What’s the Difference Between Merbau and Teak Wood?

Choosing the right type of wood for your project is not an easy task. Although we have many good wood options, We have to choose a wood that meets all the requirements of our project.

If you are looking for a wood that is durable as well as strong, then Merbau and Teak can be better options for you. In this blog post, we are going to compare two excellent kinds of wood, Merbau, and Teak. Let us see what are the characteristics of these woods and which one should you choose for your project.

Merbau and Teak are both excellent hardwood. Merbau is harder and stronger than Teak wood but Teak is more resistant to insects and is extremely durable. Both can be used for interior and exterior projects. 

What is Merbau Wood?

Merbau wood is durable and resistant to rot and insects, native to Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. It is also known as Kwila or Ipil. 

Merbau wood is popular because it is extremely durable and pest resistant, even after contact with the ground.

What is Teak Wood?

Teak is one of the most durable and moisture-resistant hardwoods, native to southern Asia. It is popular because of its closed grain and natural rot-resistant properties.

Generally, there are many types of teak, some popular are as follows – Chinese teak wood, Brazilian teak wood, South American Teak, and Burma/Burmese Teak Wood.

Difference Between Merbau and Teak Wood

#Merbau WoodTeak Wood
Scientific NameIntsia BijugaTectona grandis
Average Dried Weight51 lbs/ft3 (815 kg/m3)40.9 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness1,840 lbf (7,620 N)1,070 lbf (4,740 N)
Crushing Strength10,650 lbf/in2 (73.4 MPa)7,940 lbf/in2 (54.8 MPa)
Tree Height130-165 ft (40-50 m) tall130-165 ft (40-50 m) tall
Wood colororangish-brown colorGolden to dark brown
DurabilityDurable Extreme durable
Wood TypeHardwoodHardwood

The Durability of Merbau and Teak

Teak is highly durable against rot, decay, and termites whereas Merbau generally has durability against moisture and outdoor elements.

Uses

Merbau wood is often used in outdoor applications, such as decking, fencing, and garden furniture, as well as indoor uses such as flooring, cabinetry, and furniture. Its hardness also makes Merbau suitable for flooring because it is less prone to dents and scratches.

Merbau wood can withstand outdoor elements. Therefore it can be used for all those places where there is the presence of moisture and sunlight.

Teak wood is widely used for furniture, flooring, veneer, furniture, and exterior construction. Teak wood is resistant to moisture so it is used for making boats.

Appearance 

Merbau wood ranges from yellow to reddish brown, with yellow streaks running through it and it has straight and interlocking grain patterns.

Teak wood color can range from golden-brown to honey-golden tone, depending on its type. Teak wood turns into light silver-gray over time. Overall, it looks amazing after finishing as compared to other hardwoods. 

Rot-resistant

Merbau wood is naturally resistant to insects and termites, which makes it a popular choice for outdoor use. Teak is also highly resistant to rot and insects and contains a high amount of natural oil, which makes it water resistant.

Which is dense, Merbau and Teak?

Merbau wood is harder and denser than Teak wood. Merbau has a Janka hardness rating of 1,840 lbf (7,620 N) while Teak has a Janka hardness rating of 1,070 lbf (4,740 N).

Merbau wood has an average weight of 51 lbs/ft3 (815 kg/m3) and Teak wood has 40.9 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3).

Here the Janka hardness value of some popular wood is given so that you will get an idea of the Janka hardness of teak and merbau wood.

Wood speciesJanka Hardness
Cherry Wood950 lbf (4,230 N)
Black Walnut wood 1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Teak wood1,070 lbf (4,740 N)
English Oak1,120 lbf (4,980 N)
White Oak wood1,350 lbf (5,900 N)
Black locust Wood1,700 lbf (7,560 N)
Merbau wood1,840 lbf (7,620 N)
Brazilian Koa2,160 lbf (9,600 N)

Working Properties of Merbau and Teak

Generally, Merbau wood is easy to work with but can be difficult to sawing logs due to its high density. Merbau wood takes stain, glue, and finishes well.

Teak is moderately easy to work with hand and machine tools. But teak contains high amounts (about 1.4%) of silica, which makes blunt effects on the cutting blade. Teak wood finishes well and after finishing it looks amazing. 

Seasoning of Merbau and Teak

Merbau and Teak wood both take time to dry properly.  Teak wood takes about three weeks to dry in a kiln process and Merbau wood takes about three to four weeks to completely dry. The air-drying process for both kinds of wood can take 8 to 16 months.

Availability and Sustainability of Merbau and Teak

Merbau wood is moderately available but due to high demand, sometimes there is a shortage. Teak wood is rare and hard to find because it grows in certain parts of the world. The cost of lumber increases due to transportation to other places.

Teak wood is sustainable because it grows rapidly and comes from sustainably managed forests. Teak is not listed in the CITES Appendices and IUCN list while the Merbau population has reduced by 20% in the past few decades.

Cost Differences Between Merbau and Teak

Both Merbau and teak are expensive wood species, there is not much difference in their price. Teak wood can cost around $15 to $20 per board foot and Merbau wood can cost from $10 to $15 per board foot.

The price of wood depends on many factors such as the thickness, quality, and location of the wood. 

Which is Better for Furniture, Merbau, and Teak?

Teak wood is more popular than Merbau for making furniture because teak wood looks more beautiful and heat resistant. Merbau wood is a good choice for outdoor furniture. 

Which is Better for Flooring, Merbau, and Teak?

Merbau and teak are both popular woods for flooring. Merbau wood has a high density, so it is less prone to dents or scratches.

On the other hand, Teak is known for its beautiful color and grain. Teak is one of the most durable wood species for flooring because it is resistant to moisture and humidity. Teak flooring adds to the value of your home.

Which is Better for Decking, Merbau, and Teak?

Merbau wood is an excellent choice for decking because it is naturally resistant to rot and insects. Merbau wood can also withstand weather and moisture. Its dense grain does not absorb moisture. 

Teak is another good choice for durable decking, Teak wood contains natural oil which protects the wood from rotting and insects. Merbau decking lasts 25 to 30 years with regular care while teak decking lasts 15-20 years.

Conclusion

Overall, Merbau makes an excellent choice if you’re looking for something strong yet durable at the same time but if you’re looking for a great appearance and are highly resistant to rotting, then teak is a good choice. That’s why teak wood is mostly used for indoor applications and merbau for outdoor use.

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