Tungsten is a prime choice for armor material in future nuclear fusion devices. For the realization of fusion, it is necessary to address issues related to the plasma–armor interactions. In this work, several types of tungsten material were studied, i.e. tungsten prepared by spark plasma sintering (SPS) and by water stabilized plasma spraying (WSP) technique. An intended surface porosity was created in the samples to model hydrogen/helium bubbles. The samples were subjected to a laser heat loading and a radiation loading of deuterium plasma to simulate edge plasma conditions of a nuclear fusion device (power density of 108 W/cm2 and 107 W/cm2, respectively, in the pulse intervals up to 200 ns). Thermally induced changes in the morphology and the damage to the studied surfaces are described. Possible consequences for the fusion device operation are pointed out.