Rubberwood vs Solid Wood: Understanding the Differences

While selecting furniture wood for your home or projects, the choices can be overwhelming. Two popular types of wood options are rubberwood and solid wood. Understanding the differences between these two materials can help you make an informed decision that suits your needs, preferences, and budget. This article will delve into rubberwood vs solid wood’s characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks to help you choose the right material for your next project.

What is Rubberwood?


Rubberwood or parawood, comes from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). These trees are primarily cultivated for their latex, which produces natural rubber. Once the trees have outlived their latex-producing years, typically after 25-30 years, they are harvested for their wood.

Characteristics of Rubberwood:

  1. Sustainability: Rubberwood is considered an eco-friendly option because it utilizes trees that would otherwise be discarded. Its use helps reduce waste and promotes sustainable forestry practices.
  2. Appearance: It has a light color with a straight grain, making it versatile for various finishes and stains. This allows it to mimic more expensive hardwoods.
  3. Durability: While not as hard as some traditional hardwoods, rubber wood is still quite durable and resistant to wear and tear.
  4. Cost: Generally more affordable than many hardwoods, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.

What is Solid Wood?

solid wood

It refers to lumber that is cut directly from trees. This category includes a wide range of wood species, such as oak, cherry, walnut, and maple hardwood each with its unique characteristics and properties.

Characteristics of Solid Wood:

  1. Variety: With numerous species to choose from, solid wood offers a broad spectrum of colors, grains, and textures, allowing for highly customizable aesthetics.
  2. Strength and Durability: It is known for its exceptional strength and longevity. High-quality hardwood trees like oak and maple can last for generations.
  3. Value: Furniture and items made from solid timber often retain their value over time. Antique pieces can become highly valuable collector’s items.
  4. Natural Beauty: Each piece of solid wood furniture is unique, thanks to the natural variations in grain and color.

Rubberwood vs Solid Wood: A Brief Comparison

FeatureRubberwoodSolid Wood
SourceFrom rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) used for latex productionFrom various tree species like oak, maple, cherry, walnut
SustainabilityEco-friendly; uses repurposed trees, reducing wasteVaries; depends on species and sourcing practices
AppearanceLight color with straight grain; versatile for finishesWide range of colors, grains, and textures
DurabilityGood durability, but is not as long-lasting as some hardwoodsExceptionally strong and long-lasting
CostGenerally more affordableTypically more expensive
MaintenanceRequires regular maintenance; easy to care forCan require intensive maintenance; susceptible to warping or cracking
ValueOffers good value for moneyOften retains or increases in value over time
Environmental ImpactLower impact; sustainable harvesting practicesThe impact varies; sustainable sourcing is crucial
Aesthetic VersatilityCan mimic more expensive hardwoods with finishesUnique natural beauty with distinct grains and colors
Ideal UseBudget-friendly furniture, contemporary designs, and carvingsHeirloom-quality furniture, high-end projects

Rubberwood vs Solid Wood:


Rubberwood has a light color with a straight, uniform grain, which makes it highly versatile for various finishes and stains. This characteristic allows it to mimic the appearance of more expensive hardwoods, providing flexibility in design and style. In contrast, solid timber offers a range of colors, grains, and textures, depending on the species. For instance, oak, maple, and cherry each bring unique aesthetic qualities to the table. Solid wood’s natural variations mean that each piece is distinct, adding a rich and varied aesthetic that is difficult to replicate with rubberwood.


In terms of hardness, rubberwood is moderately hard, making it sufficient for everyday furniture use. However, it is generally less hard compared to many traditional hardwoods. Solid wood’s hardness varies significantly by species. Hardwoods such as oak and maple are renowned for their exceptional hardness and durability, making them ideal for high-wear applications. Softer woods like pine, while less hard, still offer significant versatility and are used in applications where extreme hardness is not required. Overall, solid lumber tends to be harder and more durable than rubberwood.

Durability and Longevity

Rubberwood, also known as plantation hardwood, is moderately durable. While it is not as hard or long-lasting as some traditional hardwoods like oak or teak, it is treated and processed to enhance its durability and resistance to pests and decay. Rubberwood is particularly prone to moisture and can warp if not properly sealed and maintained​. On the other hand, solid wood, which encompasses a variety of hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry, generally offers superior durability and longevity. These woods are naturally more resistant to wear and tear, and when properly maintained, they can last for decades or even centuries, making them a popular choice for heirloom-quality outdoor furniture.

Price & Availability

Rubberwood is typically more affordable and readily available compared to many solid hardwoods. This is due to its abundant supply from rubber plantations, where it is harvested after the trees have completed their latex-producing cycle. This makes it an eco-friendly and cost-effective option for furniture and other wood products​. In contrast, solid wood is often more expensive, reflecting the higher costs associated with sourcing, cutting, and processing these materials. Availability can vary widely depending on the specific type of wood and regional supply chains, with some hardwoods being more difficult to procure, thus driving up prices.


Furniture makers often choose Rubberwood for budget-friendly and contemporary designs. Its affordability and ability to be easily stained or finished make it suitable for furniture, cabinetry, and small household items that do not demand extreme durability. On the other hand, solid lumber is best suited for heirloom-quality furniture and high-end projects where longevity and aesthetic appeal are paramount. It is commonly used in flooring, cabinetry, structural applications, and a variety of fine furniture pieces that require robust durability and a timeless look.

Rubberwood Vs Solid Wood: Which Is the Best Choice?

Both rubberwood and solid wood have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Rubberwood stands out as an affordable, sustainable option suitable for a variety of applications, while solid wood offers unparalleled durability, natural beauty, and long-term value. By carefully considering your specific needs, budget, and environmental impact, you can select the best woodworking material for your project, ensuring satisfaction and lasting appeal. Continue reading Timber Explore for more detailed insights and guidance on choosing the right wood for your needs.