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A Guide to Different Types of Meranti Wood: Light, Dark, and More

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
18 July 2023 min read

A Guide to Different Types of Meranti Wood: Light, Dark, and More

When it comes to wood, Meranti wood is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices. It’s known for being durable and long-lasting. And because it’s a versatile wood, it can be used for many applications. 

Here's everything you need to know about the different types of Meranti wood, including light red Meranti, dark red Meranti, and more.


What is Meranti Wood?

Meranti wood is a hardwood from the Shorea tree native to Southeast Asia. It's commonly used for construction, furniture, and outdoor decking. Generally, Meranti is known for being sturdy and hardy, with a medium density that makes it easy to work with.


Different Types of Meranti Wood

Meranti wood is available in several different types, each with unique properties that make them suitable for different purposes. Below are some of the popular sub-types of Meranti wood.


1. Light Red Meranti

As the name suggests, light red Meranti has a light reddish-brown colour. 

It's a hardwood that typically grows in Malaysia and the Philippines and has a moderate density. This type of Meranti is popular for indoor and outdoor furniture, mouldings, and plywood. And it has a fair decay resistance, which makes it suitable for outdoor uses.

In terms of resistance and decay, on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all resistant and 10 is highly resistant, Light Red Meranti might be around a 4 to 6, but this is an estimate and should be taken as a guideline rather than a definitive value.


2. Dark Red Meranti

Dark red Meranti is another popular variety known for its rich dark reddish-brown colour. 

This wood can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines and has a moderate to high density. Architects and interior designers often use dark red Meranti for outdoor construction, joinery, and furniture. 

Regarding resistance to decay and insects, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all resistant and 10 being extremely resistant (like some types of cedar or teak), dark red Meranti might be placed around a 5 to 7. This is due to its natural oils and density, which protect against decay and insects.


3. White Meranti

White Meranti has been growing in popularity in recent years. This type of Meranti wood is exceptionally smooth and has a fine texture, making it an excellent choice for decorative purposes. Due to its softer nature, hardwoods such as oak and maple are typically used to support white Meranti furniture pieces.

Regarding rot and decay, white Meranti could be tentatively placed within the range of 3 to 5. However, the true resistance level may fluctuate based on variables like the age of the wood and the specific treatment it has undergone.


4. Yellow Meranti

Yellow Meranti is a versatile hardwood that grows in Indonesia and Malaysia. It has a moderate density and is generally used for joinery, plywood, and various construction applications. Yellow Meranti also has good decay resistance, making it ideal for outdoor use. 

Again, regarding rot and decay, on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 signifies no resistance and 10 indicates extreme resistance, yellow Meranti might approximately fall around a 4 to 6.


Uses of Meranti Wood

Meranti is a versatile wood that can be used for many applications. It's widely used in construction, furniture-making, and outdoor decking due to its remarkable durability, strength, and fair resistance to termite attacks, decay, and fungal growth. Here are some common uses of Meranti wood:

  1. Interior and Exterior Joinery: Meranti is used for interior and exterior joinery, such as window frames, doors, and doors.

  2. Furniture: The wood is used to manufacture indoor and outdoor furniture pieces. It's popular due to its durability, sturdy nature, and ability to weather extreme conditions.

  3. Plywood: Meranti is used to construct plywood, which has many applications, such as flooring, panelling, and cabinetry.

  4. Decking: Meranti decking is increasingly popular due to its good resistance to fungi, decay, and insect infestation, making it ideal for outdoor use.

  5. Construction: The wood is also used to create beams, posts, and pillars. This is because it’s durable and can bear significant weight, making it ideal for construction use.


Pros and Cons of Meranti Wood

While Meranti wood is popular, knowing its advantages and disadvantages is essential.


  • Meranti wood is sturdy, durable, and partly resistant to decay, fungi, and termites. (Its resistance to rot, fungi, and termites can depend on the specific type of Meranti and the conditions to which it's exposed.) 

  • It's versatile—it can be used for indoor and outdoor purposes.

  • It's easy to work with and can be shaped into any desired shape.

  • Meranti wood is relatively affordable compared to other hardwoods.


  • Meranti wood is only partially resistant to rot and decay, especially if not treated correctly.

  • It can have a rough texture or be challenging to sand smooth.

  • Meranti wood may contain resin pockets that can bleed out and cause staining.


When Should You Use Meranti Wood

Compared to other hardwoods such as Oak or Teak, Meranti emerges as a cost-effective contender without compromising the quality of your final product. Its affordability stems from the rapid growth of Meranti trees, facilitating sustainable harvesting and ultimately contributing to a lower market price. 

But don't let its cost-friendliness fool you. Meranti possesses admirable robustness, boasting an impressive resistance to warping, splitting, and humidity. This makes it ideal for projects exposed to moisture or outdoors, such as decking, exterior furniture, or even boat building. Its durability is comparable to many higher-priced alternatives and is often preferred over them in humid or fluctuating climates.

Additionally, in the realm of aesthetics, Meranti offers a versatile palette. The wood’s colours vary from a gentle white and soft pink to a rich reddish-brown, allowing you a degree of creativity in matching your project to existing decor or creating standout pieces. 


Exceptional Wood Solutions from Woodshop Direct

Meranti wood is a hardwood with excellent durability, versatility, and quality. Its sub-types offer unique benefits, making Meranti a versatile wood that can be used for almost any application. 

However, knowing the wood’s advantages and disadvantages is essential to make an informed choice that best suits a woodworking project’s needs. 

At Woodshop Direct, we provide high-quality Meranti wood and other hardwoods that are ideal for your DIY and carpentry needs. Browse our website to explore our range of products and get started on your next project.