Cost Saving Alternatives to Ipe Decking

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Ipe decking is well known for its high strength, durability, and great looks. Ipe wood is used for so many different exterior projects and is an excellent choice for decking, boardwalks, furniture and siding to name a few. With current Ipe decking prices at all time highs, you may be thinking about other options. If Ipe decking doesn’t meet your project budget needs, here’s a few other great natural hardwood decking options to consider.

Ipe decking, posts and railings on boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Ipe decking was chosen for the decking, railings and posts for this wildlife sanctuary in Naples, Florida for its natural beauty and durability in the punishing environment of the Everglades.


Ipe has become the ‘go-to’ species for high performance exterior hardwoods, and rightfully so. Ipe hardwood has earned its reputation for many decades. Ipe wood is incredibly hard, exceptionally high strength, very durable (long lasting) and has beautiful tropical graining and exotic color variations.  Designers, builders and property owners often specify Ipe when an outdoor project needs strength, natural beauty, and high performance. When you compare Ipe to other decking material options, every decking option has some pros and cons, here’s a few.

Ipe decking with Eurotec EVO Aluminum frame

Ipe hardwood decking works great on decks of all sizes, residential or commercial.

DOWNLOAD:      Download the Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking

What is Machiche Hardwood and How does it Compare to Ipe Decking?

Machiche decking, pronounced mah-CHEE-chay, is a great decking option to consider. Machiche is available in three subspecies. Lonchocarpus castilloi is the very best and Mataverde Machiche is only offered in this subspecies. Machiche is FSC® Certified (Forest Stewardship Council®). FSC certification is an additional layer of assurance that this material is sustainably harvested from approved forests.

Machiche decking at Brooklyn Basin waterfront in Oakland

Machiche hardwood decking is so tough and naturally beautiful, it was selected for this coastal boardwalk project in Oakland, California

RELATED: Machiche hardwood decking information

When you compare Machiche decking to Ipe, you will see that Machiche is extremely hard, incredibly dense, and very hard to break or rupture. Very similar mechanical properties that you would find in Ipe hardwood decking. Because of these natural characteristics, both Mataverde hardwood decking species (Ipe and Machiche) are offered with a 25-year limited warranty against termites and decay.

FSC Machiche hardwood deck with dining and entertainment space

FSC Certified Machiche hardwood decking looks great on residential backyard decks, too.

ARTICLE: Compare Machiche Decking to Ipe decking

Machiche has beautiful chocolatey brown tones and colors with lively, exotic grain variations. Machiche wood is browner and grainier than Ipe wood in appearance. For comparison of the looks of Ipe and Machiche, please check out the decking photo galleries for each species.

RELATED: Machiche hardwood decking project galleries

               Ipe hardwood decking project galleries

How Does Cumaru Decking Compare to Ipe Decking?

Cumaru decking, pronounced Koo-mah-roo, is another high-density hardwood decking option to consider. Cumaru is even denser than Ipe, and that’s saying a lot. Cumaru wood also compares very favorably to Ipe hardwood in terms of strength, durability, and performance.

Pier 15 cumaru decking, ramps, benches, railings and stairs-3

Cumaru hardwood decking on boardwalk in New York City

RELATED:             Cumaru hardwood decking information

In terms of looks, Cumaru is redder and has a more coarsely grained appearance than Ipe decking. Both species have beautiful tropical color variations. With their gorgeous natural looks, both Ipe and Cumaru are frequently use for backyard decks, docks, and boardwalks.


Cumaru hardwood decking is a beautiful option for a backyard deck


RELATED:  Cumaru decking project galleries

ARTICLE: Compare Cumaru decking to Ipe decking

How Does Garapa Decking Compare to Ipe Decking?

Garapa decking, pronounced gah-RAH-pah, is another tropical hardwood decking option to look at. Ipe decking is harder and stronger than Garapa decking, but don’t think for a minute that Garapa is a lightweight in this contest. Garapa is harder and stronger than oak and is very durable in outdoor projects. In fact, Garapa decking has been used on boardwalks and is a high performance natural decking material to consider.


Garapa hardwood decking is rugged enough to handle the traffic on boardwalks


RELATED:  Garapa hardwood decking information

ARTICLE: Compare Garapa Decking to Ipe decking

Color wise, Garapa is paler than Ipe decking. Garapa is a blondish, honey-toned hardwood decking material with fine graining and some (but not too much) tropical graining variation. The beauty of all the natural high-density hardwood decking options is that they will weather to a silvery gray patina without affecting their long-term performance.

Garapa decking on a covered porch in Philadelphia

Garapa hardwood decking is a beautiful natural option for porches and backyard decks


RELATED:  Garapa hardwood decking project galleries

DOWNLOAD: How Exterior Hardwoods Weather Guide


If you love the natural look of real wood decking but aren’t sure if you can afford Ipe decking for your project, you have lots of choices. Check out the pricing of all the most popular decking options here.

Are you ready to get a price for your decking project now? Request a decking quote here.


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