Parawood is known by many names. If you are someone who has been on a furniture hunt lately, you must have definitely come across wood that has been referred to as parawood. It is however known by many names such as rubberwood, plantation hardwood, para rubber tree, Malaysian oak, white teak and Hevea. Parawood is produced from the rubber tree which is native to Brazil but it is also largely cultivated in the tropical regions of Asia. If you are still confused about what wood we are talking about, we will explain the details of parawood in this article along with its characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and other features. So, what makes parawood such a popular choice for furniture options, let’s find out in this article by exploring its characteristics.
What is parawood and how is it different from other types of wood?
Aforementioned, Parawood is produced from rubber tree. It is a light coloured and medium density tropical hardwood which secretes a sap called latex. It is relatively environment-friendly as the wood is harvested from a renewable source, that is, it uses plantation trees that fall at the end of their latex cycle production. The process of latex production begins when the tree is five or six years old and it can go on to about 25 to 30 years. Parawood has a fine texture to it and is highly durable. Many years from now this wood was used at a much smaller scale because back then the tree was prone to attacks from insects and fungi growth but eventually with the coming up of newer chemicals that could protect the tree from attack, they began to be used more often.
Parawood is by far one of the best renewable sources of wood and whenever it does not produce latex, the tree is cut to grow new ones. This makes it very easy to produce latex over and over again. The best part about Parawood is its dense grain as it does not shrink much and is durable enough as it comes in various grades of quality. One thing that you need to keep in mind about using Parawood is that it is susceptible to attacks by fungus and insects so it is advisable to not use it outdoors and keep away from overexposure to moisture as it could rot the wood. It can be used for applications such as furniture making, cabinetry, packing cases, flooring for homes and offices, laminated lumber, wood carving, block board, flush door, fiber board, and finish construction millwork.
What Are The Important Characteristics Of Parawood?
- Parawood is pale-yellowish in color and that is not a color that you will find in most trees. Its wood could either be light brown in color or dark brown, which makes it versatile and open to different types of furniture making.
- Parawood or Rubber Tree is pretty big in size and it can grow upto a height of 75 feet and 3 feet in width, and you can produce a lot of wood from it for the purpose of furniture making. However you need to keep in mind that you will only be able to produce wood in large quantity if the latex cycle of the tree has been completed. Once the cycle is completed, the milky liquid will last for almost 25 years until you plant a new tree.
- Aforementioned, the texture of Parawood is grainy, which is similar to Mahogany wood. It is compact and is durable for long term use, as it has a very high level of starch in it. This is one reason why a lot of furniture makers prefer using Parawood.
- Since it is susceptible to fungus attack you have to ensure that you treat the wood timely in order to prevent it from rotting. If you apply chemical treatment on a timely basis, your Parawood will last you for more than 20 years.
- Aforementioned, you need to prevent it from keeping it outdoor especially from rain or snow or anything that is over-moist as it could wash away the chemical treatment and again make it prone to insect attacks and fungus growth.
- The density of Parawood is more than a Birch tree but slightly lesser than Ash tree. Its strength group is 0.5 which is similar to that of the Maple tree.
Types Of Parawood Furniture
Parawood is a type of wood which is ideal for home furnishing purpose as it is a typical hardwood. You can easily buy it in its finished or unfinished form. Here are a couple of home furnitures that you can make with Parawood:
Bedroom furniture: It is ideal for making bedroom furniture and can be used for making dressers, nightstands, vanity cases, headboards and footboards.
Kitchen furniture: Parawood is almost as hard and durable as maple or oak, and it can withstand the roughness of your day to day usage. You can even make dining chairs and bar stools out of it.
Occasional tables: Parawood is ideal for making beautiful coffee tables, sofa tables, nested tables, side tables and end tables. You can even use it for making occasional tables for your kitchen or some common area.
Kids’ furniture: When it comes to children’s furniture, you need to be a little careful as kid can be rough with furnitures. Whether it is for a kid’s bedroom or a toy accessory or chairs and table – kids’ furniture made out of Parawood is ideal for them and will work fine to maintain the safety as compared to other solid wood.
Flooring: If you are getting your flooring done in parawood you will get a range of options from black and gray to a number of colors and designs.
Advantages Of Parawood
If you are a furniture manufacturer, you would want to settle down on the material you are using depending on their advantages as well as disadvantages. So let’s have a look at some of the advantages of using Parawood:
Durable: As mentioned before it is highly durable and sturdy in its built up. Rubber wood is known to be strong as it is compact in its internal structure. If you know how to take proper care of them, they can easily last you for two decades.
Soft: It is internally very strong, but the outer texture is really soft, which makes it comfortable for a person to sit over it. This is one primary reason why it is used to make chairs, benches, stools and other types of furnitures on which people can sit or lie down.
Fire resistant: The best thing about Parawood is that it is fire resistant, which means that it will not easily burn down. Even if it happens to catch fire accidentally, you can be assured that it will not produce fume or smoke which can be toxic to breathe in.
Shock absorbant: The soft outer texture of Parawood makes it shock absorbent and this is why it is mostly used in gyms and senior homes.
Low maintenance: It is a low maintenance type of wood. If you want it to last for more at least 20 years, you have to ensure that you maintain it well with chemical treatment on a regular basis and do not allow it to rot. You would also require some amount of daily cleaning. Apart from that you need not worry much about it as it is low maintenance as compared to other types of solid wood.
