Ipe Hardwood Decking vs Mahogany Decking

Written by on

Ipe versus Mahogany Decking

Ipe decking and “mahogany” decking are both very beautiful natural wood decking species. However, before we get started, it’s important to clear up a common misunderstanding: most “mahogany” decking is not actual mahogany at all. The decking material commonly sold in the US market as “mahogany” is actually the “Shorea” wood species, sometimes also called Luan mahogany or Philippine mahogany.


Ipe deck and rain screen

A newly installed, stunning Ipe hardwood deck and rainscreen siding.

In all, there are over forty different Shorea subspecies - and their colors, characteristics and performance are as different as night and day. From a color and appearance standpoint, Ipe decking and Shorea mahogany decking are both in the brown color range and exhibit some tropical graining, but there are significant difference.

The common thread between all the Shorea subspecies is:

  • Shorea are hardwoods.
  • Shorea subspecies have beautiful graining patterns similar in appearance to genuine mahogany.
  • Shorea colors are typically in the brown color ranges.
  • 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.

In comparison, Ipe hardwood decking is from the Tabebuia species and is one of the finest and longest lasting decking materials found on earth. Compared to the look of Shorea:

  • Ipe decking is mostly in the medium brown range with beautiful variations from light brown, olive brown to darker brown and even 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

Ipe Hardwood Decking


Ipe decking categorically outperforms all Shorea 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, Ipe can't be beat. 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.


Need help deciding the best decking material for your project?

Download the "Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking"


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 will not 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.

Comparison Chart for Ipe Decking vs Mahogany Decking

chart comparing Ipe hardwood decking to mahogany decking

Maintenance options for Ipe decking are low needs and pretty straightforward

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. "Mahogany” decking maintenance needs depend 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.

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.

We have created a handy reference for you. Grab your FREE white paper download, the "Ultimate Guide To Selecting The Right Decking" for more information.


From "the proof is in the pudding" department, see the incredible results of our 15-year real-time field test to discover how Mataverde Ipe decking, mahogany decking and other species would handle New England's worst weather conditions.




Ipe Decking vs Redwood Decking Ipe Decking Photo Gallery
Ipe Decking 10 Dream Ipe Deck Ideas For Your Backyard
Ipe Decking vs Synthetic Decking How To Finish Ipe Decking
Ipe Decking Problems Does Ipe Wood Decking Need To Be Sealed?
How Does Ipe Decking Weather?  10 Solid Reasons Deck Builders Use Ipe Decking
Ipe Decking vs Douglas Fir Decking Pro Tips For Cutting Ipe Decking


Related Posts

Back to top