Best Wood For Outdoor Benches

If you are looking to build a new outdoor wooden bench or resurface and old outdoor bench read on as we’ll cover the best woods you can use for your bench.

Outdoor benches are most commonly made with pressure treated pine or cedar. The problem with these species is they are soft woods that generally require annual maintenance and application of a water sealer.

Softwoods like pressure treated pine and cedar have a open and somewhat porous grain structure which can tend to absorb water almost like a sponge.

While these woods do have some resistance to rot and decay and can last many years if properly maintained.

Many people find the maintenance to be too much work, so their outdoor bench gets neglected as shown in the picture below.

Old Pressure Treated Pine Bench with Peeling Stain

Stripping the old stain off an old bench like this one can be a lot of work getting in between all the bench slats. These benches often get neglected and have paint or stain peeling off the majority of the bench.

Once this occurs the wood is left unprotected and when it rains the wood usually stays saturated for an extended time period making them often undesirable to sit on.

In addition these softwoods can give off splinters and eventually get attacked by wood boring insects which can also make them not pleasant to sit on.

Is Composite Plastic Lumber Good for Outdoor Benches?

In our years of experience selling exterior lumber for decks and other exterior projects we’ve seen too many complaints from homeowners to make us comfortable selling any plastic lumber for now.

Every week we get complaints from homeowners who installed a composite plastic deck a few years ago that need to replace their entire deck because it’s failing and the manufacturer won’t honor their warranty.

Crumbling Composite Decking

If you want to read more about all the issues homeowners have faced with these products just Google search “composite decking problems”, “composite decking complaints” or “brand name decking reviews”.

You’ll be able to read about plenty of issues homeowners have struggled with so as a result of all this feedback we generally stay away and don’t recommend these products.

The 5 Best Woods for Outdoor Benches

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is an all natural hardwood that is more than three times harder than teak. It has shown to last up to 75 years or more on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn bridge.

Ipe Wood Bench

This hardwood is one of the strongest woods in the world and naturally resists wood boring insects. Ipe wood does not splinter and will not get incredibly hot like plastic lumber.

In addition it’s also naturally slip resistant, has a Class A rating for flame spread, is scratch resistant and naturally mold and fungi resistant. It’s also so dense that it does not absorb water.

All of these excellent natural properties make Ipe wood our number one recommendation for not only decks but many outdoor projects such as outdoor wood benches.

You can view our current Ipe prices here: Ipe Wood Prices

Cumaru Wood

Similar to Ipe Cumaru wood is nearly identical in terms of properties and durability. The main difference is the color color ranges from a golden tan to a reddish brown.

Cumaru Deck

You can still expect all the same excellent properties as Ipe.

This excellent wood is also low maintenance, resistant to wood boring insects and naturally resistant to rot and decay without chemicals.

One other benefit to using Cumaru is the price can be upwards of 40 percent cheaper compared to the price of Ipe wood. You can view the current Cumaru wood prices here: Cumaru Wood Prices

Tigerwood Exterior Lumber

This beautiful wood also comes from South America and is incredibly durable and beautiful. You can expect a 30+ year lifespan with Tigerwood.

Similar to the other woods we listed above Tigerwood is also resistant to wood boring insects, mold and mildew and does not splinter. This is another excellent low maintenance exterior wood material that works great for benches, decks, fences, siding and more.

Tigerwood Decking

Garapa Wood

Also known as Brazilian Ash this incredible exterior hardwood is one of the finest quality hardwoods that features a fine-grain that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.

Garapa is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack and offers a 30+ year lifespan. Garapa’s proven exterior durability make it an excellent choice for outdoor benches, decks and more.

Garapa Deck

You can find more info and pricing here: Garapa wood prices

Massaranduba Wood

Also known as Brazilian Redwood Massaranduba is much more durable than California Redwood, has a longer lifespan and requires much less maintenance.

In fact Massaranduba is over 7x harder than California Redwood. With a janka hardness of 3,190 compared to California Redwood which has a janka hardness of 420.

California Redwood is a softwood and requires annual maintenance of applying a water sealer to keep water out of the grain of the wood to prolong its life and prevent rot and decay.

Just like the first four species of exterior hardwoods that we recommended, Massaranduba naturally resists rot, decay and wood boring insects.

