It can be difficult choosing which material you’re going to use for your deck, given all the options out there. However, once you dive into the decking world, you’ll find many options with different guarantees and price points such as:
- Recycled material options
- Plastic options
- Tropical woods
- Domestic woods
If you make the choice to go with a real wooden deck, the contractor will typically provide you with a couple options:
- Ipe deck
- Pressure treated deck
A pressure treated deck is a more economical choice, but you’ll have a lot of issues with termites, splinters and rotting, meaning your deck will likely only last approximately 10 years. However, there are many advantages to option b, like being scratch proof, rot resistant, won’t require much maintenance, won’t splinter and it’s the most durable wood out there, lasting up to 70 years. But, while you are probably already in love with the idea of going with option b, you may not be any longer once you hear the price.
Another option is Cumaru that just may be the great compromise you need. It has all the outstanding properties and qualities of Ipe wood, but is much less expensive. So, if Ipe and Cumaru are so similar, then what really makes them different?
Cumaru has a lot of color variation and is a lighter color than Ipe. It can range from reddish-brown to a golden brown color. If you don’t oil or maintain Cumaru, it won’t become “sun-bleached” and turn to a silver patina color like Ipe would. Ipe is a darker color than Cumaru when first installed. That said, you can stain Cumaru to look darker, depending on the type of sealer or oil used.
The international standard of measuring the hardness of wood is using the Janka hardness scale. Essentially, the Janka hardness scale measures a sample of wood’s resistance to wear and denting. Ipe has a high ranking, but Cumaru isn’t far behind. Ipe has a 3,510 lbf (15,620 N), whereas Cumaru has a 3,330 lbf (14,800 N) which is only a five percent difference. When you compare that to pine’s hardness of 380 lbf (1,690 N), you’ll see that Cumaru is very hard and durable.
Cumaru, like Ipe, is very durable, thanks to its natural oils and tight grain that keep rot, insects and fungus from attacking it. Some other great benefits (like Ipe) of Cumaru are:
- It doesn’t splinter
- It doesn’t bend
- It doesn’t overheat in the sun
In fact, when you compare Cumaru to Ipe, it only has a two percent bending difference.
The biggest difference between Cumaru and Ipe is the price. The more cost-effective option is Cumaru. Usually, when you buy Cumaru, you’ll save around 30 percent as compared to Ipe. This can make a huge difference, particularly if you have a bigger space to cover.
Overall, Cumaru is a superior choice for decking wood. Its hardness, stability and strength make it ideal for all climates, which is why you see it a lot in subtropical and tropical areas. It’s also the perfect choice for rain screens, siding, pergolas, louvers and boardwalks. The decking boards may be milled easily for tongue and groove applications and come in various sizes. It’s a beautiful and robust wood you can trust to last and provide you with superb value for your money.