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How to identify my decking timber

Well, you’re probably on this page because you’re trying to identify the timber on your deck; it can be a tricky job sometimes, especially after many years of the Kiwi harsh sun, and then all the elements of muddy boots, fungus mould, old Stains, new Stain.

The easiest way is to do a little sanding. Or, If you can remove the screws from a small board or the one you are replacing, take it off and sand top or underneath, then pop down to Mitre 10 or Bunnings. Compare the wood grain patterns with the piece you have and the timber stacked on the yards, or even better, ask somebody. Generally, most of the timber guys have years of experience and will be able to identify it straight away.

Below is a quick image gild to help you identify; these are based on the most common types of decking timber we come across at deckrefresh.


Radiata Pine

It is a medium-density softwood, straight-grained, with an even texture. It is treated to H3.2 for durability and works well with hand and machine tools. Heartwood is light brown and non-durable to perishable regarding decay resistance. Sapwood is a pale yellowish-white colour treated with preservatives for external applications. The bottom line is that pine timber decking is by far the best value for the price.


Kwila heartwood is yellow-brown to dark red-brown in colour. The grain is slightly interlocked, and the texture is moderately coarse. Yellow deposits in the vessels are a common feature of the wood. Kwila decking not only looks great but stands the test of time.


In 2023, we see this used a lot for hardwood decking; Vitex is sourced from community-based operations in the Solomon Islands. Vitex is a hardworking timber that is light in colour and weathers to a beautiful uniform grey with UV exposure. A consistent pale yellow and creamy-grey colour with a fine, even grain, Vitex has minimal tannin bleeding, making it much less likely to stain concrete and other hard surfaces than other hardwood products.


Garapa is a dense, naturally durable hardwood ideally suited for exterior decking. It can be finished to a smooth, fine finish and has a naturally durable surface with little tendency to splinter or move. Depending on the source, it can be golden, yellow, or dark.


Purpleheart is a highly dense, strong, and durable South American hardwood that has long been popular in New Zealand as a decking timber.

The unique colour change of Purpleheart also adds apeal—it is light brown when freshly cut and changes to a deep purple upon exposure, before maturing to brown and eventually a silver-grey colour after many months.


Sourced from responsibly managed forests in West Africa, One of the most versatile and hardworking timbers.

Commonly used in Kiwi decks for the past 35 years, Iroko is a relatively light to mid-weight hardwood that is durable and resilient. It is naturally resistant to both rot and insect attack. Iroko is a great decking material with a medium to coarse texture and interlocked grain.


Blackbutt heartwood ranges from golden yellow to pale brown, sometimes with a slight pink tinge. The sapwood is much paler in colour and sometimes has small gum veins visible.

Spotted Gum

Spotted Gum is a hard and durable tree. It Is Highly resistant to decay and has natural oils. It often displays regional colour differences, ranging from pale grey-browns and creams to rich chocolates and greens. The ‘spotted’ refers to the mottled colouring on the tree's exterior as it sheds strips of bark.


Macrocarpa (Cupressus macrocarpa) is an NZ-grown, exotic cypress softwood timber.

Light blonde-coloured softwood decking

Macrocrapa is easy to work with, has good strength and is naturally durable.


Cumaru is an exceptionally dense, hard timber with a natural resistance to fungi and insects, making it ideal for decking. It is highly resilient and durable, with beautiful grain detail and finish.


Bamboo has been through a heat treatment process Thermo density, making it suitable for the harshest climates. The decking comes in darker brown but will gradually change to a more caramel colour as it weathers before fading progressively into a silver-grey colour like any other timber.


Botanical Species: Eucalyptus marginata Origin: Australia (Western) Very Durable Strength

from a large tree producing light to dark red timber darkening to a uniform red-brown mahogany.

Find out more about:

If you are looking for deck maintenance or restoration services like deck oiling, you don’t have to look further than deckrefresh. If you want to learn about one of our other services, like deck cleaning, sanding, staining or painting, we can help with that too. We bring you the expertise of our decking professionals and a range of services to help you take care of your decking.

If you are interested in deck oiling in Auckland, call us at 0212222172 or fill out our online contact form.


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