Redwood vs Red Batu for Your Next Decking Project

So you’ve decided that you like the look of the warn reddish tones of California Redwood decking, but have you ever considered the Indonesian Hardwood Species Batu (Red Balau)?

California Redwood and Red Batu Balau decking are two beautiful wood species in the reddish/brown toned color range with similar appearances. The makeup and performance of these two materials however are very different.

Characteristics and Appearance of Redwood and Batu

Redwood vs batu deckingPartially seasoned Batu (above) and Redwood Decking (below)

Redwood is a softwood species indigenous to California and southern Oregon state. Redwood decking shares similar characteristics to other softwood counterparts such as Western Red Cedar, where it is in fact a “soft wood”. Redwood is more susceptible to scratching, marks and stains, and requires regular maintenance in order to preserve the beautiful reddish tones.

Batu on the other hand, is a hardwood species with a similar in appearance to Redwood. Batu is resistant to abrasion in high-traffic areas and is typically a longer lasting product.

California Redwood comes in a variety of grades, ranging from a Clear Heart to a more knotty Construction Heart. Batu however is a dense, tropical hardwood that is typically free of defects and knots. When comparing the appearance of both products, it is best to compare a Clear Heart Redwood or Clear Face to Batu.

Both products are similar in price.

Maintenance & Upkeep

Redwood is an excellent choice for a homeowner who doesn’t mind a little more maintenance and deck management. In order to preserve coloring and appearance of California Redwood decking, we recommend regular finishing with a clear stain (typically applied or re-touched up every 2 years depending on the amount of foot traffic and exposure to the elements). Unfinished Redwood will eventually turn silvery grey, which is also a desirable color for many homeowners.

Batu on the other hand does require an initial application of a clear finish in order to preserve the rich red tones and coloring. Depending on the foot traffic and exposure to the elements, Batu is typically a longer lasting product.

Batu Decking Swatch

Seasoned Batu Decking

So in terms of deciding what product is best for you, it’s best to consider the following:

  • Are you interested in a more durable, long term solution that can last 25+ years? If so, go with Batu
  • Is pricing a concern? Both products are very similar in price
  • Is appearance the main concern? If so, have a look at the two products side-by-side and see what best suits your needs. We think both are equally beautiful products.

As we have the largest selection of Batu in the Western United States, we always carry the most common sizes for your decking project.  We also offer custom milling and can usually have your product ready within one to three days. Please contact us for pricing and availability today.