Iroko, often known as "African teak" or "Kambala," is a strong West African hardwood characterized as "poor man's teak." It possesses qualities comparable to steel, such as strength, hardness, and resistance. While iroko is less flexible than teak, this characteristic can be disregarded in most outdoor applications. Iroko's dark color makes it suitable for use on exterior buildings.
There are three main types of iroko: black, white, and red. Each type has its own characteristics that make them suitable for different applications. Black iroko is popular because of its high density and hardness. White iroko is more flexible than black iroko and has a higher-quality grain pattern. Red iroko is rare but highly valued because of its attractive rose color. Unlike other irokos, red iroko should not be used outside because of its susceptibility to weathering effects such as rain, snow, and wind.
Black iroko grows up to 20 feet tall with a trunk diameter of about 6 inches. The wood is heavy for its size, with a density of around 1,500 pounds per cubic foot. Black iroko has excellent resistance to insect attack and fungal disease. Because of its hardness, black iroko is commonly used for furniture making, tool handles, and baseball bats.
White iroko grows up to 30 feet tall with a trunk diameter of about 12 inches.
Iroko wood, also known as African Teak, is another extremely hard-wearing and long-lasting wood. Iroko, which is ideal for usage in worktops, is often derived from Africa's east and west coastlines. This wood, like teak, has a rather uneven grain and a coarse feel that distinguishes it. Iroko can be bought ready-mixed or cut into boards by a timber merchant.
The advantage of using iroko instead of teak is its much lower cost. A worktop made from iroko will not only last for many years, but also require very little maintenance. It is resistant to most chemicals and insects, and won't warp or split even under extreme conditions. Although not as beautiful as teak, iroko worktops are still suitable for most applications.
There are several different types of iroko with varying colors and textures. Because they are harvested when young, iroko woods tend to be quite dense, so they are usually heavier than teak. They are also harder than teak, so tools should be used carefully when working with this material. Unlike teak, which tends to come in single varieties, iroko comes in multiple colors, making it more versatile for use as decorative elements in your kitchen or dining room. There are also various stains and finishes available for iroko, so you can customize its look to match your home decor.
Iroko wood is frequently recommended as a Teak substitute, however caution should be exercised because it is not related to Teak. Iroko wood lumber, often known as African teak lumber, is a solid African hardwood with real teak qualities. It is lighter in color than teak and has a golden brown finish. Iroko's high resistance to insects and rot make it a good choice for outdoor furniture.
Teak trees grow in tropical climates and are widely used for outdoor furniture because of their durable nature. They have a distinct light and dark coloration and a tight grain that makes them very resistant to insects and rot. Although Teak will grow in lower temperatures, it does not do well when the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key difference between Iroko and Teak is that Teak is highly susceptible to fungi and bacteria, while Iroko is not. This is why you should never use your regular home appliances on your Teak furniture. The wood will deteriorate very quickly if it gets wet or exposed to direct sunlight. You should always protect your Teak furniture by using outdoor cushions or blankets when sitting on the patio, in the yard, or by the pool.
If you want to learn more about Iroko wood species, health benefits of Teak wood, or other types of wood, keep reading.