Tigerwood Decking vs. Ipe: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to decking, homeowners and builders are increasingly seeking materials that offer durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. Two popular choices are Tigerwood and Ipe. While Ipe has long been celebrated for its unmatched hardness and longevity, Tigerwood is gaining in demand due to its unique characteristics.

In this blog post, we will compare Tigerwood and Ipe decking, highlighting the pros and cons of each and exploring why Tigerwood is becoming a favored option.

Tigerwood Decking


  1. Aesthetics: Tigerwood is renowned for its striking appearance. It features a rich reddish-brown color with dark streaks, giving it a tiger-like pattern that is both exotic and elegant.
  2. Durability: Tigerwood is a dense and durable hardwood, resistant to scratches, dents, and decay. It can last for 30 years or more with proper maintenance.
  3. Cost-Effective: Compared to Ipe, Tigerwood is much more affordable, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.
  4. Ease of Work: Despite its density, Tigerwood is a little easier to work with compared to Ipe. This makes installation less labor-intensive and potentially less costly.


  1. Maintenance: Like all hardwoods, Tigerwood requires regular maintenance, including cleaning and applying oil to preserve its color and prevent weathering.
  2. Color Change: Without regular maintenance, Tigerwood can weather to a silver-gray patina, which might not appeal to everyone.
  3. Availability: Depending on your location, Tigerwood may not be as readily available as other decking materials, which can affect cost and lead times. You can order directly from AdvantageLumber.com and get it shipped direct to your home while saving up to 50% compared to ordering from a local lumber yard.

Ipe Decking

Ipe decking with cable railing
Ipe decking with cable railing


  1. Unmatched Durability: Ipe is one of the hardest and most durable woods available. It is highly resistant to wear, insects, rot, and even fire. Ipe decking can last 75 years or more with minimal maintenance.
  2. Aesthetics: Ipe has a beautiful natural look, ranging from olive brown to darker shades with a fine grain texture, providing a high-end appearance.
  3. Low Maintenance: Once sealed, Ipe requires less frequent maintenance compared to softwoods. It maintains its rich color longer and resists weathering effectively.
  4. Longevity: Ipe’s proven lifespan in both residential and commercial applications makes it a reliable choice for long-term projects.


  1. Cost: Ipe is more expensive than many other decking materials, including Tigerwood. The initial investment can be significant.
  2. Workability: Due to its extreme density and hardness, Ipe is difficult to work with, requiring specialized tools and more labor-intensive installation.
  3. Weight: Ipe is very heavy, which can make handling and installation more challenging.

Why Tigerwood is Gaining in Demand

Tigerwood’s rising popularity can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: As homeowners look for high-quality, durable decking options without breaking the bank, Tigerwood offers an excellent balance of cost and performance.
  2. Striking Appearance: The unique, exotic look of Tigerwood appeals to those wanting a distinctive and visually appealing deck.
  3. Longevity: Tigerwood is known to last 30+ years in all climates ranging from snowy Buffalo, NY to the Arizona dessert and hot and humid Florida.
  4. Word of Mouth: As more homeowners have installed Tigerwood on their homes they’ve realized after 10 – 15 years their Tigerwood still looks as good as new. As a result they tell their friends and family how great their Tigerwood deck has been and the word of mouth has increased the demand.


Both Tigerwood and Ipe are excellent choices for decking, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Ipe remains the gold standard for those seeking the utmost in durability and longevity, while Tigerwood offers a more cost-effective, aesthetically unique option that is easier to work with. As demand for sustainable and visually appealing decking materials continues to grow, Tigerwood is poised to become a top contender in the market. Ultimately, the choice between Tigerwood and Ipe will depend on your specific needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

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