Fifteen years earlier, we built a small deck display with sample pieces of all of the best wood decking species that were available at that time. A couple years later we took the wood deck and placed it outdoors to weather on its own and observe what would happen to each species over time. The results are astonishing.
A commercial deck in Norwalk CT, shown here newly installed, will benefit from the long lasting durability of Ipe hardwood.
California Redwood decking - all heartwood, clear vertical grain
Douglas Fir decking - clear vertical grain
Genuine "Swetenia" Mahogany decking (not the lower quality pseudo-mahogany decking so commonly found today)
Red Cedar decking - clear vertical grain
Pressure Treated Yellow Pine decking - clear vertical grain
The photo of the wood decking species above was taken after fifteen years of outdoor exposure to New England weather conditions. No sealers, paint or stains were placed on any of the wood decking species. All the deck boards were left to weather naturally. It's the ultimate 'torture test' for outdoor decking. As you can plainly see, not all wood decking species are created equally.
Here's what we learned about wood decking after fifteen years of exposure:
The pressure treated yellow pine decking and western red cedar decking were severely structurally deteriorated exhibiting significant cracking, checking, splitting and rotting.
The Douglas Fir decking was splitting, checking, “wicking” moisture at the end grains and starting to rot.
The California Redwood decking (all heartwood, clear vertical grain), which is no longer readily available, showed some checking, some cracking, mildew and trace amount of rotting.
The genuine Mahogany decking was cracked, checked and cupped more than 3/16”.
The Mataverde Ipe high density hardwood decking was the only wood species that handled the elements gracefully. The Ipe decking showed no signs whatsoever of splitting, checking, rotting or cracking. It appeared to be as strong and unaffected by the elements as the day it was installed.
Check out what this wood decking test looks like after 15 years:
That's why so many boardwalks and high traffic walkways use Ipe for their decking material. Ipe can take a beating like no other wood species. Ipe can be oiled and refinished - or left to weather naturally to a silvery grey patina.
This Ipe boardwalk in Mystic, CT continues to look beautiful despite heavy tourist traffic and years of local prom photos!
Want to learn more about how exterior hardwoods weather?
Download our free "How Exterior Hardwoods Weather Guide" today.
Check out our FREE Decking Guide that's loaded with lots of helpful information about Ipe decking and other decking material options called, "The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking Material". This fact-filled guide has helped architects, builders and property owners throughout the world make informed decisions for their decking materials. See how Ipe and other hardwood decking materials compare to all the other decking options available. Download your own FREE Decking Guide today!