Is Rubberwood Strong? — Durability + Hardness Rating

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While Rubberwood is a popular and affordable option, you may still wonder about its durability and hardness. Rubberwood is often touted as an environmentally friendly alternative, but does that mean it’s as durable and strong as its counterparts? 

In this guide, I will discuss if rubberwood is strong enough to meet your needs and whether this furniture or flooring will last. 

Strength of Rubberwood

Rubberwood is a popular hardwood known for its high density and strength, making it a preferred choice for furniture and construction. Rubberwood possesses a considerable level of strength, particularly in terms of flexural and comprehensive strength.

Contrary to its name, Rubberwood isn’t pliable or stretchy but rather sturdy and robust. Additionally, Rubberwood is known for its user-friendly characteristics. To give you a better idea of its strength, here are some actual values for different factors:

cutting rubberwood tree

It’s important to note that the actual values of the Rubberwood strength can vary depending on the specific testing methods used. However, these values should give you a general idea of its strength in terms of the factors listed.

Is Rubberwood More Durable Compared To Other Wood Types?

Rubberwood is known for its high density and strength, which make it a durable option for furniture and construction. However, when it comes to comparing its durability to other wood types, it really depends on the specific type of wood being compared and the intended use.

For example, some hardwoods like oak or teak may be more resistant to scratches or wear and tear, while softwoods like pine or spruce may be more susceptible to damage. 

However, Rubberwood is considered to be a highly durable wood due to its excellent resistance to environmental factors and strength. While it may not be the hardest or strongest wood available, its strength is sufficient for making furniture for daily use. 

Additionally, it has a relatively low resistance to decay, which contributes to its longevity and durability as furniture.

milling rubberwood

Rubberwood’s structure, which consists of large pores and a straight grain pattern, makes it easier to apply stain and finish when compared to other types of wood that have higher levels of strength. 

So, with proper finishing and maintenance, Rubberwood is good for furniture and can last for decades without issue.

However, Rubberwood is unsuitable for outdoor use due to its tendency to absorb moisture, making it susceptible to rot and insects. As a result, I do not recommend it for use outdoors.

Despite this, Rubberwood is typically regarded as a long-lasting choice that is suitable for making furniture, and with adequate care and maintenance, it can remain in good condition for numerous years.

Is Rubberwood Durable When Used For Kitchen Cabinets?

Rubberwood is a durable and dense wood, which makes it a good choice for kitchen cabinets. Its impressive compressive strength enables it to withstand heavy loads without compromising its structural integrity.

I’ve installed quite a few rubberwood cabinets, and they’ve held up incredibly well.

rough cut Rubberwood

Rubberwood cabinets for kitchens possess not only strength but also aesthetic appeal, are dimensionally stable, take stain well, and are lightweight. Moreover, its ease of handling makes it a favored option among both furniture manufacturers and homeowners.

However, whether or not it is suitable for use in kitchen cabinets will depend on several factors, such as the specific conditions of your kitchen and your personal preferences. 

Considering the kitchen environment where cabinets may frequently encounter water and humidity, it is crucial to take into account the moderate moisture resistance of rubberwood.

In my experience, as long as you’re diligent about wiping up spills and not letting water sit, these cabinets can last you a long time. So, if you’re considering rubberwood for your kitchen cabinets, I’d say go for it—but be mindful of that moisture.

Is Rubberwood Durable When Used For Dining Tables?

Yes, Rubberwood is a durable option for dining tables. Its density, strength, and resistance to scratches and dents make it capable of withstanding the daily use and wear that a dining table typically experiences. 

bowl of fruits on rubberwood table top

Another advantage that I appreciate about rubberwood is its resistance to pests like termites. You know, wood tables naturally expand and contract over time, and rubberwood handles this movement like a champ due to its inherent elasticity.

Additionally, Rubberwood demonstrates remarkable resistance to dents and scratches, ensuring a long-lasting and durable dining table solution.

