When it comes to constructing a deck, you want to use a material that’s as durable and stable as possible. That way, it will be able to withstand the dramatic climatic changes and harsh weather conditions which it will constantly be exposed to throughout the year. This is especially true when you live in a climate that will experience extreme temperature changes.
As we mentioned in our first article in this series, Ipe is the premier product when it comes to meeting the demands expected from high-quality decking material. It’s strong, durable, and stable, not to mention beautiful. You can either put a stain on it or let it weather to a handsome silvery gray color. There’s only one real issue with Ipe, and that’s the price. If you can’t afford it, the next best alternative with the closest characteristics to Ipe is Cumaru. If that’s still out of your price range, there are a couple of other species you may want to consider for your decking project.
Jatoba: A Great Choice for Interiors & Exteriors
Jatoba has become a popular choice for interior flooring in recent years. You may have heard of this tropical hardwood under the flooring industry moniker of “Brazilian Cherry.” The reason for this nickname probably stems from the wood’s handsome red that continues to deepen in the sunlight as time goes on. Due to Jatoba’s impressive levels of stability and hardness, it’s a great option for interior floors. Another thing Jatoba has going for it is that, due to its nature as a tropical hardwood, it has good resistance to both insects and rot. You could even use Jatoba flooring and decking together in areas of a home that lead from inside to outside, such as a sunroom that leads out onto a deck.
Red Balau: A Rich, Reddish-brown Hardwood at an Affordable Price
Red Balau is another choice to consider if you can’t afford Ipe or Cumaru. At only about half of the cost of Ipe, it’s a real bargain as far as tropical hardwood decking materials go. Red Balau’s pleasant color has a great consistency. There are fewer defects in this species than you would typically expect from a tropical hardwood. When it comes to hardness, it’s quite durable. Domestic Maple wouldn’t even surpass its level of hardness. You would find it comparable to Mahogany in texture, color, and workability. Another plus is that Red Balau won’t normally cause as much wear and tear on your tools as other tropical hardwood species may tend to do. The only real downside to Red Balau is the issue of availability. It isn’t as abundant as some of the more popular tropical decking species, so you may have difficulty finding it in large enough quantities to complete a large project. If you do find a source for some quality Red Balau, it’s definitely worth your consideration.
In our next article, we’ll look at some of the other options you may want to keep in mind if you’re planning on building a tropical hardwood deck.