When it comes to choosing a material for your framing, posts and other elements of an outdoor project, would you choose hardwood? In fact, why wouldn’t you choose hardwood?
Question: What is hardwood?
Answer: Well, yes, it usually is a hard wood but the hardness or denseness of the timber doesn’t make it a hardwood. To be a hardwood, the timber must come from a tree that’s classed as an angiosperm, or one that produces seeds with some sort of covering. Hardwood trees include our native eucalypts and even fruit and nut trees such as apples and acorns.
Question: Why use hardwood for your next outdoor project?
Answer: There are 3 main reasons. Firstly, hardwood timber is generally dense or hard and therefore makes an excellent structural and decking material. Secondly, hardwood looks great. Whether you paint it, oil it or use some other type of sealer, it’s difficult to beat the attractiveness of hardwood. Thirdly, hardwood is usually slightly cheaper than alternative materials such as steel and aluminium.
Question: What types of hardwood can I use?
Answer: There are a multitude of hardwood timbers to choose from and several that are commonly used in Australia. These include:
- Merbau, an imported hardwood that comes from Indonesia. Merbau is commonly used for decking.
- Kapur is also imported from Indonesia and is also commonly used for decking.
- Spotted gum is a eucalyptus timber from NSW and Queensland. It’s known for its characteristic wavy pattern in the grain.
- Blackbutt is similar to spotted gum. However, while spotted gum is brown in colour, blackbutt is more blonde or pale.
- Jarrah, another eucalyptus variety, is usually sourced from Western Australia, Victoria or Northern Territory. Its distinctive red colour makes it highly attractive, particularly when used in a deck.
- Similarly, river red is also known for its light red and brown shades. It’s sourced from Western Australia, NSW and Queensland and is another eucalyptus timber.
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