In addition Massaranduba is also a very low maintenance exterior hardwood and offers a 30+ year lifespan. This makes it great for many projects such as exterior wood benches, decks, siding and more.

Checkout these beautiful outdoor wood benches that were built with our beautiful South American hardwoods.

Advantage Wood News!!! – Memorial Day 2020

wood newsAdvantage Wood News!!! – Memorial Day 2020
We have over 100 containers of Hardwood Decking currently on the water! We have a huge inventory of premium grade Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumaru, and other hardwood decking materials both inhouse and enroute. Over 9,000 board feet of Gigantic Parota live edge table slabs are in our kiln being cooked! Kiln drying kills any hidden insects/larvae, hardens the wood cells, and stabilizes the wood. These monsters measure from about 30 inches wide up to about 5 foot wide! They make amazing countertops, conference tables, dining tables, desks, etc. Call our Florida sawmill to get first pickings once these bad boys are done. 941-388-9299 Walnut, Walnut Everywhere! Seriously, it has taken over our Florida milling department for a few days as we surface inventory of some of the most amazing Walnut we have ever seen. Bookmatched Flitches? YES!, Three or Four foot wide figure Crotches? YES! Dark Chocolate Color? YES! These are selling faster than we can load them onto our slab website and we have a 8,000 board foot pile of slabs to surface yet. Keep checking www.WoodSlabs.com or give our Slab department a call with your size requirements and we can find the perfect pieces for your project before someone else scoops these up. Hardwood decking, siding, deck tiles, live edge slabs and more! Shipped direct to your home or job site worldwide. What’s on the Mill?   Sawyer Dan and his team have been busy slicing up some very cool  Australian Beefwood Slabs.  Australian Beefwood is a very dense hardwood that makes great Bar tops, desk, tables, etc.  This species was first planted near our Florida sawmill in the 1860’s and has now become invasive.  Its narrow needle-like leaves are very acidic, and it grows in clusters which kills native species of trees and plants.  When growing along sandy beaches the exposed roots can trap and kill endangered sea turtles. This invasive tree will now live out a more peaceful second life as amazing furniture.
Wood News - Memorial Day 2020
www.AdvantageLumber.com www.WoodSlabs.com Florida sawmill 941-388-9299 New York Factory 716-827-3915 North Carolina Factory 704-471-9991 California Factory 562-205-1872
Ipe Tree

What Does Ipe Stand For?

Ipe is not an abbreviation. Rather, it’s the common name of Tabebuia serratifolia, a tropical hardwood lumber specie. The correct pronunciation is “EE-pay”. Other common names for ipe include Brazilian walnut and ironwood.

The ipe tree is native to South America. However, it also grows throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, southern Florida, and other tropical regions.

Ipe wood is extremely dense, making it one of the most durable woods in the world. It’s also a beautiful wood, boasting a rich, dark brown color. As a result, ipe is highly sought after for high-end exterior woodworking projects. It’s a popular material for decks, siding, fences, and outdoor furniture.

AdvantageLumber.com carries the largest inventory of ipe lumber in North America. We mill ipe into decking, siding, interior flooring, live-edge slabs, and cabinet-grade lumber.

Top 5 Best Decking Materials

If you are looking to build a new deck on your house, there are 5 different decking material options you need to consider.

These top five decking options are all natural hardwoods from South America that are more durable than Teak and much more affordable as well.

Our number one recommended decking material is:

Ipe Wood Decking

Ipe Wood Deck
Ipe Wood Deck

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is an all natural hardwood that is more than three times harder than teak. It has shown to last up to 75 years or more on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn bridge.

This hardwood is one of the strongest woods in the world and naturally resists wood boring insects. It also does not splinter and will not get incredibly hot on your feet like plastic decking.

In addition it’s also naturally slip resistant, has a Class A rating for flame spread, is scratch resistant and naturally mold and fungi resistant. As you can see from the picture above Ipe wood is incredibly beautiful as well.

Ipe wood is our number one recommended decking material. It’s competitively priced against most composite decking materials if not cheaper. Ipe Wood Prices

Watch this short video to learn more about our Ipe wood decking:

Our second recommended decking material is:

Cumaru Wood Decking

Cumaru Deck

Similar to Ipe Cumaru decking is nearly identical in terms of properties and durability. The main difference is the color color ranges from a golden tan to a reddish brown.

