Ipe wood has become increasingly popular for many reasons. It’s proven to last outdoors in harsh climates for 75 years or more with little to no maintenance.
Hardwoods such as Ipe offer the following benefits:
- One of the strongest woods in the world
- Low maintenance
- Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
- Termite, Mold & Fungi resistant
- No knots or slivers
- High scratch & slip resistance
- Can outlast composite material
- All natural, chemical free decking
- 75+ year lifespan
Not only is it one of the most durable exterior woods it’s also one of the most beautiful wood options.
Ipe wood is a deep brown walnut color with a tight to medium grain. The grain can range from straight to irregular with some boards exhibiting high figure.
Ipe Wood Alternatives
Due to supply and demand Ipe wood has become the most expensive hardwood decking option.
Many homeowners now find it’s out of their price range.
Some homeowners are still willing to shell out the money because they know it’s going to be a great investment that they’ll only have to make once.
Don’t be discouraged there are 4 other wood species that are much more cost effective and nearly identical to Ipe.
Some of these species once they are oiled and exposed to UV rays become almost indistinguishable compared to Ipe.
The first specie people substitute for Ipe wood is:
Also known as Brazilian Teak, Cumaru is nearly identical in terms of hardness. The janka hardness of Ipe is 3,680 while Cumaru is 3,540. For comparison Red Oak’s janka hardness is 1,290 so Ipe and Cumaru are nearly 3 times harder than Red Oak.
Cumaru has a little more color variation with colors ranging from a lighter yellowish brown to reddish brown.
Choosing Cumaru for your project will give you a very similar look to Ipe as well as all the same durability benefits at a significantly cheaper price.
Massaranduba (Brazilian Redwood)
Massaranduba (pronounced Ma-Sa-Ran-Doo-bah) is a hardwood native to South America. It is one of the most beautiful and hardest woods in the world.
One surprising fact about this natural hardwood is how well it performs under heavy load (bending strength) tests.
These tests revealed that, as a decking material, Massaranduba is over three times stronger than California Redwood and is even stronger than Ipe wood.
Massaranduba is also nearly 8 times harder than California Redwood.
This is also another great cost effective alternative for Ipe wood. It starts out looking more red but once it’s oiled and exposed to UV rays it becomes more brown and closely resembles the look of Ipe wood.
Also known as Brazilian Ash, Garapa is one of the finest quality hardwoods available that features a fine-grained timber that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.
Garapa is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack.
It’s also naturally scratch resistant which allows the surface to remain smooth for many years, making Garapa an perfect wood for exterior decking.
Compared to the dark brown color of Ipe, Garapa starts off a golden yellow but once oiled and exposed to UV rays it becomes a beautiful light golden brown.
Garapa is also significantly cheaper than Ipe making it another great alternative for Ipe.
Tigerwood is one of the finest quality hardwoods available that features a unique light golden-brown to reddish-brown coloring with exotic black and brown streaks.
This beautiful hardwood is naturally resistant to rot and decay, is the third hardest decking we sell, and offers a 30+ year lifespan without preservatives!
Our Tigerwood Decking is responsibly harvested from managed forest to provide a truly renewable resource. Tigerwood offers similar benefits compared to Ipe and is available at a fraction of the cost.
Most hardwoods are photosensitive which means they can lighten or darken when exposed to natural or artificial light.
All of the alternative species listed here are photosensitive, they all start out lighter and will become a little darker and will more closely resemble Ipe as they age.
All of these hardwood species are excellent alternatives to Ipe wood, most of our employees choose Tigerwood because as true wood workers they all love the beautiful grain and Tigerwood is the best value.