When you purchase tropical hardwood decking, we realize that you’re making quite an investment. But you still need to make sure your expectations are in line with reality, and a big part of that is realizing that decking boards are not finished products.
Sure, they may seem as if they are; after all, they’re planed and eased on all four faces and corners (S4S, E4E). If you’re planning to use a hidden fastener system, the boards may also have grooves routed out. The boards appear ready for installation, which can easily lead you to believe that they’re finished products. But they’re not.
Special Circumstances for Tropical Hardwood Decking
The fact that decking boards aren’t finished products is true, whether you’re talking about Pressure-treated Pine, Red Cedar, Cumaru, or Ipe. Decking boards are building materials that will require added steps both during installation and beyond. However, tropical hardwood decking faces added challenges due to its unique origin and long route to your job site. For one thing, the logs are sawn and milled into decking boards in the same area where they’ve grown, along the Amazon.
Those decking boards are transferred into and out of trucks and then metal shipping containers that endure plenty of harsh, kiln-like conditions during the day and then moisture dumps at night as they travel across the ocean. On both sides of their overseas journey, the boards are often stacked and unstacked multiple times by hand, before they even make it to the lumber yard. Mud and grime combine with salt water and all kinds of dirt, and all of it gets ground into the wood fibers and baked into the boards.
Added Issues in the Lumber Yard & on the Job Site
Whether your decking boards are domestic or tropical species, once they arrive at the lumber yard they are subjected again to more dirt and grime. You might think that it would be a good idea for us to perhaps clean the boards or even have them sanded before we ship them out to you; however, the added labor would translate into a higher price tag, and the boards will only get dirty once again when they get to your job site.
What happens when the decking boards arrive at your job site? Often, they’ll be stacked in the dirt while they await installation. During that wait (and hopefully an acclimatization period where the boards adjust to your regional temperature and humidity levels), the decking boards will pick up more mud and stains.
Maybe it will rain, and you’ll cover the boards with a tarp; that will allow for even more of the kiln-like conditions and condensation that took place in the shipping container. Even during installation, the contractor will be walking across the boards with muddy boots.
After all your tropical hardwood decking boards have gone through, they’ll require some extra TLC prior to and during installation as well as added finishing steps after installation.