You can still expect all the same excellent properties as Ipe.

This excellent decking is also low maintenance, resistant to wood boring insects and naturally resistant to rot and decay without chemicals.

One other benefit to using Cumaru is the price can be upwards of 40 percent cheaper compared to the price of Ipe wood. You can view the current Cumaru wood prices here: Cumaru Decking Prices

Watch this short video to learn about our Cumaru wood decking:

Our third recommended decking material is:

Tigerwood decking

Tigerwood Deck

This beautiful wood also comes from South America and is incredibly durable and beautiful. You can expect a 30+ year lifespan with Tigerwood.

Similar to the other woods we listed above Tigerwood is also resistant to wood boring insects, mold and mildew and does not splinter. This is another excellent low maintenance deck material.

Watch this video to learn more about our Tigerwood decking:

Tigerwood Decking California

Tigerwood Decking Prices

The fourth decking material we recommend is:

Garapa Decking

Garapa is harder than teak and is made for the outdoors.

Also known as Brazilian Ash this incredible hardwood decking material is one of the finest quality hardwoods available that features a fine-grain that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.

Garapa is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack and offers a 30+ year lifespan.

Watch this video on Garapa decking:

You can find more info and pricing here: Garapa decking prices

Last but not least our fifth decking we recommend to our customers is:

Massaranduba decking

Also known as Brazilian Redwood Massaranduba is much more durable than California Redwood, has a longer lifespan and requires much less maintenance.

In fact Massaranduba is over 7x harder than California Redwood. With a janka hardness of 3,190 compared to California Redwood which has a janka hardness of 420.

California Redwood is a softwood and requires annual maintenance of applying a water sealer to keep water out of the grain of the wood to prolong its life and prevent rot and decay.

Just like the first four species of hardwood decking that we recommended, Massaranduba naturally resists rot, decay and wood boring insects.

In addition Massaranduba is also a very low maintenance deck material and offers a 30+ year lifespan.

Watch this short video on Massaranduba decking:

Current Massaranduba decking prices

Deck Framing with Joist Tape

How to Make Your Framing Last as Long as Your Ipe Decking

Ipe decking can last up to 75 years with hardly any maintenance. That’s great! But customers often wonder: what about the framing?

Deck framing is usually made of pressure treated pine. It’s cheap, easy to install, and readily available. But pressure treated pine is only rated to last about 15 years. So why would you spend all that money on 75-year ipe if you’re going to have to replace the deck in just 15 years anyway due to rotten framing?

It’s a great question! Here are a few way to make your framing last as long as your ipe decking:

Build the Frame with Ipe

The most obvious fix is to build your frame from the same material as your decking. This will certainly work, but it will be very expensive. And because ipe is so tough, it will be a lot harder to build the frame and secure the deck boards to it. For these reasons, we don’t typically recommend going this route.

Build the Frame with Metal

Metal deck framing comes with many of the same advantages and drawback as ipe framing: it’s expensive and difficult to work with. Additionally, metal products tend to react with ipe and stain the decking. Because of this, you’ll have to use joist and ledger tape as a protective barrier between the framing and the deck boards.

Metal framing can be a great solution if you don’t mind the extra cost and effort, but we don’t usually recommend it. However, now that we’ve brought up joist and ledger tape…

Build the Frame with Pressure Treated Lumber and Protect It with Joist and Ledger Tape

Ledger Tape and Joist Tape

The third option—and the one we recommend—is to use pressure treated pine, then cover your joists, posts, and ledgers with a protective, waterproof tape.

Most wood deterioration is caused by exposure to the elements, especially moisture. The areas of your frame that are most susceptible to rot are places where the wood touches up against something else, creating tight spaces that trap water. Common culprits are the bases of posts in contact with the ground and the tops of joists in contact with the decking.

Joist tape creates a protective barrier between the decking and the joists and keeps the wood dry. Ledger tape does the same thing, but it’s wider so it can cover a broader area. Ledger tape is good for protecting ledgers, beams, and posts.

You should apply joist and ledger tape to all your horizontal framing surfaces. The tape should be wide enough to fold over the sides for maximum protection. You may have to cut the tape in order to wrap corners without creating wrinkles, which can allow water to seep in.

Using joist and ledger tape on your deck framing will drastically improve the lifespan of your deck without costing you tons of money or effort.

