Cumaru decking is so versatile; it certainly has been causing quite a stir in the design and construction communities. As a high density tropical hardwood, Cumaru has many qualities and characteristics that are similar to Ipe hardwood.
Whether it is for a residential or commercial decking project, Cumaru hardwood is a tremendous decking option to consider. The amazing density, strength, durability and hardness of Cumaru are four performance characteristics where Cumaru hardwood has earned very favorable comparisons to Ipe.
There are many areas where Ipe and Cumaru are very similar and a few where they have some differences. Now that Cumaru is in the mainstream discussions about the best decking material options, we thought you might want to see some comparative information about these two remarkable high density hardwood decking and siding species.
Cumaru hardwood has a Janka hardness of 3,340 and Ipe has a hardness of 3,680. The Janka hardness test is the so-called “high heel test”. A .444” steel ball is placed under enough pressure to imbed it halfway into a piece of wood. Ipe and Cumaru are so amazingly hard, it takes over 3,000 lbs of pressure per square inch to make this happen! That is more than twice as hard as red oak or white oak.
Ipe and Cumaru are incredibly scratch resistant and are often selected for high traffic decking areas from boardwalks and walkways to backyard decks.
Cumaru has a density of 1.07 g/cm³ and Ipe hardwood has a density of 1.04 g/cm³. Both of these species are so dense they are classified as high density hardwoods. Their high density and natural impermeability are why they are so resistant to fungus and decay.
Cumaru has been tested to have a fiber bending strength of 22,400 psi and Ipe hardwood has a fiber bending strength of 23,360 psi. Both of these incredibly high test results are proof that Cumaru decking and Ipe decking can out span any domestic North American wood species and also synthetic decking materials such as Trex and others.
Both Cumaru decking and Ipe decking have outstanding natural resistances to insect infestation from termites and other insects. Cumaru and Ipe decking have remarkable natural resistance to decay and rot. It is not uncommon for these species to last forty years and longer in harsh outdoor conditions
Because they last so long, Ipe and Cumaru are two of the highest rated species in terms of low long term costs. Life cycle cost analyses show that these two species are the lowest overall cost decking material options over the project lifetime.
While both Cumaru and Ipe have a wide range of exotic colors and graining, Cumaru decking and hardwood tends to range in the yellow-brown to reddish brown range color earning Cumaru the nickname “Brazilian Teak”. Ipe hardwood ranges from tan to olive brown to darker browns to occasionally nearly black, earning Ipe the nickname “Brazilian Walnut”.
From a graining standpoint, both species exhibit a wide variety of beautiful exotic graining and figuring. Ipe is typically finer grained in appearance while Cumaru has coarser graining.
As far as initial pricing, Cumaru is usually about 20-30% less costly than comparable sizes of Ipe hardwood
While testing from the US Forest Product Laboratory shows Cumaru hardwood to move very little after kiln drying, Ipe is considered a more stable hardwood species.
If Ipe decking is considered the "king of decking materials", then Cumaru decking is surely at least a prince.
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