Hardwood Decking: Options and Advantages

From on January 24, 2008 in Decks and Patios

Hardwood DeckingThere’s a lot of hype on ipe when it comes to hardwood decking material. In a recent interview, Dave Andersen of Monarch Gardens compared ipe to mahogany, stating that more and more of his customers are showing interest in the dense wood. At the same time, many other choices in hardwood are hitting the market. We recently spoke with Dan Ivancic of Advantage Lumber, who adds tigerwood, cumaru, and garapa to the list. While Ivancic concurs that ipe is the most sought after, he says other hardwood materials are more cost effective while offering similar properties to ipe.

“Due to the increasing demand for ipe as well as proper forest management, we have seen the price nearly double over several years. This is why other species like tigerwood, cumaru, and garapa are becoming more popular. These species of hardwood are resistant to mold, mildew, insect attack, and have a class A rating against fire spread, all with out any chemical treatment,” Ivancic says.

Hardwood decking in general is a good choice for longevity, beauty, and overall performance. According to Ivancic, hardwood has a proven track record, with some species lasting to 100 years, and composite decking can boast no such thing. Ivancic also pointed out the following advantages of hardwood over composite.

  • Less Maintenance. To keep the exotic, rich color, hardwood requires a UV inhibitor application once a year, and possibly every other year once the deck is two to three years old. If you want the wood to age naturally, no finishes are needed. The hardwood will then turn a natural silver color over time. Composite decks come with additional maintenance recommendations, such as special cleaners, mold and mildew inhibitors, sealers, and biannual power washes.
  • After 10 to 15 years, when a hardwood deck begins to look weathered, sanding it down can make it look like new again. This isn’t possible with composite decking.
  • Hardwood is biodegradable. It can be responsibly harvested and organically grown without hormones and chemicals.


Ivancic says,

“Wood farm plantations commonly grow pine, which makes the wood very porous and more susceptible to the weather and insect attack, which in turn means it won’t last as long. Hardwoods have a much tighter grain and are much more dense, which gives it natural resistance to even the harshest environments. My personal favorite is tigerwood decking because the grain really gives it an exotic look.”

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