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Chengal Wood: What Makes it Best for Balconies and Patios - Maintenance Tips Included!

Chengal Wood: What Makes it Best for Balconies and Patios - Maintenance Tips Included!

Chengal wood is commonly used as flooring for outdoor areas such as balconies and patios. Its weather resistant properties make it ideal for Singapore’s unpredictable weather. Chengal wood takes staining well and can be customised to match your desired theme.

It’s also perfect for those with busy lifestyles as it’s easy to maintain. With simple DIY care and regular professional cleaning, you can preserve its beauty for years to come. 

In this article, we share about the pros and cons of chengal wood and compare it with other common decking materials to help you make an informed decision for your outdoor space!

What is Chengal Wood?

Chengal wood comes from a tropical hardwood tree that grows in a rainforest habitat. The logs have unique interlocking grains with light coloured stripes of sap permeating the wood.

Its heartwood is a light yellow-brown with a green tinge when freshly sawn. It darkens to a dark purple-brown or rust red upon exposure to air.  

Compared to other types of furniture wood, chengal wood is one of the most versatile as it is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use. 

Characteristics of Chengal Wood

Close up view of a Chengal Wood plank

Colour: Light yellow-brown
Grain: Interlocking
Malleability: High
Shrinkage ratio: Low
Aesthetic durability: High

Prior to being fully cured, chengal wood is highly flexible and is ideal for a wide range of projects from furniture to houses and even boats. Chengal wood can easily accommodate changes in environmental moisture without warping or splitting. This makes it well suited for use outdoors regardless of the climate. 

Over time, it takes on a silver-grey colour that is similar to teak. This transformation adds depth to its appearance and contributes to the aesthetic durability of this material. 

Advantages of Chengal Wood

Outdoor bench made from Chengal Wood

Chengal wood is so popular because it looks beautiful and is easy to maintain. Here are some of its advantages. 


Especially in tropical climates like Singapore, one of the key factors in choosing outdoor furniture is the material’s endurance in the face of humidity, heat and rain. 

Chengal wood is resistant to warping in the face of these conditions and is therefore a strong contender for quality outdoor furniture and decking. 

Resistant to Termites

Chengal wood is naturally resistant to termites as it’s significantly more dense than most other types of wood. This means that it’s also less worrisome as you need not fear an insect infestation in your home. 

Low Maintenance

Chengal wood is easy to maintain and will last a long time with regular wipedowns for furniture and mopping for decking. Just take note to use a damp cloth/mop as opposed to one that’s wet to prevent water puddles as it may seep into the wood. 

Disadvantages of Chengal Wood

There are a few shortcomings of Chengal wood but they primarily concern improper harvesting of the lumber and the price that comes with good quality. 

Prevalence of Poor Quality Imitations

Chengal wood doesn’t come cheap as there’s high demand and a short supply in the market. Due to scarcity, there may be imitations in the market to be wary of. Hence, we recommend doing your research and choosing reliable suppliers before committing. 

Use of Young Chengal Wood

Young chengal wood contains a high amount of sapwood which makes it significantly less hardy than mature wood. This makes it fragile and unsuitable as decking material. Also, at this stage the wood also contains a significant amount of sugar which makes it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and mould. 

As chengal wood matures, it takes on a more sturdy disposition and comprises a higher percentage of drier heartwood. Hence, it’s better to look out for reliable suppliers who use mature chengal wood for their products.  

Chengal Wood for Decking

A filled wine glass left on top of a Chengal Wood floor deck

There are many choices of decking material. Three have risen in popularity for their unique beneficial qualities. However, these also come at their own cost. 

Here, we compare the three most commonly used materials for decking: Chengal wood, wood-plastic composite and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). 

Chengal Wood vs Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC) 

WPC may appear as an attractive alternative to chengal wood for decking. The key advantage to this material is that it doesn’t have a risk of splinters and is resistant to rot. However, it’s unable to imitate the feel of wood and clearly looks like plastic up close. 

Here’s a table to summarise the differences between chengal wood and WPC:

Chengal wood WPC
Material composition Wood Wood and plastic fibre blend
Risk of splinters Yes No
Foot feel Wood Plastic
 Maintenance level Low Low

Chengal Wood vs Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is entirely made of plastic. Similar to WPC, it doesn’t carry the risk of splinters nor rotting. Its downside is that it feels the least authentically like wood between chengal wood, WPC and PVC. 

Here are the main differences between chengal wood and PVC:

Chengal wood PVC
Material composition Wood Plastic
Risk of splinters Yes No
Foot Feel Wood Plastic
 Maintenance level Low Low

If you foresee yourself spending a lot of time on your balcony or patio and favour the foot feel of wood, we recommend that you invest in chengal wood decking for a more satisfactory experience. 

Chengal Wood Maintenance Tips

While chengal wood is easily maintained, it still needs dedicated care on a regular basis. Try out these easy ways to keep your chengal wood furniture in good condition for you to enjoy. 

Clean and get rid of debris

Person sweeping a Chengal Wood floor

For furniture:
Use a damp cloth to wipe it down regularly to get rid of dust.

Spot some stickiness? Here’s how to clean your sticky wood table!

Use a high-quality wood preserve

Using too much detergent can harm your chengal wood furniture more than help it. Hence, after cleaning your furniture, apply a high-quality wood preserve to nourish it and keep it beautiful for years to come. 

Schedule regular professional cleaning

It’s a good idea to have your chengal wood deck or furniture professionally cleaned at least once a year. This helps extend the longevity and durability of the furniture. 

For decks especially, there are areas that may be harder to clean and professional cleaning can help with more stubborn marks.

Avoid placing heavy furniture

It’s not advisable to place heavy furniture, such as those made of mahogany or teak, on chengal wood decking despite it being classified as hardwood. This is because over time, the weight of the furniture can press into the flooring, leaving unsightly dents or marks. 

Instead, opt for just as aesthetically pleasing but lightweight options such as rattan.  

Is Chengal Wood a Good Investment?

Chengal wood is a good long-term investment if you tend to spend a lot of time on your patio or balcony. Regardless of which form it takes in your home, as decking or furniture, it retains its beauty with just a little care, enabling you to enjoy it for years to come.


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