Both Jatoba and Ipe are excellent choices of decking species, but due to shortages of Ipe, alternative species are constantly popping under our radar. In this mini-series, we’ve been looking at some specific categories and how each species compares to the other.
While Ipe seems to outrank Jatoba when it comes to Hardness and Stiffness (see Part 1), the differences are practically insignificant when it comes to practical use. Jatoba seems to win out, though, when it comes to both Weight and Stability (see Part 2), but both are more than acceptable.
Really, all in all, the Ipe and Jatoba are pretty much equivalent, when technicalities and practicalities are both considered.
What Does It All Mean?
Ipe isn’t really the species in question here; its long run as the premier high-end decking species makes it a no-brainer choice for many. Let’s face it: No one is unsure about the positive characteristics of Ipe decking.
However, with the reduced availability of Ipe, many are looking for viable alternatives to the long-time favorite. So knowing Jatoba truly compares with Ipe is definitely good news! If you’ve been pleased with the performance of Ipe, you won’t be disappointed with Jatoba.
What Are the Benefits of Jatoba?
The technical stuff isn’t all that makes Jatoba a great option. It’s also cheaper (almost 30% less) than Ipe and much more available. Since it’s a popular species for interior flooring, its supply pipelines are strong, and the possibility of blending indoor and outdoor spaces is an extra bonus! Especially if your deck will be erected with only windows and French doors separating it from an interior hardwood floor, such blending can provide a striking statement!
What Are the Benefits of Ipe?
On the other hand, there is a limited number of sizes available, when it comes to Jatoba. At J. Gibson McIlvain, we carry a full range of Ipe sizes to accommodate each aspect of your deck — not just decking boards, but balusters, railings, stringers, joists, and posts. If you want all of that to match, Ipe is the best option. However, so far, we’ve been able to source only 5/4×6 decking boards in Jatoba. So if you want to use a single species for your entire deck, Jatoba won’t fit the bill.
At the end of the day, the decision between Ipe and Jatoba really comes down to personal preference and superficial characteristics. If you don’t plan to treat your deck annually, whatever species you choose will transform into a silvery gray. However, if you plan to treat the wood in order to maintain the original coloring of the wood, you’ll want to decide whether you prefer the brownish red of Ipe or the deep red color of Jatoba. It’s really your choice, and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with either option.