While Ipe and Cumaru are certainly our most popular decking species, we also offer several other species options for those who wish to save a little money or branch out into less commonly chartered territory.
Alterative #1: Jatoba
Also known as Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba is crossing over from interior flooring to a highly prized decking species. Since Ipe is well-known as the King of Decking Lumber, you may appreciate this direct comparison.
Like Ipe, Jatoba is extremely dense and hard, with a high degree of resistance to rotting and decay. Since it is less dense than Ipe, though, it will be able to acclimate more easily once it arrives on your job site from our lumber yard, or as it transitions from one season to another.
Jatoba promotes the trend toward blending indoor spaces with outdoor living areas, and its rich red coloring provides an eye-catching option for either environment. One notable characteristic of Jatoba is that it is known to change color after being milled; when freshly milled, it appears light but darkens over time. Without any special treatment it will turn gray over time, when exposed to sunlight and other elements.
Note that although this species can be used for both interior flooring and exterior decking, the two uses require distinct products. Exterior decking is air-dried to a moisture content of approximately 18%, whereas Jatoba intended for interior use is typically kiln dried to 6-8% moisture content and is sold as rough-sawn wood; alternatively, we can mill it according to your specifications here in our millworks.
Alternative #2: Teak
While the most common application for which Teak is used is, by far, the boat-building industry, this species is also rising in popularity for use in high-end decks and interior flooring and trim. Once you get past the unique color-changing characteristics of Teak, this highly water-resistant species provides an optimal alternative to the more commonly used tropical decking species. Its golden brown hue is simply stunning, and the necessarily discriminating needs of marine applications creates a market for “leftover Teak” that’s ideal for use as decking.
As the Teak market shifts, more Teak may become available — and from sources that haven’t previously been able to offer this premium species. As a result, you need to exercise caution in sourcing your Teak, especially from unknown suppliers.
J. Gibson McIlvain has forged relationships with mills across the globe to ensure that the tropical decking lumber we carry is not only legally and responsibly harvested, but also premium quality. Whether you’re interested in Ipe, Cumaru, Jatoba, Teak, or another tropical decking species, our lumber experts are well equipped to help you weigh your options and make the best decision for your particular project and client.
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.