Teak vs Polywood: Which One To Choose

Teak vs polywoodt

Buying patio furniture is more than just selecting a design or preferred color, and bringing them to your house. You have to consider other factors such as their brand value, build material, durability, price, and many more. There are tons of brands offering unique and gorgeous patio furniture. Depending on the build materials they can be categorized as natural and artificial. Teak and Polywood, are two types of wooden patio furniture that represent organic and artificial respectively.

Teak and Polywood furniture are unique in their own arenas. But one common thing is their motive for existence, which is to serve patio lovers with the best furniture available. But in the process, they have distinct differences between them other than just their type. In this article, we will go through every possible criterion they can be differentiated. Along with that, we will also notify you pros and cons of each type.  So read thoroughly to have an enriched knowledge of Teak vs. Polywood before you think of buying one of them as your patio furniture.

Key Takeaways

  • Teak is an organic wood, whereas Polywood is a synthetic plastic-like wooded furniture brand.
  • The British were the first commercial user of Teak wood, for making ships in the 17th century.
  • Polywood furniture company was formed in 1990 by Jj Alfred & Doug Rassi, in a garage.
  • Both Teak and HDPE-made furniture are durable for use in extensive weather.



Teak is considered a symbol of luxury and premiumness in the outdoor furniture industry. They are tropical hardwood tree species. Commonly found in countries of South East Asia, including Malaysia, India, Burma, and Thailand. The name ‘Teak’ actually refers to their hardwood species name, Tectona grandis. Their use of the ‘building’ sense originated from the native tribe population, who initiated its use to make shelter. It saw its first more commercialized use in the 17th century when the British started to use Teak for making ships. Fast forward a few years, they saw their current best use, as patio furniture making. A brand like Jati still makes such durable and priceless pieces of patio furniture made of Teak wood.



Polywood is one kind of plastic made of synthetic material. They are made from recyclable plastic waste. Polywood was incorporated into patio furniture making, visioning to provide the best environmentally suitable plastic-based outdoor furniture. These are High-Density Polyethylene or HDPE plastic patio furniture for the incoming generation to cherish. At the moment of introducing such products, it was either organic woods or irons that were used for furniture making. Polywood came with such an extraordinary solution of durable, easy-to-source, yet inexpensive material, it was immediately grabbed by the users.

Teak Vs Polywood: Differences

Now let’s look into the factors that set apart the names Teak and Polywood. Other than their visual appearance, these criteria-wise differences or sometimes similarities will give you a vivid insightful picture of them.

1. History

Teak: Teak saw its first civilized use by native Asians for making their house and similar installations. It was the British that introduced the commercial use of Teak in shipbuilding. Very soon people saw its potential as a good patio furniture-making material. Since then, their continuous use for patio furniture making saw a rapid increase and caused them to be mass popular in this sector.

Polywood: Polywood came to the industry in the 1990s in Syracuse, Indiana. In Jj Alfred & Doug Rassi used, that was born in a garage. Their first piece of HDPE-made patio furniture was the Adirondack chair. Along with their Indiana-based factory, they have set up a new production line in North Carolina since then.


2. Branding

Teak: In case you don’t know, Teak isn’t a brand itself. It is a tropical hardwood, suitable for making patio furniture. They are in use in this role for over two centuries. Many infamous brands source this wood and generate their design out of it. Anyone with proper resources and setup can make Teak woods for making patio furniture. The most notable ones are Jati, Cambridge, Crosley, etc.

Polywood: On the other hand, Polywood is a renowned outdoor furniture brand that has been marketing beautiful patio furniture since 1990. They have their own production and retail facility. They have thousands of employees working under the brand Polywood.  Unlike Teak, the name Polywood has its own insignia and is licensed the rights to produce its unique products by itself only.


3. Type of wood

Teak: One of the basic differences between Teak and Polywood is the type of material. Teak is a pure organic wood, processed from Tectona grandis species. Teak wood is a dense, close-grained type of hardwood. They are naturally golden in color and have a smooth grain and texture. A Teak tree can grow up to 50 meters in length and live 100 years or more if the environment permits. Along with the wood, the Teak tree produces similar named oil and rubber as byproducts.

Polywood: In contrast to Teak wood, Polywood is made by recycling human-made plastic waste. They use recycled HDPE plastic polymer as the raw material to make all of their furniture products. HDPE plastics are byproducts of petrochemicals. Processed plastic is put on their respective mold to have that distinct structure after pressing and cooling. There is likely no organic wood used for making Polywood patio furniture.

Type of wood
Type of wood

4. Use

Teak: Teak wood has seen its use for making every possible type of indoor and outdoor furniture. Since their inception in furniture making, they have been used for making tables, dining sets, benches, chaise loungers, Adirondacks armchairs, patio umbrella stands, deep seating furniture, etc. Along with that Teak wood is also used heavily for making all types of furniture for their durability and weather resistance capability.

Polywood: Polywood has also seen a similarly diverse range of uses for making various patio furniture. Their flagship product is the Adirondacks armchairs which have 16 different variations as of today. Along with that Polywood has products such as rocking chair set, coffee and accent table, dining furniture, deep seating sets, benches, swings, glides, chaise lounges, bar & counter types of furniture, and all of their accessories.


5. Durability

Teak: Teak grows in several Southeast Asian countries where the soil has a very high silica content and it takes a long time to mature – around 60 years. Their distinct grain holds their durability within the wood. That high silica content within the wood cells causes them to be well durable for use over 70 years.

Polywood: Known to be “split-proof” and is quite strong and durable like teak wood. High-density polyethylene is formed with natural materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt, and crude oil through polymerization. They can hold extreme bonding within themselves and can last for a decade or two in optimal care.


