Design for structures in high-humidity or damp areas can be fraught with challenges—even more so when utilising timber, which naturally expands and contracts subject to environmental considerations.
While certain species of timber are sourced from naturally damp habitats (think countries with tropical climates like Malaysia and Papua New Guinea), others are more suitable to dry environments.
Because timber battens and cladding are hygroscopic (tending to absorb moisture from the air), its moisture content will fluctuate based on the relative humidity of the surrounding air. Moisture content will increase as relative humidity does, and timber will inevitably expand.
Pacific Teak, a hardwood that is native to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, has a pale yellowish to creamy olive appearance, and is beloved for reasons beyond its aesthetic elegance.
Renowned for its weatherproof qualities, it is known to be uncommonly durable because of its high tensile strength and tight grain, making it among the favorite wood of shipbuilders around the world. (Pacific Teak remains durable even when not treated with coating or varnish.) Pacific Teak is inherently resistant to insects, acids, fungi, and bacterial diseases because of its significant natural oil content.
The same relatively high-oil content allows Pacific Teak to self-protect itself from the excessively wet and dry conditions present in many high-humidity areas in Australia. In fact, this natural oil ratio has even been known to defend Pacific Teak trees from forest-fire damage. Its very low tangential shrinkage average (approximately 2%) also fortifies it against fluctuations in relative humidity by limiting timber movement.
For the above reasons, Pacific Teak has long been the top-of-mind choice of timber insiders in Australia, for both interior or exterior applications, especially when confronted with the harsh climate realities of damp locations and the resulting need to safeguard timber constructions from excessive swings in structural movement.