There are many benefits and properties of Balau timber that make it very popular in the timber deck construction business as well as other architectural and construction companies. Balau timber is famous for its hardwood qualities and for being able to leave the finished product untreated without it beginning to degrade for many, many years.
Balau is a tropical hardwood. Because of it's listing as an endangered species the harvesting of this wood is very closely monitored and regulated. As a young tree the wood has a grey, green or reddish bark but as the tree gets older the bark becomes darker, rougher and more deeply fissured. The heartwood (internal wood) has a yellow or brown colour which tends to darken when exposed to the sun. The sapwood (external wood) is paler in colour still with a yellow/red undertone. The resin is tapped and used in many different applications. The fresh wood has a high resin and moisture content and as such needs to be left to dry well before use.
Balau wood is known to be fairly difficult to work with because of how hard it is. It is nearly impossible to work on with hand tools because of it's density. It is advised to pre-drill holes for nails and screws for ease of installation. The timber is heavy, high density and very durable. This has made it the most popular in construction, flooring and furniture making. The wood is very sturdy and often used in projects like docks and bridges, which may require water resistant timber.
Red Balau (Kayu Batu) is the most popular with builders and architects especially here in South Africa. It is primarily imported from Malaysia and South-East Asia. The timber starts as a reddish-brown but has the unique aesthetic of turning a silverfish-grey when left to weather. This means it is actually one of the most low maintenance woods to use for decking as it is visually appealing in both states and requires very little maintenance. To keep the wood from turning grey it is best to apply an oil instead of a sealant. Balau is highly absorbent and as such a sealant would need to be reapplied often and tend to sometimes flake off and not adhere well to the surface whereas an oil would simply top up the natural oils in the wood. These natural oils are what makes the wood as durable as it is and prevent decay, insect attacks and mould from taking hold.
Balau is most closely compared to teak because it is four times harder than most common redwoods. Balau also comes at a fraction of the price of teak. The Red Balau especially is highly resistant to wood shrinkage and splintering due to the natural oils and resins. It deals well with harsh weather conditions such as the intense sun of South Africa and it has a high fire resistance as well. Overall Balau is a fantastic option for any outdoor projects from decking to screens,pergolas, cladding and more.
For a quote on Balau timber and deck boards please call Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444 or use the Contact Us form below.