Meranti Wood Disadvantages — Is it Resistant to Warping?

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While Meranti wood is indeed a fantastic choice for creating beautiful pieces of furniture, as well as doors, windows, and flooring, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of its potential drawbacks.

If you want to learn more about the intricacies of Meranti wood, let me provide you with all the necessary information to help you make an informed decision about this widely used hardwood. 

Advantages of Meranti Wood

Meranti wood is perfectly suited for a variety of woodworking projects. Here’s a list of its advantages in woodworking:

Despite all of these great qualities, Meranti has some significant disadvantages as well that could change the course of your project.

Advantages of Meranti Wood

Drawbacks Of Meranti Wood

Before incorporating Meranti wood into your upcoming woodworking endeavors, it is crucial to carefully weigh the potential drawbacks associated with this material.

1. Expensive Wood

The distinct characteristics of Meranti wood, such as its rarity and the eye-catching deep red hue with purple undertones present in the hardwood, make it an attractive choice for contemporary home designs.

Its limited availability, coupled with unique features and striking aesthetics, leads to a higher price tag, placing it in a more premium category compared to other soft hardwoods like Poplar and Maple, which boast comparable attributes.

Choosing Meranti wood for your projects is not only about the material’s physical properties but also about the investment in a luxurious and refined appearance.

Incorporating this exquisite wood into your home’s design can elevate the overall atmosphere, imbuing it with an air of sophistication and elegance.

Expensive wood

The richness of Meranti’s coloration and grain patterns lends itself to creating stunning focal points in your living space, transforming ordinary furnishings and architectural elements into captivating conversation pieces.

In essence, selecting Meranti wood for your projects signifies a commitment to achieving an elevated aesthetic that leaves a lasting impression on both residents and visitors alike.

2. Hard To Distinguish

With over 200 species of Meranti wood, it can be difficult to identify which one is best for your projects, which is one of the disadvantages of Meranti wood. Fortunately, there are five primary types:

Although they may vary in coloration slightly, the properties among these varieties remain similar, making differentiation challenging even for experienced professionals!

Different types of meranti wood

If you’re looking to acquire some meranti but are uncertain as to the type needed, reach out to a local store expert who could assist with choosing appropriately without buying blindly.

Here are the key variations in color and hardness between the aforementioned Meranti wood species:

Meranti Wood Species




Pale straw to Dark Reddish

1,600 lbf

White Meranti

Pale Yellowish orange

1,050 lbf

Light Red Meranti

Pale straw to Dark Reddish

550 lbf

Yellow Meranti

Yellow to Yellow brown

700 lbf

Dark Red Meranti

Dark reddish / Purplish Brown

800 lbf

As you see, they essentially share the same appearance. Balau is the hardiest variety of Meranti wood, whilst pale red Meranti is the softest.

3. Regular Maintenance Needed

Meranti wood’s relatively low Janka hardness rating of 800 lbf makes it inherently softer and less dense than some other hardwoods, which leads to increased vulnerability to environmental changes and moisture exposure. 

maintenance of meranti wood

Nonetheless, these challenges can be effectively countered by administering a reliable finishing coat, thus safeguarding the wood’s durability and extending its lifespan. 

In order to maintain the robustness of Meranti wood, consistently reapply a sealant or wood finish every year. This proactive approach ensures that the wood remains in prime condition, preserving its strength and appearance over time.

This routine maintenance provides crucial protection against moisture, humidity, and UV light [1], all of which can be detrimental to the wood’s structural integrity and appearance. 

Additionally, regular surface cleaning helps to remove any accumulated dust and debris, preventing the wood’s visual appeal from being marred over time.

It is important to note that leaving Meranti wood untreated exposes it to rapid decay, making it ill-suited for outdoor applications without adequate protection. 

Meranti exposure

By adhering to these care and maintenance recommendations, you can effectively preserve both the aesthetic and functional qualities of your Meranti wood installations, ensuring they remain a valuable and attractive component of your living space for years to come.

4. Not Weather Resistance

The inherent sensitivity of Meranti wood to temperature shifts, varying climate conditions, and extreme weather events leaves it prone to undesirable outcomes such as cracking and peeling.

Nevertheless, the application of sealants, particularly in arid environments, can serve as an effective defense against these problems, helping to prevent the wood from splitting and fracturing.

