Can Termites Damage Merbau Timber Decking?

22 February 2021
Can Termites Damage Merbau Timber Decking?

A termite infestation can cause devastating damage to a house’s foundation.

Decks, which are often exposed to harsh weather elements, are prone to moisture and rot. This makes it more susceptible to termites.

If you’re looking for a floor option that wouldn’t cost you thousands of dollars in repair, Merbau timber may be the best choice. This beautiful wood is known for being resistant to several factors, including bush fire and termites.

Can Termites Damage Merbau Timber Decking?

Termites are known for causing devastating and costly damage to homes and furniture. Understanding what attracts termites to your home is very important in avoiding an infestation that would be difficult to stop.

If you have hardwood decking or floors, you may be concerned about the possibility of having major termite issues. However, not all hardwood materials are susceptible to termite infestation. Merbau timber, for example, is resistant to these pests.

It is always recommended to consider all preventive measures available prior to the building of the deck. This includes spoil spraying before deck construction begins. Experts also suggest checking and following local building codes for termite inspection point.

What is Merbau timber?

Merbau timber is a beautiful hardwood species that comes from the Kwila tree. The species is found in a few locations across the globe—mostly in places with tropical climates—including Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

Merbau timber is known for its unparalleled beauty, functionality, and resilience. It’s famous for its orange golden-brown colour, which depends on the manufacturer’s chosen drying process. The coating influences the final colour.

Merbau wood is mainly used for flooring and decking. The material is also used to make musical instruments and outdoor furniture. However, it’s been called a controversial choice as a building material.

Experts warn that Merbau timber may become extinct within the next 35 years, mostly because it is not sustainable. The tree takes around 40 to 80 years to be ready for harvest. Individual Merbau trees are sparse, even in Merbau-rich areas.

This makes Deck-Max the only company in Australia that buys legal logs and creates certified legal wood for the end product.

What is Merbau timber resistant to?

Merbau is a timber often found in mangrove forests. The material is naturally oily and has a high tannin content, making it resistant to weathering and termites. These pests eat the cellulose from the wood cells, but they are less attracted to trees with harder cells.

Like the Bojonegro Teak and Iron Wood, Merbau timber has a core so dense that termites have difficulties eating it. However, termites would still attack the outer rings or the sapwood as they are softer than the core.

People living in fire-prone areas also choose Merbau decking as it’s resistant to bushfire, which means the flames won’t catch easily. The Merbau hardwood is rated BAL 29.

What are the signs of termites?

The signs of termite damage are not always obvious. Termites are commonly referred to as the silent destroyer. They feed on dead wood from the inside out, weakening the material's inner structure and causing it to exhibit abnormal sounds.

The signs of damage largely vary according to the type of termites. Subterranean termites, which dwell in damp soil, cause damage that resembles water damage. Dry wood termites establish colonies and cause cracks in the material.

The different signs you should look out for include:

  • Softwood that causes a hollow sound when tapped
  • Mud tubes outside the home
  • Blistering wood structures
  • Cracked paint
  • Damage to other structures around the home, including the fence or patio
  • Discarded wings near doors or windowsills

Experts recommend reducing moisture in and around your home by diverting water away from your property. You can also reduce humidity inside the home by installing ventilation in crawl spaces and avoid planting dense foliage close to the house’s foundation.

Deck-Max has a team of experts who can give quality advise that would help you create your dream project that you can enjoy for a long time.

If you are looking to build a Merbau deck, contact Deck-Max today to get a quote. You can also call our decking specialists to help you get the best decking solution fit for your needs.

Deck-Max™ is 100% Australian Owned and Operated and has being servicing the building industry since 1985. Deck-Max™ manufactures 100% of its products which includes quality control, product specifications, development of all designs.