When we think of common wood flooring types, we usually think of things such as oak, cherry, and mahogany. Yet teak has always stood above these as a more premium and luxurious wood type almost synonymous with class and prestige.
Because of this, it’s become the choice wood for anyone looking to have a floor that’s a step from your typical regular wood floors.
But this premium quality also comes with a premium price tag, as teak is one of the most expensive wood flooring options.
So today, we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of teak shower flooring so you can decide whether this rather expensive wood type is worth the hefty price tag.
What is a teak shower floor?
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Teak is a tropical hardwood species of tree. It’s become an extremely popular wood choice for flooring because it’s one of the most durable wood types and is highly resilient to scratches, gouges, and dings.
Now it’s not uncommon to see teak used for an entire floor in other parts of a home, but when referring to a teak shower floor, we mean a mat with individual teak slats attached to it, which is then rolled out over the shower floor.
It doesn’t cover the entire shower floor and is not there to be waterproof – that responsibility still falls to your regular shower floor.
These teak floorings can come in several forms, including the aforementioned mat, but you can also get individual planks, tiles, or a pre-built tray, depending on how you intend to cover your shower floor.
Depending on your decor preference, this teak floor can extend the length of the shower for extensive coverage, or you can use a teak shower floor mat to cover a particular area.
Why would you want to do this?
The two big reasons why people love teak flooring in their shower is firstly for the look. As mentioned, teak is strongly associated with luxury and premium quality, so many people understandably would like to experience that luxurious feel each time they shower.
Secondly is that it’s nice to step on, feels comfortable on the feet, and doesn’t get cold like a tile does in the winter months. Plus, as a side bonus, it’s also relatively grippy compared to regular ceramic tile, making it safer.
But there are also some downsides to using a teak shower floor that you should be aware of before rushing out and installing.
Teak shower floor pros
There is a good reason why this flooring type is so popular. It can provide several practical benefits to your shower room beyond the simple idea of just making it look good.
1. Visual style and aesthetic
Of course, the visual look of teak is probably the single most significant driving factor on why people like kitting their shower out with it so much.
It’s rich in color and can turn even the most plain of bathrooms into premium-looking havens that look like they are taken straight from a billionaire’s mansion.
That rustic and natural look of wood can be just the thing to offset the often clinical looking white we so commonly use in our bathrooms. Its beautiful look allows you to massively upgrade the visual style of the room without having to completely re-decorate it.
2. Water resistant
There’s a good reason why luthiers don’t commonly use teak for things like musical instruments, and that’s because it’s packed with natural oils and resin, which can make it challenging to work with when it comes to complicated wood pieces.
But this high oil content works to your advantage when it comes to a shower floor as it gives it natural water-repelling qualities that make it perfect for lasting a long time in a wet environment such as a bathroom.
Other wood types, such as ash that will absorb water much faster, end up running into all kinds of issues that mean they won’t last nearly as long as teak can.
3. Durable and scratch resistant
Teak is the hardwood of hardwoods. It’s the strongest, most durable, and most scratch-resistant wood out there, which makes it the perfect long-lasting wood choice for a floor.
That durability can make it challenging to work with, contributing to its high cost.
This also makes it easy to maintain. You won’t need to be constantly sanding out scratches as they won’t get dinged up easily. This allows it to retain its premium/new look for a long time.
4. Comfortable stepping on
People often look for alternative flooring types for their showers because they want something more comfortable to walk on in the morning than regular old tiles.
While something like a pebble tile shower floor can be a good choice, it doesn’t quite compare to that natural and comforting feeling a wood floor can provide.
Teak is a wonderfully smooth and comfortable texture to step on and feels much nicer than tiles.
5. Warm to the touch
Nothing is worse than stepping out of the shower and onto an ice-cold shower floor during winter.
Fortunately, a teak shower mat will retain the heat far better than regular shower room tiles, which makes it wonderfully comfy to walk on.
6. Safety benefits
Although shower tiles have somewhat of a textured surface to prevent slipping, it’s often not very effective.
Teak wood shower floors have small gaps between the slats, which act as a type of natural grip which can dramatically reduce your chance of slipping when your feet are wet.
This makes a teak wood floor beneficial if you have older adults or children, as you can reduce their chance of a bathroom-related injury.
