While Ipe is certainly our top-selling tropical hardwood decking species — followed undeniably by Cumaru — those two species (see Part 1) are certainly not your only options. Chances are, like most of our customers, you will choose one of those premium species. However, we believe an educated customer is a happy customer, so we want to make sure you’re aware of the other tropical hardwood decking lumber species available and what sets them apart from the others. Who knows?! You may find out that the best option for your next project is actually a species you’ve never heard of before.
Tropical Hardwood Species Focus: Red Balau
After Ipe and Cumaru, Red Balau is probably the most popular species that we sell. Easier on tools than many of the other tropical hardwood decking species, Red Balau offers easy working properties. In the same family as Mahogany, this species is similar in texture, color, and workability. Harder than domestic Hard Maple, Red Balau boasts excellent color consistency while lacking the same degree of defects that can be found in other tropical decking options. At only about half the cost of Ipe, we’re sure you can understand why some customers prefer Red Balau.
Tropical Hardwood Species Focus: Jatoba
Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian Cherry,” Jatoba is well known for its use as interior flooring. Its extreme hardness is similar to that of Ipe, and as a tropical species its stability and resistance to rot and insects makes it appropriate for exterior applications too. The gorgeous red hue of this species deepens over time and with exposure to sunlight. Because of its suitability for interior flooring as well as exterior decking, Jatoba allows the unique option of blending interior and exterior living spaces for a cohesive look.
Tropical Hardwood Species Focus: Tigerwood
Named for its unique striped appearance, Tigerwood has a brownish orange background with dark grain “striping.” Once seasoned, the stripes will become more muted and the color will deepen to a reddish brown color similar to that of other tropical hardwood decking species.
Used for both exterior decking and interior applications, Tigerwood can create added challenges when it comes to consistency in appearance. The uneven striping for which this species is named is what presents the challenge. While it requires kiln drying in order to achieve proper stability, because it does dry well, this species is able to perform well in a variety of climates. The texture of this tropical hardwood decking species is extremely smooth, which feels great on bare feet; however, it can also be slippery, especially when wet. Like the other species listed, this one is typically more affordable than Ipe.
In our final post, we’ll take a look at three more favorite tropical hardwood decking species which you might want to consider for your next deck.