Is Rubberwood Prone To Scratching?

Due to its strength and density, Rubberwood is resistant to scratches. Its hardness level is comparable to that of teak wood, which means it can resist scratches without causing damage to the wood’s surface. 

As a matter of fact, Rubberwood’s exceptional scratch resistance has made it a preferred option for flooring materials. It can withstand foot traffic and even dog scratches without incurring any harm.

How Hard Is Rubberwood?

Rubberwood is a type of hardwood that possesses reasonable strength and longevity. When compared to numerous softwoods and certain hardwoods, Rubberwood has a greater hardness rating of 960 lbf (4,280 N) based on the Janka hardness scale. 

testing wood stain on rubberwood

The test by Janka Hardness is a widely accepted method that assesses a wood’s resistance to wear and tear. If the wood has a high Janka hardness rating, it indicates that it has a high level of wear and tear resistance.

To give you a better idea of how Rubberwood compares to other popular wood types, here is a table comparing their Janka hardness ratings:

Wood Type Janka Hardness Rating (lbf)
Balsa Wood  67 lbf (300 N)
Red Cedar  350 lbf (1,557 N)
White Cedar  320 lbf (1,423 N)
Sugar Pine  380 lbf (1,690 N)
Engelmann Spruce  390 lbf (1,735 N)
Redwood  420 lbf (1,868 N)
Silver Maple  700 lbf (3,100 N)
Douglas Fir  710 lbf (3,158 N)
Red Maple  950 lbf (4,200 N)
Black Cherry, Imbuia  950 lbf (4,200 N)
Rubberwood  960 lbf (4,280 N)
Cherry  995 lbf (4,430 N)
Black Walnut, North American Walnut  1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Teak  1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
Yellow Birch / Baltic birch  1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
Red Oak (Northern)  1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
American Beech  1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
Ash (White)  1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
White Oak  1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Hard Maple, Sugar Maple  1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood  1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Golden Teak  2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba  2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
Red Mahogany, Turpentine  2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
Brazilian Walnut  3,684 lbf (16,390 N)

Compared to Pine, Is Rubberwood Stronger?

When it comes to comparing Rubberwood and Pine, Pine is generally considered to be stronger. 

Pine timber

Yellow and white pine has a higher Janka hardness rating and is known for its exceptional resistance to force. Despite being classified as softwood, Pine’s strength can often match that of hardwoods such as Rubberwood.

To further illustrate the comparison between Rubberwood and Pine, here is a table of their compressive strengths:

Wood TypeCompressive Strength (psi)
White Pine4,800 psi
Yellow Pine8,470 psi
Rubberwood4685 psi

Compared to Oak, Is Rubberwood Stronger?

When it comes to strength, Rubberwood is not as strong as Oak. Both white oak and red oak [1] kinds of wood are harder and denser than Rubberwood, making them a more durable option for furniture.

red oak

To better compare the strength of these two kinds of wood, refer to the table below for their compressive strengths.

Wood SpeciesCompressive Strength (psi)
Red Oak6,760
White Oak7,440

Compared to MDF, Is Rubberwood Stronger?

Indeed, Rubberwood is more robust than MDF. MDF is a composite wood material made by bonding small wood fibers with resin or glue, while Rubberwood is a natural hardwood.

MDF board

Rubberwood is denser and harder than MDF and can withstand more pressure and force without warping or cracking.

Conversely, MDF has weak flexural strength and is prone to splitting when subjected to pressure or harsh weather. Consequently, when it comes to woodworking projects that require strength and durability, Rubberwood is a superior alternative.

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Rubberwood is a strong and durable material with an impressive hardness rating, making it a reliable choice for various applications, such as furniture and flooring. 

Its resilience to scratches and dents, coupled with its inherent stability, ensures long-lasting performance and aesthetics. While it may not be as strong as oak, I’d say that it’s still an excellent option for those seeking a reliable and sustainable wood option. 

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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