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The Pros and Cons of Using Meranti Wood in Your Projects

Tips & Guides Timber Knowledge
18 July 2023 min read

The Pros and Cons of Using Meranti Wood in Your Projects

We've all experienced the disheartening scenario of sinking our resources into a beautiful piece, only to find it doesn't hold up over time. Take, for example, the wrong type of wood for flooring in a high-traffic area—it could be the unsightly scuff marks that suddenly appear or warping from high humidity levels. 

Imagine having guests over or important business meetings, and the first thing they notice is your chipped, faded, or warped flooring.

Thankfully, there is a wood known for its versatility, durability, and aesthetic appeal:

Meranti wood.

This article will explore the benefits and drawbacks of using Meranti wood in your woodworking projects.


What is Meranti Wood?

Meranti is a tropical hardwood originating from the Southeast Asian region, specifically from the shorea genus of trees. It is a group of species commonly used to produce high-quality and durable wood products.

Meranti wood is available in various grades and types. The grades are based on the timber's quality, appearance, and intended use.


Pros of Using Meranti Wood

If you are considering using Meranti wood for your next project, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons to make an informed decision. 


1. Aesthetic Appeal

Meranti wood comes in different colours and tones, making it an excellent option if you are looking for a visually appealing wood type. It has a beautiful grain pattern, and its texture adds depth and dimension to any project.


2. Durability

Meranti is known for its long-lasting qualities. Its good pest and decay resistance make it ideal for outdoor projects like decking, siding, and pergolas. To sum up, Meranti wood can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.


3. Versatility

Meranti is easy to work with and can be used in various projects. It’s commonly used in furniture making, flooring, cabinets, and decorative panels. Also, its versatility makes it a popular choice for DIY projects.


4. Cost-effective

Meranti is an affordable option compared to other types of hardwood. It’s cost-effective, making it an excellent choice for projects on a budget.


Cons of Using Meranti Wood

1. Sustainability concerns

The growing demand for Meranti wood has led to unsustainable forestry practices, which can harm the environment. This is why it’s important to ensure that the Meranti wood you purchase is from a sustainable source.


2. High moisture content

Meranti has a high moisture content, which makes it prone to warping and cracking if not properly dried and treated. This can be an issue for projects that require precise measurements and stability.


3. Uneven colouring

The colour of the wood can vary from one board to another, which can be an issue if you are looking for a consistent shade for your project. However, this can also lend unique character and charm to the finished product.


4. Limited availability

Meranti wood is primarily found in Southeast Asia, which can make it difficult to source in other regions. This can lead to limited availability, impacting your project's cost and timely completion. Ensure the supplier you buy your wood from has sufficient stock before starting your project.


Tips for Choosing Meranti Wood

If you opt to use Meranti wood for your woodworking project, you'll want to take note of a few critical pointers to ensure you're selecting the highest quality Meranti available:


1. Check for sustainability certification

The first step when choosing Meranti is to look for a sustainability certification from a reputable body, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). This certification assures that the wood has been responsibly sourced and harvested, contributing to the global drive towards sustainable forestry.


2. Inspect the boards

Before purchasing, thoroughly inspect each board for potential flaws. Look out for splits, knots, or warping that could affect the quality of your project. The colour of Meranti wood should also be consistent across the board. An uneven colour could indicate that the wood was not properly seasoned or comes from a less desirable part of the tree.


3. Use dry wood

When selecting Meranti, ensure the wood is adequately dry. The moisture content of the wood should be below 20%. High moisture content can lead to issues like warping, cupping, or splitting, especially in indoor projects. Consider using a moisture meter to verify the dryness of the wood before purchase.


4. Choose the right grade

Meranti comes in several grades, each suitable for different projects. High-grade Meranti is typically more durable and has a more uniform colour, making it perfect for high-quality furniture and decorative elements. Mid-grade Meranti is often more cost-effective and is suitable for general construction purposes. So, be sure to choose a grade that aligns with your project needs and budget.


5. Understand the variations

Meranti isn't a single type of wood but a family of species with different characteristics. For example, dark red Meranti is highly durable and preferred for exterior applications. 

At the same time, light red Meranti is less resistant to decay but more affordable, making it suitable for indoor furniture. 

By understanding the variations, you can make a more informed decision about the right Meranti for your project.


6. Work with a reputable supplier

Finally, always source your Meranti from a reputable supplier who can provide sound advice and quality materials. They should be knowledgeable about their products and able to provide you with details about the wood's source, grade, and characteristics. This ensures you get the best wood for your project and the best advice and service to help you accomplish your woodworking goals.


High-quality Wood From Woodshop Direct

Meranti wood is a versatile and durable choice for various projects. Its attractive appearance, affordability, and suitability for multiple applications make it an excellent option in wood selection. However, carefully considering its limitations is essential to ensure your project succeeds.

When choosing quality Meranti wood, select the suitable grade, ensure it comes from sustainable sources, and select dry boards free from defects. Put these measures in place, and you will have a beautiful, long-lasting, sustainable product.