The thermal expansion of Meranti wood can exert considerable stress on its fibers, rendering them more vulnerable to the detrimental effects of humidity.

This heightened sensitivity makes Meranti a less-than-ideal choice for outdoor applications like fencing, where it would be directly exposed to the elements.

Not Weather Resistance

To ensure that your valuable Meranti wood remains protected from harsh environmental factors, it’s advisable applying top-quality lacquers, varnishes, or finishing oils.

These treatments create a moisture-resistant barrier, which aids in preventing rot and decay while simultaneously extending the lifespan of your wooden creations.

By diligently maintaining this protective coating, you can enjoy the beauty and functionality of your Meranti wood pieces, whether they’re used for indoor furniture or outdoor decorative accents, for years to come.

5. Poor Durability & Strength

Meranti wood’s softer and less dense composition renders it more susceptible to pressure and compression, limiting its suitability for large-scale projects or those requiring substantial load-bearing capacity.

In comparison to the impressive compressive strengths exhibited by woods like Oak and Birch, Meranti lags with a modest 4,710 psi.

Furthermore, even with diligent maintenance and a durability rating of 3-4, its lifespan typically does not extend beyond a decade.

Poor Durability & Strength

However, there is a ray of hope for this wood species. By combining Meranti wood with wood preservatives, its durability can be effectively enhanced, providing a more robust defense against the elements and potential damage.

This treatment fortifies the wood, increasing its resistance to factors such as moisture, decay, and insect infestation.

As a result, the wood’s lifespan and overall performance can be significantly improved, making it a more viable option for a wider range of applications, provided that the necessary protective measures are implemented and maintained.

6. Prone To Insect Attacks

Be vigilant when it comes to insects and Meranti wood, as these pesky creatures find it an ideal environment for feeding and laying their eggs, which can lead to extensive damage and compromised structural integrity.

However, there’s no need for despair – with proper care, you can still enjoy the beauty and functionality of your Meranti creations.

prone to insects

To defend against insect infestations, it is crucial to treat the wood with a dependable sealant or finisher, creating a protective barrier that deters these unwanted guests.

Oil finishes, such as tung, teak, and Danish oil, provide an effective and eco-friendly solution for safeguarding your precious Meranti wood from the ravages of insect invasions.

These natural oils not only offer reliable protection but also enhance the wood’s appearance by adding a lustrous sheen and emphasizing the depth and richness of its grain patterns.

By incorporating these protective measures into your regular maintenance routine, you can ensure the longevity and lasting appeal of your Meranti wood projects while simultaneously preserving their structural integrity and resilience against the threat of insect damage.

Is Meranti Wood Ideal for Outdoor Use?

Unlock the full potential of Meranti wood for your outdoor projects by treating it with a high-quality sealant or finisher.

Once properly protected, this hardwood gains enhanced resistance to moisture, sunlight, and extreme weather conditions, ensuring long-lasting durability for your luxurious outdoor creations.

Meranti for outdoor

Picture yourself enjoying comfortable patio furniture, admiring the elegance of custom-made windows, or walking on sophisticated flooring that elevates your outdoor living space.

It is worth noting, however, that due to its susceptibility to certain environmental factors, Meranti may not be the ideal choice for fencing or other applications exposed to constant wear and tear.

To fully appreciate the beauty and functionality of your Meranti wood installations, it is essential to remain committed to regular maintenance and upkeep of its protective coating.

By doing so, you can ensure that your outdoor Meranti masterpieces retain their splendor for many years to come, providing you with a space that truly reflects your style and taste.

Is this Wood Sustainable?

Meranti wood serves as an eco-friendly ally in the fight against climate change thanks to its remarkable ability to sequester carbon and balance emissions.

This tropical hardwood helps maintain a healthy ecosystem by actively contributing to carbon storage while simultaneously supporting biodiversity in its native habitat.

Is this Wood Sustainable

However, to truly harness Meranti wood’s environmental benefits, it is crucial to practice responsible forestry and sustainable harvesting methods.

Ethical management of the tropical forests where Meranti thrives ensures that these invaluable ecosystems remain intact and can continue to provide essential ecological services, such as carbon sequestration and habitat preservation for numerous species.

In addition, the mindful use of Meranti wood in construction and manufacturing projects is key to minimizing waste and promoting sustainability.

