Category Archives: Tips

Choosing Garapa: 5 Benefits of Using Garapa Wood for Your Deck

If you’ve done much research into building a deck, you’ve probably run across mentions of ipe wood. Ipe has become the gold standard for decks due to its incredible density and resistance to wear and tear. But ipe is expensive; what if you could have the gold standard for less?

Garapa wood is the literal gold alternative to ipe wood. This lighter Brazilian hardwood provides all the benefits of ipe with a much lower price tag. Read on to discover why you should look at garapa wood decking for your next home improvement project.

What Is Garapa Wood?

Garapa wood comes from a tree native to South America and makes an excellent option for wood decks. The tree can grow up to a hundred feet tall and five feet in diameter and tends to grow fairly straight. This means that garapa wood has a straight grain with minimal variations.

One of the more beautiful features of garapa wood is its chatoyant quality. This is the same quality you see in cat-eye gems, where there appears to be a shifting band of light under the surface of the wood that moves as you move your head. The wood glues and finishes well and is reasonably easy to work with.

Garapa vs. Ipe

When you start looking at tropical hardwood decking material, generally you come up with two varieties: garapa and ipe. Ipe, pronounced “e-pay” and also known as Brazilian walnut, is an extremely hard tropical wood option. It’s about five times as hard as pressure-treated wood, and it has a gorgeous dark color.

But ipe wood comes at a high price; building a 10’x10’ deck from ipe deck tiles would cost you a little under $1,000 in material alone. Garapa wood, by contrast, is a little more affordable and is comparable in terms of density and hardness. Garapa has a minimum 25-year lifespan as a deck material, and ipe offers at least 40 years.


Garapa wood is the number one price-conscious alternative to ipe wood for decking. Compared to other hardwoods, it is on the higher end of the price scale. Garapa is more expensive than mahogany or cedar, but it offers benefits neither of those woods do.

Garapa wood can run around $1.58 per linear foot for 1×4. So let’s say you’re building that 10’x10’ deck out of garapa 1×4; you’re going to need about 300 linear feet of material. That’ll run you a little under $500, about half the cost of building your deck out of the ipe deck tiles.


One of the big attractions of garapa wood is its light color. Garapa wood is blonde, much lighter than ipe wood and many other popular deck woods. It ages to a lovely silver color over time, but new, it’s a rich, honey color.

Architects have come to value this light wood color over a dark deck in many cases. It makes for a much less visually heavy addition to the house, which can help it blend with a variety of styles. If you have a white house or light brick exterior, a garapa wood deck can help keep things light and elegant.


One of the major draws of garapa wood is its outstanding durability. Like ipe wood, garapa wood is extraordinarily dense, making it highly resistant to rot. If you want to preserve the golden color, you may want to seal it, but you won’t need to seal it for durability reasons.

Garapa wood is also resistant to pest damage, so you’ll never need to worry about termites or carpenter ants boring into it. If you have a pool in your back yard, you’ll also love garapa’s resistance to rot. The grain is so tight that nothing can penetrate it, helping it to last for decades.

Fire Rating

Whether you live somewhere where wildfires are a concern or you just want to have barbeques on your deck, you want a deck wood that has a good fire rating. You don’t want to have to worry about hot coal falling on the deck and setting the whole thing on fire. Luckily, garapa wood has an astounding fire rating.

Garapa wood comes with a great fire rating,  so good usually only awarded to inorganic material.


Many decks, especially ones not made from hardwood, require refinishing from time to time. This can be a problem since it means sanding down the whole deck, staining it, and resealing it. But garapa wood will stay in good shape with minimal care for decades.

Because garapa wood is so dense, it won’t wear down and absorb dirt in the same way as other woods. In fact, once you finish it once, it will be good to go for a number of years to come. But because it’s so dense, it may have a hard time absorbing some oil-based finishes; always test them on a small non-visible area first.

Learn More About Garapa Wood Decking

If you want the durability and luxury of a Brazilian hardwood deck without the price tag of ipe wood, garapa wood decking is a great option. It is, for all intents and purposes, just as sturdy as ipe wood, but it comes at a much more reasonable price. Plus the gorgeous honey color will make for a beautiful addition to your home.

