This Is Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Choose Teak Shower Floors

When renovating a bathroom, the shower floor is one of the most important decisions. The material needs to be attractive, water-resistant, durable and easy to maintain. Teak has grown in popularity thanks to its luxurious appearance and natural water-repelling oils. But before installing a teak floor, it’s important to understand both the advantages and downsides.

What is Teak Wood and What Makes it Good For Showers?

Brief Background on Teak as a Premium Material

Teak originates from tropical Southeast Asia, with 75% of world supply coming from sustainable plantations in Indonesia and Thailand. It earned a reputation as a premium wood due to its stunning grain patterns, rich colors and exceptional durability.

Unlike other wood, freshly cut teak contains a very high oil content within its cellular structure. This natural oil is what makes the wood highly resistant to moisture, pests, weathering and many of the hazards encountered in damp bathroom environments.

Key Characteristics That Work Well For Bathrooms

With a Janka hardness rating of over 1,000 lb-f, teak possesses extreme durability. It’s one of the toughest woods used in flooring applications. This hardness prevents denting from dropped items and withstands decades of foot traffic.

pros and cons of teak shower floor

In addition to its legendary strength, teak carries an inherent resistance to moisture thanks to its oils. It can repel water and diffuse humidity before it enters the wood cells. That helps avoid issues like warping, swelling or cupping planks.

Teak’s grain patterns exhibit a highly attractive, uniform appearance. When polished, the wood radiates a luxurious golden-brown color and satiny smooth surface. The visual richness lends a spa-like feel that works beautifully in upscale bathrooms.

Teak’s Resistance to Bathroom Hazards

Between moisture, humidity and excess pathogens, bathrooms pose multiple threats to flooring. Thankfully teak leverages numerous organic defenses to combat them.

In addition to repelling liquid water, teak’s oils help block water vapor penetration deep into the grain. That significantly reduces the risk of subsurface mold or mildew growth when installed properly.

The wood’s high density also makes it impossible for pests like termites or beetles to eat into, while its oils restrict fungus and other biological agents.

Finally, teak feels warmer and more pleasant under bare feet than ceramic or porcelain tile. By retaining heat better, a teak floor stays at room temperature instead of becoming cold and unpleasant like many alternatives.

The Main Pros of Using Teak in Showers

Unmatched Durability and Longevity

With routine maintenance, a teak floor should serve for several decades. In commercial applications like resorts, teak decks and installations have lasted over a century with refinishing.

Such extreme durability comes from both its dense, tightly-packed grain structure coupled with thick internal oils. This combination prevents splintering while resisting dents and wear patterns even under heavy usage.

Simply put, no other wood flooring offers the same lifespan potential as premium grade teak. It remains dimensionally stable as well, avoiding distortions from minor moisture.

Water-Resistance Without Sealing

Most woods require artificial sealers to resist water. Without them, moisture absorption causes swelling, discoloration, staining and eventual structural damage. But teak leverages its natural oils, which occupy space within the cellular structure normally vulnerable to liquid and vapor ingress.

That allows newly installed teak to exhibit a strong innate water resistance. As the wood continues to mature and the oil content rises, planks become even more impervious to any moisture effects.

Consequently, teak can withstand direct water contact andPersistent high humidity without applied finishes or harsh chemical treatments to remain protected.

Luxurious, Spa-Like Appearance

With its uniform tight grain patterns and radiant warm color, smoothly sanded teak practically glows. The surface feels satiny, while the rich hue exhibits reddish-brown to golden tones depending on variant and age.

As an interior design material, teak evokes luxury. The visual character and finish quality helps contemporary bathrooms replicate the atmosphere of upscale spas and resorts. Even on bare feet, teak looks and feels special.

If your remodel goals involve creating a bathroom sanctuary that provides an upscale pampering experience, a teak floor can help realize that vision through its inherent aesthetic virtues.

Lower Maintenance Than Most Surfaces

Importantly, teak’s natural durability and moisture resistance allows it to maintain visual appeal and performance without an artificial protective finish. The wood’s natural oils enable it to retain luster and color despite direct water contact, temperature swings and surface abrasions that damage other materials.

While teak floors do require periodic cleaning and reapplication of finishing oils, they avoid waxes, stains, sealants and other surface treatments other woods demand. There is no need for refinishing or complicated maintenance regimens either.

Non-Slip Even When Wet

Teak possesses a naturally grippy texture thanks to its visible grain structure. When smooth, many woods become dangerously slick when wet. Teak’s fibers remain visible even after the finest sanding due to the density, providing constant anti-slip traction.