Disadvantages Of Parawood
While you know of some of its important advantages now, let us acquaint you with its major disadvantages as well so that the pros do not outweigh the cons in your head. Here are some of the disadvantages of using parawood for making furnitures:
Slippery: As we have mentioned before, parawood is soft in its exterior texture which is why it tends to slip so often. If you use Parawood for your flooring, try not waxing it or else there will be chances of you slipping and falling over it.
Pricey: You need to understand that Parawood is a high-quality solid wood and is by far one of the most expensive type of wood in the market. So make sure you know what you are using the Parawood for and that the furniture you are making out of it is something that you want to maintain for almost a lifetime.
Rotting: If you are not maintaining your Parawood-made furniture with chemical treatment or overexposing it to snow or rain, your furniture will be susceptible to rotting or insect attack or even fungus growth. So try to keep it away from water as much as possible. If you find water being smeared over it, apply the chemical treatment on it to prevent it from rotting.
Discoloration: Parawood has the potential to discolor or stain really easily, mostly if you use detergent on it. So, be sure about what you are applying over your Parawood furniture.
Parawood VS Other Lumber Types
Now that you are well acquainted with most of the characteristics of Parawood, you might want to know how does it fare as compared to other types of wood. Let’s see how different or similar is it as compared to three of the most commonly used lumber for making furniture: pine, oak and maple. This way you will get a broader idea on which lumber to choose when you decide to get furniture made.
1. Parawood VS Pine Wood
The one major difference between pinewood and parawood is that rubber wood tends to produce a milky liquid substance called latex, while pinewood produces resin. Because of the difference in their production, both the types of wood are used for different purposes. Pine is mostly used for making outdoor furniture as they do not rot as easily as Parawood. Pinewood is used to make interior as well as exterior wall structures, since Pinewood produces resin and it can leave a good piney smell which is ideal for making cabins and bungalows.
Parawood is ideally used for indoor furniture types as they are prone to insect attacks and fungus growth. They have a beautiful-looking texture and tend to last longer than pinewood if you know how to maintain them well and keep them away from outdoor exposure.
Even if you compare the two you cannot really flag either one to be better than the other because both of them serve different purposes and it is you who has to know how to bring out the best in each of them.
2. Parawood VS Oakwood
Both parawood and oakwood belong to the oak family. Parawood is also known as Malaysian oak. Both of these lumber types serve similar purposes and they are also similar in structure and texture. They both have a grainy feel to it along with smooth finish. What makes them different from each other is their durability period.
Parawood has better durability as compared to oakwood as it has lower shrinkage value and that makes it compact from the inside. Parawood does not damage easily if you take care of it well. However it can rot easily if you over expose it to water, which is not the same in case of oak. For example, white oak from North America is not susceptible to fungus growth or insect attack and can maintain themselves without decaying.
So it is entirely up to you, which one do you prefer over the other as a manufacturer. Parawood could be a great choice if you can take care of it well.
3. Parawood VS Maple
Maple wood is a type of lumber which is different in its color range, you will find them in multiple colors such as white, gray or brown. Maple wood is used mostly in sports related items. It is a popular choice for making wooden baseball bats, bowling alley pins and bowling pins. You can also use it for making limbs of a recurve bow.
How To Finish Parawood
If there is an old furniture in your house which is made of Parawood or you want to get yourself a new piece of furniture made out of Parawood – Parawood can be easy to paint and finish. It is easy to design and you can make beautiful carvings on them as well.
How To Paint Parawood
The one thing you need to know about painting parawood is that you need to cover the parts which you do not want to paint with the help of a painter’s tape. Post that you have to put a gentle coating of acrylic latex primer with the help of a brush. Now let the primer dry for about two hours. Once the paint dries, you can use a layer of acrylic enamel for a glossy finish. You have to then wait for another two hours for the layer to dry out.
How To Stain Parawood
Aforementioned, parawood can easily discolor. You might take it as a disadvantage but in actual it can really be useful when you want to stain parawood.
You have to sand the parawood with a 180 grit sandpaper. Now cover the holes in the wood with a wood filler and let the filler dry for at least 30 minutes. Get a rag and dip it in the stain while the filler dries up. Now wipe the stain on the parawood and cover the uneven areas. When you apply the stain on the parawood, wait for a couple of minutes and wipe the parawood with a clean and dry cloth. Now put two layers of coating on the parawood to give it a proper finish.
Tips On Maintaining Parawood Furniture
If you thought designing and finishing parawood furniture is an easy task, maintaining parawood furniture is an even easier task. Here are a few tips on maintaining parawood furniture for longer period:
- Use a soapy solution to wash it at least once a year.
- You can opt for furniture wax in case you want to give it a nice shine.
- Never put your parawood furniture on a hot or we place.
- You have to ensure that you do not wet the wood and even if you do, make sure to dry it off immediately.
- Make use of a chemical stripper in case you want to refinish the parawood furniture.
Parawood undoubtedly has a steady interior structure and you can use it for a longer period of time if you maintain it well. Whether you are a wood manufacturer or someone who wants to buy new furniture, opting for Parawood-made furniture is something you will not regret in the long run. It is a good furniture choice! You have to make sure that you know how to take care of it and in case you know all its characteristics and features well you will have durable and strong furniture for almost your entire lifetime.