Balau Or Iroko Decking Pros And Cons

Balau or Iroko decking is a popular choice for outdoor flooring, as it offers many benefits. It can be used in a variety of settings and provides an attractive finish to any space. However, there are also some cons associated with this type of decking that should be considered before making a purchase. This article will explore the pros and cons of balau or iroko decking to help individuals make an informed decision about which option is best suited for their needs.

The first section of this article will examine the advantages of using balau or iroko decking. These include its durability, low maintenance requirements, natural beauty, and affordability compared to other types of hardwood deckings such as cedar and redwood. In addition, these woods are typically resistant to insects and rot, making them ideal for long-term use outdoors.

Balau Wood

The second section will discuss the potential drawbacks of balau or iroko decking. Though generally durable, these woods may require more frequent sealing than other types of wood due to their dense grain structure; they may also be susceptible to staining if not properly sealed regularly. Additionally, extreme weather conditions may cause warping over time, reducing the lifespan of the wood even further. Finally, certain species have been known to contain toxins that could potentially harm humans who come into contact with them directly or indirectly through inhalation or ingestion from nearby soil particles.

Durability Of Balau And Iroko Decking

The durability of balau and iroko decking are two important considerations when deciding which type of wood to use for a project. Balau is classified as a hardwood, meaning it is more resistant to rot and decay than other types of woods. It is also very dense and strong, making it suitable for outdoor furniture that needs to withstand harsh weather conditions or frequent use. Iroko is another popular choice because it has natural oils in its grain that make it highly resistant to moisture and insect damage. Both options offer long-term protection from the elements, but there are some drawbacks associated with each one.

A potential disadvantage of using balau for decking is its dark colouration, which may not be preferred by some homeowners. Additionally, due to its high density, balau can be difficult to work with compared to softer woods like pine or cedar. On the other hand, although iroko offers good resistance against insects and moisture damage, it must be treated regularly if used outdoors since it lacks natural oils that protect against UV rays. Furthermore, iroko’s tendency towards warping makes it less desirable than balau for applications requiring precision cuts such as flooring boards or stair treads.

When selecting a material for a decking project, both balau and iroko have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability. Balau provides excellent protection against extreme temperatures while being relatively easy to work with; however its darker colour may not suit every taste or application. Iroko offers natural protection against pests and water damage but requires regular maintenance due to its lack of UV protection properties; furthermore, warping could potentially affect accuracy during installation projects involving precise measurements.

Cost Comparison Of Balau And Iroko Decking

When making the decision to install a deck, cost is often one of the most important considerations. Balau and Iroko are two materials that can be used for this purpose; however, their respective costs vary significantly. This article will compare these two materials in terms of pricing and explain which may be more cost-effective in certain contexts.

The first factor to consider when comparing the costs of balau and iroko decking is the price per board foot. With regards to quality hardwoods such as balau, prices typically range from $2 to $4 per board foot. On the other hand, iroko tends to have higher prices at around $4 or above per board foot due to its rarity. As such, it can be said that balau tends to be much more affordable than iroko when purchased on a board by board basis.

However, there are circumstances where buying in bulk quantities could make iroko cheaper than balau. When purchasing large amounts of either material—such as an entire shipment—suppliers may offer discounts or lower shipping rates depending on how much has been ordered. In such cases, if the supplier offers a discount for higher quantity purchases then iroko might become competitively priced compared with balau.

IROKO - Veko
Iroko Decking

It is clear that both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages when considering cost factors alone; buyers must carefully assess each option before committing to any purchase decisions. Ultimately, whether choosing between balau and iroko decking or another material entirely, understanding all relevant cost information is essential for ensuring value-for-money outcomes are achieved in any type of construction project.

Maintenance Requirements For Balau And Iroko Decking

When building a deck, the choice of material is an important consideration. Balau and Iroko are both popular options for outdoor wood decks due to their distinct properties. This article examines the maintenance requirements of these two materials in order to help inform potential buyers.

Balau is known for its durability and resistance to rot and insects. It does require some periodic maintenance, however. Its surface should be scrubbed down with water and mild detergent at least once per year. Additionally, it must also be oiled every one or two years depending on weather conditions and amount of use. To complete this process, sanding may need to occur prior to application of any oils or sealants in order for them to penetrate properly into the wood’s grain.

Iroko has similar levels of durability as Balau but requires more frequent maintenance compared to other types of hardwood decking materials like Ipe or Teak. Like Balau, it will benefit from regular washing with water and mild detergent followed by annual applications of oils or sealers. Depending on environmental factors such as sun exposure, additional coats may be necessary over time in order to protect against fading or cracking caused by direct sunlight or rainwater damage.

While there is no definitive answer regarding which type of decking material is better suited for a particular project, knowledge about each option can assist with decision making during the selection process. The above information provides insight into the various aspects that come along with maintaining Balau and Iroko decks so that homeowners can make an informed decision when choosing between these two materials for their next outdoor wood deck installation project.

Environmental Impact Of Balau And Iroko Decking

The environmental impact of balau and iroko decking must be considered for any construction project. Both of these materials are hardwoods, with balau being a tropical hardwood from Asia and Africa and iroko originating in western Africa. In terms of sustainability, there is some concern about the logging practices used to harvest both types of wood as well as their carbon footprint due to transportation from overseas sources. Since many countries do not regulate or monitor logging activities, it can be difficult to know whether responsible harvesting methods have been employed.

On the other hand, timber harvested responsibly can provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic boards which are typically derived from petroleum products and have negative impacts on ecosystems when they make their way into rivers or oceans. The long lifespan of wooden decks also means that fewer resources will need to be consumed over time compared to plastic alternatives. Furthermore, when appropriately maintained with oil treatments every few years, wooden decks can resist rot and water damage better than synthetic counterparts.

