The Eucalyptus is a genus of more than 700 different species of shrubs, mallees, and flowering trees that are native to Australia. Every state and territory has a representative species, and about 75% of Australian forests are comprised of this tree. Many of the species have adapted to fire as well, re-sprouting after the event or casting seeds that can start to grow since their survival rate is higher.
There are a few species that are native to countries outside of Australia, but they come in smaller numbers. Some of them have been removed because of their highly flammable nature. When you harvest the wood from this species, you’ll find that the strength and durability is perfect for furniture.
Since Eucalyptus is not as rare as teak and its fast growth levels make it a sustainable resource, there are several benefits to consider if you’re looking for outdoor furniture options. You will find that there are some disadvantages that are worth considering as well when you shop around for different tables and chairs.
List of the Pros of Eucalyptus Furniture
1. Eucalyptus wood is resistant to rot and decay.
One of the best reasons to choose Eucalyptus wood for your outdoor furniture or four-seasons porch is that it is exceptionally resistant to decay and rot. It naturally resists the influence of moisture because of the high oil content it naturally contains. That means it can get damp without you worrying about whether or not damage will occur. It can withstand several different outdoor elements while lasting for many years if it receives proper care.
2. You can get the same benefits with Eucalyptus that come with teak.
You can choose to place your Eucalyptus furniture inside if you wish, but where it really shines is when you use it for patio or outdoor use. The durability is exceptional, especially when you consider the resistance it has to most pests. Instead of paying a small fortune to purchase teak furniture that can accomplish a similar outcome, many families find that using this material can create a similar experience for an affordable price.
3. You can expect about 20-25 years of service from your Eucalyptus furniture.
The wood from the Eucalyptus comes with a high moisture and oil content. That means the durability of this material is excellent when you compare it to standard softwoods, some hardwoods, and plastics. You’ll need to properly maintain this investment to maximize its longevity, but it is not an impossible task to consider. One of the easiest ways that you can prolong the use of this material is to treat the furniture items with a high-quality, water-based acrylic sealant each year – even if you keep the items inside for most of the year.
4. It provides a beautiful reddish color that darkens with age.
In addition to the Eucalyptus wood being dense and providing varying grain patterns to enjoy, you’ll find that the rich color tones that come with the finished product make for an excellent addition to any home. Its natural hue is a reddish-brown tone that requires minimal maintenance to keep it looking nice. If you provide it with some occasional oiling or staining, then it will maintain its beautiful look as it ages. You won’t encounter the same issues with graying as you can with other natural products, even if you don’t get around to staining or oiling the product as much as you should.
5. You don’t need to worry about the grading options with Eucalyptus.
If you start shopping for teak furniture online, then you will discover that there are various grades of quality that can impact the user experience. That also means you could pay a small fortune to obtain Grade A product. You don’t have that worry with Eucalyptus. Every item comes from the same type of sustainable material without artificial scarcity put into the industry. Although you’ll need to perform more maintenance, especially if you place the furniture close to a pool, the overall cost profile always remains the same. That makes it a lot easier to know if you’re getting a fair price.
6. The furniture is soft to the touch, even with its grain variation.
You will find that the appearance of Eucalyptus furniture is very smooth. It offers a light grain pattern that you can see up close, but not necessarily from far away. This trait also means that you’ll find the wood is very soft to the touch. You’ll still receive the sturdy supports that you want from outdoor items, but it won’t feel like you’re sitting on sandpaper. When you add in the other benefits, including its tendency to repel moisture, then it becomes an investment that makes sense on a number of levels.
7. Eucalyptus wood is highly sustainable.
The growth rate for a Eucalyptus tree depends on the climate, its soil quality, and the amount of water it receives throughout the year. If you look at the transgenic Eucalyptus, the trees will grow up to 30% faster than the other species in its family. Some of them can grow up to 16 feet per year, topping 100 feet before their sixth birthday. The dormant shoots that are a trademark of the species are present in some varieties as well, remaining dormant unless there is a fire that brings them to life. This benefit means that entire plantations of this species could help us to meet our furniture needs quickly and affordably without touching old-growth forests or slowing-growing species.
