A Quick Beginners Guide To Rubber Wood Vs Teak Wood [For Furniture]

You’ve probably already heard a lot about Teak wood.

This prized hardwood tropical timber is durable, hard-wearing, and even naturally rot-resistant. Widely used for making outdoor furniture and boat decking, Teak is a great choice for long-lived furniture.

But, there is a high price to pay for Teak wood…quite literally!

So, if you are in the market for more affordable wooden furniture, there’s Rubberwood instead.

Rubberwood is a surprisingly affordable hardwood, especially when you compare its price against that of Teak wood. So, why wouldn’t you opt for Rubberwood over Teak for furniture?

Well, in this post we reveal the differences between Teak wood and Rubberwood (hint: these two timbers are very different). You will also find out why Teak is such a fantastic option for making outdoor furniture and decking.

And keep reading to find out whether Rubberwood is really all that waterproof…

rubber wood vs teak wood

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Is Rubberwood A Good Wood For Furniture?

It’s good enough for interior furniture, and durable enough to handle everyday wear and tear. It is not, however, the most high quality wood you can use.

The large open pores of this hardwood mean that the surface of Rubberwood furniture feels rough — even after finishing.

And working with this timber can be tricky. Especially since the latex saturating the grain of this wood can clog up your router bits and table saws.

Having said all that, Rubberwood does hold screws and nails surprisingly well.

Related Post: What Is Rubberwood (And Does It Make Good Furniture?)

What About Teak Wood? Is Teak Wood A Type Of Rubberwood?

Not at all, although it’s an easy mistake to make. Rubberwood has sometimes come to be known by the name ‘White Teak’. So people can get these two very different hardwoods mixed up.

However, Teak wood is an altogether different wood type, since it comes from the Lamiaceae tree family. And it is mostly sourced from Southern Asia.

While Rubberwood is from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree family, and it is sourced from forests in South America.

What Is Rubber Wood Called? Rubberwood has many names. However, it is most commonly referred to as Parawood, Hevea, Malaysian Oak, and even White Teak.

Top 5 Woodworking Projects That Sell
Top 5 Woodworking Projects That Sell
And Is Rubberwood Waterproof?

The material made from the latex produced by this tree (i.e. rubber) is waterproof. But, the timber of the tree itself is not. Quite the opposite.

Rubberwood is not rot-resistant, nor does it have any water-resisting characteristics about it.

In short, Rubberwood is susceptible to wood rot. Which makes it a poor choice for any sort of outdoor furniture, such as a garden set.

What About Teak Wood? Is It Waterproof?

Waterproof? No. But very water-resistant? Yes, very much so.

In fact, its ability to resist moisture is one of the reasons why this wood is so sort after.

You see, Teak wood is an incredibly oily type of lumber. The natural tree oils that saturate the wood fibers of Teak wood act like a natures-own wood preservative.

This is because that natural Teak oil prevents wood fibers from fast-absorbing moisture or water. On top of that, the oil also makes it difficult for wood bugs to munch their way down into this timber.

This is why Teak wood is such a great choice for boat decking and outdoor furniture. In fact, this tropical wood can survive everything Mother Nature throws at it…even without a sealing top coat.

Related Post: Is Teak Wood A Good Choice For Cooking Utensils?

So Which One Is The Best Option For Furniture? Teak Wood Or Rubberwood?

If money’s no option, then Teak wood wins hands down…every single time:

  • Teak wood can be used for either outdoor or indoor furniture pieces. Rubberwood is only suited for indoor items.
  • Teak is a touch stronger and tougher than Rubberwood too. Which means that it can better shrug off scratches and dents.
  • Teak wood is also easier to work with and machine. While Rubberwoods latex can wear down router bits ,and gum up the teeth of saws.

The one (and not insignificant) advantage Rubberwood has over Teak is cost. Teak wood is not cheap, and Rubberwood is a much more affordable wood.

Which One Of These Two Hardwoods Is Better For A Dining Table? Teak wood is better all round. It is more durable, stronger, and more moisture-resistant. And if you spill water on a Teak table, you won’t run the risk of damaging it (compared to Rubberwood).

But Is Rubberwood Durable Enough To Be Used As Everyday Furniture?

Provided you’ve properly sealed it, Rubberwood can last for decades.

In fact, Rubberwood has about the same strength as Teak wood (just a little lower). So, it can handle scratches and dents almost as well as Teak.

You see, one way we measure the durability and strength of wood is by checking it’s Janka rating. The Janka rating measures how much compressional stress it takes to crush any given piece of wood.

The higher the Janka rating of a wood type, the greater its compressional strength.

Now, Teak wood has a Janka rating of 1070 lbf. That means it will take 1070 pounds of compressional force for you to make a scratch in this hardwood.

Rubberwood, on the other hand, has a Janka rating of 960 lbf. This places it a touch under Teak wood, in terms of its compressional strength.

So Does That Mean Teak Wood Really Is The Best Wood (And Higher Quality Than Rubber Wood)?

Pretty much in every way…bar cost.

Basically, if you want some price-wise interior furniture, opt for Rubberwood. Otherwise, select Teak wood if you want to make a longer-lasting interior (or exterior) piece.

To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Rubberwood timber is a very solid hardwood. And this tree produces latex, which is the key ingredient in making rubber material.
  • 2). Teak wood is naturally rot-resistant thanks to its natural wood preserving tree oils.
  • 3). Teak wood is a stronger, more durable and longer lasting lumber than Rubberwood. It can be used for either interior or exterior wood, unlike Rubberwood (which should only be used for interior pieces).

References:

Sulaiman, O., et al. “Effect of sanding on surface roughness of rubberwood.” Journal of materials processing technology 209.8 (2009): 3949-3955.

Nazarpour, Forough, et al. “Evaluation of biological pretreatment of rubberwood with white rot fungi for enzymatic hydrolysis.” Materials 6.5 (2013): 2059-2073.