Why use Iroko timber?

Iroko timber is a hardwood, originating from the west coast of Africa from Iroko trees. Iroko is a very durable wood and therefore can be used as a cheaper alternative to Teak. Iroko trees can grow over 40 metres in height and have been known to live up to 500 years old making them an impressive forest feature.

Iroko is a great versatile wood that can be used across a range of projects both inside and outside as well as construction projects but also more decorative like indoor furniture. What are the main features you should consider when choosing it for a project?

Appearance

Apart from its durability being close to Teak, Iroko timber is also similar to teak timber in terms of appearance too. With a golden yellow colour and interlocked grain, Iroko is a very popular choice amongst interiors and exteriors. The wood is also known to subtly darken over time until eventually weathering to a silvery grey.

Workability

Aside from the interlocked grain sometimes causing tearout during work to the surface, Iroko timber is generally easy to work with. Iroko timber works quite well with most tools although due to its durability can sometimes have a dulling effect on the cutting edges. In some cases, where there has been damage to the tree, calcium carbonate or ‘stone’ deposits can be present, these can have a particularly dulling effect on the tools being used. Aside from this Iroko timber can be used alongside nails, screws and wood.

Durability

Iroko has a very high durability and does not require any preservative treatment meaning it has both ecological and economical benefits to its use. Due to its robustness Iroko is perfect for outside use where it will be exposed to weather elements and usual wear and tear. As the wood is so strong it is great for resilient tasks such as bridges, frameworks and sleepers for construction.

Cost

Iroko timber is a more inexpensive alternative to teak timber despite having a number of the main qualities of its more expensive counterpart. This means it is great for projects where the budget is a bit tighter but the standard needs to be high. 

Rot and termite resistance

Due to the natural oils present in the wood it has a good resistance to rot and termites. The natural oils help the durability of Iroko to prevent rot and also repel insects such as termites. These characteristics mean Iroko is great for indoor and outdoor furniture, it also means that it does not require preservative treatment as it is naturally resistant.

Heat moderation

Iroko timber, when used as solid wooden furniture, helps to moderate heat. This means when used as outdoor furniture it can maintain a comfortable temperature by not getting too hot or too cold.

Iroko has a number of impressive features and reasons to choose it for your next project. It can offer a budget friendly but impressive material to use for a wide range of jobs. Be sure to carry out your own research and due diligence to ensure that Iroko is the right wood for your requirements. 

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