Frequently Asked Questions

Timber is a big topic. Below you’ll find answers to the most frequent questions we receive, and others in helpful categories.

Can’t find a question to your answer? Get in touch with the expert team at Gowan Lea Timbers today and let us help you!

FAQs About Gowan Lea Timbers

Our operating hours are from 6:30 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.

We accept direct deposit, Mastercard, Visa, and cash for payment.

Yes, we do our own deliveries throughout the Sunshine Coast and South-East Queensland. We can also arrange freight for deliveries anywhere else within Australia.

To ensure accuracy, we prefer to quote each job individually. Prices from our suppliers change constantly, especially on imported products, so price lists quickly become out of date. In addition, price is often determined by volume. Additionally, pricing often depends on the volume and complexity of the job. By understanding the specifics of your project, we can provide a tailored and accurate quote.

Although we primarily quote based on timber lists, some of our suppliers offer take-offs for specific elements such as floor systems, frames and trusses, and fibre cement cladding. We also have access to qualified professional Estimators who can provide detailed BOQs for a fee.

Certainly! Our yard staff can assist in cutting one or two lengths of timber to fit them in your car at no charge. However, for larger projects, including commercial docking, a docking fee applies. Please note that precision docking is not guaranteed, and variations of +/- 1mm may occur. For higher accuracy requirements, on-site cutting is recommended.

Yes, we can connect you with reputable tradespeople in your area who specialize in these fields.

While we can provide an estimated weight, we are not transport engineers and cannot advise on the suitability of your vehicle/trailer/racks for carrying the load.  Queensland Transport Department laws govern allowable overhangs, and all loads must be properly secured.

We prioritize safety and cannot load or allow a vehicle to leave our yard if we deem the load unsafe, illegal, or improperly secured. If needed, we can suggest alternative solutions such as delivery, splitting the load, or cutting it into shorter lengths.

Building decks close to the ground (within 300-400mm), whether over concrete or soil, requires careful consideration for long-term performance. Factors such as good design, proper drainage and ventilation, careful timber selection, and ongoing maintenance are essential for success.

Absolutely! We specialise in helping customers select suitable timber for their projects. To get started, we need details about your vision, including the desired look (color, texture, etc.) and the project’s specifics (internal/external, aspect, etc.). Once we understand your requirements, we can transform your vision into a reality, ensuring the chosen timber performs its job and maintains its appearance for years to come.

Timber Care: Getting The ‘Look’ You Want

Yes, we highly recommend using a high-quality Cutek Extreme (clear) for pre-oiling. Our suggestion is to apply one coat all around prior to delivery and a final coat on-site after construction and clean-up. You can also add a colored tint to the final coat if desired.

The frequency of oiling depends on how you want your timber to look and its exposure to weather conditions such as sun and rain. If you prefer a freshly oiled appearance and your deck is exposed, you’ll need to re-coat it at least once a year, regardless of the coating you use.

Decks in more protected areas may only require re-coating every 2-3 years. A good indicator for re-coating is when the timber starts changing color and stops beading water.

We recommend using a quality penetrating oil like Cutek as it is easier to re-apply and does not crack or flake away if re-coating is not maintained. For species with oily or high resin content like Merbau or Spotted Gum, it is often best to let the timber weather for a month or two before oiling for optimal results.

Timber bleeding refers to the leaching of tannins and resins from new timber. While it can be unsightly, especially when installed over concrete or tiles, it is a natural process that occurs with almost all hardwoods, regardless of whether they are new or old, kiln-dried, or unseasoned.

Lighter-colored hardwoods like Blackbutt tend to bleed less, while Merbau is known to be the worst. Pre-oiling can help mitigate bleeding, but it cannot prevent it entirely.

You can accelerate the process by periodically hosing down the timber, and there are commercial acid-based cleaners available that can remove stains caused by bleeding. Typically, bleeding diminishes over a few months, and that’s the ideal time to apply an oil as the timber absorbs it more readily.

‘Greying’ or ‘Silvering’ off is the natural weathering process of timber whereby the tannins, resins etc are gradually leached and washed out of uncoated, new timber (see the question on timber ‘bleeding’). The degree and speed that it happens depends on the amount of exposure to sun and rain the timber gets, so it’s not uncommon to have the exposed half of your deck grey off within six months, but the other protected half to take much longer.

All uncoated timber will grey off if left exposed to the weather, but some handle it better than others. Coatings like paint and decking oils are a bit like sunscreen for your timber – they protect it from the worst effects of prolonged exposure to the elements. Leaving timber un-coated and letting it grey off may look nice and beachy, but will significantly shorten its lifespan and usually result in premature cracking, cupping, splintering etc.

But if you love the grey look of weathered timber, then the first thing to do is select a species that has the best chance of coping with Timber Abuse! High quality, Durability Class 1 species like Spotted Gum, Ironbark, Tallowwood, Merbau, White Mahogany, Accoya, etc. are all good choices.
The other recommended strategy is to apply a product like Cutek Extreme (clear – no colour tint) which will absorb into the timber and do its job, but allow the top couple of millimetres to grey off. This is the best of both worlds – you get the weathered look, but still protect your timber. Cutek also has a couple of ‘milky’ wash tints available which can help blend areas with different exposure / weathering rates.

