A north west timber products business has become the sole UK supplier of mandioqueira, a South American tropical hardwood used for decking.
Silva Timber Products owners Nick Taylor and Simon Hutton met a number of potential suppliers while on a trade mission to Bolivia last year and have now agreed a deal with one.
Mr Taylor said the supplier conforms to the strictest environmental standards.
Mandioqueira is a versatile, mostly straight-grained wood with a light golden brown appearance and a medium texture. Its colour tones are similar to those found in oak.
Its qualities include being naturally decay-resistant and it is rated as having class three durability, making it suitable for exterior use. It comes with full certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible forestry.
Although Bolivia is one of the least developed countries in South America, it has some of the strictest illegal logging laws in the world. More than 50 per cent of its land mass is forest, and it has a deforestation rate of just 0.5 per cent.
To ensure optimal stability, mandioqueira has been kiln-dried at source to a moisture content of about 15 per cent. Its boards are mostly knot-free.
As well as decking, mandioqueira can be used for outdoor furniture, flooring, interior and exterior cladding, boat and shipbuilding.
Mr Taylor said Silva would target architects, landscapers, designers, shop-fitters and house-builders as it seeks to drive sales of mandioqueira.
It is the latest in a series of product launches for Silva, which is based in Widnes, Cheshire, and has a second showroom in west London.
The firm has added 14 product lines in the past 12 months with further ranges to come this year.
Founded in 2000, the company has grown into one of the UK’s leading importers of speciality timber products used in commercial buildings, homes, eco-tourism developments, hotels, marinas and gardens.
Among the applications are cladding, roofing shingles and shakes, decking, fencing and screens.
Recent projects include ones for major supermarket chains as well as Center Parcs, Marks & Spencer and Durham University.
Mr Taylor said:
“We are committed to providing the highest quality and sustainably- sourced speciality timbers for both private and commercial projects and mandioqueira fits the bill perfectly.
“In addition, it is extremely economical and hard-wearing. We are constantly looking for ways to develop our product range and we are delighted to be able to offer mandioqueira throughout the UK.”