Pros and Cons of Hardwood Decks

Custom deck builder Decks R Us explains the pros and cons of hardwood decks.

Finding the right decking for your new deck can be a bit overwhelming. Hardwood or Pressure Treated wood? Composite or Vinyl? And if you decide to go with something man-made, there are dozens of options and hundreds of opinions out there. Decking can be be put into 5 simple categories, Hardwood, Traditional Wood, Vinyl, Composite, or Vinyl-Capped Composite. So this post is the first in a 5-part series that I will share with you over the next few months. Hopefully I can shed some light on the pros and cons of each type of decking.

Hardwood Decking                                                                                                                   

There are 3 common species of hardwood decking, Ipe, Cumuru, and Mahogany. Ipe and Cumuru are Brazilian wood species but are readily available here, Mahogany is an American species.

Ipe Decking

Ipe is Brazilian Walnut, an extremely dense and hard wood. It has been used for decades to build docks and boat floors because it is one of the only woods that will stand up to saltwater. It’s natural color is a deep brown, but it will turn gray if not treated.

Pros: Naturally weather resistant, tried and proven, very durable, natural wood beauty          

Cons: Needs to be treated, expensive, difficult to install for DIYers

Cumuru Decking                                                                                      

Cumuru is Brazilian Teak, it is very similar to Ipe. It is a little softer than Ipe so therefore a little cheaper. It’s color is a nice medium brown, just a little lighter than Ipe.

Pros: Naturally weather resistant, tried and proven, very durable, natural wood beauty          

Cons: Needs to be treated, expensive, difficult to install for DIYers

Mahogany Decking:                                                                                                          

Mahogany is a beautiful natural wood option. It is naturally rot and decay resistant. However it does need to be maintained very well for it to hold up for the long run. The Mahogany wood on the market today is not as dense and hard as the Mahogany of old. Therefore we tend to shy away from it and point our customers toward Ipe or Cumuru.                                                   

Pros: Naturally weather resistant, natural wood beauty, more cost effective than most hardwoods     

Cons: Needs to be treated a lot, shorter than other hardwoods, difficult to install for DIYers  

We have more info on our Deck Materials page.

By: Ray Ebersol