If you’re not walking on, touching, or relying on the timber for water-proofing, a bit of rustic weathering with associated character is usually not a problem. We do lots of exposed timber privacy or shade screens that are never touched and grow old gracefully, but you need to make sure you get the species and size right so it stands the test of time.

There are various types and levels of timber preservative treatments available. Most are safe to use at home with simple precautions such as wearing dust masks when cutting or sanding, washing hands afterward, and avoiding burning off-cuts. Once installed, these products pose no risk to your family or pets. Painting or oiling treated timber can provide further peace of mind.

However, CCA (copper, chromium, arsenic) treated timber should not be used for applications where people will come into regular contact with it, such as decking, handrails, and seats. It is also not recommended for use in food or animal production. However, CCA treated timber is still commonly used for fencing and landscape timbers.

At Gowan Lea Timbers, out hardwood is treated with a copper-based treatment that is approved for all applications, including playgrounds, schools, food and animal production, decking, and flooring. We also provide untreated timber for outdoor use, but only a few species are suitable for this purpose.

Calculating The Quantities You Need

While we are not engineers or building certifiers, we can provide general information for simple applications using computer programs. Additionally, we can offer Span Tables that can assist you.

However, for any structural application, it is crucial to seek advice from a qualified builder or engineer who can provide detailed guidance tailored to your specific project.

Calculating the quantities is relatively straightforward. Start by determining the required square meters and divide it by the size of the board in meters. For example, if you have a 50m² deck using a 140mm board, the calculation would be 50 / 0.140 = 357m. Remember to account for waste and any additional trims or fascias. The amount of waste may vary depending on several factors, but a good starting point is to allow for 5 to 10 percent waste.

Questions About Our Timber Range

We offer a diverse range of timber species and products. While our specialty lies in hardwood, given our own sawmill, we can source any commercially-available timber species. In addition to hardwood, we also provide other building products such as engineered timber, fibre cement, cladding, flooring plywood, doors, hardware, and more. You can review our product range or contact us directly to discuss your specific needs.

Certainly! When it comes to new builds or extensions near natural bushland, certain councils may require compliance with specific Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings.

These ratings often determine the types of timbers that can be used. Fortunately, most of the hardwood species we supply are highly fire-resistant.

Species like Spotted Gum, Ironbark, Merbau, Blackbutt, and more are suitable for use up to BAL 29. However, it’s important to note that building design also plays a critical role in reducing the risk of bushfire attacks.

Most of our kiln dried decking comes to us in random length packs with pieces from 1.0m-5.4m long. This material is generally sold as random only as it’s difficult and time consuming to pull these packs apart and pull out all the 3.6m lengths, for example.  If it’s only a few you need, we are normally able to help, but larger set-length KD decking orders are usually not possible.

However, some suppliers can do set-lengths in certain species and sizes, but this is subject to availability and generally dearer.  Let us know what you need and we’ll ring around and see what’s available.

Commercial decking from our mill is the exception as it can be cut and dressed to order. It will be unseasoned though, which means it will shrink a little, but being mostly Spotted Gum and Ironbark, is still highly durable. This product comes in a variety of sizes and is usually used in more ‘rustic’ applications like boardwalks, jetties, garage floors, garden walkways, etc.

Hardwood screening products like 42×19, 70×19 etc are generally more readily available in set-lengths.

There are a few decisions to make that will narrow down your choices considerably.  These are completely subjective and come down to your personal taste:

  • Colour and species
  • Size
  • Grade
  • Engineered timber or solid timber?
  • Intended use

Timber is a natural product and inherently variable. While achieving perfect, gun-barrel straightness may be challenging, we are here to assist you based on your specific requirements and project needs.

By informing us about the intended use and your expectations, we can help select suitable timber grades such as “Appearance Grade” or “Select Grade” that best align with your preferences.

Some customers appreciate a more rustic look with natural features and character, while others prefer a cleaner appearance. If certain sides or edges of the timber won’t be visible, please let us know, as it allows us to choose pieces accordingly.

Providing us with detailed information about your preferences and how the timber will be used enables us to better meet your needs.

Yes, we can and this is done by selecting a suitable species. Timber is generally broadly divided into colour groups of Blonde, Brown, Red and Mixed and there are species that generally fall into each of these groups. You will still get natural variation in colour within a species, but this is relatively limited.

Some species like Spotted Gum however can be very variable in colour, but generally within the Brown group. For example, with Spotted Gum you would expect to get everything from pale to mid to dark chocolate brown and this is why it never seems to go out of date as it tends to match any décor. Other species are much less variable, but you should still expect some natural variation. The only thing we can’t do is select colour preferences within a species, for example, provide Spotted Gum, but only the dark ones.