8. The wood grain of Eucalyptus is remarkably consistent.
Eucalyptus furniture typically comes with a medium texture. It may contain small- or medium-sized open pores, depending on the age of the tree that was harvested to create the item. Almost all species provide a grain that tends to be straight and even. Unless you purchase items made from trees that were harvested in the wild, there are very few abnormal patterns or knots that interfere with the quality of the product.
List of the Cons of Eucalyptus Furniture
1. Eucalyptus furniture does not handle the extreme cold well.
When you use Eucalyptus furniture in a northerly climate, then you’ll want to bring the items inside for the winter months. Although the snow won’t bother the wood much because of its high oil content, the harsh cold can cause the natural material to crack if it is not correctly sealed. Even if you provide your own sealant for it, there is no guarantee of the quality of the product applied, including when you follow all of the instructions to the letter. Once the furniture cracks, it can be very challenging to repair it to restore its look.
2. Teak furniture has more durability than Eucalyptus options.
Even though Eucalyptus furniture has a robust durability rating, it is nowhere near what teak provides. You’ll need to replace your items more often, which means the money you save from the initial investment will usually balance itself out over time. If you can afford the price of teak right now, then that may be a better option for your outdoor needs. When money is tight, then Eucalyptus is a valuable secondary option to consider. In terms of pure durability, Eucalyptus will never be your first choice, even with all of the advantages it brings.
3. The Eucalyptus wood goes through extensive contraction and expansion cycles.
When you purchase Eucalyptus furniture for your outdoor patio or deck, then you will notice that the cellular foundation of the product tends to expand and contract more than most other natural materials. It is especially sensitive to shrinking, which can lead to damage over time. If you live somewhere that experiences fast and dramatic changes to temperature or moisture, then you’ll need to keep the items inside until you’re ready to use them. Because of this disadvantage, a different material may provide superior results for some homeowners.
4. Eucalyptus outdoor furniture is still susceptible to some pests.
There are still some pests that can cause problems for your Eucalyptus furniture if they happen to be in your area. The Eucalyptus longhorned borer is the most commonly observed pest as it likes to lay its eggs just underneath the surface of the wood. The larval form of the insect can create tunneling damage in your furniture. There are some psyllid species that may attack your furniture as well, sometimes leaving a sticky, sugary substance behind that can cause mold or fungi to start growing. Certain beetles may attack your furniture too.
The best solution is to ensure your furniture is correctly sealed and maintained each year so that there is an effective barrier between the pests and the wood.
5. Your Eucalyptus furniture will change colors if you give it no care.
Although Eucalyptus furniture is weather-resistant and holds its reddish-brown color well, you do need to make at least some effort to care for the surface. If you don’t do anything, then the natural aging process will cause the natural material to turn a silver patina. The internal oil acts as a natural insecticide, but it does not provide tone resistance to the sun’s UV rays, precipitation, and other influential factors. That sealant is necessary because of its expansion and contraction behaviors too, which is why many silvered Eucalyptus items tend to carry cracks with them too.
6. Some people may be allergic to Eucalyptus furniture.
People have been using the dried leaves and oils from the Eucalyptus tree as medicine for centuries. It may provide improvements in conditions like bronchitis, asthma, and even toenail fungus. The leaves even contain chemicals that can help to control blood sugar levels. Some people are allergic to the oil found in the wood, which means unsealed outdoor furniture could create a reaction. If you are allergic to tea tree oil, then you may want to avoid using Eucalyptus furniture out of an abundance of precaution.
The pros and cons of Eucalyptus furniture provide you with a versatile material that can be turned into benches, tables, and chairs that create more usable outdoor space for your needs. Prices for a single bench start below $200 if you don’t mind a backless design, while a 9-piece dining room set for your porch, deck, or patio might be above $2,000. If you’re ready to transform your outdoor space, then now is the perfect time to consider this sustainable material from Australia.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.