Ipe vs. Teak

Burmese Teak board shown above is genuine teak (not plantation grown)

Most people are familiar with Teak wood, it’s been well known to last outdoors without many of the common issues of softwoods.

Teak has exceptional resistance to rot and termites but it only offers moderate resistance to marine borers and the powder post beetle.

Since Teak is so well known for it’s exterior durability it has been widely used for outdoor furniture and boat building.

This has driven up the demand for Teak which then increases the price as well. Genuine Teak (Burmese Teak) is very expensive. Plantation Teak that is fast grown is significantly cheaper.

The high price point of Teak makes it out of the price range for many people especially for larger projects.

Teak Wood Lifespan

The lifespan of teak is known to be up to 50 years if properly maintained. If teak is left to turn a natural grey and not oiled each year you can expect teak in this condition to last 30 years or more depending on how harsh the climate is.

Teak Price Vs. Ipe Price

Due to the popular demand of teak over many years the price has increased substantially to the point that most people would find it not cost effective. Our teak price is around $40 per board foot.

Due to the high price of teak many people have used Ipe wood as a cost effective alternative to teak. Ipe is our top recommended alternative to teak it can outlast teak and Ipe is significantly cheaper.

Ipe is primarily sold for exterior decking, fencing, siding and many other exterior projects. It is priced and sold by the lineal foot. As of 2020 our starting price for 1×4 Ipe Wood is $2.13 per lineal foot.

A 1x4x8 Ipe Wood board would cost $17.04 that same board in teak would cost $110.00

Ipe Wood Deck
Ipe Wood Deck – Miami, Florida

Is Ipe Better Than Teak?

Ipe wood is a South American hardwood that is over three times harder on the Janka scale compared to genuine teak.

The Janka test is a measure of the hardness of wood. The Janka test was developed as a variation of the Brinell hardness test. The test measures the force required to push a steel ball with a diameter of 11.28 millimeters (0.444 inches) into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter. The diameter was chosen to produce a circle with an area of 100 square millimeters.

  • The Janka hardness of Teak is: 1,050
  • The Janka hardness of Ipe is: 3,680

Other than Ipe wood being over three times harder, Ipe also has some other exceptional properties that make it one of the best exterior hardwoods available.

  • One of the strongest woods in the world
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low maintenance
  • Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
  • Termite, Mold & Fungi resistant
  • No knots
  • High scratch & slip resistance
  • Can outlast composite material
  • Over three times harder than teak
  • Proven to last 75+ years on commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk

You can view current ipe prices as well as get more information and free samples from AdvantageLumber.com

Gray Ipe Decking

What Does Gray Ipe Look Like?

Ipe is an incredible wood, especially for decking. One of the benefits we often mention is the low maintenance requirement. Once it’s installed, you barely have to touch an ipe deck! Virtually the only thing you have to do is oil it every year or so to preserve that rich brown color.

Of course, people looking for low-maintenance decking often want to know just how little work they can get away with. And who can blame them? Nobody builds a deck because they want to oil it every year! So what exactly will happen to your brand-new ipe deck if you decide to never oil it?

Un-Oiled Ipe Turns Gray

One of the first questions asked is what the decking will look like in a couple of years. It can actually be a little difficult to find pictures of weathered ipe; everyone just wants to show off that freshly oiled color! Well, you can put your curiosity to rest. Click on any of the photos below to see a bigger version:

Is Gray Ipe Weaker?

Another common question is whether the oil increases the ipe’s lifespan. Put another way, does letting ipe turn gray make it weaker?

You can relax. If you skip the maintenance, your ipe deck will still last up to 75 years. Regular oil treatments can increase that lifespan, but most people are pretty satisfied with three quarters of a century.

It’s also true that oiling can help make the wood resist cupping, especially in the case of ground-level decks, but as long as your deck was properly designed and built, this shouldn’t be a problem.

For proof, you need only look at the many large-scale, public projects that have used ipe decking. For instance, the Coney Island boardwalk used ipe for 90 years, and it was never oiled. Even after nearly a century of continual, heavy use, the wood was still strong enough when they replaced it that it was repurposed for use in high-end designer furniture!

Conclusion

If you don’t oil your ipe deck, it will turn gray, but that’s not a bad thing! A weathered ipe deck will still give you decades of low-maintenance backyard fun!