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Why choose Purpleheart Hardwood Decking timber over Kwila?

Comparing Purpleheart decking timber and Kwila wood for your decking project? Learn about the benefits of choosing Purpleheart and why it could be the better option for your outdoor space.

Purpleheart and Kwila Hardwood Decking timber are popular choices for due to their durability and attractive appearance. While both have their merits, here are some reasons why Purpleheart decking timber should be considered over Kwila:

Hardness and Strength:

Purpleheart is known for its exceptional hardness and strength. It has a Janka hardness rating of around 2,520 lbf (pounds-force), making it one of the hardest woods available. This high level of hardness means Purpleheart decking is less likely to dent, scratch, or wear down over time compared to Kwila (1,700 lbf).


Purpleheart is also known for its stability, meaning it has a relatively low tendency to warp or twist when exposed to moisture and varying weather conditions. This stability can help maintain the overall appearance and integrity of the decking over time.

Colour and Aging:

One of the distinguishing features of Purpleheart is its vibrant purple hue when freshly cut. Over time, however, the color tends to darken and mature into a deep brown with purple undertones and within 6-12 months is a beautiful driftwood colour with a wavy grain. Some people prefer the unique and rich color transformation of Purpleheart as it ages compared to the reddish-brown colour of Kwila.


Depending on the region and specific sourcing practices, Purpleheart may have better sustainability credentials compared to Kwila. Kwila has faced some issues with unsustainable logging practices and deforestation in certain areas. It's essential to ensure that the wood is sourced from responsibly managed forests to minimize environmental impact.

Resistance to Decay and Insects:

Purpleheart possesses natural resistance to decay and insect infestations. The wood contains natural oils and extractives that act as a deterrent to rot, decay fungi, and wood-boring insects. While Kwila also has some resistance, Purpleheart's inherent durability is often considered superior.

Unique Appearance:

Purpleheart has a striking purple color that weathers to a deep, rich brown, then a striking silver/grey over time when exposed to sunlight. This unique coloration sets it apart from other decking materials, providing an eye-catching and visually appealing look. Kwila, on the other hand, tends to have a more consistent reddish-brown colour initially that washes out as its weathers to a grey tone.

Low Tannin:

One of the advantages of Purpleheart decking timber over hardwoods like Kwila or Vitex is it does not bleed tannins. Tannins are natural compounds found in wood that can leach out and cause staining on neighboring surfaces, such as concrete or lighter-coloured materials.

Purpleheart has a relatively low tannin content, which means it is less likely to bleed and stain adjacent surfaces. This characteristic can be particularly advantageous when building decks in close proximity to light-colored structures or surfaces that are more susceptible to staining.

Kwila, on the other hand, has a higher tannin content, and while it still may bleed to some extent, it could be more likely to stain nearby surfaces. Proper preparation and maintenance, such as sealing or applying a protective finish, can help mitigate or minimise the issue of tannin bleeding with Kwila decking.

Life Expectancy:

Purpleheart is a dense and naturally rot-resistant hardwood. When used for decking, it can have a lifespan of 25 years or more with proper maintenance. With proper care and maintenance, Kwila decking should  last for 15 years.

However as demand for Kwila over the past 20 years has increased. Younger and less mature trees are being utilised. This progression has meant that the Kwila wood density is not consistent and the lengths are shorter than that available in Purpleheart.

In recent years many consumers have noticed a significant decrease in deck life expectancy of Kwila compared to Kwila 10 years ago.

While both options have their advantages, Purpleheart's hardness, stability, durability, and reduced tannin bleeding makes it a far better and popular choice among homeowners for decking applications.


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