Choosing what material to use for your deck can be hard given the amount of options out there. Once you delve into the world of decking, you’ll find plastic options, recycled material options, domestic woods, tropical woods, and all possibilities are at a different price point and give different guarantees.
If you decide you want a real wooden deck your contractor will usually give you two options a) pressure treated deck b) ipe deck. Option a will be a lot more economical, but will have a lot of problems with splinters, termites, rotting, which means the deck will probably only last around ten (10) years. Option b has a lot of advantages, such as being rot resistant, scratch proof, won’t splinter, does not require a lot of maintenance, and is one of the most durable woods on earth, lasting up to 70 years. You’ll probably love the idea of using option b until you hear the price.
Cumaru is another option that might be the happy compromise you were looking for! It has all the amazing properties of ipe wood but at a lower cost. So if cumaru and ipe are so similar, what exactly makes them different?
Cumaru has lighter color than ipe. Cumaru has quite a bit of color variation, which means it can range from a golden brown to a reddish-brown coloring. If you do not oil or otherwise maintain cumaru, it will get “sun-bleached” and turn a silver patina color just like ipe, but when first installed ipe is a darker color than cumaru. That said, depending on the type of oil or sealer used, cumaru can be stained to look darker.
The international standard on how to measure wood’s hardness is using the Janka hardness scale. Basically, the Janka hardness test measures how resistance a sample of wood is to denting and wear. Ipe has one of the highest rankings, but cumaru is not far behind. Cumaru has a 3,330 lbf (14,800 N) whereas ipe has 3,510 lbf (15,620 N), which is only a 5% difference. Compare that to the 380 lbf (1,690 N) hardness of pine, and you can see that cumaru is very durable and hard.
Like ipe, cumaru is incredibly durable, thanks to its tight grain and natural oils that keep fungus, rot, and insects from attacking it. It has some other great advantages (like ipe) such as not overheating in the sun, not splintering, and not bending. In fact, as compared to ipe, cumaru only has a 2% bending difference.
The biggest difference between ipe and cumaru lies in the price. Cumaru is a more cost-effective option. Generally, when buying cumaru you will save about 30% as compared to ipe. That can make a big difference, especially if you have a larger area to cover.
Overall, cumaru is an excellent choice as a decking wood. It’s strength, hardness and stability make it suitable for all climates, which is why it is seen especially often in tropical and subtropical areas. It is also a great choice for siding, rain screens, louvers, boardwalks, and pergolas. The decking boards come in many different sizes and can be easily milled for tongue and groove applications. It is a robust and beautiful wood that can be trusted to last and give you a great value for your money!