Ipe Decking Compared to “Mahogany” Decking
Ipe decking and “mahogany” decking are both very beautiful natural wood decking species. Before we get started, I think it’s important to clear up a common misunderstanding; “mahogany” decking is not actual mahogany at all. The decking material commonly sold in the US market as “mahogany” is actually “Shorea” wood species, sometimes also called Luan mahogany or Philippine mahogany. In all, there are over forty different Shorea subspecies and their colors, characteristics and performance are as different as night and day. The common thread between all the Shorea subspecies is; they are hardwoods, they have beautiful graining patterns, similar in appearance to genuine mahogany, and they are typically in the brown color ranges. Ipe hardwood decking is from the Tabebuia species and is one of the finest and longest lasting decking materials found on earth.
From a color and appearance standpoint, Ipe decking and Shorea mahogany decking are both in the brown color range and exhibit some tropical graining. Ipe decking is mostly in the medium brown range but also has some beautiful variations from light brown, olive brown to darker brown and almost black, earning Ipe the nickname “Brazilian Walnut”. Ipe hardwood is also prized for its exotic “figuring’ and tropical grain variations. These grain variations tend to mellow out over time as the decking material matures and ages gracefully to a silvery gray patina. Shorea mahogany decking shows a little bit of exotic graining, but depending on the subspecies, the colors may range anywhere from light pinks and tans to dark reds or browns.
Shorea "mahogany" decking Ipe hardwood decking
Ipe hardwood decking categorically outperforms all Shorea “mahogany” decking subspecies in terms of measurable characteristics such as; density, scratch resistance, hardness, structural strength, fire resistance, decay resistance, natural slip resistance and termite resistance. These are just a few of the reasons why Ipe decking has become so popular in the US and Canada and throughout the rest of the world. Ipe decking is an outstanding decking material option for any exposed deck application, as it will last a long time, naturally and beautifully. Shorea mahogany is not made to withstand this type of harsh exposure and will neither last long nor behave well if installed in an uncovered or unprotected environment. That’s why Shorea mahogany is used mostly for porch flooring in covered areas and partially covered areas where it won’t be exposed too much.
Maintenance options for Ipe decking is pretty straightforward while “mahogany” decking depends on where the decking will be used and which subspecies you have. No matter what type of decking material you select, an annual cleaning is highly recommended. With Ipe decking, the two most common maintenance options are using an oil finish to darken and enrich the colors or to simply allow the Ipe decking to mellow out to a silvery gray “seaside” type of weathered appearance. Allowing your Ipe decking to silver out will not affect its performance or remarkable long-lasting durability. For the best performance of any of the Shorea decking species, it is essential to coat the decking material with a sealer or some type of paint or stain to protect it from weathering and possibly rotting and decay. Click on the picture below to watch this 3 minute YouTube video to see for yourself how Ipe decking, mahogany decking and other wood species perform after 15 years of exposure.
For additional information about Ipe decking and other decking material options, please follow any of the links below:
Ipe Hardwood Decking
Ipe Decking compared to other Wood Decking materials
Mechanical Properties of Ipe Decking and “Mahogany” Decking
Care and Maintenance Options for Ipe Decking
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