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Why choose an exotic wood?

Why choose an exotic wood?

Stéphanie Landry Poirier

Reading time: Written by Stéphanie Landry Poirier on March 2, 2020

Exotic woods have incredibly high contrast and colorful appearances and are appreciated for their hardness and durability. Generally, the most popular exotic woods are from Africa, South America or Asia.

Though exotic woods are durable and resistant, they are very sensitive to changes in their climate. Floors and other wood furniture can have noticeable changes since a variable climate and humidity rates are a normal part of North American weather. While these characteristics can create some challenges, it also creates a warm, unique and personalized piece of furniture  or flooring. And for that reason, consumers are drawn to these woods.

Among the most popular species are the IPÉ, Jatoba, Acacia, Tigerwood, Bamboo, Teck, Walnut and Ebony. The IPE, also known as Iron wood is one of the hardest wood in the world. In addition, to being water and humidity proof, it is also mold resistant, making it a great choice for any outdoor construction.

If you want to compare the hardness of one wood to another, you can refer to the Janka scale. The testing method is simple. By using a steel ball, the necessary force to drive half the ball (11.284mm), into the wood is measured in pounds-force (lbf ). The higher the number, the harder the wood.

If you look for an entry level exotic wood, walnut is a great choice. It procures a superior resistance, compared to a traditional wood, as well as being an affordable solution.

Before buying, make sure you are well informed. To avoid the wood making too much of a drastic change, it is recommended to buy a dried wood with 6 to 8% of humidity rate. An informed seller will be able to confirm this information without a doubt.

Also, some pieces are not full exotic wood planks but laminated with exotic wood and the inside of the plank is made of another material. This technique reduces the price and is more likely to retain the original appearance and structure of the piece, regardless of the environment.

If you opt for this type of material for your floor, you need to know that just like any regular wood specie, you can sand and refinish with a varnish to protect it from scratches.

In short, whether it is for a table, a floor or outdoor construction, exotic wood is greatly appreciated for not just its beautiful appearance, but also being robust, scratch resistant and reliable protection against harsh weather.