Overall, balau and iroko decking may offer a viable option for anyone looking for an eco-friendly building material if the sourcing process has been undertaken responsibly. This would involve researching the company supplying the product in order to ensure that proper conservation efforts are taking place during production. Additionally, proper maintenance should also be done regularly so that the longevity of this type of decking can be maximized whilst reducing its overall environmental footprint.

Aesthetics Of Balau And Iroko Decking

When considering the aesthetics of balau and iroko decking, it is necessary to consider both the natural qualities of these materials, as well as how they are able to be treated. Balau has a reddish-brown colour when untreated that darkens with age, giving it an attractive look for many applications. Iroko on the other hand has a yellow-brown tone which can also be modified through different finishes or treatments. Furthermore, both woods have grain patterns that can add depth and interest to any project.

One significant advantage that iroko offers over balau in terms of aesthetics is its increased durability; not only does it resist cracking better than most tropical hardwoods but it also stands up well against weathering due to its naturally high levels of oil content. This means that outdoor projects such as decks and pergolas made from iroko will retain their attractive appearance for longer periods of time compared to those constructed using balau wood.

In addition to this, both species offer a variety of options when it comes to finishing techniques including painting, staining and varnishing depending on your desired outcome. All these factors contribute towards making either material suitable for creating aesthetically pleasing outdoor structures while still providing the strength and longevity expected from decking products manufactured from tropical hardwood timber species.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Weight Can Balau And Iroko Decking Support?

The weight capacity of a decking material is an important factor to consider when choosing the right type for a project. Balau and iroko are two popular options, both having advantages and drawbacks which need to be weighed up against each other. This article will assess the load bearing capabilities of balau and iroko decking materials.

Balau wood is incredibly dense with a janka hardness rating of 1798, making it one of the strongest woods available for building, including decking applications. Its density also makes it ideal for coastal projects as its natural oils help protect from rot and decay caused by saltwater exposure. However, it may require regular maintenance due to its tendency to splinter if not treated properly or covered in protective sealants. As such, balau can support a significant amount of weight without any problems provided proper care is taken during installation and upkeep.

Iroko has similar properties to teak but at a more affordable price point. It has good strength characteristics combined with high durability but requires some level of protection against water damage over time; otherwise, it may become brittle and prone to cracking or splitting under heavy loads or pressure points. Consequently, while Iroko can safely handle moderate weights on structures like decks, caution must still be exercised when installing it so that maximum longevity can be achieved without compromising safety standards.


When considering decking materials, slip-resistance is an important factor to consider. Balau and iroko are two popular options for those wanting a natural hardwood look in their outdoor space. Both offer many advantages but the question of whether balau and iroko decking is slip-resistant must be examined more closely.

Slip resistance is determined by looking at several factors including the coefficient of friction (COF) between the surface material and shoe sole as well as if there are any physical characteristics that reduce traction such as knots or grooves present on the wood’s surface. In terms of COF, both balau and iroko score highest out of all other types of timber decking making them ideal for areas with wet conditions like near pools or spas. Additionally, balau has a very tight grain pattern which helps further prevent slipping due to its lack of raised features such as knotholes found in other woods like cedar or redwood. Similarly, iroko too has fine textured grains resulting in good anti-slip properties when sealed properly.

Overall, both balau and iroko have great potential for use in slippery environments due to their high COF scores combined with naturally dense grains that help increase grip even when wet. As long as they are installed correctly and maintained regularly with regular refinishing treatments then these timbers can provide safe surfaces for decks around pools, spas or anywhere else where slip prevention needs to be taken seriously.

Does Balau And Iroko Decking Need To Be Treated Or Sealed?

The use of Balau and Iroko decking has become increasingly popular due to the range of advantages they offer when compared with other materials. However, determining whether these two types of decking need to be treated or sealed is an important consideration for anyone looking to install a new outdoor space. This article will address this question in detail by exploring the pros and cons associated with treating or sealing Balau and Iroko decking.

On one hand, treatment can extend the life expectancy of any wood surface that is exposed to weather conditions such as rain, snow, wind and UV radiation. Treatment prevents water from penetrating into the wood fibres which reduces warping and decay over time. Furthermore, it also gives protection against insect infestation and fungal growth which may otherwise cause damage to the surface of the wood. Although some argue that leaving untreated timber is beneficial for environmental reasons, treating it does make it more resistant to wear and tear.

Conversely, not all treatments are effective on every type of wood surface; therefore users must do their research before selecting one particular product. Additionally, although treatment protects the solid core structure of the material itself, many people prefer the natural look of un-treated timber surfaces which requires regular maintenance including sanding down rough areas regularly. Finally, depending on how often you intend to clean your outdoor area then sealing instead could provide adequate protection without having to treat annually – however sealants have a shorter lifespan than treatments so should be monitored accordingly over time.

In summary, there are both pros and cons associated with treating or sealing Balau or Iroko decking; ultimately deciding whether either process is necessary comes down to user preference and budget along with overall longevity requirements desired from each solution.


Overall, Balau and Iroko decking are both excellent choices for outdoor projects. Both types of wood can be used to create a beautiful, durable, long-lasting deck or other structure outdoors. They can both hold up well under heavy traffic and weather conditions. While they require some maintenance in the form of sealant application every few years in order to keep their appearance and longevity, this is a relatively easy task that helps ensure the life span of your investment. Additionally, Balau and Iroko decking can easily be installed on uneven surfaces due to its ability to conform to varied ground levels. Ultimately, when deciding between Balau and Iroko Decking it is important to consider the weight capacity needed, desired slip resistance level, installation time frame available, as well as whether you will need to treat or seal the material regularly before making a final decision.