Spotted Gum Timber – The Ultimate Guide
Here at Coach House Timbers, we are fanatical about our specialist timber species. Having used Spotted Gum for countless applications over the years we’ve gained some valuable knowledge about the species and have created this page to house some of that information.
As one of our most requested species, we get to work with Spotted Gum often, and have come to love its deep, rich colours and ‘spotted’ grain texture. An excellent hardwood for both structural and aesthetic purposes, Spotted Gum is one of Australia’s most commonly used timbers. With countless options for finishing, staining, painting and oiling, Spotted Gum can be altered to match many surrounding and decor styles, and, if looked after correctly, has been known to last over 40 years in good structural condition.
Most commonly, Spotted Gum is used for flooring and decking, however is also excellent for use in railings, poles & posts, screening, as well as more heavy duty applications such as bridges and boardwalks. With a great fire rating (up to BAL 29), Spotted Gum is rated for bush fire attack use, however, somewhat ironically, has been known to be good for use as fire wood.
Spotted Gum Q&A
Is Spotted Gum A Hardwood?
Spotted Gum is an Australian hardwood bearing many desirable properties. It is used for a range of both structural and aesthetic applications and is one of the most commonly used hardwood timbers in Australia.
What Colour Is Spotted Gum Timber?
The colours of Spotted Gum timber range from shades of pale greys, through to off-white and cream variations, and rich, deep dark browns. Heartwood tends to harbour the darker colours; browns, red-browns, whereas the sap wood is often white in colour.
Colours can be further enhanced with finishing products such as oils and stains. Achieving the perfect colour and finish will require research and testing to ensure the outcome is desirable.
You can see examples of Spotted Gum in our gallery.
How To Finish Spotted Gum Timber
Depending on the application of the timber, Spotted Gum can be treated or finished in a number of ways; paints, polishes, stains and oils. If used as decking, Spotted Gum may be best treated with a decking oil. At Coach House Timbers, we generally recommend finishing / coating the material before, or straight after, installation to prevent moisture absorption / reduction, which can cause swelling, cupping, warping, twisting and splitting.
Coating/oiling before installation gives the added benefit of more even coverage and it gives the product a better chance of penetrating and/or sealing the grain before being exposed to the weather, therefore improving the service life.
We recommend that the ends of the boards are also coated/oiled, as the end grain is the most vulnerable to moisture absorption & retention, which can lead to the growth of bacteria and eventually rot.
Does Spotted Gum need weathering before coating?
Weathering depends on how you would like your timber to look. For a more worn-in, weathered look, it is recommended to leave the timber exposed to the elements for a few weeks. Weathering the Spotted Gum for around 6 weeks will give the timber chance to excrete some of the excess tannins and natural oils. Although Spotted Gum has a lower tannin content than many other hardwoods, it can have a negative effect on wood oils. Once the timber appears to have greyed, and dried somewhat, you should wash with a quality timber cleaning product and clean water. Once dry, you can apply your oil.
Should you want to keep the rich, fresh look of the timber, we recommend you coat / oil either before or immediately after installation. Doing so ensures the prevention of excess moisture penetrating the timber, which can cause a number of issues in the long run, even leading to the timber requiring replacement.
Does Spotted Gum Decking Bleed?
The timber has a lower concentration of tannins and oils than many other hardwoods, and therefore bleeding is not a serious problem with this timber.
We kiln dry our timbers to our own drying schedules to ensure minimal movement once installed. Some extra time in the fresh air can help with the penetration of finishing products into the timber, however treating immediately will ensure the rich, natural tones of fresh timber are preserved.
Is Spotted Gum Good For Decking?
Spotted Gum is an ideal choice for decking and flooring. Spotted Gum is a highly durable hardwood that, if properly maintained, the timber has been known to last over 40 years. It is a somewhat dense timber with a Janka (hardness) rating of 11, making it a very resistant to scratches or knocks. Tested and approved for use up to BAL 29, Spotted Gum is rated for bushfire attack use, a welcomed trait, sure to put anyone’s mind at ease.
Is Spotted Gum Suitable for Floating Floors?
Yes! Spotted Gum engineered flooring is available. We are currently in the process of adding it to our range. Contact us to find out more.
How Much is Spotted Gum Timber?
Price depends on size, quantity and application, and as such is not a simple answer. Generally speaking, Spotted Gum is in the ‘middle range’ pricing tier.
You can give us a call for an obligation-free quote – we’re always happy to discuss your project requirements.
What Is KD Std Spotted Gum
KD STD Spotted Gum is the mill abbreviation for kiln dried, standard grade.
What Grade Sandpaper To Sand Spotted Gum Decking
Spotted Gum is a fairly hard timber, so anything between 40-120 grit will work. We recommend using a 40 grit for stripping any previously applied coatings (be sure to try on an inconspicuous area first, to ensure you don’t damage the boards), working through to a 120 grit for the final sand before coats.
Can You Grow Spotted Gum Near the Coast?
The species grows all along the East cost of Australia, from Victoria up to the top of Queensland. Although not widely grown further inland, opportunities are there and potential areas have been mapped. As a popular timber, the more opportunities to grow the trees, the better.
All species used at Coach House Timbers are sustainably sourced.
Do Termites Eat Spotted Gum?
Spotted Gum is considered a termite resistant timber species. Hardwoods commonly get harder over time, and thus more resistant to termites, however depending on long term treatment, moisture content, age, and condition, the timber can become more vulnerable. It is recommended to have timber checked for termites every 6-12 months.
Coach House Timbers’ Spotted Gum is ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary) Treated which increases the timber’s resistance to fungal & insect attack
Is Spotted Gum Good For Firewood?
Spotted Gum makes for a good firewood. It has a high output of heat, however gives off little smoke; ideal for use indoors in an open fire. Ignition can be tricky, although with a fire already burning, the timber will light with no problems and will burn fairly slowly without spitting or sparking.
Although ideal for use as a firewood, Coach House Timbers unfortunately do not supply timbers to be burned.
As an extra note: care should be taken when burning kiln dried timber, especially indoors, as it will have been treated by the mill, so may give off harmful toxins.