There are numerous timber species suitable for wooden decks. Timber sourced closest to home often offers the best value for money and is more readily available.
The following hard wood species being the most popular for wooden decks in South Africa:
Botanical name: Eucalyptus saligna Saligna originates in Australia and has been well established in New Zealand and Africa for many years. In South Africa Eucalyptus has been declared an unwanted species because of its water consumption. There are, however, commercial plantations in the eastern part of South Africa, which should provide enough timber for quite a few years ahead. Of all hard woods used in South African decks,saligna is readily available.
Botanical name: Baikiaea plurijuga Also known as Zambezi redwood, umgusi and mukushi and grows in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Rhodesian teak has a fine, even texture, often with black flecks and much paler sapwood. Being heavy and hard, Rhodesian teak has a high resistance to abrasion and decay.
Grows in Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe. The grain of African Rosewood is generally straight, moderately fine and is pink to red-brown with purple streaks.
Botanical name: Shorea spp Is widely distributed throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. A logging ban is already in effect in the Philippines; Malaysia has partial bans on the export of timber and Indonesia imposes substantial taxes on the exporters of unprocessed timber. Balau is deemed to be a heavy hardwood, also good for bridge and wharf construction (jetties).
Ipe (pronounced ee-pay)
A durable South American hardwood, with clear all-heart, no knots and no sapwood, perfect for decking, is rated by the US Forest Products lab for 25 years plus. Ipe can be sealed to maintain its natural colour and beauty, or weathered to a silver grey colour. Compared to other woods such as redwood or cedar, Ipe lasts 3-5 times longer, has a stronger resistance to fire, insects, weather and movement. By comparison Ipe is clearly the best timber product for outdoor usage.
Red Iron Bark
Botanical name: Eucalyptus Sideroxylon, originates from Australia. It is one of the most dense timber types and has an outdoor lifespan of approximately 30 years. Red Iron Bark is one of the few timber types that does not float on water. It has a reddish brown finish, is very stable and perfect for African climate.
Botanical name: Manilkara Bidentata, originates from Northern South America, Brazil and the Caribbean. Natural latex is made from its sap, which makes it a very durable timber. It has a rich deep brown finish and is a very dense timber.
Botanical name: Apuleia Leiocarpa, originates from Brazil. It has a natural resistance to rot, decay and insect attack. Garapa has a golden to light yellow finish. Garapa is a stable hardwood and fits in comfortably with the natural environment.
Botanical name: Shorea,is mostly imported from the Philippines. It is a durable timber that has been used in South Africa for a number of years. Its colour varies from light brown to a reddish purple. Meranti is very popular due to its availability: long lengths, thick planks; perfect for structural use.
Botanical name: Eucolyptus Cladocalyx. Sugar Gum is a Gum tree originating from Australia. It has been planted and used through many parts of South Africa to aid with wind shelter and swamp areas. Sugar Gum is exceptionally dense and hard and is perfect for outdoor timber. It has been used as a replacement for Balau for those who appreciate the silver/aged/weathered look. Unfortunately, like most Eucolyptus trees, their water consumption rate is way too high and has been classified by the SA Department of forestry as an invader specie. For this reason a lot of them are cut and available on our market at fair prices.
Rhino Modified Wood
Rhino Modified wood is a South African Originated and produced Product . Rhino wood Takes Sustainably sourced SA Pine and puts it through a modification process involving thermal /Heat treatment and Hot Wax Compound impregnation. This process modifies the wood to an increased 100% density and compares well or better to most of the timber used for decking locally. Advantages include: Minimal maintenance requirements. Can leave untreated to obtain silver/aged look. Increased Load baring capabilities, Surface hardness, Durability against fungal decay. Decreased woodborer and termite damage. Increased dimensional stability. decreased moisture absorption rate.