An example of an Ipe Deck.

Ipe vs Composite decking: What is the better choice?
It often comes up when designing and building a high end deck –  what is the best type of material to use? Ipe vs Composite decking, which is the best wood choice? While we are obviously huge fans of Ipe Decking, we wanted to provide all of the facts on the positives and negatives of each type of material to use. It really depends on what you are looking for in the life of your deck and the final appearance. Below are the specs for each material and the benefits of each.

 Ipe vs Trex®: The Specifications

WoodTREX® TRANSCEND®Ipe
Janka hardnessn/a3,680
Average weight60 lbs/ft369 lbs/ft3
Bending strength3,280 lbf/in225,660 lbf/in2
stiffness412,000 lbf/in23,200,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength3,800 lbf/in213,600 lbf/in2
Cost $-$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Ipe vs Composite: The Facts

Ipe Decking:

  • Silvers with Age
  • Extremely hard
  • Heavy wood
  • Requires staining to keep from turning the natural gray
  • Class A fire rating (same as steel and concrete)
  • Twice as dense and 5 times as hard as pressure treated wood
  • Available in long lengths
  • Virtually knot free
  • Little to no warping
  • Requires pre-drilling and or hidden fasteners
  • Has a 45+ year life span as a deck wood

 

Composite decking:

  • Loses color with age
  • Softer and not as stiff as Ipe
  • Heavy material
  • Can support mold growth especially in a high humidity/wet area
  • Class B Fire rating
  • Can become “fuzzy” over time because of wear
  • Less expensive than Ipe
  • Has a unknown lifespan as a deck material

We like to say is that composite decking  is an interesting option,  but it is still a world apart from Ipe when it comes to toughness, beauty, and life span. Especially when you know about Ipe’s proven lifespan and resistance to Mold. We also like to offer our Garapa, Cumaru or Massaranduba as less expensive options compared to Ipe. These still have extremely long life spans as decking products. There is no comparison to the natural durability of tropic hardwoods.

Please let us know below in the comments if you have any questions!

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