Jatoba vs Ipe – Considering Additional Factors.
As we’ve compared Ipe and Jatoba, the numbers are interesting to consider. In Part 1, we looked at hardness and weight, and in Part 2, we looked at stiffness and stability. At the end of the day, though, do the differences really matter? Both species are truly excellent candidates for premium tropical decking. However, that doesn’t mean they’re identical choices. There are some other factors to consider, and they can’t necessarily be measured by steel balls or percentages.
Take the potential stability issues with Ipe decking that we mentioned. With proper installation that includes the right spacing and under-deck ventilation, either species will perform quite well. At the same time, improper installation can lead to issues with bounce, instability, and even safety. If you’re a homeowner, make sure to get a well-respected deck builder who comes highly recommended. If you’re a builder, make sure you know your stuff — and the intricacies of each species.
Availability & Price Can Be Factors
We live in a real world, not a fairy tale. As a result, the fact that Jatoba can cost only 2/3 the price of Ipe can be significant. Its greater availability due to lower demand can also be a draw, particularly for larger decking jobs. How important are those things for your particular job? You be the judge.
Popularity Can Be Good
Due to Ipe’s longstanding place as “King of the Decking Species,” finding various widths and lengths of decking boards in Ipe is relatively easy. Accessories such as balusters, stringers, railings, joists, and posts are also easy to come by. But what if you are choosing to go with Jatoba? Finding various widths and lengths of decking or a wide variety of accessories may be very difficult. While Jatoba will work beautifully as the main species for your deck, it will not be able to fulfill all your decking needs.
We All Have Our Preferences
Let’s face it: we all want to like the way our decks look. Over time, without treatment, all woods turn a silvery gray. If you plan to maintain the original look, if you have a good source for either wood species in the size and amount you need, and if money isn’t really an issue, go for what pleases your eyes. That may be a blended appearance of your interior flooring and exterior flooring, in which case Jatoba in its deep red grandeur is an excellent option. Or you might just like the more brownish tones of Ipe. Or the fact that it’s long been known as the best decking species there is. If you can find enough for your project, go for it!
Whether you decide to stick with the tried-and-true Ipe or the lesser-known Jatoba, you’ll be getting a strong, hard, stable decking lumber that will stand the test of time.
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: