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I'm looking for advice on what grade of timber I can specify for an internal stair tread (width 1100mm). Hoping to use blackbutt, but would love some advice so I can ensure I have detailed the correct tread thickness.

Woodsolutions Answer +

Our Technical Design Guide number 8 covers stairs, balustrades and handrails and includes tread sizes for a range of common timbers, including blackbutt. The Guide can be downloaded from our website here:


The BCA 3.5.3 details some timber cladding options. I have a hardwood vertical batten and board system used for hundreds of years around the world . As this is not detailed in bca I may need a performance solution for a building inspector. Do you have any suggestions or examples of one?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Earlier editions of the BCA focussed on weatherboards and other horizontally fixed timber cladding. The 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) now includes vertical wall cladding, and Figure shows fixing details for a "shiplap, tongue and groove or similar profile". So in our opinion there shouldn't be any barrier to using the board and batten system which could be considered a "similar profile". 


What is the best hardwood to use in a bathroom? I have design where I'm planning to clad one part of the wall and ceiling with timber panelling. I'm not sure which timber species as the best to use or what type of waterproofing would be best.

Woodsolutions Answer +

No doubt you are aware of the National Construction Code's requirement for water resistant walls in the shower area and close to the floor. Impervious materials adjacent to handbasins are also advisable. Elsewhere timber can be an attractive feature. We generally recommend western red cedar because of its dimensional stability. For the same reason it's the recommended timber for saunas. The best coating is polyurethane, applied to both sides of the boards before installation. If used in conjunction with an effective exhaust fan timber will give good service in a bathroom.

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