What Are The Pros And Cons Of Merbau Decking?

22 February 2021
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Merbau Decking?

Are you looking to transform an unused space in your home into a living area?

Merbau timber is a versatile decking material used to turn an empty room into a beautiful space.

Sometimes referred to as Kwilla, Merbau timber is naturally resistant to termites, weathering, and bushfires Bal 29. This makes it perfect for homes located in fire-prone areas. In this article, we covered the factors you need to know if you’re considering a Merbau decking.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Merbau Decking?

Decking has become a popular task among house owners in recent years. Decking can quickly turn an unused space in a home into an expansive area where people can relax over a cup of coffee, a BBQ, or most likely a few beers and a Chardy….

In Australia, homeowners looking to undertake the task of building a deck often turn to Merbau hardwood. Merbau timber comes in all colours, shapes, and sizes, allowing homeowners to choose what best reflects their personality and style.

The reason for variation in colour is the drying process. The Merbau can be deep red, this is caused by cheap drying (too short a time). This results in a cheap sell price. However, this creates a big problem. As it dries and shrinks it causes movement and twisting. The deep red colour is the Tannis / moisture in the boards. Which causes the deep blood red / brown colour over time.

Deck-Max cut and straighten the boards and hold in the kiln for enough time to ensure the correct moisture content to the core (middle of the board which takes so much longer to dry).

This does increase the manufacturing cost and sell price but the material will be much lighter in colour and the moisture content as the ambient Australian standard is 15 to 16%.

This board will be extremely stable with minimal movement and a colour that is so beautiful rather than the deep red unstable variant that most timber companies will sell you.

Tannins from Merbau is an issue especially on decks butting into swimming pools or anywhere near stone or porous tile. This cheap merbau with high tannins content will bleed tannins colour and stain all surfaces near it. This includes elevated decks that cause the tannins to run down the walls and create very hard to remove stains.

Merbau, sometimes referred to as Kwilla, is grown locally in the northern part of Australia, but it can also be seen in New Guinea and Indonesia. This hardwood is known for being one of the most versatile and durable decking options, making it perfect for outdoor areas in countries with harsh weather changes.

What are the advantages of Merbau decking?

It is incredibly durable and workable.

Merbau timber is a very solid material that has a natural ability to resist decays caused by termites and weathering. It’s also a versatile material that can be used for a range of projects, including outdoor decking, flooring, and furniture.

The Merbau timber has a Class 1 rating for open-air use. This means the material is very stable and has a low shrinkage and expansion rate, which is rarely found in other timber species.

It’s naturally resistant to bushfires.

Merbau is one of the seven timbers deemed suitable for use in areas prone to bushfires across Australia. This hardwood material won’t catch fire easily, which makes it ideal for decking in fire-prone locales. It meets the Bal 29 standards in Australia.

It’s a very beautiful timber.

The Merbau hardwood can retain colour naturally for a longer time than other hardwood species. The timber is naturally reddish-brown with golden spots, but the coating influences the final colour.

Many homeowners opt for a natural oil to emphasise the wood’s natural beauty and interlocking grain design, which some believe improves over time. We also offer oils that range from dark red-brown to light yellow-brown to add to the timber’s complex appearance.

What are the disadvantages of Merbau decking?

It is an oily species of timber.

Merbau generally grows in the rainforest and has a high tannin content. When the timber gets wet, it can make the timber’s colours bleed. The tannin can easily hold fast to the soles of your shoes and even stain your walls or concrete. You can prevent your Merbau timber from bleeding by buying well-seasoned materials. Deck-Max are the only company in Australia that take from log to finished decking to deliver high quality, pre grooved ready for the hidden fasteners and low tannin minimising the leaching of the colours.

There are specific care instructions.

Moisture can cause severe damage to hardwood, even to Merbau timber. Decking specialists recommend stacking and covering Merbau timber until it’s ready for laying. Some also suggest cleaning all marks after laying before coating the hardwood with penetrating oil

Deck-Max offer a 3 x step process on their Merbau Decking:

  1. Lay the boards and then apply a deep clean with a specific solution (Power Prep) that brings up the tannins from the surface.
  2. Then clean with a reviver that removes the dark tannins off the surface ready to apply the finish oil.
  3. Apply 2 to 3 coats of recommended oil.

Merbau decking material is expensive.

Merbau timber is becoming harder to discover. While most stocks found in Australia are imported, many homeowners find the deck project is a costly option. With other decking materials available like composite it fits very well into the affordable sector of the market.

Like all quality timbers, Merbau decking costs a lot of money. You need to pay for the upfront materials cost, the installation, and ongoing maintenance. Merbau decks would require staining on a six-month to 12-month basis.

While the initial cost may seem like a lot, paying for a top-grade hardwood decking will pay off in the long run. Especially when you come to refurbish in a few years.

If you did not use the Deck-Max hidden fasteners in the Merbau you will not be able to sand. You cannot sand a deck that has nails or screws BUT you can with the Deck-max decking and hidden fasteners.

Deck-Max’s Merbau timber are pre-grooved and comes with the Deck-Max Pro Clip to make installation an easy process. Find out more about Merbau decking by clicking here. You can also contact our decking specialists to get a quote today!

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.