Saving money on decking through buying short boards and odd lengths.
One of the best tropical hardwood decking species, Cumaru is often considered second only to Ipe. At 2/3 the price, it’s clearly more affordable. With many budgets still recovering from Recession-related difficulties, many of us have grown accustomed to saving wherever we can. While we might not be quite as extreme as Depression-era thrift required, we value every dollar more than we did a decade ago. So when it comes to building a quality deck, we want the most for our money. If you’re already choosing Cumaru instead of Ipe, you’ll probably be interested in knowing how short or odd-length Cumaru decking can help you get even more bang for your buck.
Short Cumaru Decking Boards
You can think of it as the deep, dark secret of the US lumber industry: short boards. Well, as lumber suppliers, we don’t keep it a secret on purpose. We don’t want these 6- to 7-foot boards lying around our lumber yards and not getting purchased or used. But we get so used to people wanting 16-foot-long decking boards or at least thinking there’s nothing shorter than 8 feet when it comes to lumber, that we just don’t mention it. That’s not to say that shorter boards are inferior in any way.
The idea of “short” boards is specific to the US market. In Europe, they don’t use that term at all; instead, they regularly utilize 6 to 7-foot decking boards. As a result of the fact that there is a demand for such lengths, many mills across the globe basically require that even U.S. suppliers accept a certain number of these short boards along with the longer ones that our customers prefer.
Because of the large, hearty nature of the Cumaru tree, we receive fewer short boards per load than we do for other species. Even with only about 5% of each Cumaru order consisting of 7-foot boards, those short boards can really stack up when no one wants to buy them. Whenever there’s low demand for a specific supply, the result is — you guessed it — lower prices, per foot. How much lower? Typically, we’re talking 10-30%. When you’re already saving 30%, compared to the price of Ipe, those savings can really stack up.
Odd-Length Cumaru Decking Boards
In addition to considering short boards, you can get more for your money when you purchase odd-length boards. When they’re milled, boards naturally come in all lengths. Many US suppliers order only even-length boards, but they (and their customers) still pay for that extra foot they lop off. If a piece of wood starts out 9 feet long, and they cut off a foot to make it meet our only-even-length-boards request, we still purchase all 9 feet, but one foot is wasted. As a result, we’ve started purchasing both even and odd-length decking boards so our customers can have that extra foot they’re paying for anyway. We figure, hey, why not have an extra foot of deck if you’re already paying for it?