If you’re considering replacing or adding a new deck, boardwalk, or boat dock to your residential or commercial property, you have a variety of different options to choose from. Some of the most long-lasting, attractive choices available on the market fall under the category of tropical decking. There are several desirable options you can consider depending on your needs, budget, and personal preferences.
In this two-part series of articles, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular tropical decking species, so you can make an informed decision about which one would be right for you.
Advantages of Tropical Decking
Before getting into the different species of tropical hardwoods used to make decking boards, let’s briefly examine the benefits of tropical decking as a whole. Compared to composite products, tropical decking tends to be extremely dense and strong. It also tends to retain color far better than composite decking.
Some people worry about choosing tropical decking, because they don’t want to harm the planet and contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. What many don’t realize, however, is that great strides have been made to improve the sustainability of the areas where popular tropical hardwoods are harvested.
If people don’t buy these hardwoods, then the indigenous people often consider it more economically advantageous just to clear-cut the land and turn it into farmland, which can be long term devastating to the land. By working toward sustainable harvesting of tropical wood species, responsible mills and reputable tropical decking dealers can actually end up being a big part of the solution to preserving the rainforest rather than being a part of the problem.
Ipe: The Number-One Choice in Tropical Hardwoods
Whether for large municipal projects or small home decks, Ipe is the recognized leader when it comes to tropical hardwood species used for decking. There are a number of reasons for this species’ success on the international market, including its durability, density, as well as its insect, fire, and moisture resistance and its radial and tangential stability.
No matter what size or shape deck, boardwalk, or dock you have in mind, Ipe is an ideal choice for your exterior decking project. When it comes to long-lasting results, you simply can’t beat Ipe. It has at least a 40-year projected lifespan, so, barring a natural disaster or another unforseen catastrophe, you shouldn’t need to replace it for decades to come.
Customers love Ipe’s naturally rich, brown hue, which can be retained through methodical oil treatments. Or, if you prefer to skip this step, you can enjoy the silver patina of weathered Ipe.
Basically, Ipe’s only drawback is its price. Since price is based on demand, the more this “king of tropical hardwoods” grows in popularity, the higher the price for Ipe decking continues to rise. The good news is, if Ipe is out of your price range, there are still some great tropical hardwood alternatives available. Cumaru is another customer favorite that tends to mimic some of the main benefits of Ipe without quite as high of a price tag.
In the second article in our series of introduction to tropical hardwoods, we’ll take a closer look at Cumaru as well as Jatoba and Teak. Each of these options has some distinct advantages to offer property owners who are searching for high-quality decking materials.