keruing wood

What Is Keruing?

Have you ever heard of Keruing? If not, you're not alone. It's one of the hardwood world's best-kept secrets. But that's changing fast.

Also known as Apitong, Keruing is gaining popularity thanks to its strength, versatility, and sustainability. It’s being used for everything from plywoods to eco-friendly decking. If you’re searching for the perfect timber type for your project, don’t pass up Keruing.

Here’s everything you need to know before choosing Keruing…

What Is Keruing?

So, what is Keruing? Not everybody is a wood aficionado, but it is important to select the correct wood type for your projects. Keruing timber is one type of wood that’s worth considering.

‘Keruing’ is a collective term that refers to multiple species within the Dipterocarpus genus. This tree species originates in Southeast Asia, in beautiful, hot and humid countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Keruing tree itself can grow to be enormous, reaching heights of up to 150 feet tall. Which is great news for big projects. The wood's colour range is reddish-brown to light brown and it has varying grain patterns (straight, interlocked, wavy). This makes it compatible with finishing jobs and projects where you’ll be leaving the wood on display.

Keruing generally compares with teak in most strength categories, and it’s about 40% more resistant to shock loads. So, not only does it look good, but it’s also strong enough for most builds.

Common Uses of Keruing

What is Keruing ideal for? This type of wood is a solid option because of its all-round high performance. 

For durability, Keruing's resistance to decay, insects, and weathering is hugely useful. If you’re looking for timber that can hold its own against harsh weather conditions and bugs, Keruing is a great choice.

When it comes to strength, Keruing boasts a high bending strength and stiffness, making it ideal for structural applications. Pair this with its durability and you’ve got a match made in heaven.

In terms of workability, Keruing can be easily machined and finished, so it's suitable for DIYers with the right equipment, but it may require pre-drilling for nails and screws. This will prevent splits and cracks as well as making life easier for your drill.

What is Keruing most commonly used for?

Here are some popular examples of applications where Keruing performs best:

Keruing: The Benefits

Not all wood is made equal, meaning specific types of wood are better suited to different applications. Here are some of the key factors that make Keruing wood an easy choice:


  • Resistant to decay
  • Weatherproof so ideal for outdoor use
  • It lasts longer than cheaper wood, so provides excellent value for money


  • Dense hardwood means it's very strong
  • Good for load-bearing projects, used for sleepers, beams and posts
  • Hard-wearing making it perfect forhigh-traffic projects like piers and marinas.


  • Looks good with warm tones
  • Attractive grain patterns that add visual interest
  • Can be stained, left bare or oiled for different finishes

Cost Effectiveness

  • A high-quality premium hardwood
  • Long-lasting, providing long-term value
  • Low maintenance, so no costly fixes
keruing wood

Keruing's Environmental Impact

What is Keruing doing to the environment? It’s important to consider the environmental impact of using Keruing. Many species of Dipterocarpus are on the IUCN Red List. 

That means they are listed as critically endangered due to a population reduction of over 80% in the past three generations. In order to use this in an environmentally friendly way, we must use only sustainably sourced Keruing.

E O Burton sources Keruing from well-managed and certified forests. We’re committed to responsible purchasing, so you can be assured that your Keruing is sustainable, reducing our impact on the world’s forests and ensuring proper reforestation. 

Keruing vs. Alternatives

What is Keruing a good alternative for? If you’ve been considering other wood types for your projects (or you simply don’t know which timber is suitable for your needs) then it’s helpful to compare your options across the board. Here’s how Keruing stacks up against the rest…


  • Durability: Excellent
  • Sustainability: Good
  • Appearance: Warmt ones, attractive varied grain patterns
  • Best use: Structural, high-use and visible applications like Lorry flooring, Marinas and piers.

Keruing is popular because it offers all the attributes of high-end wood at a more affordable price. Because of its excellent durability and beautiful appearance, it’s a versatile option for all kinds of projects, but only if the timber is sustainably sourced.


  • Durability: Very good
  • Sustainability: Good
  • Appearance: Light to medium brown, straight grain
  • Best use: Flooring, furniture, cabinetry

Oak is the do-it-all choice for indoor applications, mostly because of its easy availability and classic appearance. Unfortunately, it can’t compete with the outdoor durability of Keruing or Iroko.


  • Durability: Excellent 
  • Sustainability: Variable (can be overharvested, but certified sources are available)
  • Appearance: Golden brown, straight grain, rich and luxurious look
  • Best Uses: Outdoor furniture, boat building, decking, high-end cabinetry

Teak provides a signature look that can’t easily be replicated, but it does come with some sustainability concerns, making it all the more important to ensure your sources are certified.


  • Durability: Excellent (comparable to teak)
  • Sustainability: Generally Good (but dependent on sourcing practices)
  • Appearance: Yellowish-brown, darkening to a rich brown with age, interlocked grain
  • Best Uses: Outdoor furniture, decking, cladding, boat building, windows, doors

Iroko is hard to beat on its outdoor robustness, and it’s also a more affordable and weatherproof alternative to teak. However, beware of the interlocked grain, which can be notoriously tricky to work with.

Should You Choose Keruing?

What is Keruing able to offer you that other wood types can’t? For starters it offers durability, strength and sustainability, but it’s also a visually appealing wood with a varied grain in warm tones. Keruing is ideal for many projects, and it might just be perfect for yours. 

To get expert guidance on your timber of choice, get in touch with the team at E O Burton today. 

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