If you’d like to find the best garapa wood decking, check out the rest of our site at Ipe Woods USA. We offer ipe and garapa wood decking, as well as a number of other imported hardwood options. Check out our decking options to find the right wood for your deck project today.

5 Essential Practices for Proper Wood Deck Maintenance

You’ve invested time and money into building a stunning wood deck for your home. The last thing you want is to let that investment wash down the drain through improper deck maintenance.

Taking care of large wooden areas the right way may seem daunting to some. Fortunately, we’ve got a simple guide of 5 essential practices to keep your new deck looking it’s best, and lasting it’s longest.

Deck Maintenance: 101

Rotting, wear and tear, weather damage, all these and more are threats to your snazzy new deck. But, with the right preparation and care, you can preserve your deck from most damage and enjoy it for decades.

Proper care and maintenance can even ensure that if accidental damage does occur, you can avoid replacing the entire deck and have minimal repairs. Here’s how it’s done.

1. Check Your Deck

If your deck is brand new, or you’re thinking it’s time for maintenance, there are a few things to check to verify the deck’s condition. First off, do a water test.

A water test can be done by dropping a few small drops of water onto one board of your deck. If proper sealing has occurred (or is still up-to-date), the water should bead on the surface of the wood.

If the water is absorbed into the wood, you know it hasn’t been properly sealed, or that it’s time to reapply the sealing.

If your deck is still new, the sealing will take 60-90 days. Once this time has passed, you can move on to staining.

Other important signs to look for when checking your deck are chipping paint, loose boards, loose nails, or flaking bits. If any of these problems appear, your deck could be ready for some repair/care.

2. Scrape the Deck Surface

Before reapplying wood sealing or stain, your deck must be properly cleaned and sanded. As mentioned, tighten or replace any loose nails or boards,

It’s best to use a scraper to remove any peeling paint or finish. If there are boards or areas that are damaged, use a scraper to clear them down to just the bare wood again.

Areas that are worn or peeling may also need to be sanded until you see bare wood.

Once all damaged or flaking areas are smooth, it’s time to crack out the scrub brush. Clean off dirt, stains, or flakes with the brush so your wood is ready for new coats of paint or stain.

3. Scrub Your Deck

This step can be done whether you’re having to replace paint or not. Scrubbing and pressure-washing a deck is a part of good deck maintenance that should happen regularly.

Keep your deck clean using proper wood-cleaning agents and power washing. This will prevent mold, bacteria, unwanted plant-growth, and other problems that could erode the wood and shorten the life of your deck.

The brush you clean your wooden deck with will be important. Stick neck brushes are more effective at working the cleaner into the wood and getting it totally clean.

Find a stick neck brush with an extension or long handle to help you reach difficult areas and cover larger surfaces quicker.

Just be sure you use the right kinds of cleaners that are specifically made for outdoor wood. You don’t want to be the reason your deck becomes damaged because you used harsh or inappropriate chemicals to clean with.

Pressure-washing after scrubbing with cleaner will make sure no residue is left before you add paint or stainer.

You may even consider adding the occasional coat of oil or end grain sealer.

4. Reapply Deck Stain

Before you apply or reapply deck stain, be sure the wood is completely dry. If you’ve recently pressure-washed, it may be wise to give about 24 hours to let the wood dry.

Don’t apply stain if it has rained recently or snowed.

Before you begin applying your deck stain, read the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you have chosen. Some deck stains require specific tools for proper application.

Once you’re positive you have the right tool, (it could be anything from a brush, a pump sprayer, pad, or roller), begin applying on your cleared and clean wood.

Different wood stains require that you reapply them at different times. Again, read the instructions and see how often you should reapply your stain. Keeping up to date with your deck stain will help preserve the long life of your deck.

5. Replace Broken or Damaged Boards

Unfortunately, damage and accidents do happen that can require you to replace areas of your deck. Luckily, that doesn’t mean your entire deck is ruined.

Most repairs can take place one board at a time. Isolate the damaged area by pulling up just the damaged boards using a claw hammer.

Once your damaged boards have been removed, replace them with new pieces that have been measured and cut to fit the areas needed.

Be aware that due to weathering, stains, and other factors, sometimes the new boards can look slightly different in color or quality than the originals.

If uniformity in your deck’s look is important to you, then your best bet is to replace all the deck boards at one time. Doing this will leave you with a uniform look and quality.

