Koompassia malaccensis or kempas can grow to heights of approximately 54 metres tall, and occasionally up to 60 metres tall. The trunk of the tree can vary between 60cm-149cm in diameter.
These trees have high, wide-spreading buttresses and smooth grey bark. While Koompassia malaccensis is native to Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia, it can be grown and harvested in most tropical rainforest climates.
Koompassia malaccensis is a (lower risk) threatened species which means it’s important to only source it from sustainable forests. At Back to Timber, our kempas wood suppliers use only sustainable forest and plantations.
When Kempas is freshly cut, it is a reddish or pinkish-brown colour, however, it gradually turns to a deeper orange-brown tone as it ages. Kempas is known for having a very tight grain which means that it offers a smooth and unmarked wood, with only slight variations in its tone. Kempas timber does not have any striations or knots. With an interlocked and sometimes wavy grain, the wood can have some streaks of brittle tissue.
Once harvested, the kempas wood is heavy and moderately hard, making it extremely durable and resistant to fungi, however susceptible to dry wood borers and termites.
Kempas has some uses in construction. It is used externally for exterior joinery and cladding, sleepers, heavy carpentry, and vehicle or container flooring, and internally for flooring, sliced veneer, and industrial or heavy flooring. Kempas is also used for fuel and produces high-quality charcoal.
This timber can be hard to work with as it can have streaks of hard stone-like tissue which can blunten tools. Kempas will accept all sorts of stains, fixes, and finishes readily. It sands well but may be hard to nail in because of how easily the wood splits. While Kempas dries reasonably well, there can be a tendency to warp.
Its above-ground and in-ground durability are classed at a level 3, which means it has a life expectancy of 5-15 years. Pre-finished flooring should have a longer lifespan depending on the amount of wear and tear and weathering it has endured. While Kempas isn’t always commonly available, except as flooring planks, due to its growing region, it is considered relatively inexpensive.
Kempas in Flooring
Kempas is a beautiful smooth wood, popular for use in flooring. Its unique features make it a perfect fit in a modern home, as well as a more traditional-style home.
Kempas floors are easy to maintain and care for. It is recommended to clean kempas flooring with a dust mop, soft-bristled broom, vacuum cleaner, or a wood floor mop kit. Never use a wet mop or a steam mop as excess water can seep between the boards and cause damage. It is also recommended not to use wax, oil, soap, or any abrasive cleaners on kempas flooring to maintain optimum quality.
This hard-wearing hardwood flooring option not only offers resistance, but also an unmatchable texture that will complete any home. Kempas flooring is available in a number of lengths, widths and stains. A red-toned stain is most commonly used on kempas timber as it brings out the natural warm hues.
At Back To Timber, we offer a variety of kempas timber flooring options. Check out some of our favourites below.
If you have questions about these products or any other flooring products, please contact our friendly team. We’d love to hear from you!