Packed with design ideas for your backyard and front yard, each issue features amazing gardens, beautiful plants, bold products, and insights from the world’s best designers.Subscribers get up to $20 off the cover price. Ipe is a popular and long-lasting choice for contemporary and coastal gardens; but it is also one of the priciest decking options. Garapa, also known as Brazilian ash, is an alternative type of tropical hardwood with a lighter color. Cumaru is similar in all respects to ipe, yet carries a slightly lower price tag just because it’s less well-known. Tigerwood has streaks and variegation which give it beautiful character in the right setting. While ipe is the most well-known type of tropical hardwood, there are many varieties of wood that have similar characteristics of durability and beauty, yet don’t carry the same price tag.
Cumaru - Cumaru is similar to ipe in looks and density, but has a slightly more reddish tone. Massaranduba - Massaranduba is a Brazilian redwood with the deep red tones you’d expect from the name. Ipe and other tropical hardwoods such as cumaru, tigerwood, massaranduba and garapa are a high-end, long-lasting choice for decking.
Color - Oiled tropical hardwood decks have a luxe shimmer which no other material can surpass. Variety - If you’re not set on using ipe, there are other types of tropical hardwood with different colors or striping.
Low-maintenance if allowed to weather - If you plan to let your ipe decking weather to a dull gray, you don’t need to do much to keep it looking good. Regular maintenance to preserve color - Most people prefer the depthy color of an oiled hardwood, and if you want to keep that color up you need to oil the wood once a year with a UV-protectant oil. It’s heavy - “You’ve got to eat your Wheaties in the morning before you install it,” says Dan Ivancic of Advantage Trim & Lumber Co. Stainless steel screws - Most metals cause black oxidation stains on tropical hardwoods with prolonged contact.
Pro Tip: Using hidden fasteners with tropical hardwoods is a great choice because the wood is so hard to saw or drill. Cost of Ipe Decking“Ipe is the second-hardest wood in the world, but it is the most expensive due to the high demand and how well-known it is,” says Ivancic.


Of course, the other types of tropical hardwood will save you a little bit of money over ipe just because they are less well-known. We used a portable swingblade sawmill to ecologically harvest a fallen ojoche tree on one of our farms. Left to right, mahogany, yema de huevo*, and laurel drying together make an attractive color combination. This big log is Tabebuia guayacan(corteza, of the ipe group), a very strong tropical hardwood often used for decks.
This tropical hardwood is *Chimarrhis parviflora, called yema de huevo (egg yolk) in Costa Rica. Tropical hardwood decks are our top-of-the-line option for homeowners who want to wrap their property in elegance. Ipe wood requires a light sanding and application of oil-based stain every two to three years. We also have extensive experience with accessories – like benches, pergolas, hanging plant trellises, railing flower boxes, privacy fences, and custom stairways – that help to give your project the personality and distinctiveness you’re seeking.
Serving Bloomington, Farmington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Rosemount, Woodbury and the greater Twin Cities metro area!
This website uses cookies to measure and improve performance (click here to read our privacy policy). New Railway SleepersNew Railway SleepersIdeal for a range of garden projects, including: planting borders, steps, boundaries and flooring. Yellow Balau is a highly durable and heavy tropical hardwood that resembles teak in many ways.
This type of tropical hardwood is naturally resistant to weathering, insect attack, fungal infestation and decay - even when left untreated. When choosing alternative varieties of tropical hardwood, you’ll still need to use stainless steel screws and carbide-tipped saw blades to work with the material. Ipe is the most common type of tropical hardwood, and the demand for this specific type of wood has driven up the price. The rich color of an oiled hardwood, or the pale gray when it’s weathered, look great in a modern landscape design.
Water seals are totally unnecessary and won’t even stick to tropical hardwoods, so the only care needed is to spot clean any stains that occur.


If you get behind on oiling, you can always sand the deck to uncover the color, and begin oiling regularly again after that.
Ivancic recommends using stainless steel screws and fasteners, which can be a little more costly. Advantage Trim and Lumber sells pre-grooved deck boards which work perfectly with a hidden fastener system.
While ordinary ipe is harvested responsibly through the Brazilian authorities, there is an organization called the Forest Stewardship Council which certifies wood as being sustainably harvested.
The posts and ceiling beams below are teak; the ceiling itself is laurel (Cordia alliodora), a tropical hardwood that's not as heavy as some, so it's very good for paneling ceilings and walls. The Ipe tree grows slowly producing tight concentric rings and is considered to be the hardest wood on the planet.
Regular maintenance will protect your investment. One way that John Ford Construction makes this maintenance process even easier on you is by exclusively using the Ancorail system.
Available in both soft and hardwood, untreated or have been pressure treated for greater quality and durability. The boards are reversible, so you may use the side which is grooved, or the other side which is reeded.
It’s also more expensive to install than other decking options because of the reasons listed above; it’s heavy, you need special tools to cut it, and stainless steel fasteners are needed.
FSC certification can drive up the cost significantly, but it’s a great option for LEED projects.
You’ll join thousands of design-conscious readers to get gardening inspiration and innovative design solutions for enjoying outdoor spaces.
This powder-coated aluminum railing system is strong, safe, rust-free and easy to work around when re-staining. Even so, the beauty and longevity of the material make it a popular choice, especially for contemporary homes or on the coast.
The boards are laid much like hardwood flooring, giving your tropical hardwood deck a unique design.



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