It’s springtime, and if you’re like us, that means decking is on your mind. Our top decking species, by far, is Ipe. While the premium characteristics of that prime decking species are well known, it also comes with its share of challenges, regarding both availability and workability. Even once you overcome those issues, though, the price point may make it unattainable. You can save money by choosing your sizes carefully.
You can also enjoy many of the same benefits of Ipe with these alternative tropical decking species. You read about a few of the more popular ones in Part 1; now, get ready to learn about some lesser-known species you may like even better.
What Gives Tigerwood its Name
While this species also goes by the name Goncalo Alves, the name “Tigerwood” aptly describes its appearance, considering its orange-tinted background color combined with dark brown striping. Without treatment, Tigerwood darkens to a deep reddish brown. Once dried, this species boasts great stability in a variety of climates; however, kiln drying is necessary to achieve that stability. The variegated coloring of Tigerwood is certainly striking but can make consistency of appearance throughout a deck difficult, and the extremely smooth texture can make its surface slippery with bare, wet feet.
Why Massaranduba May (or May Not) Be a Good Choice
Known by the names “Brazilian Redwood” and “Bullet Wood,” this dense, hard decking species comes from a large tree that grows in Brazil. Its size yields plenty of ideal decking boards with straight, consistent grain. The deep red color of Massaranduba naturally mellows to brown with sun exposure. While not quite as hard as Ipe, this species is still quite durable — as long as it survives the drying process. Sometimes Massaranduba splits and checks during drying; when used in especially dry climates, it can also become compromised. In wetter climates, though, this species has great stability along with a price point comparable to Cumaru.
Why You Might Want To Grab Some Garapa
Another species known for its origin, Garapa is sometimes referred to as Brazilian Oak. As you might expect from that name, Garapa is quite dense and hard. Its unusual coloring offers a surprising pop of color: lemon yellow. While many homeowners dislike the brightness of Garapa, others are drawn to it. Stable and much harder than most domestic lumber species, Garapa is an excellent decking choice. For those who just can’t get past the color, stains and dyes can be applied to make its color closer to that of Ipe and other tropical decking species.
Why You Can Forget About Cambara
Often compared to Mahogany, Cambara has a reddish brown color that resembles the furniture favorite. While it was once a viable decking option, the Cambara coming out of Brazil today is far too inconsistent in both availability and grade. Just in case you were thinking it might be a possibility, we wanted you to know that sadly, it’s no longer a good decking option.