Best HardWoods for Decking in South Africa?

There are numerous timber species suitable for wooden decks. Timber sourced closest to home often offers the best value for money and is more readily available.

The following hard wood species being the most popular for wooden decks in South Africa:


Saligna Decking features a ‘non-slip’ grooved face as well as a smooth face, so it can be installed according to your preference. The product not only looks beautiful, with the rich colour accentuated by using an appropriate sealer; it is also extremely hard-wearing. With proper care, it will stand up to even the harshest climate conditions for many years.




It is particularly suited to situations requiring high strength where appearance is also important. If left untreated externally it will turn a silvery grey colour overtime. It has a fine interlocked grain. Sugar Gum is exceptionally dense and hard and is perfect for outdoor timber. It has been used as a replacement for Balau for those who appreciate the silver/aged/weathered look.




Meranti is very popular due to its availability: long lengths, thick planks; perfect for structural use. Meranti is a wood of the highest quality, resembling mahogany in the way that it is a red and rich wood with shades ranging from a medium red to a deep reddish-brown sometimes accompanied by purple tinges.

  • It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing and elegant types of woods as it offers an almost perfect look and often used in the manufacturing of clocks and antique furniture.
  • Superior colour consistency.
  • Excellent strength and toughness.
  • Extremely durable and versatile for use both indoors and outdoors.
  • Minimal maintenance needed to keep its features even after years of weather conditions.


Garapa has a golden to light yellow finish. Garapa is a stable hardwood and fits in comfortably with the natural environment

Garapa is among one of the most popular species of Brazilian wood. Garapa is sometimes known as “Brazilian Ash” or a “Brazilian Hardwood”. Garapa is a high-density, highly durable hardwood species that is ideal for use in exterior structures including decks, wood siding, wood rainscreen and more. Garapa’s beautiful golden tones will enhance your project with a warm, natural look.

High-density exotic hardwood decking materials such as Garapa decking, and other species like Ipe decking, are truly the best decking material options available. Garapa is beautiful, can handle heavy foot traffic, and offers a lighter coloured decking material option for your deck. The lower cost of Garapa also makes it an affordable choice for a hardwood decking material.

Sloped Mountain Garden Deck

Sloped Mountain Garden Garapa Deck


Massaranduba has a rich deep brown finish and is a very dense timber. This Brazilian hardwood is known for its exceptional strength, resistance to decay, and beautiful natural colour. Massaranduba is a low-maintenance option that requires little to no staining or sealing to maintain its beauty and durability.




The Ironbarks, in South Africa, have been declared alien invaders. This means that you will not only be purchasing some of the hardiest and most beautiful timbers available, but you will be contributing to conservation in Southern Africa by consuming timber from trees which pose risk to our country due primarily to their massive water consumption. More on that here: Red/Black Iron Bark 

IPE (pronounced ee-pay)

Ipe can be sealed to maintain its natural colour and beauty, or weathered to a silver grey colour. Compared to other woods such as redwood or cedar, Ipe lasts 3-5 times longer, has a stronger resistance to fire, insects, weather and movement. By comparison Ipe is clearly the best timber product for outdoor usage. However there are some disadvantages of working with Ipe.

1. Ipe Is Too Hard

2. The Boards are Different colours

3. Ipe and Acclimation

4. lpe Requires Too Much Maintenance

5. Damaged Board Replacement

6. Ipe Wood Can Cup

7. Drying and Checking

8. Ipe Is Too Expensive

9. Ipe Is Difficult To Find

10. Ipe Is Not Environmentally Conscious


Balau is widely distributed throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. A logging ban is already in effect in the Philippines; Malaysia has partial bans on the export of timber and Indonesia imposes substantial taxes on the exporters of unprocessed timber. Balau is deemed to be a heavy hardwood. Balau is a very good, hardy and durable wood to use in outdoor wooden decks and other outdoor projects. It contains toxins that limit insects eating it and it is high in resins and oils which naturally repels water and limits rot.




Rhino Modified wood is a South African Originated and produced Product . Rhino wood Takes Sustainably sourced SA Pine and puts it through a modification process involving thermal /Heat treatment and Hot Wax Compound impregnation. This process modifies the wood to an increased 100% density and compares well or better to most of the timber used for decking locally. Advantages include: Minimal maintenance requirements. Can leave untreated to obtain silver/aged look. Increased Load baring capabilities, Surface hardness, Durability against fungal decay. Decreased woodborer and termite damage. Increased dimensional stability. decreased moisture absorption rate.


Rhino Wood Deck

Rhino Wood Deck

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