When it comes to selecting the perfect timber for your driveway gate, exquisite hardwoods like oak and iroko often stand out as the premier choices.Their renowned durability, enchanting aesthetic appeal, and innate resistance to the ravages of weather make them truly exceptional options. Our high end prestige gate range is offered in both Iroko and Oak but what are the differences between Iroko & Oak?


West African Iroko and European Oak are two distinct types of hardwoods, each with unique properties and uses.

Colour and appearance of Iroko & Oak                                             Iroko vs Oak

  • Iroko:
    • Colour: Typically golden to medium brown, which darkens over time.
    • Grain: Interlocked, sometimes irregular, with a coarse texture.
    • Aesthetics: Can look similar to Teak, often called “African Teak.”
  • Oak:
    • Colour: Ranges from light brown to darker tones, sometimes with a slight olive cast.
    • Grain: Straight grain, with a medium to coarse texture. Sometimes with small tassels and can have a striking flame-like patterning. 
    • Aesthetics: Has a classic, timeless look, often used in traditional and contemporary designs.

Durability and Hardness

  • Iroko:
    • Durability: Highly durable and resistant to decay and insect attacks, making it suitable for outdoor use.
    • Hardness: Janka hardness rating of around 1,260 lbf (5,600 N), making it quite hard and suitable for heavy-use applications.
  • Oak:
    • Durability: Also very durable, but European Oak is slightly less resistant to decay compared to Iroko.
    • Hardness: Janka hardness rating of around 1,120 lbf (4,980 N) for European Oak, making it hard and durable, but slightly less so than Iroko.

Maintenance of Iroko and Oak

  • Iroko:
    • Low maintenance due to its high resistance to environmental factors. Iroko possesses huge amounts of natural oils.
    • Needs occasional cleaning and oiling to maintain appearance, but less frequent than Oak.
  • Oak:
    • While oak is naturally durable, it still requires regular maintenance to preserve its appearance and longevity. Oiling is necessary to protect the wood from moisture and UV damage.

Charltons recommends treating Oak and Iroko with a modern UV oil click here for more details.


  • Iroko:
    • Generally less expensive than European Oak, making it a more cost-effective hardwood option.
  • Oak:
    • Typically more expensive due to its popularity, aesthetic appeal, and slower growth rate.

Environmental Impact

  • Iroko:
    • Concerns: Overharvesting and deforestation in some regions.
    • Charltons sources Iroko from a hardwood specialist importer. Every single piece of wood that passes through our importers hands can be fully traced back to its source. They know where it grew, when it was felled, which mill it came from and even its thickness. They take all reasonable measures to ensure that the timber supplied to us does not come from:
      • Wood harvested from forest areas where traditional or civil rights are violated.
      • Wood harvested from non FSC/PEFC certified forest areas having high conservation values which are threatened.
      • Wood harvested from genetically modified (GM) trees.
      • Illegally harvested wood.
      • Natural forest that has been converted to plantations of non-forest use.
  • Oak:
    • Concerns: European Oak is generally sustainably managed, but overharvesting can still be an issue.
    • Charltons only purchases European Oak that is PEFC certified as being from sustainable sources.


Choosing between Oak and Iroko hardwood for your driveway gate ultimately depends on your specific requirements, budget and aesthetic preferences. Oak offers exceptional strength, timeless beauty, and durability, but comes with a higher price tag and requires more maintenance. On the other hand, Iroko provides better weather resistance, cost-effectiveness and lower maintenance. 


Prestige Jubilee Driveway gate