7. Resists mold, rot, and mildew
Usually, when woods are exposed to the wet for a prolonged period without their natural bark to protect them, they may start to rot and develop a layer of mold or mildew.
Fortunately, teak has a natural counter to this within its natural oils and resins. These act as effective deterrents to these things, meaning you can use teak in wet environments where many other wood types would fail.
Many like to protect their teak floor with an additional polish finisher to enhance its mold-resisting qualities. We highly recommend doing the same!
8. Wards bugs and pests
There are two aspects of teak that make them exceptional at resisting many bugs and pests that like to consume wood.
Firstly, the aforementioned oils and resins within the wood help to repel insects and bugs. This can save you money as you won’t need additional chemical repellents to protect it.
Additionally, the fact that it’s so tough and durable makes it inhospitable for many bugs and insects as they cannot physically burrow through such a tough and dense wood.
9. The premium feel
There’s no denying that there is an intrinsic association between teak and premium/expensive decor. This can give your shower that feel-good vibe each time you enter it, which is a huge factor in why so many people love teak shower floors.
10. Easy to install
Because a teak floor is not a fully-fitted floor replacement but comes in the form of slats or a mat that gets rolled out, it’s both easy to install and remove should you change your mind later on.
This ease of installation, combined with its reversibility, is, for many, a big push for them to try this flooring out and see if it works for them. And if you decide you don’t like it then no problem! It’s easy to return to your regular tiled shower floor.
11. Low maintenance
Teak requires virtually no maintenance. Because of its durability, mold resistance, and bug-repelling qualities, it’s a ‘set and forget’ kind of floor.
This makes it perfect if you’re looking for a hands-off approach that requires minimal cleaning and maintenance but is going to stay looking amazing for a long time.
Teak shower floor cons
Although we’ve made a compelling case for picking a teak shower floor for your bathroom, it has some cons and challenges that you will need to contend with to maintain both the look and extend the life of the wood.
1. Requires upkeep/polishing
Despite the fact we presented teak as a low-maintenance wood type, it does require one thing, which an occasional polishing.
Now teak is a tremendously tough and resilient wood, so this process only needs to be completed every two years, so it’s not that much word at all.
But it is something you will need to be mindful of as if you forget to do this, the finish of the wood may become compromised.
Polishing teak involves sanding the very top layer of the wood off (we’re talking less than 1mm of material), which also helps remove any imperfections or worked-in dirt that may be present in the wood—then repolishing that top layer to provide a new finish that will last for the next two years.
2. Doesn’t cover the whole floor
Unlike teak floorings used in dining and living rooms which cover every inch of the floor, in the context of shower floors, teak flooring usually comes in the form of slats.
Water, soap, and other cleaning materials can get between those slats and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
This is easily circumvented by lifting the flooring mat and giving a clean in between the slats to remove anything that’s stuck there. But you shouldn’t need to do this too often.
3. Not completely waterproof
We previously established that teak is a great water-resistant wood thanks to its densely packed wood fibers and abundant oils and resin, which create a solid surface to repel water.
However, this is not the same as being completely waterproof. If you neglect the polishing process for an extended period, water will eventually work its way into the wood, making it bulge and potentially start to rot.
This can be circumvented by keeping up with bi-annual sanding and repolishing.
4. Easy to stain, requires special cleaning
When it comes time to clean teak, you cannot just use any old household cleaner; depending on the brand and the bleach content, you can potentially stain the surface and ruin that luscious look, which is the whole reason to use teak in the first place.
So you should use the right combination of products to ensure your teak floor is kept in good condition and looking its best.
5. Potential to damage the flooring underneath
As we mentioned, teak is a tough and durable wood. This shouldn’t be an issue for general use and when placed over super tough ceramic tiles.
But when it’s placed over a much softer material, such as acrylic tiles, it’s possible for those tough wood flooring slats to scratch or damage the flooring underneath.
This adds extra cost to you as it will need to be repaired.
As teak is considered a premium wood and because of its difficulty to work with and hardiness, it comes at a high cost compared to other wood types.
Kitting out an entire floor with this can be too expensive for some, so they will instead opt to finish just a small area of the floor (the part they will step on) with teak flooring slats and then leave the rest of the room with a natural tile finish.
Ultimately it’s down to your personal preference, but if budget is an issue, you may have to compromise on the total coverage area to save a bit of money.