Known as the King of Woods, teak has always been the first choice for luxury interiors in palaces and villas, cruise ships and yachts, and luxury cars worldwide. It is also recognized as one of the best flooring species – able to withstand the weathering power of seawater and exposure to sunlight without bending and cracking. Teak flooring has unique properties, including its tight grain, excellent dimensional stability, distinctive fragrance, decorative effect, and noble color. It gets richer, darker, and more beautiful with age, making it one of the most important materials for commercial flooring. However, despite teak wood’s many outstanding features, importers complain that the production cycle of teak engineered flooring is too long and will be even longer in the factories of Northern China. The issue is related to the special production process the wood endures.
There are two main types of teak in commercial use: one from Myanmar (formerly Burma) the other from Indonesia. Indonesian teak is plantation grown, has a short growth cycle, and the quality of the timber is inferior to that of the natural forest teak from Myanmar. Thus, most high-value teak products originate from the country formerly known as Burma. Unlike other common flooring species, teak requires at least 30 hours of strong sunlight before the wood attains its beautiful dusky coloring through the process of photo-oxidation.
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In brief, the photo-oxidation of lignin (the polymer on the cell walls of teakwood) and other chemical changes brought about by bright sunlight, and various aspects of the actual production process cause the wood to darken.
The illumination time and the intensity of sunlight throughout the day differ depending on the season and location. For example, in the northern part of Zhejiang Province, China, the summer sun shines for up to 14 hours, during eight of which the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Under these conditions, oxidation usually takes just two days to complete. However, optimum sunshine lasts no longer than 4 hours in winter, stretching oxidation time to somewhere between 6 and 8 days.
The oxidation cannot be divided into several sessions as installing teak flooring is likely to lead to surface scratches – the more oxidization sessions, the greater the risk of harming the wood. Once oxidation is complete, the floor can no longer be sanded because it would expose the paler wood. The process requires 4 to 10 consecutive days without rain (teak floor must be well covered if it rains) and at least 3 (preferably 6) sunny days.
- Factory location
The location of the factory is also crucial. Factories in Northern China can only produce teak flooring in summer, while factories in the south can operate all year round. Except for in the rainy season, of course.
When the wood is exposed to sunshine, the teak veneer absorbs and desorbs moisture, contributing to shrinkage and swelling. In the macro view, the risk of deformation, like twisting, buckling, cupping or crowning, is largely raised in flooring. After “sunbathing,” veneers must be reconditioned in the drying kiln so that they can recover to the former shape for further processing. Drying also takes several days, depending on the thickness of the veneer and the extent of any deformation.
The best time to produce teak flooring is from March to November when the oxidized teak color is at its peak!
Many of the factors mentioned above affect the production time of teak flooring, which makes it almost impossible to control. So, please don’t insist on speeding up production unless it’s absolutely necessary. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up with a pale, poor-quality floor, would you?
For urgent engineering orders, it’s best to place an order well in advance to set aside the time required for an outstanding oxidation.
Author—John Ge Mobile: +86 13817612767 Wechat: John_Ge_Golink Email: email@example.com