Exotic hardwoods: merbau
Merbau is the common name for wood from the tree species known as Intsia bijuga, which grows in the Indo-Pacific in nations such as Madagascar, Tanzania, Samoa, India and Australia – particularly in the Queensland region. Common names for the tree and the wood it produces also include ipil, kwila and taal, though the last name is generally only used in certain portions of the Philippines.
Although the leaves and bark of this species can be used in traditional herbal medicinal preparations, the timber of the tree is one of its most significant products. As merbau wood is naturally resistant to termites and is extremely durable it is in high demand as a flooring material. In fact, merbau has a Janka hardness rating of 1925, which makes it nearly 50% harder than the type of wood generally used as a comparison standard, red oak.
Purely functional considerations, however, are far from the only reason to choose merbau for your new hardwood floor. Many homeowners are also drawn to the wood for purely aesthetic considerations: planks made from merbau exhibit a distinct golden flecking scattered throughout the grain, giving it a warm and luxurious feel quite apart from more conventional types of hardwood.
Unfortunately, the high demand for merbau has led to it becoming an endangered species in some parts of Southeast Asia; in other places where it used to grow, it is all but extinct.
Like all hardwood floors, those made of merbau will need floor sanding services on a periodic basis.