Merbau comes from a species of tree called Intsia bijuga, commonly called ipil, kwila, taal or simply merbau. It’s native to the Indo-Pacific area and grows to around 50 metres high in mangrove forests.

While the bark and leaves of the tree have alternative medical uses, it’s the hardwood timber that has made the tree famous around the world. Valued for it’s durability, resistance to termites and it’s beautiful, deep red and brown colour, merbau is popularly used as a flooring material but does have many other uses.

In Australia, it’s most commonly used as a DAR (dress all round) timber in decks. As a decking board, merbau is available in widths of 90mms and, for something slightly different, 120mms. Perhaps merbau’s only drawback is that it’s subject to what’s known as tannin bleeding when first exposed to the elements. This can be overcome with a treatment available from all good hardware and paint stores, or you can simply leave merbau unoiled for several months and then oil after the bulk of the tannin bleeding has stopped.

In summary, if you’re after a timber that is hard-wearing and love the deep colours of merbau, it’s certainly worth considering this hardwood for your next outside project.

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