnut vs. Teak: What Are the Differences?
Now that we know what both walnut and teak wood are, let’s figure out what makes them different.
One of the major differences here is that teak wood is much harder than walnut wood. The latter comes in at just 1,010 lbf on the Janka hardness scale, whereas teak wood comes in as high as 2,300 lbf. This means that teak is more than twice as hard as walnut wood, and is therefore much more physically durable. It’s much more resistant to scratching, denting, and other such types of damage.
Another difference here is that teak wood is a bit heavier and denser than walnut. Teak wood comes in at roughly 46 lbs per cubic foot, whereas walnut wood comes in at roughly 43 lbs per cubic foot.
Yes, teak is slightly heavier than walnut wood, which does in part make it a little more durable, but also makes it harder to work with. Being denser means that insects and moisture have a much harder time penetrating the outside, which does lead us to our next point of comparison.
Moisture and Pest Resistance
The next big difference has to do with the resistance to the elements. This is going to determine how good these types of wood are for outdoor use. When it comes to walnut wood, it is moderately resistant to pests, moisture, and fungus. It does contain some natural oils, and if properly sealed, it is a good choice for outdoor purposes.
With that being said, walnut wood is not nearly as resistant to the elements as teak wood is. This wood is much denser and harder, and also contains many more natural oils and resins than walnut. These factors lead to it being nearly impermeable by both moisture and pests, therefore making it a great option for outdoor use.
Overall Strength and Durability
When it comes down to it, in terms of hardness, density, compressive strength, and more, as well as resistance to the elements, teak is just the much stronger and more durable of the two. Teak is generally always going to last longer than walnut wood, and this is the case whether we are talking about indoor or outdoor use.
As far as workability is concerned, walnut is very much the easier wood to work with, and this is true for various reasons. First of all, it is not as heavy or hard as teak wood, which means that it is much easier to saw. At the same time, because walnut wood is a bit lighter in weight, it is also easier to work with on that front. Teak wood may also be slightly hard to paint and stain at times, especially when compared to something like walnut.
Appearance – Color and Grain
As for appearance, walnut tends to be a much darker wood, as it is reddish-brown in color, whereas teak tends to be a lighter golden-brown color. Most people would agree that walnut is a much better-looking material. At the same time, teak wood may also contain more gaps and knots than walnut wood, and the texture may be slightly coarser. However, the really big difference here all comes down to color.
Walnut wood is fairly expensive and is going to cost you around $25 per board foot. However, teak is even more expensive. Depending on where you purchase it, teak could cost you anywhere between two and three times as much as walnut.
When to Use Walnut Wood?
If you are planning on making some really nice indoor furniture or fixtures, then walnut is always a good option to consider. If you need something that is going to be very strong and durable, and you don’t mind spending the money on it, then this material is a great option. Just remember that walnut is not always the best option for outdoor use, in which case teak is probably your better bet.
When to Use Teak Wood?
If you are planning on making anything that needs to be extremely durable, hard, dense, and strong in general, as well as resistant to pests, fungus, and moisture, then teak is always a good option to consider. This wood is very good-looking, durable, resistant to the elements, and more. One of the only reasons why people don’t use more of this type of wood is due to its very high cost.
Alternatives to Walnut and Teak Wood
It is no secret that walnut wood and teak are quite expensive. If you want wood that is still very dense and hard, as well as durable overall, but won’t cost you a fortune, then options such as alder, poplar, maple, beech, ash, and white oak are all good options to consider.
For more walnut alternatives, check this article.
Now that you know what the main differences between teak and walnut wood are, you can make an informed decision between the two.