Teak is a large tropical hardwood tree that's indigenous to Southeast Asia. Teak is often used to make boat decks, furniture (outdoor and indoor) and flooring. Harder teak floors are made using teak that's sourced from old trees that are grown slowly in the forest. Softer teak wood floors are often taken from younger trees that are grown on teak plantations. While just as beautiful as hard teak flooring, softer types are prone to water damage and splitting over time.
Teak usually has a coarse texture and can have either a straight or wavy grain. Teak floors come in a wide variety of colors that range from striped browns to light yellow tones. While teak is harder than red oak, it's actually quite malleable. Teak wood contains a natural termite repellant (similar to Suberin in cork flooring) that makes it ideal as a flooring material. If that wasn't enough, teak floors contain natural oils that make them very durable, eliminating the need for further oil or varnish treatment.
One downside to teak is that 2 out of the 3 species (Tectona hamiltoniana) used for teak floor manufacture is currently endangered. The growing teak demand and the depletion of the teak species has encouraged many manufacturers to start making teak flooring using reclaimed materials. If you want eco-friendly teak flooring, make sure that you purchase it from a retailer or manufacturer that gets their teak from an FSC-certified forest (FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council). You can learn more about the FSC and other green organizations on Green.FindAnyFloor.com.