Benefits of Ipe Decking over Teak

Mar 20


George Amarillo

George Amarillo

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Learn more about the benefits of choosing ipe decking over teak. Yes, ipe is more affordable, more durable, and more eco-friendly. Learn the details in this article.

Teak and Ipe decking are two of the most famous hardwoods around. You can find experts who prefer one over the other,Benefits of Ipe Decking over Teak Articles however, when you put them head to head, it’s no contest; Ipe decking both outlasts and outperforms teak. While the colors are different; Ipe is dark brown with some golden flecks and olive brown hues, whereas teak is usually more brown, the durability, eco-friendliness, and cost prove that Ipe is superior to teak. Don’t believe me? The numbers prove it.

With a Janka hardness rating of 3680, compared to a little over 1100, Ipe is three times harder than teak decking. This advantage means that an Ipe wood deck can handle a lot more traffic and abuse. It also means that it will look good doing it, too. This kind of density also aids in the natural advantages that Ipe has over teak. For instance, because of this density, Ipe can withstand even the most brutal of climates. Is it any wonder that an area as upscale as Martha’s Vineyard would choose Ipe decking over teak for the Edgartown Lighthouse.

When you compare teak to Ipe, you’ll also discover that when it comes to how long these hardwoods can withstand mold, mildew, decay and termites, Ipe decking again comes out on top. In fact, the United States Naval Research Laboratory and the US Forestry Laboratory tested Ipe in exterior settings and found that it took over 15 years for a buried Ipe deck board to become susceptible to insect attack. That’s an important distinction especially when you consider that teak is more famous for being used in marine environments. Surely, with this knowledge in hand, you can see that perception is not reality. Another surprising fact is that Ipe is just as if not more slip resistant than teak. Want more facts about Ipe and teak comparisons?

Not all teak is the same. Most teak comes from the country formally known as Burma (now known as The Union of Myanmar). Burmese teak is a controversial commodity now because the harvesting and cultivation methods that produce Burmese teak are infamous for not being eco-friendly. In fact, clear cutting and slashing and burning are the methods of choice for teak manufacturers. Looking for an alternative to Teak? There’s Plantation teak. Teak that has been grown and cut from plantations may be more eco-friendly, but they are definitely less durable. Why is Plantation teak a weaker material? Well, teak that has been grown in plantations is cut before the trees get a change to mature fully. This leads to decking that can rot and splinter a lot. When you consider the much stricter guidelines put forth by national organizations like the United States Green Building Council, the Forest Stewardship Council, and the Brazilian government department known as IBAMA, the Ipe wood you buy has more than likely come from a truly eco-friendly source. This point must be highlighted. Lapacho Ipe (one specific species) is much more eco-friendly than teak. Ipe hardwood comes from managed forests whereas most teak comes from clear-cutting manufacturers. The only alternative, Plantation Teak is weaker, yet costs just as much.

This leads to the final point; cost. Ipe decking is not only stronger and longer-lasting, it also costs less. The average board foot cost of Teak is usually $20 to $25. On the other hand, a board foot of Ipe can run you anywhere from $7 to $10. That’s a savings of approximately 150%!

To sum it all up; is Ipe stronger than teak? Yes. Is Ipe more eco-friendly than Teak? Yes. Is Ipe a better value than teak? Yes. Ultimately, it just makes good practical sense to choose Ipe decking.