The most common reason we see for people looking for alternatives to Ipe is price. If you are looking for an Ipe alternative this article is for you. Ipe is the king of hardwoods, the reasons for that are numerous. But what are the best alternatives? Here are two of our favorites and why. Ipe Woods USA sells all of these alternatives, but since they are less popular the availability is limited. Most commonly these Ipe alternatives come in 1×6 and 5/4×6, however due to stability in a less dense wood, it is recommended to use 5/4x material when using anything except Ipe. It is also not recommended to groove any 1x material to ensure a more stable deck and installation. Following just those 2 recommendations can help make your deck last much longer.
From a density and longevity standpoint, we prefer Garapa. It is a great wood and is substantially less expensive than Ipe. So what are the pros and cons of Garapa?
- Less Expensive
- Extremely Durable
- Long life span can exceed 30 years
- Greys over time if untreated, making it end up looking similar to more expensive woods
- Color is yellow, but it will turn grey if allowed. Also can be treated to darken the color
- Somewhat plain-looking as the wood doesn’t have many age rings or contrasting color characteristics.
Cumaru is a beautiful wood, but in our experience, it is less stable around water than Ipe and Garapa. In fact, we have seen it prone to cupping especially in the 1×6 size. While this usually happens when moisture and/or water are near it.
- Beautiful exotic look
- Less expensive than Ipe
- Life span can exceed 25 years
- Not as good around water
- Less density
- Not recommended in 1x material
- Has a tendency to cup in thinner material
In the end, all of the woods no matter if it is ipe, garapa or cumaru are great choices. But there is only one king of hardwood decking and that is Ipe.