Garapa Decking vs Ipe Wood Decking: Which is Right for You?

When searching for exotic hardwood for your DIY deck project, homeowners often wonder which one is better, Ipe or Garapa Wood? This is a common query that can even stump seasoned homeowners. Well, both are considered high-density tropical hardwood species widely used for both commercial and residential projects, delivering outstanding quality and long-lasting decks. However, opting for a suitable wood is a crucial decision that affects the appearance and functionality of your property. So, the selection for your project relies on your personal preferences and the project’s needs. This blog will discuss the difference between Garapa and Ipe wood decking, helping you make an informed decision.

Garapa and Ipe Wood Decking: An Overview 

Garapa is a high-density hardwood species native to Brazil. Also known as “Brazilian Ash” or “Brazilian Hardwood,” this is one of the best decking material options available today. Such exotic hardwood holds a flattened, broad, dense crown and reaches a height of 25–40 m (82–131 ft) with a slightly tortuous and very long trunk with fins at the base. For a long time, this wood was mainly limited to the producing countries. In recent years, exports of semi-finished and finished products have expanded to North America and Europe.

Brazilian walnut, also known as Ipe wood, is a premier hardwood source primarily from Central and South America. It comes from the Tabebuia Tree, native to the American tropics and subtropics from Mexico and the Caribbean to Argentina. With a rich, dark brown colour, the Ipe Tree can grow up to 140 to 150 feet in height, while the diameter of its trunk can measure up to 6 feet. Due to its unmatched durability, it has been exported for use in creating decking, furniture, and more.

Garapa Decking Vs Ipe Wood Decking

The following are some of the key differences between these hardwoods:

  1. Visual Differences

One of the most noticeable differences between Garapa and Ipe wood decking is their colour variations. Garapa decking varies from lemon yellowish-brown to golden, which darkens over time. Due to its reflective properties, sometimes this exotic hardwood shifts from light to dark when viewed from different angles as the light hits its surface. With its beautiful texture and natural grain, such hardwood can be utilized to deliver a modern, sophisticated appearance to your wood decking project. 

On the other hand, Ipe possesses natural colour variations that range from dark black-brown to reddish-brown. However, it may also hold yellow to olive-brown tones, allowing you to achieve a classic and timeless outdoor appearance. 

  1. Durability and Maintenance 

When it comes to durability, Garapa Wood is a durable alternative and can be considered an ideal choice for projects where strength and resilience are required. Besides this, it can hold up to wear and tear from frequent use without splitting or sanding. However, such hardwood demands regular cleaning and annual sealing to maintain its colour and prevent it from turning gray. Plus, it is also prone to scratches when compared with Ipe. 

Ipe hardwood is exceptionally durable and is naturally resistant to termites, rot, and decay. It does not sag or contract like other synthetic decking material. Typically, Ipe wood can last 40-50 years or longer when properly cared for. Due to its natural resistance to decay, you don’t need to spend as much time and effort on upkeep. Water and soap are usually enough to restore its natural appearance. 

  1. Cost and Availability 

With its fine-to-medium texture and straight grain, Garapa hardwood offers a range of sizes and shapes, typically presenting a more economical alternative to Ipe hardwood. So, if you are on a budget and seeking a hardwood decking solution that exudes sophistication without breaking the bank, in this case, Garapa hardwood is an ideal affordable option for you. 

Ipe, on the other hand, is a high-end decking material. Due to its durability and limited supply, it is more expensive when compared with other decking alternatives available on the market. Despite the higher initial investment, Ipe’s longevity and low maintenance requirements can make it a more cost-effective option in the long run for those willing to invest upfront.


Garapa and Ipe, while both are stellar hardwood selections, distinguish themselves through their unique advantages and inherent characteristics. Choosing the perfect wood is a pivotal decision, ensuring it aligns with your unique style and specific needs. For exclusive options that best suit your style and requirements, contact Tropical Forest Products. Get in touch with us and allow us to help you make the right decision for you.

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