Red Balau2018-06-08T12:56:12+00:00

Red Balau

Shorea spp

Hard, heavy and dense are words often used to describe Balau timber. Red Balau is often the decking material of choice in warm dry climates whereas Yellow Balau is the decking material of choice in humid and wet environments, as it fairs a lot better in those conditions. If either Red or Yellow are maintained adequately, it performs very well in all conditions. It is also regarded to have a high rot and insect attack resistance and is sourced abundantly in South East Asia.

Depending on the species, the colour can be significantly variable, from a pale straw colour to a reddish brown. The texture is rather course with interlocking grain pattern.

Product Specifications


Southeast Asia

Tree Size:

45 – 60m

Trunk Diameter:

1 000 – 1 200mm

Average Dried Weight:

850 kg/m3

Common Lengths:

1,8 – 4.8m (300mm intervals)

Common Dimensions:

19 x 90mm

21 x 140mm

Joist Spacing:

400mm CTC

500mm CTC

Balau timber has become a household name for decking in South Africa. It has been used for decades and was considered at one stage as “THE” best hardwood decking material available. It is a confusing species as we mainly get Yellow and Red Balau in South Africa. The Yellow Balau is largely used in coastal regions and not advised to be used in the Highveld or Lowveld where the Red Balau is. Although not the most stable timber on the market, it creates a beautiful deck and if installed correctly you should not have any issues in the future.

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Timber Comparisons

Timber is an organic product, as such, many people don’t realise that timber performance can be measured and averaged. These numbers are well documented and accessible to the consumer. They can tell you all you need to know about what to expect from a particular timber. We believe your choices should be based on fact and not perception or “hear say”. To make it easier to decipher these numbers, we have placed a table below that compares the various hardwood decking timbers On The Deck supplies. We then decipher what each analysis effectively means to your particular project.

  Pine Massaranduba Red Balau Garapa Rhodesian Teak Saligna Cumaru
Janka Hardness (lbs) 710 3 130 1 600 1 650 2 990 1 260 3 540
Dry Weight (kg/m3) 515 1 080 850 820 890 640 1 085
Modulus of Rupture (MPA) 79.2 192.2 122.3 127.8 84.3 107.8 175.1
Elastic Modulus (GPA) 10.06 23.06 16.95 15.57 8.48 14.15 22.3
Shrinkage Radial (%) 3.4 6.7 5.5 4.2 2.6 5.9 5.3
Shrinkage Tangential (%) 6.7 9.4 10.1 7.5 4.5 10.1 7.7
Shrinkage Volumetric (%) 10.7 16.8 15.7 11.4 6.9 15.5 12.6
T/R Ratio 2 1.4 1.8 1.8 1.7 1.7 1.5
Durability Class Rating Class 3* Class 1* Class 2* Class 1* Class 2* Class 3* Class 1*

* Class 1 = Highly Durable | Class 2 = Durable | Class 3 = Moderately Durable

Timber being a natural and organic material means that each and every species is different and has unique properties which makes them suitable for a range of different applications and uses. We have simplified the main properties that are measured and put it into an easy to read and simplified version so that the numbers relate back to how the timbers perform.


Red Balau Properties

Janka Hardness

Similar to Garapa, it is not the most dense decking available on the market, but as far timber goes, it is respectable.

Dry Weight

It comes in similar to Garapa and Rhodesian Teak. It is not light by any means.

Modulus of Rupture

True to its reputation, it is a structural timber and scores well here. It is not as strong as timbers such as Massaranduba or Cumaru.

Elastic Modulus

It is a fairly rigid timber and will hold its shape well so long as its installed correctly.

Shrinkage and T/R Ratio

This is where you need to be extremely careful when it comes to Balau. The figures will show you that this is not your most stable timber on the market. It is imperative that this deck is installed correctly. NO CLIP systems should be used with this timber and if at all possible, best results are achieved where joist spacing is at 300mm.


Red Balau In Application

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