Replacing all the boards together will also work to preserve the structural integrity of your deck.

To keep your deck lasting longer, choose a wood that’s pressure-treated, natural, and has advanced composites. These types of wood have improved quality to make your deck boards last longer so replacing them is rare.

Choosing A Deck That Will Last

Keeping with proper deck maintenance and care will go a long way in preserving the life and quality of your beautiful wood deck. Even better than simply caring for your deck well is selecting materials and professionals who will install the best deck for you.

Browse our wide variety of Ipe decking options to see what options are available. You can use our calculator to determine the amount of wood you’ll need.

We’ll work with you to meet your budgetary needs and personal tastes. Let us help you build the stunning deck of your dreams.

Cumaru Wood Decking: 8 Benefits It Will Bring to You

It’s a great time of year to build or re-do your outside deck. The sun is out, the summer breeze is blowing and you can get your deck done in no time at all.

We offer one of the best wood you can use for your deck. What is one of the best woods’ name? Cumaru wood.

We are going to give you the eight beneficial reasons it works so well on your decking needs.

In general, Cumaru wood offers style and durability. What’s more, this wood is affordable and easy to lay as you build or re-do your deck.

Now we are going to get down to the specifics of why you need to know more about this one-of-a-kind decking wood.

Cumaru Decking

Cumaru wood is also known as Brazilian Teak wood. Cumaru wood comes in Yellow and Red. Although the red version of this wood is what we use the most for decking purposes.

We know you may be used to hearing about Ipe’s wood for decking jobs and it is a very good wood to use for that purpose.

However, Cumaru wood takes less time to produce and is two-thirds the price of Ipe’s wood. That is a big incentive to offer for deck builders.

We like letting our customers know they may need to apply a careful kiln to the drying process with the wood. This helps prevent any shrinkage which may occur during dry seasons.

The rich red color of Cumaru wood, when used for decking, stands out because of its color and density. 

This elegant wood has all the beauty of a hardwood floor you would use in an interior space. Except this beautiful wood is excellent outside because it is durable and weather-resistant. 

It can outlive many of the decking alternative woods like Pine, Cedar, Redwood or Douglas Fir.

The durability factor in this special deck wood is because it is a high-density hardwood native to the northern parts of South America.

The graining of the wood gives it a Brazilian Teak finished appearance. This wood is resistant to insects and has a long-lasting deck life.

One of the greatest benefits it offers is its price which is competitive with other decking wood options. Even deck options which include composite decking. That makes this Cumaru wood one our customers love to use on their planned deck jobs.

Cumaru Wood

If you decide to use this wood for your decking projects we are going to give you the eight benefits it will bring you. They are;

  1. This type of wood resists rot. This type of wood also has long-life and durability built into it. It is decay resistant and has excellent weathering properties.
  2. This wood is hard and strong. It has excellent longevity due to it being so stiff and firm. 
  3. It is hard to beat using Cumaru wood for your decking when you compare prices. The wood is inexpensive when it is imported and consistently offers low prices.
  4. Cumaru wood is diffuse-porous. It has narrow rays which are fairly close together. It offers heartwood mineral components which are confluent. It is also a large pore wood with no set arrangement.
  5. Cumaru is also known as Brazilian teak and Tonka Bean. This is because the tree is cultivated sometimes for its vanilla-cinnamon scented seed. Which also means as you are working on your deck project you receive faint vanilla or cinnamon-like aroma.
  6. The wood is dense and has interlocked grain. This helps make it strong and sturdy. But it also means pre-boring may be necessary when screwing or nailing the wood.
  7. The wood is rich, dramatic and beautiful to look at. There are no two pieces of Cumaru decking exactly alike. This helps make your deck look sophisticated and unique at the same time.
  8. This special wood has unique measurements. It is 3540lbs with a density of 1.07g/cm3 on the Janka hardness scale. This makes it over three times harder than the typical teak wood used in a lot of decking projects. It has double the strength of oak decking.


Marketing started for tropical hardwoods in the United States for decking and cabinetry about 2006.

Cumaru wood achieved a 2-3% growth rate per year by 2010 because of the woods’ natural durability and aesthetics.

This unique decking wood markets to consumers for their decking projects because it offers high quality with low maintenance. Also because it is a tropical hardwood it is very durable as well.

