Mersawa wood is light in color and has a moderately coarse texture. Freshly sawn heartwood is pale yellow or yellowish brown and darkens on exposure to air. Some wood may show a pinkish cast or pink streaks, but these eventually disappear on exposure to air. The wood weighs between 544 and 752 kg/m³ (34 and 47 lb/ft3) at 12% moisture content and about 945 kg/m³ (59 lb/ft3) when green.


The heartwood varies from light to dark red-brown or brown to dark brown, sometimes with a purple tint; the heartwood is usually well defined from the gray or buff-colored sapwood. Similar to kapur (Dryobalanops), the texture of keruing is moderately coarse and the grain is straight or shallowly interlocked.


The colour of Meranti heartwood varies sharply from dark red to light red-brown and from pale pink to pink-red. Given the diversity of tree types and their region of origin, for the Shorea red meranti species there will always be differences in shades and weights in a delivery of timber. The pink grey sapwood is 20-50 mm thick and distinct from the heartwood.