Both commercial and residential decking projects require beautiful, low-maintenance, long-lasting materials. Composite and synthetic products fall short of achieving that careful balance, as do many low-grade lumber species. At J. Gibson McIlvain, we provide our decking customers with only the best high-end decking materials: tropical hardwood decking.
Boasting a highly sought-after durable beauty, high-quality tropical hardwood decks have proven to outweigh composites. Over the past two to three decades, synthetic materials have not proven to be as durable or colorfast as their organic counterparts, such as Cumaru, Ipe, Teak, and Tigerwood. Sustainability and environmental concerns also point to these natural wood products as a green alternative to products that eventually end up in landfills.
Because we at J. Gibson McIlvain directly import tropical hardwood lumber for decking applications, we’ve worked hard over the past 200 years to build relationships with South American and Southeast Asian mills. This kind of direct connection allows us to ensure that we retain a high volume of FSC lumber in stock. The three most recommended species that we carry include Teak, Cumaru, and Ipe.
Teak, a long-time favorite of boat-builders, is increasingly common in private homes, as well. As one of the nation’s largest importers of Teak, we strongly recommend it as a nearly indestructible species, ideal for high-end decks and other exterior applications. Also beautiful when used for interior flooring and trim, Teak is definitely a favorite among tropical hardwoods. Learn more.
Cumaru is another solid option, when it comes to tropical decking. It is, however, less stable than Teak or Ipe; because of stability issues, we stock only 5/4 thicknesses, in order to reduce movement and the potential for checking. As long as the lumber is properly kiln-dried and given enough time for acclimatization, it is a sturdy option. These steps do require a longer sourcing time, though, in exchange for a lower cost. Available in both yellow and brown tones, this dense, hard wood is highly rot and decay resistant. Learn more.
Ipe is, by far, the ideal tropical hardwood decking species. This premium lumber’s stability, density, and rot and decay resistance make it a super-hero for decks. Instead of the man of steel, though, an Ipe deck could be called a deck of iron, with a class-A fire rating like that of the hard metal. Whether periodically treated with timber oils to retain its rich reddish brown coloring or allowed to weather into a silvery hue, Ipe has a lifespan of more than 40 years. Learn more.
While Ipe is our number-one choice of tropical hardwoods, its pricing may put it out of reach for some customers. Cumaru or Teak are great alternatives, as are less popular but equally beautiful Tigerwood and Massaranduba. Other species may also be available for smaller projects.
Our expert staff has the experience to make job-specific recommendations of decking materials, based on climate and environment. Once you determine the species and other specifications, we’ll ship your order directly to your job site, wherever it may be. Call us today at (800) 638-9100 or submit our online contact form to be contacted by a J. Gibson McIlvain representative.
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