Consumers report they select Cumaru wood for their decking projects, in part, because the wood is also insect and decay-resistant.

Cumaru wood has five measured benefits which distributors, customers, and producers agree upon. They are;

  • 86% prefer this type of wood because of its durability
  • 71% prefer this type of wood because of its low-maintenance
  • 71% prefer this type of wood because of its strength
  • 57% prefer this type of wood because of its biodegradation qualities

Sometimes there is a wood which exceeds industry standards. Cumaru is that wood. 

Ipe Wood

If Cumaru wood comes in second place to any other wood it is Ipe wood. It is the decking wood most preferred by consumers

For the most part, this is because of its sturdiness and suitability for various environments. Ipe needs very little drying and has a 12-15% moisture content.

It is the preferred wood most of the time for restaurants, boardwalks, businesses, and homes which need deck wood.

Ipe wood or Cumaru wood are both are very good for any decking project. While Cumaru wood cannot beat Ipe wood in most categories it is still a very durable and strong wood.

Building my Cumaru Wood Deck

If you want to build your Cumaru wood deck reach out to us today. Right now, you have the perfect season to build your deck.

When you add this one-of-a-kind wood affordable prices you have the perfect combination to get your deck project finished now. 

Why wait to build your deck with Cumaru wood when the same wood was used New York’s famous Coney Island? When Coney Island needed to rebuild their boardwalk, Cumaru wood was selected.

This unique wood was selected because of its affordability, beauty, and durability. It is also FSC certified.

Don’t let another extreme weather season happen which decays your current deck or gives you a reason to wish you had built one when you had the chance.  

There is nothing like having the deck of your dreams add a little bit of sanctuary and beauty to your yard.

We will help you step by step with our Cumaru wood product and customer service. If you need it for your deck, we can make it happen. 

How to Build a Deck: 5 Tips From the Pros

Did you know that adding decking to your house could be 80% cheaper than you think?

Houses that have good quality decking installed often rise in value up to 80% of the cost of the decking. 

Of course, that is only installing the basic wood structure. After you install other items such as outdoor furniture its appeal rises further.

You may want to make your house look even better, but have never installed decking before. If you want to ensure that you are investing well, what should you look out for?

Check out our list of 5 tips on how to build a deck.

1. Choose Your Design Carefully

Experts say that you should not build decking that is 20% of your house’s square footage.

If you decide to go with this, you will need to plan carefully how you use each square foot. Will you use your decking area mostly for ornaments, or will you host garden parties?

Some add to the beauty of their decking by building more than one level. Perhaps they have the main seating area and a smaller area that is lower and tapers down to a yard.

When designing your deck, plan for your decking to be a few inches below door level. In winter leaves may pile up against the base of the door and, if the same level, the out-swinging storm door will push them into the decking.

This is not only ugly but can cause damage in the long term. Leaving this gap will also keep leaves out of the house.

2. Think in 3-D

If you are building substantial decking, you likely have favorable weather and want to sit outside and enjoy it. To shield you from unwanted sunlight you have a range of options. 

If you want to read in peace, you can go with a pergola and sun rays that creep through the wooden slats. To stay out of the sun completely, install an awning. 

Once you have shade in place, and a superstructure to hang things from, only your budget limits what you can do.

Elaborate lighting systems, heating systems to allow you to enjoy the decking all year round, TVs, audio systems, Barbeques – the list is endless. 

3. Choose Quality Materials

Depending on the weather where you live, your decking may take a pounding. Direct sustained sunlight in summer, followed by lashing rain in winter means you need to pick enduring materials if you do not want to replace timbers each year.

You have a choice between natural wood and composite boards.

Natural Woods

Natural woods such as Redwoods and Red Cedar are historically the most popular choice for checking materials. They are naturally resistant to decay, insects, and rot.

There are many other natural wood solutions available at a lower price to artificial solutions. However, it is true that they will show their age with just a few years.

Artificial Solutions 

Before you discount the non-natural materials, think of what they can offer you. 

Composite boards are a blend of recycled plastic and wood. This gives them incredible durability. They often come with a warranty of up to 25 years.

Since they have a plastic coating their finish is also guaranteed and will not significantly fade during this time. In fact, the time saved by not needing to maintain composite often persuades people to spend the extra money needed to purchase it. 

