Pros and cons of the most popular wood deck materials

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  • #52

    Some excellent tropical hardwood decking species that offer diverse look and splendid performance:


    Bending strength



    Ipe deck

    (Brazilian Walnut decking)

    • An extremely dense wood casted with a deep rich brown and olive colour.
    • Some pieces might display hints of red and amber hues.
    • A fine texture and tight-grain look.

    25,400 psi

    3680 lbs.

    • Highest in resistance to insect and decay.
    • Lifespan of over 75 years.
    • Low maintenance
    • No need to be dried for exterior uses

    Cumaru deck

    (Brazilian Teak decking)

    • Colour varies, from honey to reddish brown
    • Dark grain accents similarly to teak throughout the wood

    24,800 psi

    3540 lbs.

    • Over 50 years lifespan
    • Natural resistance to decay
    • Superb durability
    • Low maintenance
    • About 2/3 the price of Ipe

    Cambara deck (Cambara Mahogany decking)

    • Light to medium brown hues
    • A coarse to medium open graining pattern

    13, 080 psi

    941 lbs

    • The ability to hold coatings well allows flexibility in colour design for different projects
    • Stable, harder and denser than softwood decking once kiln dried
    • Rot and insect resistance

    Tigerwood deck (Brazilian Koa decking)

    • A bit of brownish orangey background
    • Accented with intermittent black and brown streaks
    • Smooth texture
    • Different and unique look, when darkened will turn to a deeper reddish brown

    19,285 psi

    1850 lbs.

    • Low maintenance
    • Naturally durable and stable in many climates
    • Lifespan: over 30 years

    Garapa deck (Brazilian Ash decking)

    • Light yellow to luxurious honey hues
    • A fine-grained structure that weathers to gray quickly

    12,900 psi

    1210 lbs

    • Lifespan: over 30 years
    • Without any chemical treatments, it possesses a natural resistance to rot, decay and splinters
    • Durable
    • Class A in fire ratings

    Massaranduba deck (Brazilian Redwood decking)

    • Colour variations of velvet red to dark reddish brown
    • Straight, subtle grain. Grow out of large trees so decking boards typically have consistent grains.
    • Fine texture

    27,280 psi

    3190 lbs.

    • Lifespan: over 30 years
    • More stable in wet climates, rather than dry ones
    • Exceptional durability
    • Low maintenance
    • Resistant to rot, decay and insects

    Meranti deck (Dark red meranti decking)

    • Dark reddish colour
    • Straight or interlocked grain

    12,710 psi

    800 lbs

    Moderate resistance to decay and insects

    To learn more about tropical hardwood decks and softwood decks, check out:

    Happy learning!


    Nice list and a sensible presentation, but whilst these species are harder, appear durable but what about consideration for the ability of these species to perform in different areas of the world. 

    I have seen many of these tropical species underperform with regard to stability. With the exception of Ipe, the others certainly need a thicker material to maintain performance in stability. if this is not achievable due to limited supply then consideration should be for tighter joist layout (300mm C) and also much bigger fixings (min 5.5mm x 75mm)

    There is far too much bad advice proffered to Landscapers and Contractors regarding these specialist materials… there should be much more information out there.

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