Teak Shower Floor: Pros And Cons

Teak is a tropical hardwood that doesn’t grow in many climates and thus is in high demand. It’s one of the most durable woods available and comes with a lot of benefits as it is resistant to water, pests, and rotting.

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But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of teak. The wood is used for furniture of all kinds, as well as floors. One of those floors being a teak shower floor, a gorgeous option for shower floors. 

What Is A Teak Shower Floor?

Image from Innovative Construction Inc.

A teak shower floor isn’t generally a shower floor made of teak, but rather an insert that is made of teak. The insert is usually made into slats and can roll out like a bamboo mat or be placed separately.

Alternatively, a teak shower floor can be customized into a tray or laid down in one solid piece of slats. It all depends on the shape and size of your shower and how permanent you want the teak shower floor to be.

History Of The Teak Shower Floor

Long ago, Southeast Asians used the indigenous teak to build their homes, furniture, and utilities. They even learned that turning the bark into tea could cure headaches, fever, and stomachaches.

Once sailors began exploring Southeast Asia, it was traded and taken to Europe where they learned it was much stronger than any wood they’d seen before. By the Middle Ages, it was then used in ships due to its durability, and…

You guessed it, its water resistance. By the seventeenth century, the first teak plantation opened in Sri Lanka when teak was officially commercialized. That’s when the British Navy mandated that all their ships be made with teak. 

When metal ships started taking place of the wooden ships, the teak ships were taken apart and the teak was used for outdoor furniture and indoor plumbing areas. Including teak shower floors! That’s where we land today. 

Pros And Cons Of A Teak Shower Floor

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Picture from Cushing Terrell

Of course, teak is a valuable resource with a natural list of pros and cons. But when applied to shower floors, the list of pros and cons is even more diverse. Check out these reasons to get and not to get teak shower floors. 


  • Beautiful – this one is obvious. Teak is a naturally gorgeous wood, especially if taken care of. Keep it polished and oiled and you can have the most beautiful shower floor that you’ve ever seen.
  • Durable – it’s no secret that teak is one of the strongest woods available. It isn’t easy to scratch or chip like other woods. It is just a really great wood that can last a really long time.
  • Water-Resistant – teak shower floors are very water-resistant for wood. Most woods will mold in weeks but teak rarely molds or swells when exposed to moisture. But you should still keep it well-protected.
  • Pest-Resistant – teak is fairly pest-resistant as it is water-resistant. It doesn’t gather moisture like other woods, so cockroaches, termites, and other bugs aren’t attracted to it. Not to mention, it’s hard for them to penetrate.
  • Rustic And Historical – finally, teak is a great wood that has its own history. Learning about teak can make you want it even more because it’s more than beautiful. It’s a piece of Asian history with a rustic feel.


  • Not Impermeable – although it is water-resistant, teak is not completely waterproof. Water can pass through it, it just won’t stay nor swell. And less water does pass through. But it isn’t immune.
  • Difficult Maintenance – it takes a lot of time and care to keep teak it in tiptop shape. You need to polish and oil it regularly. If you don’t have time to do this, your teak will still last but it won’t look as nice.
  • Can’t Use Bathroom Cleaners – because it needs well-kept, it’s best not to use bathroom cleaners on teak. It is much better and safer to get a special cleaner made for teak instead. Otherwise, you risk losing money.
  • Gaps In Shower Floors Not Ideal – if you’re not one to take the insert in and out every day, then teak may not be ideal. This is because bacteria can grow below the insert and be harmful to anyone using the bathroom.
  • Expensive – finally, teak is one of the most expensive woods on the market. You won’t find it cheap and it comes in such small boards too, which can trick you into thinking you’re getting a good deal. 

Polishing Teak

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Image from Dovetail General Contractors

Teak wood needs special care, so it’s important to polish it regularly. You will need special polish designed for teak wood. It is quite simple but needs to be done with care as to not damage the teak wood. 

Step 1: Cleaning

Before polishing the wood, you will want to clean it with a gallon of water and just a little dish soap. Lightly scrub the surface and then rinse it off by running the shower. Then, allow the wood to air dry before moving on.

Step 2: Applying Oil

Begin by following the instructions on teak oil polisher. This usually includes lightly rubbing the wood with the teak oil just like you are polishing a fine shoe made of leather. You will also usually have to let it set for a couple of hours.

Step 3: Polishing

Finally, move in tiny circles to polish the dried oil. Polish until you notice a shine. This shine will not only look good for months but it will also protect the wood as well. Teak naturally has oil in it so it thrives on teak oil. 

How To Install A Teak Shower Floor

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Image from Bristol Design and Construction LLC

If you want to create your own teak shower floor, then you can do that! You can order teak at most hardware stores if they don’t have any in-stock, though many have pre-made slats which is what you want. 

Step 1: Measuring

This important step needs to be done twice. Measure the shower floor and write it down somewhere. Then measure it again and see if it matches. Keep this note with you as you cut the boards, creating a diagram if you need to. 

Creating a diagram is always a good idea when it comes to construction. Getting everything in your head straight and organized can mean a lot fewer mistakes in the end. So take the time and do it.

Step 2: Planning

The slats will need to be about 1/2 inch apart. They will also need about 1/2 inch or so on each side. So the entire insert will need to be one inch shorter than the shower floor. As far as spacing goes, try this.

Lay out your boards on a measuring tape or cardboard on the shower floor. Mark them, leaving a half-inch between each of them. That way, you don’t have to wonder if your math is correct. You can see what you need to do.

Step 3: Cutting

Finally, it’s time to start cutting. Cut the 1-2 inch slats the length of your shower. Then, lay them out to make sure they all fit nicely. Then, create two or three bracing boards for the back. Lay the slats on them and mark.

Step 4: Screwing Them In

Screw the slats into the bracing boards to secure them. Now, you have an insert. Use the insert by placing it in the shower when you want to use it. But it’s a good idea to not leave it in the shower all of the time.

At least take it out to clean it once a week. Check for any mold and to see if it needs polished. This is a great time to do so. Weekly maintenance can help your teak shower floor last a lifetime if done right.

Other Wood Shower Floor Options

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Source from modern house architects

Though teak is usually preferable, there are a couple of other wood shower floor options that can work almost as well. These woods are also water-resistant and durable, so they are awesome substitutes 


Like teak, cedar is a durable, water-resistant wood, that is often used in bathrooms. It grows in cold climates well where there is a lot of snow and moisture, so it is very accustomed to harsh conditions. 

The resins inside cedar that are naturally produced give it a more durable and rot-resistant quality than other woods.

White Oak

White oak is an amazing hardwood that is almost impervious to water. This is because it is a hardwood with pores very close together. It is more solid rather than spongy like a softwood with larger pores. 


Not only is hinoki a water-resistant Japanese wood, but it is believed to have healing or purifying qualities. This makes it extra special for showers and bathrooms. It is traditionally used in saunas and other similar projects. 

Choosing Your Shower Floor

If you like teak shower floors but want to play it safer, you can always create shower surrounds, bathroom floors, or even small furniture to go in your bathroom. Make them out of teak itself and you can have all the good without any of the bad!