Should You Go Tropical With Your Timber Cladding Choice?

In the UK we use a lot of native European timber, sourced from nearby countries. Oak, ash and pine, for example, are all regionally found and widely used. But this leaves a huge section of the market, namely tropical timber, largely untapped. These specialist timbers are found in rainforests overseas, and could be exactly what you are looking for to elevate your project to the next level.

What Is Tropical Timber?

Tropical timber comes from rainforests around the globe, for example the Amazon. In fact many of the best species for external projects are usually tropical: Ekki, Balau, Ipe, Cumaru, etc. At EcoChoice, we have a wide range of tropical timbers, a lot of which are not as commonly used in the UK, including:

So, why choose these over the more familiar species of  timber?

Durable and Good Resistance

Tropical timbers are known for being of a high quality. They are durable, strong and tend to last a long time. Cumaru is a great example of this. It is a superbly durable variety of timber, which has made it popular for use both in and outside the home: from decking and cladding to tables, chairs and floorboards. 

Tropical timbers also tend to have good natural resistance to insects, rot and fungi infestations. This adds to their durability and makes them appropriate for a wider range of uses, lasting much longer than non-durable timbers such as Pine or Spruce.

Aesthetically Beautiful and Unique

Aside from practicalities, tropical timber is well-known for its exceptional beauty. In unique shades ranging from light red with veins of deep, chocolatey brown to orange-tinged yellows reminiscent of exotic sunsets, and with incredible grains which add plenty of texture, tropical timber is simply unrivalled in appearance. There must be something in the soil of rainforests that creates truly magnificent trees.

Tropical Timber Is Ideal For Cladding

Tropical species are a great choice for cladding. These timbers show great durability in the elements and look amazing. They hold up well in varying climates, can handle plenty of rain and are fairly easy to maintain. They also have visual appeal, with unique colours and textures bringing your building to life. However, because of their higher density, more thought needs to be given to fixing, with higher quality screws and sturdy battens beneath.

Sustainable Tropical Timber Can Help the Rainforests

You might be thinking that as an eco-friendly timber supplier, why would we be encouraging the use of wood from rainforests? These vast areas of biodiverse land are under attack from human construction and farming, so you are right to be hesitant. But by choosing sustainable timber from rainforests, you could actually help to conserve them.

When an area of rainforest is responsibly managed for the sourcing of tropical timber, it is effectively protected. As a native forest, for every tree taken, several are left undisturbed – unlike the clear-cut model of pine forests in Scandinavia. Some patches may even be left entirely alone to promote the conservation of wild animals and plant life living there, ensuring they have a home whilst we have some timber. While these areas are sustainably managed under FSC standards, they cannot be burnt down or wiped out for other purposes by less ethical companies, helping us keep our natural landscape intact for future generations.

Build Sustainably With EcoChoice

When choosing your timber – tropical or native – you can make a choice to promote sustainability by opting for eco-friendly timber. In other words, you can make the EcoChoice! If you need help choosing the right species for your project, reach out to our team today, and we can help.

Image: Teo Tarras /

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