What makes Brazilian Teak a viable alternative to Ipe?
Also known as Brazilian Teak, this Ipe alternative hails from the same forests as the highly sought-after species. Next to Ipe and Teak, Cumaru is the most popular exotic hardwood that we sell at J. Gibson McIlvain. Cumaru comes in red and yellow variants, the former being more popular for decking applications, in part because of its resemblance to Ipe. At about 2/3 the price of Ipe, Cumaru is a great option for those who desire a quality decking material but simply can’t swing the higher cost of Ipe.
As with Ipe, Cumaru grows in Brazil, where we partner with many lumber mills that have a proven track record of environmental and social responsibility. Being assured of an ethical supply chain and readily available resources make our ability to recommend Cumaru possible.
Many characteristics of Cumaru rival those of Ipe. Weather resistance and durability are major pluses of this comparable species. Strength, density, hardness, and stability are higher than most other species, even though they are not quite on par with Ipe or Teak. Some customers actually prefer Cumaru for its unusually fine interlocking grain patterns. Cumaru machines easily, but its waxy texture can make finishing or gluing difficult; at the same time, the wood’s high oil content increases its rot resistance.
Some potential issues with shrinkage and stability can occur when this lumber species is not properly dried. However, as long as the climate of your project is not extremely dry, careful kiln drying can help circumvent most potential issues, as long as the lumber is thick enough. (At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we stock only 5/4 thicknesses, in order to avoid unwanted movement.) Once Cumaru that is thick enough has been properly dried, it needs to be shipped to the environment in which it will be used in order for acclimatization to take place.
While we carry several other Ipe alternatives for decking species, Cumaru is probably the one that most closely mirrors the key characteristics of Ipe. To find out more about whether your specific application and locale will make Cumaru a good fit, our tropical hardwoods specialists (800-638-9100) can help you evaluate the issues at hand.
As a direct importer of exotic hardwoods from Asia, Africa, and South America, J. Gibson McIlvain does all we can to ensure responsible harvesting practices and an untainted supply chain. We’re also committed to intensive quality control procedures that have kept us prized by many customers during our rich history of over 200 years. With nationwide shipping available, we also have the ability to meet your hardwood needs as well as fill your order for softwoods, millwork, and hardwood plywood, helping you save on the highest quality lumber products around.
While no wood species will have exactly the same set of characteristics that makes Ipe such an ideal wood, certain species may offer comparable strengths, making them possible Ipe-substitutes depending on your particular project and environment. Learn about each Ipe alternative below: