Light blonde timbers are popular Australia-wide to complete the Scandinavian look, or Coastal beach feel in modern architectural housing designs.  Australian Blackbutt timber is a fashionable choice for these architectural styles, and unfortunately, there is a chronic shortage of this timber.  The reasons are many and not only due to excessive demand.

For one thing, Blackbutt timber only grows in limited areas of Australia – parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales – and then it is affected by these other factors:

  • With the Queensland plantations, the industry attributes the shortages to flawed legislation, which is affecting their ability to meet demands due to Government requirements to reach carbon reduction objectives.  Queensland farmers also blame vegetation management laws for their inability to convert their grazing land for plantation use.
  • In New South Wales, the reduction in the ability to meet supply is attributed to taking potential plantation lands to provide for new national parks and conservation nature reserves.
  • Add to this extended rain periods, which have prevented log retrieval of feedstock for drying, and decking feedstock being used for internal flooring products such as T&G End Matched flooring as they have a higher recovery, representing a better return on investment for sawmills.
  • And then, obviously, the increased building activity with colour trends of a white/grey palette, thus requiring the lighter coloured features of Blackbutt timber, puts it top of the list.

What is Blackbutt Wood, and What Are its Advantages? 

Eucalyptus Pilularis, aka Blackbutt, is native to Australia, and while it is not the only light-coloured wood available, the other options can’t boast the same qualities of Blackbutt and thus can’t be considered equal.   

Blackbutt timber is characterised by its straight grain, and as it accepts oils and polishes very well, it is considered an easy timber to maintain.

Despite its unusual name, the colour of this blonde timber varies from light brown hues to golden yellow. It gets its name from the blackened base on the trunk of the trees that is caused from bushfires or controlled burns.  Fortunately, it grows quickly and in bushfire areas, which makes it a popular choice for plantations. 

Another very important reason for its popularity is that a Blackbutt decking has a very good fire rating, up to and including BAL 29.  In fact, it is one of the seven timber types considered suitable for bushfire zones by the Victorian Building Authority.

Another benefit is it is termite resistant, and in a country where termites are troublesome pests, this adds value to Blackbutt timber as a building material.

Blackbutt is a hardwood timber variety that is strong, durable, and proven ideal for decks, flooring, and structures like power poles, among other uses.

Photo Credit: Timber Floors

Sounds Too Good to be True!  Does it Have any Disadvantages?

Well, yes, because nothing is ever really 100% perfect, and even this most blessed of timbers has its share of cons. 

It has a high tannin content and may leech when it becomes wet.  It also has a tendency to surface check and split.  While surface checking does not generally present a structural problem, splits or cracks can be larger and can therefore be more serious. 

It is also supplied in random lengths, which in itself is not a problem unless your project demands boards of equal length.  

Image Source: Narangba Timbers

For installers, another issue with Blackbutt is it can have an adverse reaction to adhesives.  Seems where Blackbutt meets bonding agents, it can develop unsightly stains in the area.  Word has it; Blackbutt also doesn’t react well with paints, and surface cracking is a risk.  Mind you, with such beautiful wood, why would you paint it? Oils, polishes and varnishes are all this timber requires.

Blackbutt Decking

As you’d expect, just like the timber itself, natural Blackbutt decking has its’ pros and cons. That’s why it’s important to do your research, so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it’s for you.

That being said, the pros seem to outweigh the cons, as it is a very popular choice of timber.

Where to Buy Blackbutt Timber?

Now you know why Blackbutt is so popular and why it is currently hard to come by.  So, what can you do if this is the only timber you will consider for your architectural masterpiece and you can’t get it? You’ll still want something that can match its famous qualities and perfect colouring.

You’ll be glad you read this blog because we are the bringers of good news. Newtechwood has just introduced a new colour to its Australian composite decking range, and it is… Blackbutt.

Blackbutt Composite decking

NewTechWood’s composite Blackbutt timber decking is available in the US49 Terrace range, which comes in 5.4m lengths, and can be used on either side face up depending on the timber styling that best suits your fancy. 

With a fire rating of up to and including BAL 29, and proven strength, durability and longevity, composite Blackbutt wood holds its own with natural Blackbutt.  NewTechWood is also termite resistant, but an unexpected advantage NewTechWood has over natural Blackbutt timber is that NewTechWood deck boards never need oiling, varnishing sealing or painting.  Plus, you get the security of a 25-year warranty.

The fact that NewTechWood’s composite Blackbutt timber deck boards are manufactured using recycled timber and plastic products also means natural forests are not savaged, and the challenges of existing plantations is irrelevant.  So, if you care about the environment, using NewTechWood will help you sleep easily at night.

NewTechWood’s composite Blackbutt timber decking is available in most Australian states and territories, including WA, NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. For pricing on NewTechWood’s full decking colour range, please contact your local supplier.

Want more information?  Feel free to contact our friendly team.

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