Ipe is considered the ‘Rolls Royce’’ of hardwood decking by many floor critics and builders across the world. It has been for decades. Anton Sparks, CEO of Online Building shares some reasons why Ipe and other Brazilian hardwood species like Massaranduba, Garapa and Jatoba are the best choices when it comes to decking.
Also known as Brazilian Walnut, Ipe is eight times harder than the famous Californian Redwood trees found in the USA and is one of the hardest woods in the world. Its durability or stability doesn’t come close to any other hardwood. The wood is described as isotropic meaning that it moves equally in all directions enhancing its stability. Due to the hardness of the wood, it does not require kiln drying (KD) either. The only negative is the price. Because it’s truly a premium decking option and is in high demand it carries a hefty price tag. Building with Ipe is a true investment in your home and will last for many years to come.
Also known as Brazilian Redwood, it’s approximately 20% softer than Ipe. The dense hardwood is deep red in colour and ages to a lighter brown, not too dissimilar to Balau and Garapa’s colour.
The drawback of this hardwood is the drying process. The surface tends to crack in the summer months but fortunately, it’s only aesthetic. The structural integrity of the planks remains unaffected which is why it’s still a very popular choice amongst builders.
Garapa, also known as Brazilian Oak, is another dense hardwood that’s has a striking lemon yellow colour. As it ages it turns to a silvery grey over time. Garapa is three times harder than red cedar but is still only half as hard as Ipe. Garapa is a dryer timber than Massaranduba and therefore has less surface cracking over time, and is considered a lot more stable.
Jatoba, or Brazilian Cherry, is 25% softer than Ipe but is still considered to be ridiculously hard. This hardwood varies in colour from a salmon red to an orange-brown with a medium to coarse texture. Its appearance makes it a very popular choice. While it’s a fairly new hardwood now being sold in Cape Town its appearance makes it a popular choice. It ages to a rusty brown and is often marked with dark stripes.
Make no mistake, these are all durable options that will outperform nearly all other timbers in the world and increase the value of your home. However, if you can stomach the price, Ipe will outperform all of them. Remember though hardwood decks should be considered ‘’low maintenance’’ and not ‘’no maintenance’’ so you will get more out of your deck by oiling it between seasons. Please see our other articles for deck installation tips and maintenance on our website’s blog page. www.onlinebuilding.co.za
Note: All timber sold at Online Building is sourced by reputable, internationally recognised and environmentally conscious agents.
Disclaimer: Online Building cc cannot be held liable for any decisions made based on the advice given. Under the ECT Act and to the fullest extent possible under the applicable law, Online Building disclaims all responsibility or liability for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of this site and or information in any manner.