Wood for outdoor use different from Teak

characteristics of tropical wood

Timber effortlessly complements natural surroundings. Its flexibility allows landscape artists the freedom to incorporate enhancements such as handrails, balustrades, pergolas, screens and gazebos.

Any wood has different characteristics that make it suitable for certain use instead than others. This wood list would help you to choose the most suitable for your needs

Read about woods specs →

Balau

Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Balau wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is lighter in colour and well defined from the heartwood, which is yellow- brown, brown or reddish brown. The grain is interlocked and the texture is moderately fine but even. Durability (): Very High. Strength (): Very strong. Tangential movement (): Type III. Air-dry Density () : 850-1,155 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: This timber is suitable for heavy-duty applications and has good working properties. Pre-boring before nailing is recommended.

Chengal

Neobalanocarpus heimii (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Chengal wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is well defined from the heartwood, which is yellow-brown, brown or reddish brown. The grain is interlocked and the texture is moderately fine but even. Durability (): Very High. Strength (): Very Strong. Tangential movement (): n.d.. Air-dry Density () : 915-980 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Keranji

Dialium spp. (Leguminosae)

sample image of Keranji wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): High. Strength (): Very strong. Tangential movement (): Type I & II. Air-dry Density () : 755-1,250 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Merbau

Intsia spp. - I. palembanica (Leguminosae)

sample image of Merbau wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is pale yellow in colour. Heartwood is yellowish to orange-brown when fresh, darkening to brown or dark red-brown on exposure. The texture is coarse but even, with interlocked grain. Durability (): High. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type III. Air-dry Density () : 515-1,040 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: A popular timber for joinery in Europe, particularly Belgium and The Netherlands. The timber is attractive and particularly suitable for decorative flooring. Pre-boring before nailing is recommended.

Kapur

Dryobalanops spp. (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Kapur wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): High. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type V. Air-dry Density () : 575-815 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Kelat

Syzygium spp. (Myrtaceae)

sample image of Kelat wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is not well-defined from the heartwood which is light brown, pink-brown, red brown or purple brown with a grey tinge. The grain is interlocked, irregular or wavy. Texture is moderately fine and even. Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type III. Air-dry Density () : 495-1,010 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: Suitable for medium traffic flooring. Machines easily and takes a good finish. Pre-boring before nailing is recommended.

Keledang

Artocarpus spp. (Moraceae)

sample image of Keledang wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Very strong. Tangential movement (): n.d.. Air-dry Density () : 495-945 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Kempas

Kompassia malaccensis (Leguminosae)

sample image of Kempas wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is white or pale yellow in colour. Heartwood is pinkish when fresh and darkens to bright orange-red or deep brown. The grain is interlocked, often very interlocked. The texture is coarse but even, except in areas where included phloem occurs. Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type V. Air-dry Density () : 770-1,120 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: An excellent flooring timber for indoor use and equally good for external decking. Classified as durable in the UK. Avoid included phloem.

Keruing

Dipterocarpus spp. (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Keruing wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is purple-red or red-brown to grey-brown in colour. The heartwood is dark red-brown. Grain is straight to deeply interlocked. Texture is moderately coarse to coarse but even. Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type IV & V. Air-dry Density () : 690-945 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: A popular timber for container flooring and truck bodywork. Easy to work and has good nailing properties. Can be preservative treated to enhance durability.

Mengkulang

Heritiera spp. (Sterculiaceae)

sample image of Mengkulang wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is usually lighter in colour than and not always well-defined from the heartwood, which is red, red-brown to dark red-brown. The grain is straight to shallowly interlocked and texture is slightly to moderately coarse but even. Durability (): Need to be preservative treated. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type III. Air-dry Density () : 625-895 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: An attractive timber with good strength properties and popular for joinery work in Europe. Can be preservative treated to enhance its durability for decking. Satisfactory working properties and easy to nail.

Merawan

Hopea spp. (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Merawan wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type I & II. Air-dry Density () : 495-980 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Merpauh

Switonia spp. (Anacardiaceae)

sample image of Merpauh wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is light brown with a grey or pink-tinge and is not well-defined from the heartwood, which is light grey-brown with a pink-tinge. The grain is interlocked and texture is moderately coarse but even. Durability (): Need to be preservative treated. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type II. Air-dry Density () : 640-880 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: Some difficulty in sawing but otherwise has good working properties. Though not very durable in exposed conditions, the timber is very easy to treat with preservatives.

Simpoh

Dillenia spp. (Dilleniaceae)

sample image of Simpoh wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Need to be preservative treated. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type III & IV. Air-dry Density () : 675-815 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Tualang

Kompassia excelsa (Leguminosae)

sample image of Tualang wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Very strong. Tangential movement (): n.d.. Air-dry Density () : 800-865 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Bintangor

Calophyllum spp. (Guttiferae)

sample image of Bintangor wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood and the heartwood are clearly demarcated. The former is yellow-brown with a pink tinge and the latter is deep red, red-brown, pink- brown or orange-brown. The timber has interlocked grains, and often comes with a striped figure. The texture is moderately coarse to coarse and uneven. Durability (): Need to be preservative treated. Strength (): Moderately strong. Tangential movement (): Type II. Air-dry Density () : 465-865 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: An easy to work timber but pre-boring is recommended before nailing. Though not very durable the timber can be used with preservative treatment.

Durian

Coelostegia spp., Durio spp., Kostermensia sp., Neesia spp. (Bombacaceae)

sample image of Durian wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Need to be preservative treated. Strength (): Moderately strong. Tangential movement (): Type III & IV. Air-dry Density () : 420-800 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Meranti, rosso scuro

Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Meranti, rosso scuro wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is not clearly defined from the heartwood which is medium red to deep red to deep red-brown. The grain is interlocked. The texture is moderately Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Moderately strong. Tangential movement (): Type I & II. Air-dry Density () : 560-865 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: The most important timber exported to Europe where it is very popular for joinery. Has good working properties and is easy to nail. Suitable for low traffic flooring.

Meranti, bianco

Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Meranti, bianco wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): Type I & II. Air-dry Density () : 495-915 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Meranti, giallo

Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Meranti, giallo wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is well-defined. The heartwood is light yellow-brown to yellow- brown or brown. The grain is interlocked and sometimes wavy. The texture is moderately coarse but even. Durability (): Need to be preservative treated. Strength (): Moderately strong. Tangential movement (): Type II. Air-dry Density () : 575-735 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: Popular for plywood manufacturing, the timber can also be rendered for decking with preservative treatment. Suitable for low traffic flooring.

Meranti Bakau

Shorea uliginosa (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Meranti Bakau wood

Colour and grain : Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Strong. Tangential movement (): n.d.. Air-dry Density () : 595-755 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks:

Mersawa

Anisoptera spp. (Dipterocarpaceae)

sample image of Mersawa wood

Colour and grain : Sapwood is not sharply defined from the heartwood, which is light to dark yellow and darkens on exposure. Texture is moderately coarse but even, with shallow to deeply interlocked grain, occasionally with slight spiral grain. Durability (): Moderately high. Strength (): Moderately strong. Tangential movement (): Type III. Air-dry Density () : 515-735 (kg/m3 at 15% MC)

Remarks: Satisfactory working properties and easy to nail. Has sufficient durability but should not be used in contact with the ground. Suitable for low traffic flooring.