That textured surface prevents falls or injuries. It also feels comfortable against bare skin without becoming tacks or otherwise unpleasant on contact when damp. Such natural slip resistance ensures safe usage for applications like steam showers as well.

Potential Downsides to Consider

Teak Carries a High Price Tag

As one of the most premium flooring woods available, teak costs significantly more than even oak or walnut planks. Expect to pay between $15-30 per square foot for installation-ready boards.

Solid teak is generally sold in smaller dimensions as well due to weight and expansion considerations. That can raise labor expenses further if installers need to join more pieces.

For many homeowners, the high sheer cost disqualifies teak outright regardless of benefits. But others view it as a worthwhile investment given the extended product lifespan and value enhancements teak can provide.

Not Fully Water or Moisture Proof

It remains crucial to recognize that teak is water resistant rather than fully waterproof. While it strongly repels liquid water and diffuses ambient moisture, it cannot block ingress indefinitely.

Without a properly installed vapor barrier and moisture isolation membrane beneath, moisture can still penetrate joints or unfinished plank bottoms. Subsurface mold, cupping or floor failure may result over years.

Precision installation and subsystem prep remains vital to ensure no path exists for moisture migration under the planks. Teak needs supports to fully leverage its innate humidity-fighting talents.

Special Cleaning Requirements

While a virtue for some, teak’s lack of a protective finish also demands special care when cleaning. Harsh chemicals, alkaline solutions and other conventional floor cleaners can discolor, dry out or otherwise damage raw teak over time.

Instead, teak-friendly formulas containing ingredients like plant-based oils and waxes must be used to dissolve dirt without stripping protective oils. Owners also need to apply fresh oil coats periodically when cleaning as well.

Some owners find sticking to the necessary gentle cleansing and oiling protocols overly demanding. Others don’t mind the minor additional effort given teak’s benefits.

Can Damage Softer Materials

In spite of aesthetic qualities, teak ranks among the hardest structural materials used in homebuilding. With a Janka hardness over 1000 lb-f, it’s heavier than even some rock types.

Such extreme density means teak can inflict scratches, scrapes and cuts into finished surfaces it contacts during installation or everyday use.

Walls, cabinetry, plumbing materials and adjacent flooring all remain vulnerable without protective plates, spacers or other buffers separating them from bare teak. Even dropped metal objects can dent where teak may abrade or damage them.

Doesn’t Add Resale Value Like Stone/Tile

While beautiful, most home buyers overlook exotic wood floors in bathrooms when evaluating resale value. The expected standard remains easy-to-clean ceramic, porcelain or natural stone.

Unfortunately, that means installing teak typically won’t yield any meaningful ROI versus going with a mainstream tile material instead if planning to sell soon.

Use teak flooring strictly for personal enjoyment rather than hoping for financial gain down the road. There are easier ways to boost home value through upgrades.

Final Considerations Before Deciding

Maintenance Commitment and Costs

Be realistic about the care teak demands in order to preserve performance and aesthetics long-term. That means adopting a regular cleaning and oiling regimen using approved solutions instead of generic cleaners.

It also means budgeting for potential professional resurfacing at intervals to restore a blemish-free surface as traffic wears down the microscopic grain ridges over years of use.

Factor in both the time commitments and services costs before deciding whether teak works for your lifestyle. The price paid upfront is just part of total ownership obligations.

Alternatives Offer Similar Pros Without High Price

Weigh options like shorea and garapa as well. These woods offer comparable hardness and moisture resistance to teak for less money upfront.

There are also numerous durable composite plank or ceramic products that mimic wood looks if that aesthetic matters most. They may better align with budget and expectations too.

Don’t assume teak is the only material capable of fulfilling your shower flooring needs. Evaluating alternatives could reveal choices that work equally well at lower prices.

Given the combination of high costs and special care considerations, teak works best in master bathrooms where creating a private luxury retreat matters most.

As an everyday casual shower flooring, teak expenses likely overwhelm the benefits. Focus application in spaces where users want to replicate a pampering spa experience.

Most homeowners don’t utilize secondary or guest baths routinely enough to justify adopting teak in those locations either. Target installation where appreciation gets maximized through frequent usage.

Before deciding on teak shower floors, carefully weigh both advantages against potential compromises. Confirm whether positives justify the commitments your particular project demands. If aiming for an upscale bathroom centerpiece, however, teak delivers an unmatched combination of elegance and practical water-resistance.

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