Iroko timber – tip for installing hardwood timber decking

Iroko is a medium-heavy and medium-hard exotic wood. With its yellowy brown to dark brown colour, Iroko is a very durable and tough wood that is native to the west coast of Africa, it is sometimes referred to as African Teak despite being unrelated to the tree family.

Due to Iroko’s strong properties it can be used for a number of high intensity uses such as construction, joinery, and flooring, therefore, it is a popular choice amongst many for garden decking. So how should you install a hardwood decking?


One of the main problems that people encounter when installing hardwood decking is that the panels of wood must be pre-drilled; this goes for even soft wood such as cedar or redwood. However, keep in mind that hardwood drilling can take more effort than softwood; it can easily split into two during the process. That is why, people usually seek the help of a deck builder (not only for this task but for others as well) to get the job done without much hassle. Anyway, for those who would like to do it by themselves, there are a few tips to make the drilling easier. For starters, let the tools do the work, so take it slow with light pressure and make sure you have sharp tool attachments and this should make the whole process a lot smoother. Using excessive pressure will not only tire you out but will also dull your tools and burn the battery out.

Butt joints

Usually the better the cut then the better the butt joint is going to be. Although the cut of the wood is going to have a significant impact on the tightness of the butt joint there are a few steps that the installer of the hardwood can take to ensure a better fit. Firstly, a key tip is to really take your time when laying each board, if you are working in a team make sure everyone is checking the positioning before drilling as it is much more painstaking having to remove the screws from iroko boards.

An expert tip is to hold the board slightly up at the joint when it is resting against the butt of the other board when you begin to screw. This should help to get a much better positioning and tighter butt joint.

Set gaps between the deck boards

At the beginning of your iroko deck board installation, decide on a gap size that you want for the whole job than either find or make spacers in order to help replicate the gap in between each deck board keeping consistency. If you need a number of spacers for a group of you then make sure you make all the spacers at the beginning together as deciding to make more spacers later on can cause small fluctuations in sizes and end up causing big problems further down the line. An easy solution is to find a nail that you like the thickness of, these can then be used throughout the whole job.

Laying hardwood decking such as iroko can be tricky and time-consuming, a key tip to remember throughout the job is to take your time, this will reduce the chances of mistakes happening. 

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