The appearance of the composite boards is engineered to look exactly like genuine wood and people often find it difficult to distinguish between them. 

4. Choose Your Fixtures Carefully

Even if you go for a long-lasting wood decking solution, this could still be undermined if you choose the wrong fittings. Choosing screws and other fixtures will damage the wood surrounds.

Choosing fixtures that will rust quickly will mean you have to take up the boards to replace the fixtures even though the wood may be fine. 

If you plan to use stainless steel nails or screws, we recommend 305-grade stainless steel or higher. A lower grade may discolor the wood surrounding it. 

A safe solution is the CAMO® Hidden Clip System. Rather than driving the screw into your decking panels, this system uses an unseen clip that sits in-between the panels. This houses the screw and protects the wood from discoloration. 

5. Choose the Right Finish

When your decking is in place you are ready to apply the finish. You basically have three options:

  • Paint
  • Stain
  • No finish


Painting a new wooden deck may seem unorthodox, but it does have its advantages. Depending on the color that you choose, you may not have to clean it as often as other finishes.

A good quality paints job is easier to clean by simple washing. It is hardwearing and will not fade easily. 

However, this is also a negative. Paint is very hardwearing. This means that one you have painted your decking, there is little chance of successfully going back to a natural wood look. 


Staining allows you to retain the natural beauty of the wood. If your wood has a naturally beautiful grain pattern, you may even be able to accentuate it with the right stain. 

The downside is that stain is less hardwearing than paint. Depending on the quality of the stain that is applied and the number of coats, it may not last many years. Particularly in areas of high traffic will it age more quickly.

No Finish

This is a surprisingly good option. Not only are you able to make immediate use of your decking, with correct maintenance and cleaning, the wood can also last for decades. 

If you took the option to use Redwoods and Red Cedar, you may be able to leave the surface of the wood completely untouched thanks to its natural resistance to bugs and decay. 

Of course, over time this type of wood will discolor, however, unless it is under very severe weather conditions it will not change in any way other than appearance. 

How to Build a Deck and Many Other Projects

These are the top tips on the subject of how to build a deck.

If you are planning to add a deck or any outdoor timber to your house, why not check out our blog to see what practical advice we have to offer?

Make sure to contact us today for a quote on the best wood you can buy!


The Secret To Maintain Your Tigerwood Decking: What You Need To Know

If you have purchased Tigerwood decking then you are probably very pleased that you will shortly be the envy of your friends, family, and neighbors.

However, to ensure your decking looks the part and stands the test of time it is important you properly maintain it. As well as creating a proper routine for cleaning and repair, there are some specific tips and tools that are useful for cleaning Tigerwood decking. 

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Tigerwood Decking?

Tigerwood is a special type of wood from Africa or South America. It has an orange hue and dark vein stripes. This gives it an exotic and mystic feel that is unlike any other wood that can be used for decking. 

It is also known as Congowood, courbaril, zorrowood, bototo, muiracatiara, Brazilian Koa or African walnut. 

These trees dominate the forests in which they grow, reaching as high as 80 feet, and becoming so valuable that some African nations have placed export restrictions on them. So you are very lucky if you have managed to get hold of some Tigerwood.

One of the reasons Tigerwood is so popular is because it has a much stronger resistance to rot or decay than other decking woods. 

Tigerwood is also a lot more capable of taking footprints and scratching than other types of wood. So, although it is more expensive than other types of decking, it should stand the test of time. 

It can be a great addition to a garden if you are considering upgrading your porch or patio this summer.

However, even Tigerwood will decay eventually if it is not installed properly and then cleaned and tended to on a regular basis. 

Installing Tigerwood

To prevent problems with Tigerwood in the future there are a number of tips and trips you can follow during the installation process

Be Careful About Surfaces Where You Install Tigerwood

It is important to make sure that Tigerwood doesn’t touch any surfaces that might allow moisture or damp to collect underneath it. These include roofs, concrete or wood that has been green treated. 

Ignoring this advice can lead to the Tigerwood bending and contorting in ways which might eventually lead to you having to replace some planks. 

Avoid Direct Contact With Iron

Iron can create oxidation when it touches with wood and this can leave horrible black marks over your beautiful wood. If you are having a garden party then be sure to insist your family and friends use non-metallic coasters for placing their drinks down on the floor. 

