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What is Tigerwood Hardwood Flooring?


Botanical Name: Astronium Fraxinifolium Tigerwood grows naturally in the in the neotropical forests of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. Color ranges from a pale cream to a rich reddish-orange hue in the dramatic streaking pattern that gives the wood its name. Tigerwood has an irregular grain that may be mottled, wavy or interlocked and a fine texture with a medium to dull luster.

Tigerwood typically changes color over time when exposed to sunlight. The lighter sapwood will darken, and the dramatic contrast of the colors will become subtler. The wood is oily with a natural resistance to insects, fungus, moisture, and decay. The Goncalo alves tree that produces tigerwood belongs to the Anacardiaceae family along with sumac and cashew trees, encompassing about 600 species altogether worldwide, including pepper, mango, and pistachio trees.


The use of tigerwood became common in the early 1900s. Early use was in instruments, notably pipe organs and violins. Other uses included outdoor furniture, decking, shutters, and boat building, due to its remarkable water-resistant properties. Its distinctive grain patterns make tigerwood a popular choice for decorative purposes, such as fine furniture, jewelry boxes, knife handles, pistol grips, cabinetry, and carvings. The durability of tigerwood makes it suitable for use in light and heavy construction to build mine timbers, pilings, posts, railroad ties, ladders, and joinery.


The durability of tigerwood makes it suitable for use in light and heavy construction to build mine timbers, pilings, posts, railroad ties, ladders, and joinery. The Janka scale uses 0.444″ steel ball pushed into a a 2″ x 2″ x 6″ piece to determine how hard the wood is. The test determines out how many pounds per square inch, or PSI, of force is needed to push the steel ball half way into the wood plank.

Janka ratings this high indicate extreme durability. Tigerwood may be found as solid flooring or a veneer surface on engineered flooring. Solid tigerwood flooring can be sanded and refinished many times over the life of the floor. High-end engineered flooring may be sanded up to five times (read the manufacturers instructions for details). This is an investment in flooring with a long lifespan and a resiliency that can stand up to a lot of traffic.


The heavy presence of oils in the wood makes tigerwood difficult to cut, and it will dull cutting edges quickly. Carbide-tipped cutting instruments are recommended. Nailing or screwing can also be difficult, and so pre-boring is suggested. The wood will hold the nails well after installation. Tigerwood can be glued, floated, nailed, or stapled; however, the oils in the wood can interfere with the glue, so presetting is suggested.

Oil based finishes are not recommended for use on tigerwood flooring, but most water-based finishes work well. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for guidance. If refinishing is necessary, it should be noted that tigerwood dust is an allergen and may cause respiratory reactions, eye irritation, or contact dermatitis (rash) in some people.

Where to use

Wood floors are not generally recommended for use in rooms where standing water is common, like bathrooms, but tigerwood has little reaction to moisture and will not warp or crack, so if you simply must have wood floors throughout your house including your bathrooms, it is a good choice. However, standing water can discolor any kind of wood, so extra care must be taken.

Tigerwood can be used in almost any room, bearing in mind that it will dent and scratch like any hardwood. Placing pads under furniture legs, rugs or runners in high traffic areas, and keeping pet nails clipped will help protect your beautiful floor for many decades of use. As an added precaution, spike heeled or sports shoes with spikes should not be worn on any kind of wood flooring. Tigerwood is durable enough to withstand heavy traffic and can be installed in almost any room.

Care and Maintenance

With the proper precautions outlined above, tigerwood is an easy care flooring option. Running a soft dustmop or vacuum over the floor daily and a mop dampened with a simple solution made of ¼ cup of white vinegar to a quart of warm water once a week should keep your floor clean and beautiful.

Another safe cleaning solution is water with 10% Windex. Never use a harsh cleanser like ammonia on any hardwood floor. Most commercial cleansers use harsh chemicals that will damage the wood or strip the finish. Check manufacturer’s instructions for other recommended cleaning products.

(11) Comments

  1. I have installed Tiger wood in my living room/dining room & the glue from the felt pads have gotten onto the tiger wood. How & what do I use to remove the clue without ruining the wood. I have tried the floor cleaner that I got with the wood & that dosen’t work, tried putting ice in a plastice bag & then trying to scrape it off. Does not work!

  2. Hi-
    We installed tigerwood decking on our restaurant’s deck overlooking Lake Superior. We have wrought iron furniture on the deck and now we have a black deck after the first rain. Did not realize how badly this product reacts to iron – and were not told.

    Is there a way to restore this costly experiment?

  3. We have Tigerwood engineered cherry floors throughout our apartment. There are little spots everywhere we’ve ever dripped water. I’ve tried scrubbing these by hand with a damp towel, and with Murphy’s Oil Soap; no luck. Any thoughts?



  4. Did you realize that in the “Where to Use” section you have repeated the entire paragraph twice.

  5. We installed this wood throughout our home we were building. We have been in our new home less than one year. I am just sick and extremely dissappointed in this floor. Under every chair, stool and table there are dents! I have all the legs protected. If I drop a wooden spatula in the kitchen, a dent is left behind! We had folding chairs set up for the holidays here recently…horrible denting and scratching. I spent $20000+ on what was to be my dream home and floor…not any longer. I mourn everytime I have to see my floors. Does this sound correct? I am trying to get a Janka test performed on some scrap pieces to see if it is truly Tigerswood…Am I wasting my time? PLEASE ADVISE!!! DESPERATE!

  6. I had placed tigerwood flooring 7-8 months ago. I had placed rugs in 2 eating areas. There are tan lines. I removed the rugs. Will the floors eventually blend in? Thank you.

    • Hi Anat,

      As this is a natural product, the flooring should blend in to match the flooring over time. Give it some time (my rough estimate is about another 6 months or so) and it will catch up with the color. Over time the color shade of the flooring can only reach a maximum point of change, and while most of your area has probably reached that point yet, the areas where you covered with rugs have not and will therefore need to catch up.


  7. Hi, this is Chitralekha from Wood & Panel USA, the highest circulated e-magazine that caters to the wood and wbp industry of USA. In our upcoming issue, we are planning to write an article on TIGERWOOD in our HARDWOOD section. It will be helpful if you can provide us some details on this species so that we can publish it in our magazine. Looking forward to an early reply.

  8. Pingback: Directory of Wood Species - Hardwood Flooring

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