Red Balau may well be the best kept secret among tropical decking enthusiasts (see Part 1). Not only is it nearly as hard and durable as industry-wide favorites like Ipe and Cumaru, but its appearance is even more consistent! With the same reddish-brown coloring as other tropical decking lumber species, this gem from Indonesia is definitely worth a look. As an Importer of Record, J. Gibson McIlvain ensures the Red Balau we carry has been sourced from mills dedicated to legal and sustainable harvesting as well as to consistent quality, coloring, and availability. Once you place your Red Balau order, you’ll be well on your way to building a beautiful Red Balau deck! But once the time comes for you to do the installation, this species does demand a few careful considerations.
Upon Arrival of Your Boards
When your Red Balau decking first arrives, be sure to place them in a shady area, where the boards can remain dry for an acclimatization period. (This period can range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how much your geographic region differs in humidity & temperature from our lumber yard. If you’re not sure how much time to allocate, make certain to ask us!) Once the boards have had time to come into equilibrium with their local environment, you’ll want to seal the ends of any freshly cut boards. (If you’d like to have the end sealer we recommend delivered along with your Red Balau decking boards, be sure to let us know!)
Before Beginning Installation of Your Deck
While Red Balau is not as dense as Cumaru or Ipe, it is still a fairly dense species, so pre-drilling screw holes can still save you a lot of time and frustration. To prevent any splitting, be sure to keep your pilot holes at least ¾” from each end. As you plan, be sure to allow 12-18” clearance below the deck surface (for a ground-level deck) in order to allow for proper ventilation; if you fail to do so, you may be “rewarded” with cracking, buckling, or cupping boards. Like any other hard, dense tropical decking species, Red Balau requires use of high-quality deck screws, which will have either star or square drive heads; if you use lesser quality screws, you should expect them to snap during installation. Planning for the right size gap is also important with Red Balau, as it is for any species.
After Installation of Your Deck
You realize that like any species of decking lumber, your Red Balau decking boards aren’t yet finished, right? The term “no-maintenance decking lumber” can also be a misnomer; without finishing, over time your beautiful rich reddish brown Red Balau deck will fade to a silvery gray. If you want to keep that from happening, we highly recommend applying deck oil to each side of each board, immediately after installation and at regular intervals throughout the lifetime of your deck.
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J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.