Written by Chris Nolan on
Written by Chris Nolan on
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.
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:
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:
|Shorea "Mahogany" Decking||
Ipe Hardwood Decking
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.
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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.
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.
SEE OUR REAL TIME 15-YEAR WEATHERING TEST DONE RIGHT HERE AT OUR CONNECTICUT HQ IN ALL KINDS OF NEW ENGLAND WEATHER. WATCH THIS VIDEO OF IPE VS. OTHER POPULAR DECKING WOOD OPTIONS.
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