6. Maintenance

Teak: Like any other type of furniture, Teak wood requires a decent amount of maintenance. If kept outside all year, occasional cleaning with a stiff brush and soapy water may be necessary to maintain the Teak’s natural color.

Polywood: Polywood patio furniture is being made easy to maintain. A simple rinse with a wet cloth should clear away the dust, and stain residues. Use soapy water, a hard brush, and bleach to clean, if mildew is present.


7. Versatility

Teak: Though Teak wood comes in golden color naturally, it can be painted in different colors to match the certain tempo of different furniture. In relevance to your terrain and backyard texture, they come in a list of colors and are widely used for making all types of patio chairs, tables, and other furniture.

Polywood: Polywood is plastic and can be modified to different colors in the polymerization process. Since its inception, Polywood also showcased its efficiency in making all types of outdoor patio furniture.


8. Price range

Teak: Authentic and well-maintained Teak wood patio furniture’s very luxurious to have. Due to their hefty price, they are also considered a symbol of high-class standards. Depending on their build, finishing quality, and pieces in a set, they can charge from $200 to $1500 to buy.

Polywood: Polywoods are relatively cheap than most of outdoor furniture. Because they are synthetic plastic made furniture’s and their raw materials are unwantedly available. Polywood-made patio furniture can cost between 200-300 dollars.

Price range
Price range

9. Appearance

Teak: Teak as an organic wood has a more aesthetic appearance than plastic-made Polywood furniture. The natural golden color of the Teak wood can be further changed as per the design and user preference. Teak furniture has a natural glossy finish that gives a charming appearance even after long use.

Polywood: On the other hand, Polywood outdoor furniture has an artificial-looking appearance. Although the manufacturer has crafted the process of keeping the edges, finishing, and overall appearance as much as the original wood resembles. But with a variety of colors and designs, they possess a somewhat classy appearance.


10. Resistance ability

Teak: Naturally occurring oils in mature teak help make it weatherproof and strong, which is why it is the favored wood for use outdoors. The wood stems are tear preventive too. Meaning even after long use, the bonds will remain strong. As teak ages and weathers, it develops a lovely silvery surface hue that is much-loved for outdoor furniture.

Polywood: Polywood furniture is made in water, dust, and temperature proof way. But under excessive sunlight temperature, UV rays can loosen up the plastic cells bond in-between. Hence, it is recommended not to leave under very harsh weather for too long.

Resistance ability
Resistance ability

11. Environment friendliness

Teak: Teak wood furniture is a pure nature-based material. They come from Teak trees and don’t pose any harm to nature in tree form. Their processing method for furniture doesn’t also put any risk to the environment. After using them as furniture, they return as carbon to the soil.

Polywood: Polywood uses the most environmentally friendly method to source and dispose of its furniture. As their furniture is made using HDPE plastics, they source 99% of them from recycled plastic wastes like bottles.  Adirondack Chair uses approximately 500 bottles, ensuring they don’t end up in landfills and giving them a second use.

Environment friendliness
Environment friendliness

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Pros And Cons of Teak Furniture

Pros and cons of teak furniture
Pros and cons of teak furniture

Teak woods are organic in origin. They are well known for their durable and classic appearance. That’s why Teak furniture’s passed from one generation to another after use. Though they have a list of beneficial sides, they also come with some cons as well. Some of the major pros and cons of Teak furniture are listed below:

Teak furniture can last more than 50 years.Cost remains high as the Teak tree grows very slowly.
Natural resin repels bugs and insects.A lower harvesting rate doesn’t fulfill the demand.
Dense grain provides strength to prevent cracking and warping.Needs routine maintenance to keep better condition.
Natural oily finishing gives a glossy new look.Moving the heavy furniture becomes problematic.
Teak oil acts as the moisture absorber to prevent rot.

Pros And Cons of Polywood Furniture

Polywood outdoor furniture brands have used HDPE plastics to make their products since 1990. Their initiative has greatly helped to recycle plastic utensils that otherwise would have ended up in landfills. The resulting products are waterproof, durable, and functional patio furniture. Some of the pros and cons side of Polywood furniture are:

1. HDPE-made furniture is impermeable, meaning no water damage.1. Lacks UV reflecting capacity, may become heated if put under sun for long.
2. Different additives make the furniture resistant to color fading.2. With an average weight of 35 lbs. to 50 lbs. and difficult to move alone.
3. Heals the environment by recycling plastic waste.
4. Requires very little maintenance i.e. wiping with clothes.
5. Plastics are well-durable to last as long as 25 years.
6. Use of recycling materials makes them less expensive.


1. In what sense is Polywood a better option?

Polywood are not actually organic wood, they are made of one kind of plastic. They are considered a better option if the user is looking for a more wooden appearance but is willing to pay less than actual wood.

2. Similar furniture brands like Polywood?

Some other brands fall under the same category as Polywood. Because they offer a similar type of product in a similar price range. Some such brands are Outer, Tropitone Furniture Company, American Furniture Warehouse, etc.

3. Which country is the largest producer of teak?

Myanmar or formerly known as Burma is the largest producer of teak trees. Among the 29 million hectares of global Teak forestry, Myanmar has almost 50% of the within its territory itself.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, Teak and Polywood are two great additions to any backyard. They both are made with different material but serves the single purpose of serving the users with the durable and unique taste of patio furniture. Teak is one of the most durable and furniture-friendly woods out there, whereas Polywood uses recycled HDPE plastic sourced from plastic-based wastes. Both types of furniture have their own greater pros and minor cons sides. The subject of choosing one type of patio solely relies on the potential buyer’s perspective; their desire and purchase ability. So after comparing Teak and Polywood from all the possible angles mentioned above, let us know which one you are thriving to buy!

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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