Moisture levels in Teak dictate the longevity of the final product. Moisture content levels are gauged using a Moisture Meter. Properly treated Teak is essential to the longevity of your Wooden Garden Furniture and an expensive process if done correctly. Buying A Grade Teak and then not drying it properly will cost you in the long run.
Naturally dried Teak is as the terms suggests; dried in the sun. There is no uniformity to the drying process and no defined period of time allocated to drying. This leads to parts of the timber retaining more moisture than others and leaving the timber often damp and unstable. The moisture content or MC level, will vary importantly. Constructing a Teak Bench with varying amounts of moisture in the timber will over time warp, crack and split as the moisture naturally evaporates from the wood. As this process is free and seen to be quick, many manufacturers still operate this way. As a consumer, it may take many months before you see the timber move.
Drying Teak using a Kiln Oven enables the manufacturer to oversee an exact amount of time to slowly reduce the timbers natural moisture content. If done too quickly or too much you can damage the timbers strength. High running and maintenance costs increase the cost of production significantly but ensure a stable and strong timber to construct furniture.
As a general guide, Teak Garden Furniture and Memorial Benches sold on the UK market should be slowly kiln dried and have a final moisture content of 14-18%. This takes into account the changing seasons and natural moisture in the atmosphere. Too dry, then the timber will absorb moisture and warp, too moist and the timber will dry out split and crack.
Indoor Teak furniture, as a general guide should have a final moisture content of between 10-12% and Teak wood flooring 8-10%.