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Balau Wood Spotlight

What is Balau timber?

Balau hardwood is a structural hardwood typically used in both internal and external applications. It will typically come in a reddish-brown to purple-brown colour once treated and seasoned. It is also typically known as Red Balau or Yellow Balau depending on its treatment. Native to South-East Asian countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The treatment process for Balau timber can be very extensive. It is difficult to dry evenly, and thoroughly which leaves it susceptible to cracking or warping during the treatment process. When working, ensure that drill or nail holes are pre-bored or better yet, avoid nailing or drilling and use bolts when joining.

Key Characteristics of Balau Wood

Common name

Red Balau, Yellow Balau

Scientific Name


Shorea spp, Shorea atrinervosa, Shorea elliptica, Shorea foxworthyi, Shorea glauca, Shorea laevis, Shorea maxwelliana, Shorea submontana, Shorea guiso, Shorea kunstleri, Shorea collina, Shorea ochrophloia

Species Type


Hardwood Timber


Typically grows in South-East Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, or Indonesia.



Balau Heartwood is red-brown to purple-brown.



Straight, interlocked grain structure, and a moderate to coarse texture.

Rot Resistance


Prone to rot in outdoor applications and is unsuitable for underground applications.


840kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.2m3 of seasoned, sawn timber per ton.

Stress Grade

F8, F11, F14, F17 (unseasoned); F11, F14, F17, F22 (seasoned)



Above-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years)

In-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years)



Extra precaution should be taken when treating and seasoning to prevent cracks, splits, or distortion to the timber when drying.


Very heavy material, tight grain structure. When drilling and nailing, you should take great care and pre-bore the timber.

Joinery Notes


Recommended to use bolts where possible when using Balau timber for outdoor decking and joinery.


The density and overall mass of the timber will leave tools prone to dulling. When gluing, ensure that it is done immediately after surface preparation to prevent oils from contaminating the surface.


Easily treated, difficult to try properly, not applicable for steam bending.

Common Uses


Commonly used in heavy engineering and building applications. Also useful for decking, decorative woodturning and retaining walls.

What is Balau Timber Used For?   

At Versace Timbers, we stock a range of rich coloured and minimal knotted hardwood perfect for your building or design project. Our Balau wood decking is available in 86 x 19 S&B lengths ready to be cut to your exact dimensions.

Balau Wood Decking

Even though Balau timber is incredibly dense and is a great structural choice for outdoor decking applications. It must first be treated and sealed with a high-quality water-resistant coating. This coating must be reapplied regularly to ensure an extended life expectancy. As a reward for your extensive preparations and maintenance, Balau will give you a beautiful, rich red colour and will remain strong for years to come.

Balau Hardwood Retaining Walls

With a natural-looking finish and durable internal structure, Balau timber has a multitude of landscaping applications. In particular, Balau retaining walls are ideal with their strength and versatility when cut to size. When planning your retaining walls, ensure that drainage is the main point of focus in the design and construction of the retaining walls and garden bed.

Need Balau wood for your next project? Get in touch with Versace Timbers, the leading timber supplies store in Brisbane to browse the range of Balau decking timber, request a call online, call us on 07 3266 9000 or visit the timber yard at 33 Vauxhall St, Virginia, QLD 4014.


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