The use of mahogany as a deck material has a long history. What makes mahogany desirable for decks are its hardness, decay resistance and its resistance to pests. Mahogany’s interlocking grain prevents separation between annual growth rings, making it one of the most stable of woods on the market today. What’s more, it comes in clear grade only, with no knots or sapwood.
There are many different species and sub-species of mahogany, many colors that range from white and yellow to light and dark red. Mahogany lumber is known for its high grades, with boards that are straight and usually free of blemishes.
There are various opinions on the care requirements for mahogany decking. Some people prefer to spend quite a bit of their time maintaining mahogany’s original color and finish. Others believe in leaving it alone and allowing it to age naturally.
Philippine mahogany, called “Meranti,” comes in all colors, including a dark red that looks quite like teak. But, each color has its own faults and range of resistance to decay. In order to protect it and retain its dimensional stability, it must be maintained with water repellant.
Therefore, Meranti is not as desirable as American mahogany, which is found in Central and South America, the West Indies and Mexico. American mahogany is known for its beautiful, dark red color and the fact that it will last for decades.
Normally, it is necessary to pre-drill holes in mahogany because the grain is so dense that nails or screws are nearly impossible to penetrate it. It makes sense to use screws instead of nails to eliminate nails heads from popping up above the boards and loosening up over time.
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