Hardwood is a great choice for outdoor projects such as decks, pergolas, docks, and boardwalks.These woods stand up to weather, insects without the need of chemical treatments. Real wood adds warmth and texture to both exteriors and interiors. Many are familiar with ipe as it is the most popular and widely used hardwood for exteriors but there are many other choices as well depending on what is desired.
Here are seven (7) hardwoods to know about for outstanding outdoor projects:
- Ipe: also known as Brazilian Walnut or Lapacho, Ipe is an exotic wood that originates from Southern America. Structures made from Ipe are known to be strong, resistant to rot, abrasion, pests and weather. In fact, Ipe is the densest hardwood lumber (sinks in water). It is also five times harder than many domestic wood types such as cedar. Ipe has a natural medium to brown color which turns to a silver patina if left unfinished. Ipe is often used for decking, commercial structures near water such as piers, and elevated boardwalks, but also for furniture and indoor flooring (especially in commercial areas).
- Cumaru: is also known as golden teak or Brazilian teak. It is durable lumber and has a very high density. Cumaru is sometimes compared with Ipe for its striking similarities but usually has a slightly lower price point. This hardwood, like Ipe, is resistant to rot and decay and has a reddish tone that has become quite popular this year. It has longevity that beats most domestic wood types like redwood and pine. It can be used for heavy construction, flooring, decking, railroad ties, cabinetry and more.
- Santos Mahogany: if you are familiar with cabrueve wood, then you must know Santos Mahogany because they are different names for same lumber. It is a highly durable, water-resistant hardwood, which means its great if you want to use hardwood floors in a kitchen or even a bathroom. Santos Mahogany has a range of colors from golden brown to dark publish red. It has a medium fine texture and possesses a natural luster. It is often used for interior flooring, but given its properties it can be used for outdoor structures.
- Brazilian Cherry; Jatoba, as it is called in Brazil is not really a true cherry, but it is an exceptionally hard and resilient wood. It has a lot of character and is identified by its light orange-brown or dark reddish-brown color which is likely to get darker when exposed to light. It has a medium to coarse texture. Jatoba is a very durable and rot resistant, and it is a resilient wood, which means its usually responsibly harvested. Jatoba is also hard and dense and can be quite difficult to work with. The wood lumber is stiff and strong and a pocket-friendly solution for woodworks.
- Garapa: can be used for flooring and decking. It has a medium resistance to rot and is susceptible to insects’ attack. Even with its density, Garapa lumber has easy workability and fair dimensional stability. Garapa has a golden to a yellowish color that darkens with time. The pro to being less dense than say ipe means that installation is usually less expensive. Garapa is best used indoors, but can easily be used in kitchens and baths.
- Cedar: has a straight grain and a medium to coarse texture with a reddish-pinkish coloration. It is naturally resistant to rot and fairly resistant to insect attack. Cedar does not possess the characteristic strength of Ipe but is also an excellent wood choice for outdoor projects. It can be easily worked upon using either hands or machine tools, which translates into lower installation costs. It is moderately inexpensive since it is widely available and can be used for exterior decks, ceilings, sidings, without chemical treatments.
- Massaranduba: this wood lumber is also known as Brazilian Redwood. As the name implies, its color is a beautiful and vibrant reddish brown color. Like most exotic hardwood, it is very hard, highly resistant to decay and termites, and requires little maintenance. Because of its beautiful color, it is often used for flooring (especially in areas that tend to have more water spills), stairs, decking, treads, and most curios of all billiard cues.