Choosing to use certified, sustainably-harvested Meranti is a step towards conserving invaluable natural resources and fostering a more sustainable planet. By maximizing its usage responsibly, it plays a part in safeguarding the environment for future generations. 

Together, through mindful decisions and collective action, harnessing the true potential of this tropical treasure is possible, contributing significantly to the well-being and longevity of our world.

Meranti toxic

Is Meranti Lumber Toxic?

Despite Meranti wood’s disadvantages, it’s an incredibly versatile material, ideal for a wide range of indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.

However, it is essential to take appropriate safety precautions when working with this remarkable lumber, as it may irritate your eyes, skin, or respiratory system.

To minimize the risk of irritation and ensure a comfortable and safe woodworking experience, be sure to equip yourself with the necessary personal protective equipment, such as goggles and latex gloves.

This will help shield your eyes and skin from any potentially harmful particles or allergens. Additionally, maintaining proper dust control is crucial to protecting your respiratory health.

Invest in an efficient dust extraction system, and always work in a well-ventilated area to reduce the concentration of airborne particles.

This will not only create a cleaner work environment but also make breathing easier as you craft your masterpiece.

safety goggles

By adhering to these safety measures, you can enjoy the full potential of Meranti wood, creating stunning projects while preserving your health and well-being.

Embrace the incredible versatility of Meranti, and let your creativity soar in a safe and comfortable woodworking environment.

Is this Wood Water Resistant?

Meranti wood’s inherent susceptibility to water damage can be readily overcome by taking the necessary preventative measures. The key to fortifying this versatile hardwood against moisture-related issues lies in the application of a high-quality sealant or finish.

This crucial step not only extends the wood’s lifespan but also establishes a robust barrier that effectively shields it from water damage.

The proper application of a water-resistant finish, such as marine-grade varnish or polyurethane, can dramatically enhance the performance of Meranti wood in damp or humid environments.

water resistant meranti

This crucial protection helps to prevent the absorption of moisture, thereby reducing the risk of warping, swelling, or decay.

By diligently applying and maintaining a protective sealant on your Meranti wood projects, you can ensure their longevity, structural integrity, and aesthetic appeal, even in challenging environmental conditions.

This straightforward yet essential process allows you to harness the full potential of Meranti wood while safeguarding it from the detrimental effects of moisture.

Is Meranti Wood Prone to Rotting?

Meranti wood, while versatile and visually appealing, is susceptible to rot when exposed to moisture. To effectively safeguard this hardwood, it is vital to apply a suitable sealer or finisher that provides a robust barrier against water penetration.

High-quality finishes, such as marine-grade varnish or polyurethane, will help preserve the wood’s integrity and prevent the onset of rot. If rot has already taken hold of your Meranti wood, fear not, as remedial actions can be taken to restore its beauty and strength.

meranti wood prone to rotting


Begin by carefully removing the affected areas using a chisel, scraper, or saw, ensuring that all decayed and compromised material is eliminated.

Once the damaged sections have been removed, treat the remaining healthy wood with a fungicide or wood preservative to inhibit the growth of fungi and other decay-causing organisms.

After the treatment has been applied and the wood is thoroughly dried, fill any voids or cavities with a high-quality wood filler or epoxy resin.

Sand the repaired areas smoothly and apply a high-quality sealant or finish to the entire piece to create a uniform appearance and provide long-lasting protection against future moisture damage.

By addressing existing rot and taking preventative measures to shield your Meranti wood from moisture, you can ensure the lasting beauty and structural integrity of your woodworking projects.

addressing existing rot


How long can Meranti wood last?

Meranti wood can last up to many, many years with the proper treatment and care, as well as with the right finish.

How do you maintain Meranti wood?

You can maintain your Meranti wood by using a solvent-based oil that won’t go hard once dried. This will allow the wood to move with changing temperatures while penetrating deep inside to form an inner layer of protection for lasting security.

Is Meranti better than Mahogany?

Mahogany wood is better than Meranti in terms of durability, stability, and being robust.

Next Reads:


Meranti wood stands out as an excellent option for numerous DIY ventures, though it brings along specific challenges that require attention. 

Nevertheless, by adopting apt sealing and finishing practices, one can effectively mitigate the shortcomings associated with Meranti wood, leveraging its strengths for optimal project outcomes.

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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