Tuesday, February 22, 2011

best decking material

Ok, wouldn't it be nice if there was one material that far outshined all others?
Something stronger then anything else, tougher, more durable, better looking, versatile and fairly priced?
well it's often imitated, and holds up for years and years without even applying a finish, does not split splinter or degrade and does not take a boat load of oil to produce. It's Ipe the South American ironwoood. Ipe is too dense and tough that water does not seriously penetrate and deteriorate Ipe like other lesser woods and composites. This density makes Ipe difficult to apply a finish (Ipe with an oil finish is perhaps the most beautiful deck you will ever see) however the good news is Ipe holds up beautifully with no finish at all, Ipe will patina a lovely soft silver color and require only the most basic maintenance occasional cleaning (most folks just power wash their Ipe decks once in a while).

pricing: Ipe is more expensive then rather treated lumber, but on par with a clear cedar, mahogany, or redwood which it blows away, and about the same cost as many of the mid to high end composites. Ipe is cheaper then many of the high end composites that try to mimic Ipe's apperance,so you get the real thing for less money then the wannabee.

greeness: Ipe harvesting is monitored by the forestry stewardship, and by creating a valuable harvestable selective cash crop, some of the rain forest may actually be sparred of clear cutting. Of course it takes no oil to produce Ipe like a composite decking, save for bamboo (which we are testing right now) real wood decking is about as green as you will find. It would be nice if composites (made from recycled materials? ) were as green as they are implied.

There are so other great choices in their own niches. we like Evergrain and Azek composites, we understand Ipe is not for everyone and both of these products have solid attributes. Tigerwood is another beautiful exotic. Although not quite as durable and dense as Ipe Tigerwood usually prices out a substantial discount. Tigerwood is probably the best value on the marketplace right now. Bamboo decking is on the horizon, bamboo is rapid growing, strong and durable. current offerings require a maintenance commitment for outdoor decking usage, and bamboo does not come cheap. But we will continue to watch and test bamboo.

In closing, Ipe stands out as the best material for decks 2nd to none, Tigerwood is a great buy, Evergrain and Azek are great composite's and fairly priced, and bamboo may be an option in the near future.