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How to Properly Treat and Finish Meranti Wood for Long-lasting Beauty

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
18 July 2023 min read

How to Properly Treat and Finish Meranti Wood for Long-lasting Beauty

Meranti is popular for woodworking projects for windows, doors, and decking. It’s a versatile wood that’s easy to work with and can be stained or painted in various shades. 

However, all wood will eventually age and weather, so it’s essential to properly treat and finish Meranti to preserve its beauty for many years.

This article will discuss treating and finishing Meranti wood for long-lasting beauty. We will explain the types of treatments and finishes available and how to apply them for maximum protection. Additionally, we will delve into preventive measures against common issues like rot, warping, and pests. You will also gain insight into choosing suitable products for different climates and environments, optimising your Meranti's durability and aesthetic appeal.


Understanding Meranti Wood

Meranti is a tropical hardwood that originates from Southeast Asia. It’s often chosen for its uniform texture and durability. The wood is also a popular choice because it's relatively affordable.

Their grade and physical properties categorise different types of Meranti wood. Meranti wood is usually classified into four grades, which are premium, select, standard, and utility. The premium and choice grades are ideal for higher-end wood projects, while the standard and utility grades are better suited for lower-end applications.

Regarding physical properties, Meranti is a moderately heavy hardwood that is easy to work with. It has a straight grain and a fine, even texture. The wood is also a non-resinous wood, ideal for painting or staining.

Meranti, derived from the Dipterocarpaceae family, encompasses a spectrum of species, each offering different characteristics and exhibiting a range of resistance to rot and decay. The term 'Meranti' itself is broad and describes a variety of hardwoods from Southeast Asia, including the popular dark red Meranti, light red Meranti, white Meranti, and yellow Meranti. 


Durability and Resistance to Rot and Decay

Dark red Meranti is often the go-to for its high durability and resistance to rot, making it ideal for exterior applications like boat building, outdoor furniture, and decking. 

On the other hand, light red Meranti, while less resistant to decay, is lauded for its affordability and workability, making it suitable for interior uses like cabinetry and moulding. 

White and yellow Meranti are less commonly used and have distinct characteristics. White Meranti has excellent workability but somewhat lower durability, while yellow Meranti stands out for its beautiful colour and is often used for decorative applications. 

Each type of Meranti has its strengths and potential weaknesses, depending on the application. Understanding these variations is essential to choosing the most suitable Meranti type for your project. 

Like any wood, the longevity and performance of Meranti can be improved with proper treatment and maintenance, such as using sealants or paints for outdoor applications.


Treating Meranti Wood

Treating the wood is essential to preserve its beauty and extend its lifespan. Different treatments are available for Meranti depending on the intended purpose and level of protection required.

The most common treatment for Meranti wood is to apply a wood preservative. A wood preservative, for example, Bis(tributyltin) oxide, is a chemical solution applied to the wood to protect it from rot, decay, and insect infestation. Using a good quality wood preservative formulated explicitly for hardwood is essential.

Before applying a wood preservative, the Meranti wood must be properly cleaned and seasoned. It’s essential to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may be on the wood surface. This can be done by washing the wood with clean water and leaving it to dry completely.

Once the wood is clean and dry, it’s time to apply the wood preservative. The preservative can be applied using a brush or spray. It’s important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when applying the preservative and to wear protective clothing and gloves.

After applying the wood preservative, it’s crucial to let the wood dry completely before moving on to the finishing stage. This could take a couple of days, depending on the weather conditions.


Finishing Meranti Wood

The finishing stage is where the natural beauty of the wood comes through. Several finishes are available for Meranti wood, including paints, stains, and varnishes. Choosing the right finish depends on the intended use of the timber and personal preferences.

Paints are a popular choice for Meranti wood because they offer high protection and are available in various colours. When using paints, it’s essential to use a primer coat first, followed by two or more coats of paint. This ensures the paint adheres well to the wood and provides maximum protection.

Stains are an excellent choice for preserving the natural beauty of Meranti. They are available in various colours that can enhance the wood's natural grain. Choosing a stain formulated explicitly for hardwood is essential, and applying it evenly with a brush or cloth is also necessary.

Varnishes are another popular choice for finishing Meranti wood. They provide a high level of protection and enhance the natural beauty of the wood. Varnishes come in different levels of glossiness, ranging from low sheen to high gloss.

Applying varnish is a multi-step process that involves sanding the wood, using a sealant, and then applying the varnish. It’s important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when applying varnish to ensure maximum protection and a beautiful finish.


High-quality Wood From Woodshop Direct

Meranti wood is a beautiful and durable hardwood that requires proper treatment and finishing to preserve its beauty for years. When treating Meranti wood, it’s essential to use a good quality wood preservative and to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

When finishing Meranti, several options are available, including paints, stains, and varnishes. Each finish has advantages depending on the intended use of the timber and personal preferences.

When properly treated and finished, Meranti wood can remain a beautiful and functional part of any woodworking project for many years. Take the time to properly care for your Meranti wood to ensure it remains in excellent condition and adds beauty to your home or office.