A Guide to Iroko Timber for Your Next Project
- Marta Griffin | September 2, 2021
Do you want a sleek Teak alternative that boasts long-lasting durability, low maintenance requirements, and a light-colored natural beauty? Look no further than Iroko timber.
Iroko is a West African hardwood that is comparable to the highly sought-after Teak with a much more desirable price, and we’re sure you’ll love the way it looks when your project is finished.
However, there are some things you need to keep in mind before committing to Iroko for your next project.
In the following sections, we’ll go over the strengths and weaknesses of Iroko hardwood so you know what to expect.
The Strengths of Iroko Timber
We said Iroko is comparable to Teak, and we meant that. They share many of the same pros, and they’re used for many of the same projects. Here are the positive aspects of Iroko you should consider.
Iroko comes in at around $12.99 per board foot, and it typically gets slightly discounted if you buy large amounts. Teak can cost anywhere from $7 for its lowest quality pieces, all the way to $47 per board foot if you want something you’ll truly enjoy. That’s quite a bit more than Iroko’s premium price, and give Iroko’s similar appearance and performance, you can see why it’s such a popular alternative.
When it comes to load-bearing weights, Iroko is extremely strong, and it can be compared to Teak. This makes it great for outdoor decks, patios, and other structures that need to be able to reliably sustain heavy loads. However, there is one drawback you should consider, and we’ll outline that in the “weaknesses” section.
Tired of your hardwood floors getting scratched up a couple of weeks after you install them, or constantly having to buff out imperfections? Iroko has a high resistance to wear and tear, and it’ll solve that problem with minimal effort. It can even go untreated for remarkable amounts of time, but there’s a caveat to that, and we’ll talk about it later.
Iroko looks fairly similar to Teak. It has a beautiful wood grain and light natural coloring that make it stand out in lightly colored interiors, and it doesn’t need much staining to draw out its natural beauty. In addition to its fair price, this helps you save even more money since you don’t have to spend as much on treatment materials.
Iroko is pretty much a dream wood for home renovation and construction projects, but it’s not exactly perfect. Here are the things you should look out for.
Weak Tensile Strength:
Iroko is extremely strong, but its strength falters near the side grain. It’s far more likely to bend when large loads or amounts of pressure are applied to its sides, and that has to be taken into consideration for any project that is likely to sustain a larger load for extended periods.
Watermarks and Silvering:
If you don’t properly treat Iroko, it can turn silver. You may like that naturally worn look, so this isn’t a horrible weakness. However, untreated Iroko is prone to developing permanent watermarks. This means it’s best to properly treat it and maintain it for anything likely to be near moisture or water, or its natural beauty can be ruined.
Iroko is great for interior projects or certain exterior projects, but that’s about it. There isn’t many niche uses for it, and it’s mostly used for flooring, framework, and other parts of home design projects.
Use Iroko for the Right Reasons
Iroko can be a wonderful wood choice if you stick to what it does best. It’s affordable, looks great, and has a lot of qualities that save you money in the long run. However, it’s not great for everything. So, keep this guide in mind when you go to start your next Iroko project.