Teak or Bamboo Shower Bench: Which is More Eco-Friendly?

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What’s the better choice for your eco-friendly bathroom, a teak or bamboo shower bench?

That was the dilemma I was faced with recently while helping my parents renovate their en-suite bathroom.

We’d narrowed the choice down to teak or bamboo but struggled to make the final call.

Only one thing for it. A deep dive research mission to unearth the pros and cons of both materials and discover which one makes the best shower bench!

We flip-flopped back and forth for quite a while before finally making a final decision.

In this article, I’ll let you in on all the research and reasoning so you don’t have to go through the same cycle of indecision my parents and I suffered.

Shower Bench 101

A shower bench (also called a shower seat) is essentially a seat that goes in your shower or steam room.

It provides support for those who have difficulty standing for extended periods and is an added luxury feature for anyone wanting to sit and relax during their shower.

It can also be useful for hanging towels or storing toiletries.

Shower benches come in various materials, the most common being teak and bamboo.

Before I get to the pros and cons of each, let’s take a quick look at the differences between teak and bamboo.

Teak Vs. Bamboo: Everything You Need To Know

Teak

Commercially harvested teak (Tectona Grandis) is a tropical hardwood belonging to the Lamiaceae family and native to Southeast Asia.

It’s a popular choice for environmentally friendly furniture because it’s durable and weather resistant. It also makes excellent sustainable flooring.

Teak wood is dense and usually straight-grained. It has a golden brown color that becomes darker with age. Teak is one of the most expensive woods available.

When properly cared for, teak wood furniture can last for decades. It has natural oils that make it resistant to rot and decay.

Conservationists have raised concerns about the environmental impact of harvesting teak, as it primarily comes from old-growth forests. Therefore, purchasing teak furniture that is sustainably sourced and certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is important.

Overall, teak is a beautiful and durable wood that is well-suited as a shower bench.

Bamboo

Bamboo, on the other hand, is actually a grass. It’s naturally antibacterial, fast-growing, and renewable.

There are more than 1,000 species of bamboo. Most of which are found in Southeast Asia.

Bamboo fibers can be compressed under extreme pressure to turn them into a hardwood-like material (often called ’strand-woven bamboo’ or ’hard bamboo wood’) which is even stronger than regular bamboo.

Teak Vs. Bamboo: Shower Bench Pros And Cons

So now we know the basics about teak and bamboo, let’s look at the pros and cons of each material as a shower bench.

Teak Shower Bench Pros

  • Durability: Teak is a robust and dense wood that can withstand heavy weight without cracking or breaking. It has high oil content, which helps to protect it from water damage and rot.
  • Aesthetics: Teak has a beautiful rich color, and the wood develops a lovely silver patina over time (though you can also treat it to retain its original color). It looks luxurious and elegant in any bathroom setting.
  • Versatility: Teak can be used for various shower bench styles, from traditional to modern. It’s also easy to customize with different finishes and accents.

Teak Shower Bench Cons

  • Cost: Teak wood is expensive compared to other materials, as it’s a premium hardwood.
  • Environmental impact: Though teak wood is sustainable, illegal logging and deforestation are still concerns in Southeast Asia, where it’s mainly sourced.
  • Stains: Teak can become stained by watermarks if water is allowed to sit for a long time. However, this is easy enough to avoid with proper care (see the cleaning section later in this article).

Bamboo Shower Bench Pros

  • Sustainability: Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable resource. It can also be sourced from controlled plantations, which minimizes the environmental impact.
  • Cost: Bamboo is typically cheaper than teak, making it a more budget-friendly option.
  • Aesthetics: Bamboo has a unique appearance and can add a natural, tropical feel to your bathroom. It also comes in various colors and styles to suit any design aesthetic.

Bamboo Shower Bench Cons

  • Durability: Bamboo is not as strong as teak, so it may not be able to withstand heavy weight without cracking or breaking. However, strand-woven bamboo can be just as durable as teak.
  • Maintenance: Bamboo shower seats need to be treated with sealant regularly to prevent water damage and mold growth.

Shower Bench Cleaning And Maintenance

No matter which material you choose for your shower bench, proper cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep it looking its best. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals, as they can damage both teak and bamboo.
  • Use a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt and debris for teak wood shower benches, followed by a gentle eco-friendly cleaning product or mild soap and water.
  • Bamboo shower benches should be cleaned with a mild eco-friendly dish soap and water solution and dried immediately to avoid water damage. It’s also important to regularly treat bamboo with sealant to protect it from moisture.
  • In both cases, try to avoid allowing water or soap to sit on the bench for a long time. Wipe down the bench after each use to prevent staining or damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will My Shower Bench Last?

The lifespan of your shower bench will depend on the material and how well it’s cared for.

Teak is known for its longevity and durability, while bamboo benches may need to be replaced sooner if not correctly maintained. You can expect to get at least ten years out of your shower bench and likely much more with proper care.

Does Bamboo Get Moldy In The Shower?

Bamboo is more prone to mold and mildew than teak, so cleaning it regularly and treating it with sealant is essential.

However, if properly maintained and kept dry, bamboo should not have any issues with mold in the shower.

Can I Leave My Shower Bench Outdoors?

A teak shower bench is a good choice for outdoor use, as it’s naturally resistant to moisture and rot.

Bamboo may be used outdoors with proper treatment and care, but it’s not recommended for long-term outdoor placement as it can become damaged by the elements.

Can I Use A Shower Bench If I Have Limited Mobility?

Shower benches can be an excellent choice for those with limited mobility, as they provide a stable sitting surface in the shower or bath.

However, it’s crucial to choose a sturdy bench to support your weight and consider adding grab bars for added stability. It’s also recommended to check with a healthcare professional before using a shower bench.

Can I Get A Teak Shower Bench With A Back?

Shower benches are available with back support for added comfort and stability. However, be sure to choose one sturdy enough to support your weight and has proper grip on the feet to prevent slipping.

What Should I Do If My Bamboo Bench Starts To Smell Bad?

If your bench develops a bad odor, it’s important to clean and dry it thoroughly. You can also try using a vinegar solution or baking soda paste to eliminate odors.

If the smell persists, consider replacing the bench, as it may have mold or mildew growth.

What Size Teak Bench Should I Go For?

That depends on the size of your bathroom and shower cubicle. Go for something big enough to be useful but small enough that you can still close the shower door.

If you’re short on space, teak shower seats are a compact alternative to benches.

Are Teak And Bamboo Bench Prices High?

The prices for teak and bamboo benches can vary, but both are typically more expensive than other materials such as plastic or metal.

However, their durability and longevity can often make them a worthwhile investment. Shop around to find the best deal while considering quality and construction.

The Final Word

So, which one is better for a shower bench? Teak or bamboo?

It comes down to personal preference and budget. Teak wood is more durable and has a luxurious appearance, but it’s also more expensive. Bamboo is a more sustainable and budget-friendly option but may require more maintenance.

Either way, both materials make for a stylish and functional addition to any shower room.

My parents had a decent budget, so teak shower benches won in the end, and we went for the solid teak wood EcoDecors Tranquility Shower Bench.

The solid teak wood used is not FSC-certified. However, EcoDecor is an ethical company that works closely with the local supply chain in Indonesia to ensure that all their teak shower benches are made from sustainable materials using ethical working practices.

Get In Touch

Do you use teak benches in the shower? Or do you prefer a bamboo shower seat? Do you like long, imposing wooden benches or small corner benches? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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