Ipe and Teak are two of the highest quality woods available today. These two lumbers are both prized for their beauty and durability, but despite their similarities, Ipe and Teak are two very different types of wood. If you are seeking a high end lumber option and are considering using Ipe or Teak for your project, consider the following before making a decision:
Both are great for outdoor applications…
Ipe and Teak are world famous for their durable and stable natures, and as such, they are both very sought after for use in exterior applications. Outdoor furniture, decks, doors, windows, and gazebos are just a few examples of outdoor projects for which both lumbers are often chosen.
Ipe lumber is remarkably dense, and it experiences only minor movement and shrinkage after being installed. In fact, Ipe wood is often referred to as “Ironwood” as a result of its hardness.
Teak lumber is also a reliable outdoor wood, though, and this is largely a result of its silica content. Teak absorbs silica from the sandy soil in which it grows, and this silica penetrates into the very fibers of Teak wood, making the lumber extremely water resistant.
Teak’s silica levels only increase when the trees are sourced from old growth regions rather than from lower-quality plantations, so if you purchase your Teak from a reliable lumber wholesaler (like J Gibson McIlvain Company, for example), it will surely make for a wonderful and durable completed outdoor project.
But only Ipe is the favorite choice for decking projects.
Because of Ipe’s unparalleled density, it is considered “king” in terms of decking materials. It surpasses other types of decking materials in nearly every category, including durability, stability, and attractiveness; many experts consider its abilities as a decking material to be unmatched by even Teak.
Ipe decks are said to outlast many of their builders and homeowners, and it’s no wonder why: The wood’s tight grain provides it with a natural resistance to damage from insects as well as decay. Remarkably, Ipe is also so dense that even the untreated wood has a Class A fire rating, elevating its ability to resist flames to the same level as metal or concrete.
Both are incredibly versatile…
Ipe and Teak are both very popular for use in outdoor projects like decks, but they also have a variety of uses well beyond these applications.
For example, Ipe rarely splits or splinters, which makes it a great choice for indoor flooring projects, especially in homes with small children.
Ipe’s durability ensures that it will last for decades in such an application, and its beautiful rich brown color and consistent grain pattern could earn it a place inside nearly any home.
Similarly, Teak’s signature golden brown appearance has resulted in its being used quite often in hardwood flooring, door, and furniture projects.
But only Teak is the favored choice in the boating industry.
Although Ipe is a versatile wood, Teak is by far the favorite choice for use in the boating industry. The lumber’s durability and natural water resistance (as a result of naturally occurring oils in the wood) make it very effective in water-related applications, and it is very popular among yacht builders for use in nearly aspect of the boat building process.
Milled Teak holds its shape very well, and the lumber is also quite easy to machine. Finally, the simple fact that Teak is available in large and variable sizes also makes it attractive to the boating industry, an industry which requires stable wood in unusual sizes.
Although Teak and Ipe are both excellent high end lumber choices, each has its own special and unique qualities that make it well-suited to specific projects. Both are naturally very durable and stable, but Ipe is regarded as the world’s best decking material. And although both lumbers are very versatile and appropriate for a wide range of projects, only Teak is considered a favorite in the boating industry.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday-Friday toll free (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.
Read more about Teak & Ipe woods:
- Teak Decking Color Changes Explained
- Changes to the Teak Import Market
- Ipe Markets Tighten
- Ipe Installation Eccentricities