If you are using a barbeque made from iron then be careful that it doesn’t have prolonged exposure to the wood. This should not be too difficult if the wheels are made from a different material. But to be on the safe side move the barbeque away from the decking and onto the grass. 

A Simple Cleaning Routine 

Some wood decks need a variety of tools and chemicals to ensure they get cleaned properly and do not end up damaged. 

Tigerwood has a straight forward cleaning process. A regular power wash of perhaps once a week is all your Tigerwood needs to look the part again. There is no need for re-stains or bleaching

Deck Oil

One crucial part of the cleaning ritual for Tigerwood is the application of deck oil twice a year for the first few years after installing it.

Deck oil is relatively easy to come by. You can find it at most DIY or hardware stores. It is also straight-forward to apply.

After a few years of twice-annual coats, you can stop applying deck oil as the wood will have been broken in enough that it can handle normal everyday weathering. 

Moisture Content 

The most important thing to consider when maintaining your Tigerwood deck is ensuring that no water has got in between the cracks. This could see your Tigerwood start to rot. 

Often the moisture won’t be easy to spot, particularly if it is just a few drops. But there is a scientific way of checking this. The sooner you catch any moisture, the sooner you can put a stop to it, stemming any long term damage. 

Tigerwood will generally be dried by the manufacturer before it reaches you to reduce any natural moisture. However,  the wood has been taken out of its natural climate in the forest or jungle and this will no doubt affect it. We are looking for a natural balance, known as relative humidity.

One way of checking this is with a wood moisture machine. Often these machines will have programmable settings for Tigerwood to ensure you get an accurate reading. 

Tigerwood – Worth The Money? 

Tigerwood is a premium product that can really make your garden stand out amongst the crowd. 

It costs more than most wood used for decking. This can put many customers off. But it is important to remember that it lasts a lot longer than ordinary wood decking and you do not need to hunt for complicated products to properly maintain it, such as bleach. 

Tigerwood is therefore worth the investment. However, only if it is installed properly and you understand that it will need extra attention in the first years after installation. 

Taken from the forests of Africa and South America, it is important to understand that Tigerwood is being imported from a completely different climate and will need to be tended to as it adjusts to your garden.

But after this process has taken place, Tigerwood decking becomes a breeze to maintain. 

If you are interested in purchasing decking be sure to check out our price list today.  


A Lifetime Investment

The great thing about choosing Ipe wood for project(s) is that it’s one and done.  Whether it’s decking, siding, fencing, or any of many other options, Ipe lumber is so tough, and durable resistant to water damage and molds, that replacing it is the last thing you’ll have to worry about. I mean it’s so tough you need to hold a hardcore hockey match on it for it to see much damage.  Or else drop a bowling ball from about ten stories high on to it.  (You may just break the ball instead.)  You spent the time to research costs and pricing, made your decision, and there it sits, the apple of your eye, and maybe the envy of the neighborhood.  If you’re lucky, you’ve just become the Jones’s that everyone is working to keep up with.

But even a lifetime investment needs attention to stay looking as good as it did the day you first put it in.


You’ve got a couple choices when it comes to your Ipe decking (let’s stay with decking just for the sake of convenience, but this applies to whatever you’ve used your Ipe wood for.)

You can either let it just age without staining it.  If that is the case, it will ultimately fade to a silvery grey, shade much like teak.  Even that choice will require you to reseal it once every year or two.  (Don’t go any longer than two years between resealing.)  Yes, Ipe is amazingly impervious to water damage and rot, but it still needs to be treated with care.

The other choice is to restain the lumber.  Restaining the Ipe wood will keep it looking beautifully dark for ages.

You can’t lose either way.  It’s just of question of what you prefer.


Always stick with the KISS formula:  Keep it short and simple.  You need to start with the basics.

No matter which way you go you will have to clean your Ipe decking before either restaining or resealing.

To clean the deck you’ll need to use some bleach to get all the junk off.  It’s easy to do and you can find a formula for it here.

Don’t use a sprayer to wash your Ipe deck.  Go old fashioned and get down on your hands and knees.  Make sure you don’t forget your knee pads when you’re doing that.

Once you’ve cleaned the lumber, let it dry for at least a day.

When that’s finished stain or seal away to your heart’s content.

You can’t lose no matter what choice you make.