If you desire attractive decking that’s both durable and low maintenance, you want tropical hardwood decking. For high-end residential decks and docks as well as commercial boardwalks, composite products can’t come close to measuring up to the quality level of these natural materials. Our customers especially appreciate these three species: Ipe, Cumaru, and Teak. We can heartily recommend any of those, not only for their exceptional beauty and resilience but also for their environmentally friendly effects as sustainable natural resources.
Tropical Decking Species #1: Ipe
Hands down, Ipe is the favored species when it comes to tropical hardwood decking. And it’s really no surprise. Ipe boasts amazing stability, density, and rot resistance, which combine to allow it to offer a lifespan of 40 years or more. The rich, reddish brown color of freshly sawn Ipe will mellow to a silvery hue if left untreated; however, with periodic treatment with timber oils, it can keep its rich natural hue much longer. If we had to choose a downside to Ipe, it would have to be the price.
Tropical Decking Species #2: Cumaru
While no other species offers quite the same level of durability as Ipe, Cumaru comes close. Cumaru’s appearance is slightly different, offering you a choice of brown or yellow variants. Like Ipe, Cumuaru has superior density and hardness, which combine with resistance to decay to make it quite durable for high-traffic areas and long-term use. One down side of Cumaru is that it doesn’t have quite the same level of stability as Ipe. But as long as it’s properly dried and allowed enough time to come into equilibrium with the climate prior to installation, it will prove to be quite stable; however, in order to control movement, we only stock Cumaru in 5/4 thickness. At a fraction of the price as Ipe typically goes for, Cumaru offers similar quality for your high-end deck.
Tropical Decking Species #3: Teak
As one of the largest U.S. importers of Teak, we source this amazing lumber species primarily with our boat building customers in mind; however, a byproduct of sourcing Teak for boat builders is a certain percentage of premium Teak lumber that’s just not quite suitable for marine applications. That Teak can look amazing and perform quite well when installed on high-end decks or even interior flooring or trim. You know that if they can use this stuff on board a boat, it will stand up to whatever you can throw at it, when it’s used on your deck. Also less expensive than Ipe, Teak is an excellent choice for your next deck. The biggest problem with Teak today would have to be its limited availability.
J. Gibson McIlvain has built long-standing relationships with mills across Africa, Asia, and South America, allowing our customers to rest assured that the tropical hardwood lumber we source is responsibly and legally harvested while maintaining the highest standards of quality possible.