What is parawood? An overview of parawood furniture, its pros and cons and some common issues.
Do you know what is parawood? Has anyone heard about it? – These are a few questions that people ask about it. Well parawood is known by various names such as rubber wood, plantation hardwood, Malaysian oak, white teak or by its genus Hevea. It grows extensively in Indonesia, Central America and Indonesia. It is a light-colored and medium-density tropical hardwood, sourced from the Pará rubber tree, usually grown on rubber plantations.
Since it secretes a sap better known as latex, it is considered to be environmentally friendly as it uses plantation trees that have been felled at the end of their cycle of latex production and new trees are grown. The wood, therefore, is harvested from a renewable source.
Parawood’s latex production begins when it is about five or six years old and continues until it is about 25 years-30 years. These trees grow to about 75 feet-80 feet high and are extensively used for making furniture when chemically treated. These trees are native to Central America, India and Indonesia.
What are the uses of parawood?
Rubberwood has a dense grain that’s controlled in the process of kiln drying. It doesn’t shrink much, thereby enabling it for use to make furniture, children’s toys and kitchen accessories. It is durable, strong cuts and saws easily and stains equally uniformly. Being a hardwood variety, it comes in various grades of quality.
Since rain leaches all the protective chemicals that are contained in this wood and making it to attacks by fungus and insects, it’s best not to use it outdoors. Overexposure to moisture will cause warping and rotting of this wood. It has wide applications as wood for: furniture and cabinetry, packing cases, flooring for homes and offices, laminated veneer lumber, wood carvings, veneer and plywood, wooden shuttle block, block board and flush doors, finish construction millwork and fiber boards of medium and hard densities.
Parawood is perfect for home furnishings because it is a typical hardwood. So, it can withstand the rigors of a busy lifestyle. It is also easily available and can be bough either in finished or unfinished form. It also isn’t as expensive as other hardwoods, so homeowners won’t feel the pinch.
It can be used to make a variety of home furniture, such as:
Bedroom furniture: This wood is perfect for bedroom furniture and is often used to make dressers, nightstands, vanity cases, headboards and footboards.
Kitchen furniture: In hardness, parawood matches maple and oak, so it can withstand the roughness of daily use. Often, barstools are made out of it.
Occasional tables: With parawood, you can get classy coffee tables, sofa tables and end tables. Occasional tables, such as kitchen furniture, are also used in homes, especially in the common areas.
Children’s furniture: Children can be rough with furniture, so it pays to have tough parawood furniture. Bedroom sets, tables and chairs, toy accessories, rockers and beds made out of parawood suit children’s rooms just fine.
Parawood flooring: The progress made by parawood manufacturers spans flooring in black and gray to a multitude of colors and designs in a mindboggling range. They also come with a slew of advantages:
Advantages of parawood
- Durability: Parawood is durable, strong, tough and resilient. If well-cared for, it should last for 20 years or more.
- Low maintenance: It is easy to take care of being more stain resistant than its natural counterpart.
- Soft: Parawood is soft to touch, making it comfortable to walk on when you’re tired. This makes it ideal for bedrooms, living areas and playrooms.
- Resistant to fire and burns: Rubber is burn-resistant, particularly if the heat source is a cigarette butt. Besides, it is non-toxic and won’t release toxic fumes into the air when there’s a fire.
- Good shock absorber: Parawood is generally used in gyms for its shock absorbing capacity. It helps to provide good cushioning so that those working out do not injure themselves should they ever fall. It also decreases the risk of injuries while doing rigorous training. For seniors, it helps to have parawood flooring since it decreases the stress felt on the joints and makes daily movement for them easier.
- Expensive: Parawood is considered more expensive than other wood types.
- Slippage: If you choose smooth and untextured parawood tiles, they can be quite slippery if water is spilled on it. If polished, the floor is more dangerous for the user.
- Damage by water: Parawood may be resistant to damage by water, yet it is prone to seepage problems especially when the adhesive loosens or the tiles curl.
- Staining: Though rubber flooring resists most staining agents, its surface could be discolored by certain others. Detergents and abrasive cleaning solutions can do damage to parawood flooring. Grease also works adversely on parawood floors if not wiped immediately.
- Dull finish: It has a naturally dull finish which does not make it the ideal flooring option for many. Though it can be polished to brighten it up, yet it certainly isn’t right for living rooms, dining rooms and other areas where you might want to give a bright effect.
Parawood staining issues: When it comes to staining, parawood is prone to fungus, oxidation stains and insect infestation. Though the stains can be visible any time before finishing takes place, yet it can be a large problem even before the wood has dried. Being high in sugar and can content, it naturally attracts fungus and is prone to infestation.
Other issues with Parawood
Insects: If parawood isn’t dried immediately, it can be attacked by wood boring insects. Yet again, the high content of natural sugar of this tree makes it prone to attack by boring insects. If quickly sawn and treated, this wood can be saved before insects get to it. Insect damage can also be reduced by using the pressure treatment that reduces fungal stains.
Warping: This wood has a high content of moisture and is often pressure treated so that it adds on more moisture, so it warps, bows and twists and splits easily. If this wood is cut using the backsawn method, it will warp less. If wide spaces are not maintained between the boards when drying the lumber, warping during the drying process can be reduced. Further, warping can be greatly reduced if a kiln is used at a temperature ranging between 140˚F and 185˚F and drying the wood for a maximum of 12 days till it reaches an average moisture level of 11%.