Pros and Cons of Using Karri Timber

Karri Timber

Karri timber is a popular Australian hardwood that grows only in Western Australia’s southwest. It is highly regarded for its strength, durability and consistent colour – making it a good option for outdoor decking, furniture, framing and roofing. Some builders like using Karri timber because it can be cut into long, even lengths. However, it is one of the heavier Australian timbers and, due to its hardness, is often difficult to work with.

So, is Karri timber a viable choice for your next building project? Keep reading, we’ve put together the pros and cons of using Karri timber to help you decide.

What is unique about Karri timber?

Karri forest

Karri timber has many unique physical features. One of the most recognisable is its rich colour. It can range from pale pink to reddish brown and often does not include any knots. Some people like Karri’s uniform colour while others may argue that the timber lacks character. The absence of large knots means the wood can be cut into larger lengths. 

Karri is a heavy, strong timber. While its hardness may make it hard to cut or drill, it is extremely hard-wearing. However, be careful where you install your Karri timber as it can be prone to termite attack. 

Along with Marri and Jarrah, Karri timber is native to Western Australia’s southwest. The Karri tree is slow growing and is one of Australia’s tallest hardwood trees. The WA Government’s Forest Product Commission developed the Karri forest management plan to maintain a sustainable level of timber to use for residential and commercial projects. However, in 2021 the Western Australian Government announced a ban on the logging of Karri timber from native forests. This ban is proposed to take effect in December 2023 and has already put a strain on local Karri timber supplies. This has prompted builders to look for alternatives to Karri timber.

What timbers are similar to Karri?

Jarrah timber

In terms of strength and durability, Jarrah is a suitable alternative to Karri timber. Jarrah is also native to Western Australia’s southwest and is also one of the local timbers that will be banned from logging in native forests. Unlike Karri, Jarrah is quite easy to work with and features an even textured grain. Its colour is also striking and includes unique character features. The rich colour of Jarrah feels natural outdoors and blends in well with any environment.

Spotted Gum

Spotted Gum is another Australian timber that has light brown and dark red colouring, which can be similar to some Karri wood. It is also hard-wearing and naturally durable. Spotted Gum does feature knots which can add character to your outdoor project, but it may mean that the board lengths are cut smaller.  

If you haven’t found the right timber colour for your home or commercial project, browse through the full range of timbers available.  

Should you use Karri Timber for your next project?

Karri Timber posts

To help you make an informed decision about using Karri timber, here are some of the pros and cons. As we mentioned above, supplies of Karri timber can be limited and you will need to pre-order. Due to its hardness, Karri is often used for heavy engineering projects including roofing and framing.

Native WA timberHeavy timber
Durable & hard wearingDifficult to work with
Can be cut into longer lengthsNot termite resistant
Can be used for structural projectsSupplied unseasoned
Naturally beautiful colourMay require pre-drilling
Cheaper than other hardwoodsNeeds to be pre-ordered

If you’re thinking about using Karri timber for your next project or looking for an alternative to Karri timber, contact the team at Austim first. We’re Perth’s leading timber supplier and can recommend the best timber to suit your project and budget.


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    What our clients say

    Austim are a great partner and timber supplier. Our business is based on the East Coast of Australia and we partner with Austim for WA projects. We have had a long lasting and great working relationship with Austim for many years. Highly recommend them.
    daniel wright
    daniel wright
    06:31 18 Jun 19
    Austim is always the first place I try when I need timber and it’s rare that I can’t get what I need there. Stuart is a rare gem of a gent to deal with – quick to respond to any queries, full of good advice and goes out of his way to help get whatever project I’m working on happening to my schedule, even when all I need is a few sticks and a handful of fixings. Highly recommend Austim, the team and young Stuart.
    Anni Lilford
    Anni Lilford
    00:51 16 Nov 18
    Stuart went out of his way to make sure we got the product we wanted. He made suggestions on possible constructions and timbers suitable. Very knowledgeable friendly staff all around. Excellent experience, highly recommended.
    Holger Butenschon
    Holger Butenschon
    05:14 22 May 18
    Hi Ben,Just wanted to thankyou for your help and advice in our selection of the Millboard Vintage Oak decking also in you recommending Grant from Premier Hardwood Decking. Grant has just completed our decking and we couldn't have asked for a more professional, reliable and competent tradesman. The decking has been installed to a very high standard and the decking itself is stunning. Ian and Sue
    susan smith
    susan smith
    06:27 08 Oct 18
    I've used Austim on a few occasions for home projects like decking and pergola, etc and each time the response to my requests for price and delivery have been excellent, the deliveries took place as negotiated, the timber quality was great and value for money. The team at Austim do a great job and make dealing with Austim a breeze.
    Michael Robinson
    Michael Robinson
    09:06 25 Oct 18
    I have worked with Austim for around 8 years now and they are one of the best suppliers in perth to deal with. I would highly recommend to use them for any timber needs!!!
    Art of Timber
    Art of Timber
    07:55 05 Mar 20
    I had been looking for some cedar for my kayak project and had rung a couple of other places with no luck. When I contacted Austim they were very helpful, had the timber in stock and I was on my was in 20 minutes. The wood was very good quality and has really finished up beautifully. Thanks to Austim.
    mark alderson
    mark alderson
    02:03 08 Apr 17
    I"d like to thank Austim for there help in supplying me with material that firstly I thought I'd have trouble sourcing as it was marring up with originally 30 year old existing timber.My project was not a massive project but still needed the attention of an new build.The timber supplied by Austim was machined to size with absolute perfection, where I had to remove old pieces and replace with the new pieces they fitted perfectly.once the floors are re-sanded and varnished they will be back to there former glory. Thanks again to the staff at Austim.Regards Bob Heppenstall.I've just added a finished photo after the Floor Sanding was completed.Original timber was Tassie Oak, and the new is Vic Ash, as you can see there is only a slight variation in the final product.I hope this gives anyone thinking doing the same the confidence to proceed. Regards Bob Heppenstall.
    Robert Heppenstall
    Robert Heppenstall
    10:05 12 Oct 18
    Great service over phone and by email. Product supplied is high quality - no issues. Staff accommodating and friendly.
    M F
    M F
    00:18 07 May 20
    Good service with fair prices.
    Colin Della Bosca
    Colin Della Bosca
    08:14 04 Jun 20
    Great service and product.I struggled to find a bench top in the size and material I wanted, so was really happy when I found one with Austim.It came fully protected with wrap and was undamaged when I got it home.Thanks
    Matt Harrison
    Matt Harrison
    06:29 08 May 23
    Good selection, friendly staff, competitive pricing. Preferred over the 'hardware store'.You can hand pick if you need superior quality, Ben Price helped me with sorting through
    Dirk Wachter
    Dirk Wachter
    03:59 12 May 23
    Quick responses, timber prepared to request including cutting to Size. Easy pick up. Highly recommend.
    Martyn Lethbridge
    Martyn Lethbridge
    06:42 05 May 23
    We wanted Marri boards to make a bed - Austim provided beautiful planed and sized boards - at a good price - delivered on time......excellent service!
    Mark Warren
    Mark Warren
    06:53 20 Aug 21

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      “The timber quality is excellent, the price was competitive, the communication spot on and the delivery just right. Well done and thanks again”